Utes fill needs in 2013 recruiting class

Utes fill needs in 2013 recruiting class

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Kyle Whittingham addressed the Utes lack of size and speed in their 2013 recruiting class.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The Utah football staff unveiled its 2013 signing class today and it stands at 23 members, including four previously announced midyear junior college transfers who signed National Letters of Intent in December.

As an NLI may be signed only for the upcoming year, Utah's 2013 signing class includes only those members who will enroll in 2013-14. Other prospects, including those who plan to serve church missions before enrolling at Utah, did not sign NLIs today. The maximum number of signees permitted by the NCAA through the signing period (Dec. 1-May 31) is 25, down from 28 a year ago.

The bulk of Utah's 2013 signees came from California (11) and Texas (7), including three teammates from Trinity High School in Euless, Texas (defensive end Sam Tevi, offensive tackle Salesi Uhatafe and defensive tackle Keio Vaenuku). On a local front, the Utes signed three of the best instate recruits in tight end Harrision Handley (Alta), linebacker Uaea Masina (Brighton) and defensive end Filipo Mokofisi (Woods Cross), and the school expects to gain additional members from this year's instate class down the road.

Utah doubled up on high school recruits over junior college players, signing 16 prep stars and seven junior college transfers. Already enrolled in school are junior offensive tackle Andrew Albers (Orange Coast College), junior tight end Greg Reese (Arizona Western), freshman quarterback Brandon Cox (Pasadena HS) and Masina.

Utah sought to shore up a defensive line that lost three starters from 2012 by signing five defensive linemen (three tackles and two ends). Also on the priority list was running back, where three freshmen and a junior college transfer will compete in the fall.

With just one quarterback returning who has played in a college game, the Utes signed three prep stars in Cox, Conner Manning (El Toro HS/Lake Forest, Calif.) and Micah Thomas (North Shore HS/Houston, Texas).

"We definitely feel we became a bigger, faster football team with this recruiting class," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "Position-wise, our first priority was the defensive front and we feel as though we signed a talented group that will maintain our tradition of outstanding defensive line play for years to come. We were also able to fill in gaps at positions that were lacking in depth, most notably running back and quarterback. As is the case every year, our assistant coaches did a great job of evaluating talent and working hard to sell our program to the new recruits. We continue to make strong inroads in the state of Texas and were very pleased with the recruits we signed from there. Utah and California, our other two primary areas, yielded positive results as well."

Utah's class actually contains 24 members, including 2011 signee Tevita Bloomfield, who enrolled in school this semester. Returning off a mission and also in school is sophomore offensive lineman Derek Tuimauga. Tuimauga, who does not count in this year's NLI count, redshirted in 2008 and lettered in 2009.

2013 Utah Recruiting Class

Myron Aiava
DT - 6-5 - 274 - Fr. - HS - Westminster, Calif. (Westminster HS)
Golden West League 2012 Defensive Player of the Year ... all-CIF Southern Section Southern Division defender ... also played tight end and took some snaps at quarterback for Westminster High (Calif.) ... six touchdown catches in 2011 ... Westminster won the 2012 Golden West League championship ... football and basketball team captain as a senior ... recently scored 32 points against Corona HS ... averaged 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds his junior season ... also played volleyball ... son of Nofotolunoa and Joann Aiava ... father played football and mother played volleyball at Golden West College ... two brothers and four sisters ... last name is pronounced i-yah-vah ... born May 9, 1995.

Andrew Albers - OT
6-7 - 309 - JC - Costa Mesa, Calif. (Orange Coast College)

Mid-year junior college transfer has enrolled in classes at Utah ... has three years to play two ... originally walked on at Utah as a freshman in the spring of 2011 after graduating early from Costa Mesa High (Calif.) ... transferred to Orange Coast College in the fall of 2011 ... second-team all-conference offensive tackle in 2012 ... as a senior in high school, he was the 2010 Orange Coast League Lineman of the Year and a Daily Pilot Dream Team selection ... won 11 total letters in high school in football (3), basketball (4), track (3) and volleyball (1) ... football and basketball team captain two years ... averaged 12.1 points and 11.2 rebounds as a senior in 2010-11 ... once had 21 rebounds in a game ... scholar-athlete ... son of Frank Albers and Kristen Leysen ... father is a high school football coach ... mother played basketball for Cal State-Fullerton ... four sisters ... last name is pronounced al-burrs ... born Dec. 22, 1992.

Devontae Booker - RB
5-11, 199 - Sacramento, Calif. (American River College)

Signed with Washington State out of high school in 2009 ... has three years to play two ... first-team all-Valley Conference ... rushed for 1,472 yards and 15 touchdowns and also had nine receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 ... kickoff returns of 95 and 94 yards, both for touchdowns ... three kickoff returns for 164 yards (54.7 average) and a touchdown against Santa Rosa ... 22 carries for 282 yards (12.8 average) and five touchdowns vs. Monterey ... rushed for 793 yards (7.93 average, 79.3 yards per game) and 12 touchdowns as a freshman at American River ... also caught 10 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, and ran back 10 kickoffs for 348 yards and a touchdown (long of 90) in 2011 ... American River played in the 2012 Northern California Football Association championship game ... as a senior at Grant Union High (Calif.) in 2009, he rushed for 2,884 yards and 45 touchdowns ... won U.S. Air Force National Player of the Week ... 2009 first-team MaxPreps All-State Division I ... NorCalPreps.com Division I Player of the Year ... second-team CalHiSports.com all-state ... Sacramento Bee all-Metro in 2008 and 2009 ... led Grant High to the 2008 CIF State Open Division state title, leading the team in rushing yards (1,850) and touchdowns (36) ... son of Ronnie and Francis Booker ... born May 27, 1992.

Tevin CarterDB -
6-1 - 213 - Jr. - JC - Los Angeles, Calif. (L.A. Southwest College)

Has two years to play two ... originally signed with Cal, redshirting in 2010 as a highly-ranked wide receiver ... transferred to L.A. Southwest College, where he played safety ... 2011 and 2012 SCFA first-team all-conference safety ... L.A. Southwest's leading defender as a sophomore in 2012 had 62 tackles (3 TFL), three interceptions, four pass breakups and a forced fumble ... 32 tackles (3 TFL, 1 sack), two interceptions, four pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 2011 ... four-star receiver by both Rivals and Scout as a prep player at Santee HS (Calif.) ... SuperPrep All-Far West team ... Southern League Defensive Player of the Year ... first-team all-city (L.A.) in 2008 and 2009 ... as a senior in 2009, he had 42 receptions for 1,117 yards and eight touchdowns, while also contributing 84 tackles, two interceptions and four forced fumbles ... his junior season, he finished with 28 receptions for 833 yards and 11 TDs, 119 tackles, five fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles ... also lettered in basketball and track ... placed third in the state in the 200-meter dash and fourth in the 100 meters as a junior ... won the Los Angeles City title in the 200 and placed second in the 100 as a senior ... clocked a 10.61-second 100 meters and had 200 time of 21.21 seconds, which was the second-fastest time in California in 2009 ... made the honor roll his senior year ... son of the late Hilbert Carter and Rosalind Wright ... three siblings ... brother Trae Jackson played football at San Jose State and brother Tim Carter played football at Alcorn State ... full name is Tevin D. Carter ... born September 13, 1992.

Hipolito CorporanDB
6-1 - 172 - Fr. - HS - Houston, Texas (Westside HS)

Associated Press Class 5A second-team all-state as a senior in 2012 ... first-team all-district ... Houston Chronicle first-team all-Greater Houston and Top 100 Recruit ... Touchdown Club Defensive Player of the Year finalist ... 19 tackles (2 TFL), two interceptions, two pass breakups and a forced fumble in 2012 ... led Westside High to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012 ... son of Hipolito Corporan and India Rice ... father is a fourth-generation farmer ... one sister ... name is pronounced hippo-lee-toe cor-por-ahn ... born Sept. 28, 1993.

Brandon Cox - QB
6-2 - 192 - Fr. - HS - Pasadena, Calif. (Pasadena HS)

Early high school graduate is already enrolled in classes at Utah ... led the league in passing as a junior in 2011, completing 151-249 attempts for 2,697 yards and 26 touchdowns (just 5 interceptions) ... ranked fourth in the league in rushing in 2011, rushing 96 times for 562 yards and eight touchdowns ... played just two games in 2012 due to foot injury ... set Pasadena High School record with 43 total touchdowns ... 2011 second-team all-area by the Pasadena Star-Tribune ... also played basketball and baseball (pitcher and centerfielder) ... Pasadena High vice president ... presidential academic award in 2010 and 2011 ... son of Brian and Shavown Cox ... father is a parks and recreation director ... one brother and one sister ... sister Brittany is a high school English teacher ... born Feb. 4, 1995.

Harrison Handley - TE
6-5 - 217 - Fr. - HS - Sandy, Utah (Alta HS)

Honorable mention all-state ... first-team all-region 3 ... Alta High (Utah) team captain was named the Alta Impact Player of 2012 ... caught 64 passes for 779 yards and 8 touchdowns as a senior in 2012 ... had three 100-yard receiving games his senior season, including 121 yards vs. West Jordan HS ... career totals were 71 catches for 868 yards and 9 TDs ... Alta was the 2012 region 3 champion ... also lettered one year in lacrosse ... son of Darren and Laura Handley ... father played tight end for BYU from 1985-88 and led the Cougars in receiving in 1987 ... mother is a Utah graduate ... has four siblings, including triplets ... born Mar. 27, 1995.

Dominique Hatfield - WR
5-10 - 152 - Fr. - HS - Los Angeles, Calif. (Crenshaw HS)

Los Angeles Times and The Wave all-area ... Los Angeles City Section Defensive Player of the Year ... 2012 Coliseum League Player of the Year ... had eight interceptions his senior season while playing wide receiver and cornerback at Crenshaw High (Calif.) ... team captain ... as a junior in 2011, he had 33 receptions for 586 yards (17.8 average) and four touchdowns, rushed nine times for 110 yards (12.2 average), had 25 tackles and three pass breakups and averaged 29.8 yards on five punt returns ... Crenshaw won the 2012 L.A. City League title in 2010 and went 12-2 in 2012 ... son of De'Wayne Coleman and Meka Stokes ... born Dec. 13, 1994.

Sese Ianu - DT
6-2 - 296 - Jr. - JC - Huntington Beach, Calif. (Golden West College)

Has two years to play two ... 2012 first-team all-conference defensive tackle and Golden West College team captain ... 22 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks in seven games his sophomore season ... played both offensive and defensive line for Fountain Valley HS (Calif.) ... first-team all-Sunset League in 2009 ... played in the North-South All-Star Game in July 2010 ... son of Salesa Ianu and Debbie Ianu ... three brothers ... cousin Mike Iupati plays for the San Francisco 49ers ... full name is Ulisese Misili Ianu ... name is pronounced seh-seh ee-ah-new ... born Aug. 12, 1990 in American Samoa.

Andre Lewis - WR
6-3 - 200 - Jr. - JC - Fairfield, Calif. (Diablo Valley College)

Mid-year junior college signee has three years to play two ... four star recruit by Rivals ... first-team NCFA all-Mid-Empire Conference in 2012 ... ranked second in the conference in receiving yards (1,014) on 60 receptions, and led the league in touchdown catches (15) in 2012 ... five catches for 95 yards for Diablo Valley College in 2012 East Bay Bowl win over Laney College ... DVC team captain ... as a freshman, he had 32 receptions for 411 yards and six touchdowns ... played football and basketball at Angelo Rodriguez High (Calif.) ... second-team all-county in football in 2009 ... 2009-10 honorable mention all-Solano County Athletic Conference in basketball ... son of Andre Sr. and Rhonda Lewis ... father is a music producer and community activist in the San Francisco area ... three sisters and one brother ... brother, Steve Johnson, is a receiver for the Buffalo Bills ... full name is Andre Lewis Jr. ... nickname is Dre ... born July 15, 1992.

Conner Manning - QB
6-1 - 200 - Fr. - HS - Lake Forest, Calif. (El Toro HS)

Broke Matt Barkley's Orange Country record for single-season passing yards as a junior in 2011, completing 327-of-527 passes for 4,219 yards and 41 touchdowns (8 interceptions) ... 9,449 career passing yards ranks second in Orange County history behind Barkley's 9,471 yards ... set the Orange County single-game passing mark with 613 yards (44-of-58) against Valhalla HS in 2012 ... also had seven TD passes in that game ... as a senior in 2012, he completed 65% of his pass attempts (319-of-490) for 4,062 yards and 41 TDs (10 interceptions) ... including his sophomore season, when he passed for 1,168 yards and six touchdowns, his career totals were 9,449 yards and 88 touchdowns to just 26 interceptions ... 2011 Orange County Offensive Player of the Year, CIF Southwest division co-Offensive Player of the Year and Sky View League MVP ... 2011 first-team Max Preps California Division II all-state and Cal Hi Sports first-team all-state Underclassman ... 2012 second-team Max Preps California Division I all-state ... 2012 Rivals.com all-Southern section first team ... first-team all-Orange County as a junior and senior ... earned three letters in football at El Toro HS and was a two-year team captain ... son of Steve and Patty Manning ... both parents are San Diego State graduates ... two brothers and one sister ... brother Chris plays baseball at Valparaiso University ... born Sept. 11, 1994.

Uaea Masina - LB
6-2 - 210 - Fr. - HS - Salt Lake City (Brighton HS)

Early high school graduate is already enrolled in classes at Utah ... Salt Lake Tribune second-team 5A all-state as a senior ... Deseret News honorable mention all-state ... rated as the sixth-best player in the Utah state rankings by Rivals.com ... as a senior, he rushed 103 times for 622 yards and six touchdowns ... in his career, he had 265 carries for 1,543 yards and 17 touchdowns, and 27 receptions for 307 yards and four TDs ... Brighton HS (Utah) team captain ... four-year football letterman also won letters in basketball (2) and track (2) ... son of Uaea and Tamina Masina ... three siblings ... name is pronounced why-uh ma-seena ... born Jan. 19, 1995.

Troy McCormick - RB
5-9 - 159 - Fr. - HS - Katy, Texas (Mayde Creek HS)

2012 19-5A all-district co-Offensive MVP and first-team running back ... 2011 second-team 19-5A all-district running back and return specialist ... 2010 honorable mention 19-5A all-district running back ... as a senior in 2012, he rushed 217 times for 1,768 yards (8.1 average, 176.8 yards per game) and 21 touchdowns ... also had nine receptions for 80 yards and averaged 35.7 yards on nine kickoff returns ... had four 200-yard games his senior season, including 285 yards and four TDs vs. Cypress Springs HS, and 270 yards and two TDs vs. Tomball HS ... 176 yards and five rushing TDs vs. Katy Taylor HS ... also returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in Katy Taylor High game ... lettered four years in football and track ... Mayde Creek HS (Texas) team captain ... at 5'9", he can dunk a basketball ... son of Troy, Sr. and Carol McCormick ... two brothers and three sisters ... full name is Troy Anthony McCormick, Jr. ... born Jan. 13, 1995 in New Orleans.

Filipo Mokofisi - DE
6-3 - 229 - Fr. - HS - Woods Cross, Utah (Woods Cross HS)

First-team 4A all-state (Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News) ... first-team all-region 6 ... 49 tackles, six sacks, one interception his senior year ... also plays basketball, averaging 8.1 points per game as a junior ... son of Filipo Mokofisi, Sr. and Maria Tonga ... father was an all-Western Athletic Conference linebacker for Utah, where he lettered from 1982-85 ... name is pronounced fill-ee-po moko-fee-see ... born Mar. 26, 1995.

Davion Orphey - DB
6-0 - 187 - Jr. - JC - Compton, Calif (Santa Ana College)

Mid-year junior college transfer will participate in spring ball ... has three years to play two ... played safety and corner at Santa Ana College and will play corner at Utah ... second-team all-conference in 2011 (all purpose) and 2012 (defense) ... in 2012, had 48 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and nine pass breakups ... Santa Ana College won the 2012 Southern California Bowl, beating College of the Canyons ... Edison High School (Calif.) MVP as a freshman and sophomore ... all-league as a sophomore and junior ... Edison's Most Valuable Back as a junior in 2009 ... son of Warren Orphey and Enae Jackson ... three brothers and two sisters ... cousin Keith McGill is a senior defensive back for the Utes ... name is pronounced day-vee-ahn or-fay ... born Oct. 18, 1992.

Greg Reese - TE
6-5 - 236 - Jr. - JC - Camden, N.J. (Arizona Western)

Mid-year signee has enrolled in classes at Utah ... has two years to play two ... played one year for Arizona Western ... did not play football last season ... Arizona Western played in the 2011 junior college national championship game, losing to East Mississippi CC in the El Toro Bowl ... lettered in track and football at Woodrow Wilson High (N.J.) ... graduated from Brimm Medical Arts High School (N.J.) ... second-team all-conference as a senior in 2010 when he had 10 receptions for 217 yards (21.7 average) and two touchdowns ... won a student-athlete award and a performing arts award ... son of Gregory Jackson and Tonya Reese ... three brothers and one sister ... brother Tahshon runs track at Arkansas State ... enjoys piano ... interested in biology ... born April 3, 1992.

X'avier Shepherd - WR
5-10 - 170 - Fr. - HS - Lakewood, Calif. (Lakewood HS)

Played in the Semper Fi All-American Bowl ... missed five games his senior season with an ankle injury, finishing with 18 catches for 285 yards and two touchdowns ... best season was in 2011, when he finished with 31 receptions for 472 yards (15.2 average) and six touchdowns ... also rushed four times for 89 yards and two touchdowns as a junior ... his sophomore season, he had 17 catches for 217 yards (15.9 average) and four TDs ... 66 career receptions for 974 yards and 12 TDs ... son of Derrick Shepherd and Carrel Lewis ... five brothers and two sisters ... name is pronounced ex-zay-vee-er ... born June 16, 1995.

Sam Tevi - DE
6-5 - 288 - Fr. - HS - Euless, Texas (Trinity HS)

2012 Star-Telegram Super Team second-team defense ... first-team all-district in 2011 and 2012 ... other awards as a senior included Oldcoachrivals.com 5A second-team all-state, Whataburger All-North Texas Team and Tarrant County Terrific 25 ... 56 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 TFL in 2012 ... helped Trinity High to the area championship ... won four letters in football, three in track and two in basketball ... also plays volleyball ... son of Motukia and Tamasita Tevi ... two brothers and five sisters ... likes to sing ... full name is Samiuela Tevi (pronounced Tevv-ee) ... born Nov. 15, 1994.

Micah Thomas - QB
6-0 - 178 - Fr. - HS - Houston, Texas (North Shore HS)

2012 first-team all-District 21-5A ... Houston Chronicle Top 100 Recruit ... passed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, and rushed for 734 yards on 92 carries (7.98 average) and 10 touchdowns as a senior ... averaged 106.1 passing yards and 91.8 rushing yards per game in 2012 ... 656 passing yards and 576 rushing yards his junior year ... team captain led North Shore High to the 2012 Region 3 final ... also lettered three years in track ... made the Texas High School all-state academic second team and all-region academic first team ... honor society ... son of Bobby and Alicia Thomas ... one brother ... enjoys drawing ... full name is Micah Reshawn Thomas ... name is pronounced mike-uh ... born Oct. 25, 1994.

Salesi Uhatafe - OT
6-4 - 319 - Fr. - HS - Euless, Texas (Trinity HS)

First-team 2012 6-5A all-district ... named to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Super Team (first team) and the Tarrant County Terrific 25 ... as a senior, he allowed zero sacks, had 42 pancakes and 117 knockdowns ... Trinity HS went 7-0 in league play in 2012 and won the District 6-5A championship ... son of Salesi Uhatafe, Sr. and Paea Latu ... only child ... first cousin Jon Halapio is an offensive lineman at Florida ... full name is Salesi Siaosi-Lopukaitamaki Uhatafe (pronounced sah-less-ee oo-ha-tah-feh) ... nickname is Leka (pronounced lekka) ... born Oct. 25, 1994.

Keio Vaenuku - DT
6-5 - 278 - Fr. - HS - Euless, Texas (Trinity HS)

2012 District 6-5A Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-district ... Star-Telegram Super Team first-team defense ... Dallas Morning News second-team all-area ... Oldcoachrivals.com 5A first-team all-state ... 2012 Tarrant County Terrific 25 ... 72 tackles, 7 sacks and 13 tackles for loss his senior season ... helped Trinity High to the area championship ... son of Sam and Sela Vaenuku ... father played football and basketball at Ricks College ... three brothers and four sisters ... enjoys acting and singing ... full name is Gaius Keio Taylor Vaenoku ... name is pronounced kay-o vy-new-koo ... born Dec. 26, 1994.

Marcus Williams - RB
5-11 - 212 - Fr. - HS - Las Vegas, Nev. (Durango HS)

All-Northwest League co-Offensive MVP in 2012 ... All-Nevada Football team ... beat nearly 1,300 other recruits in April 2012 by recording the highest score at the Nike Football SPARQ Combine in Long Beach, Calif., where he had the top 40-yard dash time (4.43 seconds) and vertical jump (39.4 inches) ... 154 carries for 1,213 yards (7.88 average) and 19 rushing touchdowns (20 total) as a senior at Durango HS (Nev.) ... 113 yards on 12 carries, including an 80-yard TD, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Division I Sunset Region playoffs ... 259 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Sierra Vista High ... 163 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Spring Valley High ... as a junior in 2011, he was eligible to play in only the last three games of the season for Durango after transferring from Bishop Gorman High ... rushed for 237 yards and two touchdowns against Sierra Vista, scored twice against Pahrump Valley and returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against Desert Oasis in 2011 ... played in four games as a sophomore at Bishop Gorman in 2010 before transferring ... also ran track ... son of Vincent and Tammera Williams ... one sister and one brother ... born Aug. 10, 1995.

Dre'Vian Young - RB
5-9 - 171 - Fr. - HS - Houston, Texas (Nimitz HS)

Houston Chronicle Top 100 Recruit ... first-team all-district as a senior and second-team as a junior ... rushed 149 times for 1,140 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall ... state 5A 400 meter runner-up as a junior in 2012 ... 5A Region III 400 meter champion in 2011 and 2012, ran a 47.84 ... qualified for state twice in the 400 meters and also with Nimitz High's 1600 meter relay team ... son of LaChanda Malone and (stepfather) Carlos Malone ... brother Selvin Young played for Texas and in the NFL for the Denver Broncos ... enjoys drawing ... name is pronounced dray-vee-ahn ... born Dec. 18, 1993.

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