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Heading into national signing day, Utes have welcomed bevy of talented transfers

Coach Kyle Whittingham’s program has added a lot of talent and depth at both the quarterback and running back positions

SHARE Heading into national signing day, Utes have welcomed bevy of talented transfers
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Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham looks on before the start of Utes game against Colorado in Salt Lake City on Nov. 30, 2019.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

During the early signing period in December, Utah signed 18 players as part of a top-30 recruiting class.

Since then, the Utes have added other key players — including intriguing, experienced transfers — to the roster heading into national signing day Wednesday.

No doubt, coach Kyle Whittingham’s program has added a lot of talent and depth at both the quarterback and running back positions.

The day after the truncated 2020 season ended, the Utes received commitments from two QBs — Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer and Texas transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson.

Brewer threw for 9,700 yards and rushed for 1,039 yards in three seasons with the Bears. In 2019, he completed 65% of his passes for 3,161 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while leading Baylor to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl appearance. 

In 2020, Brewer threw for 1,958 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions during a 2-7 campaign for Baylor before becoming a grad transfer.

Jackson, meanwhile, was a highly touted recruit when he signed with Texas in 2020. But he never played for the Longhorns. Coming out of Duncansville High in Texas, Jackson was rated the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat QB by ESPN. 

Utah has also welcomed a pair of running backs — Oklahoma transfer T.J. Pledger and Louisiana State transfer Chris Curry

In three seasons with the Sooners, Pledger rushed for 695 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He recorded a career-high 22 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns in last fall’s win over Texas. 

In 2018, Pledger, who attended IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, was rated the No. 6 running back in the nation by ESPN.

A four-star recruit out of high school, Curry had 91 carries for 336 yards in three seasons at LSU. 

Meanwhile, former Utah State linebacker/defensive end Elijah Shelton announced he’s transferred to Utah. Shelton recorded 15 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery in five games for USU last season.  

The Utes have one high school player that’s committed and expected to sign Wednesday — Woods Cross High defensive tackle Michael Mokofisi

The 6-foot-3, 300-pounder had 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He is the son of former Utah star Filipo Mokofisi Sr., and brother of Filipo Jr. 

Among the 18 prospects the Utes signed in December are a handful of four-star players — quarterback Peter Costelli, linebackers Ethan Calvert and Mason Tufaga, and running back Ricky Parks. 

Costelli, Tufaga, linebackers Trey Reynolds and Cole Bishop and safety Darrien Stewart each enrolled in January. 

Calvert is the third highest rated signee in the history of Utah football, according to 247Sports.com  

“(He’s) 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds and runs like a deer. Instinctive, tough, extremely smart, and so he’s the whole package and we’re elated to have him in the program,” Whitttingham said in December. “He’s got two older brothers that are good players as well at different schools in the Pac-12, and he’s following suit with his older brothers (Josh at Washington, Bo at UCLA).”