Matt Putnam, a three-sport varsity athlete from Utah -- and BYU is in the thick of the battle."> Matt Putnam, a three-sport varsity athlete from Utah -- and BYU is in the thick of the battle.">

Matt Putnam: One to Watch

The recruiting race is on for 6' 7", 230-pound defensive end/tight end <b>Matt Putnam</b>, a three-sport varsity athlete from Utah -- and BYU is in the thick of the battle.

Putnam, who is LDS, plays for small Box Elder High School in Brigham City and is receiving attention from Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Stanford, Utah, BYU and Utah State.

"Colorado and Stanford are sending more letters than the others, but I'm also hearing from Oregon and Washington a lot."

Putnam said he has received scholarship offers from all the major Utah colleges -- BYU, Utah and Utah State.

"I've talked a bit with Coach Urban Meyer from Utah and he seems like he'd be a great coach to play for. He's really energetic. I've also had contact with Coach Kaufusi of BYU and he's a really nice guy."

However, the Utah school recruiting Putnam most actively is Utah State -- and for good reason. Not only does he live close by, but his elder brother Nate is a linebacker for the Aggies.

Gregory Putnam, Matt's father said Nate "is doing real well. He's a pre-season pick for All-conference, but what I'm even more proud of is that he was named Academic All-Conference as well."

Puttnam's thoughts on possibly playing with his older brother: "It would be great, but it would only be for one year since he'll be a Junior next season, so I don't know if that is a big factor regarding which school I play for."

He added he would likely play at defensive end in college, but playing tight end remains an option.

"Most coaches mention they want me as a defensive end, but I can play both. I do prefer defensive end, though, at this point."

His father added: "Matt plays for a a relatively small school, so their offense isn't that developed. They're primarily a running team, so he doesn't get a chance to show his pass-catching skills that much. He probably gets one or two passes thrown to him every game, but he averages around 22 yards per catch."

Putnam has good speed. He has been timed as low as 4.8 in the forty, but he insists he can run it faster. "I've only been timed in my basketball shoes on the track. I'm confident I can run it faster than that, but I haven't timed it all that much."

His father said he would definitely prefer to see his son play in-state and Matt seems willing: "I don't know how hard I'll look at out-of-state schools. I'll just have to see what they have to offer. It's really early and I haven't thought too much of it, to be honest with you."

More importantly, Putnam said he plans on making a decision before his senior basketball season starts.

"My brother played it out a bit longer and it really affected how much he was able to concentrate on basketball during his Senior year -- because of all the trips and such. I don't want to do that, so I'll probably decide before November."

Putnam's immediate plans are to finish out the baseball season, attend the Utah, BYU and Utah State football camps this summer and improve his overall athleticism in all sports.

He noted he has definite LDS mission plans and his number one priority for choosing a college is their flexibility in this area. Putnam does not turn 19 until November 2005, and he plans to play one year before leaving.

"All the in-state schools are willing to work with my mission plans. That's very important to me."

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