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Utah football’s 2021 class is shaping up. Why the Utes are off to a strong start in recruiting

Utes already have commitments in next year’s class from several high-profile recruits.

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham talks to the team after the Red-White game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Silas Walker, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah football’s early recruiting efforts are paying off. The Utes have secured seven commitments, thus far. Recruiting expert Dan Sorensen, publisher of UteZone.com, said the program is seeing some momentum after winning back-to-back Pac-12 South titles.

“It’s starting out with a very high national-caliber recruit at quarterback and a very high national recruit at running back,” Sorensen said. “The Utes have a really strong foundation in place for that offense.”

Peter Costelli is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound dual-threat quarterback from Mission Viejo, California. He’s listed as a four-star recruit by 247 Sports.

“He’s as intriguing of a prospect as any that we’ve seen in a while,” Sorensen said. “He’s a tall kid, but he’s an incredible athlete.”

Costelli’s personal best in the 100 meters is 10.82 seconds.

“Anything under 11 seconds is lightning fast,” Sorensen said. “That’s what you’re looking for in skill position players.”

The Pac-12 attracts quarterbacks, Sorensen explained, and the success offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and quarterback Tyler Huntley had last season really turned a lot of heads. Transfers Jake Bentley (South Carolina) and Cam Rising (Texas) are working to continue the pattern at Utah.

“It’s the conference, it’s the culture, it’s the climate,” Sorensen said. “Ludwig certainly helps. He’s one of the best in the business when it comes to college offensive coordinators, so you can’t discount that.”

The Utes added another potential four-star recruit in Ricky Parks, a 5-foot-10, 192-pound running back from Tampa, Florida. He ultimately chose Utah over Iowa.

“In a lot of ways he’s kind of a Zack Moss clone, similar size in terms of height and build,” Sorensen said. “He’s a workhorse back. He’s got great vision. He’s got great feet. He’s a guy that is versatile.”

Parks is currently a three-star recruit in the composite, but Sorensen explained that he’ll probably be a four-star guy across the board when all is said and done — adding he’s someone you can build an offense around.

Although Sorensen explained that Utah still has recruiting work to do on the offensive line and at skill positions like receiver, he acknowledged that the Utes have got a good core to start building around.

Other commitments on offense include interior lineman Koli Faalu (6-4, 315) of Bothell, Washington and wide receiver Deamikkio Nathan (6-0, 185) from Grande Prairie, Texas.

The early defensive commitments include linebacker Trey Reynolds (6-2, 235) out of Queen Creek High School in Arizona. Sorensen said Reynolds is one of the higher-rated linebackers the Utes have ever received a commitment from. He fielded several high-profile offers.

Utah’s defensive line secured commitments from two guys with roots in the program. Snow College tackle Tevita Fotu (6-4, 299) is the younger brother of Leki, while Bingham High defensive end Viliami Pouha (6-2, 230) is the son of Sione.

“It’s a good class early on. Utah tends to take things really slowly. They take a measured approach. They tend not to get a bulk of their commits until late in the cycle,” Sorensen said. “They’re actually ahead of schedule from where they were a year ago when they signed a top 25 class and they’re much more ahead of the game than they were at this time last year.”

Sorensen, who noted that the class will eventually include some returned missionaries and such, said Utah’s recruiting efforts are impressive given the restrictions of the pandemic and not being able to establish relationships through opportunities like campus visits, summer camps and scouting.

“They’ve got a really strong start,” Sorensen said. “They’ve got a number of really high level prospects that they’re hot after and I expect the class to come together like just about every other Utah class the last few years.”

2021 Utah football recruiting commitments

QB: PETER COSTELLI (6-3, 205, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.)

OG: KOLI FAALU (6-4, 315, North Creek HS, Wash.)

DT: TEVITA FOTU (6-4, 299, Snow College)

WR: DEAMIKKIO NATHAN (6-0, 185, South Grande Prairie HS, Texas)

DE: VILIAMI POUHA (6-2, 230, Bingham HS)

RB: RICKY PARKS (5-10, 192, Gaither HS, Fla.)

LB: TREY REYNOLDS (6-2, 235, Queen Creek HS, Ariz.)

SOURCE: UteZone.com