2011 Recruiting Class Position Grades

How did Utah do in addressing their needs at each position in the 2011 recruiting class? A few hits, a few misses, and some home runs...

For the sake of argument, we'll put each of the recruits with the position group that the Utah official release has them listed at:

Quarterback
C-
While Utah didn't land a quarterback in this class, they still get a C for two reasons:
1) It wasn't absolutely necessary to do so. All of the scholarship QBs on the roster will be juniors or younger so they should all still be there next year.
2) The Utes were a finalist for Michael Eubank, who may have the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the country. It shows that they are making strides with high-profile out of state recruits and will be a player going forward. Utah will start landing these types of guys soon.
Yeah, losing out on Derrick Brown hurts, especially when it's to a team within your conference, but Utah will be able to bring in a better prospect next year than Brown that they'll be able to sell on spending a year behind Jordan Wynn before stepping into a starting spot in 2012.

Running Back
A+
Running back was the most dire position of need for the Utes and they hit a home run. On paper, this is easily the best running back class the Utes have ever brought in. Langi is an elite talent and will see the field immediately. He's a power back with very good speed. John White might challenge Reggie Dunn for the fastest player on the team, is a master at finding holes, and catches the ball well. Jarrell Oliver is a versatile guy that runs with power and speed. The sleeper of the group, but don't be surprised if he ends up being the best of the bunch down the road.
Instant Impact Player: Harvey Langi

Wide Receiver/Tight End
B
Anthony Dehnam is an elite receiver and will make an immediate impact. You can't teach his size and natural skills. He should be starting in the fall. Quinton Pedroza is a project guy, but has a high ceiling once he gets some college coaching. Reminds me a bit of DeVonte Christopher. Throw in a solid possession receiver in Travis Still who runs great routes and has very good hands and the coaches have to be happy. While this group won't be able to replace the lost production from Jereme Brooks and Shaky Smithson immediately, the Utes have done a solid job of replenishing the cupboard with talented receivers. They only thing they're missing in this class is that speedy downfield threat that got away when BJ Kelley committed to Oregon.
Instant Impact Player: Anthony Denham

Offensive Line
A
The Utes lose three offensive linemen from their two deep in Taylor, Schlauderaff, and Watts, but this class will replenish those losses. Isaac Asiata could be the most college ready of all the high school commits, and that's rare on the offensive line. He's a giant, has quick feet, gets downfield well, and will outwork everyone else. If he's not an all conference player by the time he's done, I'll be very surprised. Siaosi Aiono brings very good size and a mean streak that will endear him to the coaches right away. Daniel Kristensen is a high upside guy that plays bigger than he is. Strong as an ox, he just needs to add more weight. Jordan Robles is the brother of QB Griff. Is still growing and with his height and athleticism, could be a good offensive tackle in a few years. Daniel Nielsen is an intriguing kid with tremendous size. A sleeper prospect who could end up being the best of the group.
Instant Impact Player: Isaac Asiata

Defensive Line
B
With the Utes losing three big contributors off of the defensive line, they did a pretty good job of replenishing their ranks., but didn't need a ton with the glut of current players on the roster. Nate Fakahafua is arguably the top athlete in this class, and probably in the state of Utah in 2011. He can play multiple positions, but could be a devastating pass rusher down the line. He'll be a stud wherever he ends up. Seni Fauonuku led probably the best high school defensive line in state history at Bingham and brings very good size to the defensive tackle position Plays with a mean streak.
Instant Impact Player: Fakahafua (depending on where he ultimately ends up)

Linebacker
C+
Jared Norris is a freak athlete and reminds me of a more athletic Brian Blechen. He needs to add more weight though. He's closer to 215 pounds right now after battling illness during the football season. Bloomfield is a project player who won't contribute for a couple of years, but has solid physical tools.
Instant Impact Player: None, but Norris could surprise like Blechen did.

Cornerback
F
The loss of Ryan Henderson was devastating, especially with the Utes needing to replace their two starters at corner and another contributor in Kamaron Yancy. The possibility of adding a late JC signee is there, but I wouldn't count on it. Cornerback will be of the utmost priority for the 2012 class. The state of Utah doesn't produce a ton of D-1 corners and that hurts.

Safety
A
Eric Rowe and Keith McGill are instant impact guys. Don't be surprised if one, or maybe even both, are getting serious reps or starting in fall camp. The Utes will be replacing both safeties with JTR graduating and Blechen moving to linebacker. The backups last year are mostly unproven and some have been a disappointment so far in their careers. Joe Bryant adds depth and a big frame. Still learning the game but could be a very good one under Morgan Scalley's watch down the line.
Instant Impact Player: Keith McGill AND Eric Rowe.

Special Teams
C
The Utes generally don't award scholarships to incoming special teams players, but they may have found a return man in RB John White. Having to pull Philander Moore's scholarship hurts, but with White and Reggie Dunn returning kicks, Utah should be ok. Now the only question is what to do in the punt return game.
Instant Impact Player: John White

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