Looking Back: the 2007 Utah Recruiting Class

A look back at the fairly stellar 2007 Utah recruiting class that turned in a four run as impressive as any in Ute history...

Re-rankings are based on production to this point, as well as anticipated production/potential going forward.

CB NR 2 Stars Reggie Topps
(North Monterey County HS) Castroville, CA
Topps didn't make it on campus until 2008 and then redshirted before playing sparingly in 2009 and 2010. He'll have a chance to compete for a corner or nickel spot in 2011 and could be a nice contributor down the road, but hasn't done much to this point.
Re-Ranking: 2 star

TE NR No Stars Westlee Tonga
(Spring HS) Spring, TX
Tonga left for a mission after signing and re-enrolled in spring of 2010. He was a small part of the offense last season, but has put on a lot of good weight and will make an impact over the next couple of years at the tight end spot.
Re-Ranking: 2 star

LB NR No stars Justin Taplin-Ross
(Vista Murrieta HS) Murrieta, CA
Tap Tap played as a true freshman, but didn't make a big impact until his junior year. Had a solid senior season as a starter and brought a big time hitter mentality to the field. 14 career starts.
Re-Ranking: 3 star

DE NR Derrick Shelby
(Hightower HS) Sugar Land, TX
Shelby has really added a lot of good weight since coming to Utah. When healthy, he's been a solid pass rusher who's just starting to realize his potential. If it all comes together in 2011, Shelby will have an All Conference year and turn into a top 150 NFL draft prospect.
Re-Ranking: 4 star

S NR 2 stars Maurice Neal
(San Leandro HS) San Leandro, CA
Neal didn't see the playing field much during his redshirt freshman year and saw his Utah career end after beating up two men outside of a bar and running from police in the summer of 2009.
Re-Ranking: 1 star

SLB NR 2 stars Jamel King
(Vista Murrieta HS) Murrieta, CA
Forced to take a medical retirement during the 2010 season after a promising career was derailed by injuries.
Re-Ranking: 2 star

DE NR 2 stars Nai Fotu
(Kahuku HS) Kahuku, HI
Was a big contributor early on as a freshman and has started nine games in his career. Sat out 2010 after an injury. Currently suspended from the team for a recent DUI charge. Has probably played his last game as a Ute.
Re-Ranking: 3 star

CB NR 2 stars Brandon Burton
(Clear Creek HS) League City, TX
Burton really turned out to be a diamond in the rough and is going to be a rich man in a couple of week after somebody picks him in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. He's not terribly fast, but he's quick, has great awareness, and locked down everyone in 2009 and 2010. Didn't get as much love as he deserved, but was probably the team MVP in '10.
Re-Ranking: 4 star

WR NR 2 stars Jereme Brooks
(Clear Creek HS) League City, TX
26 career starts and two seasons as an All MWC performer. Made it on the field as a true freshman and even started two games. Finished with 152 career catches and 14 TDs. Also returned kicks on occasion. A tremendously reliable possession receiver.
Re-Ranking: 4 star

RB JC 4 stars Matt Asiata
(Snow) Ephraim, UT 6-0.5/235
It seemed to me as if Asiata was around for about 8 years at Utah. When healthy, he was an elite back that was able to run the ball, catch it out of the backfield. Finished with over 1700 yards and 24 touchdowns in his career. Will go down as one of the top ten backs in Utah history.
Re-Ranking: 4 star

CB JC 4 stars DaMilyn Tanner
(El Camino) Torrance, CA
Never made it on campus.
Re-Ranking: No stars

SLB NR 2 stars Thor Salanoa
(Radford HS) Honolulu, HI
Never suited up for the Utes. Will be playing for Hawaii this fall.
Re-Ranking: No stars

DT NR 2 stars Lei Talamaivao
(Rancho Cucamonga HS) Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Has been injury prone for much of his career, but has had moderate success when healthy. Will add depth at defensive end as a senior in 2011.
Re-Ranking: 2 star

QB NR 2 stars Corbin Louks
(San Ramon Valley HS) Danville, CA
Louks made an impression early in his career as a change of pace quarterback, and was being considered the QB of the future. A lack of throwing ability hampered that as he dropped to third on the depth chart in fall camp back in 2009, before moving over to safety for a few practices. Louks ultimately transfered to Nevada where he won a starting spot at safety in 2010, but missed most of the season after an injury.
Re-Ranking: 2 star

CB NR 2 stars Eddie Wide
(Cimarron-Memorial HS) Las Vegas, NV
Wide ended up at running back and really came out of nowhere to turn in an All Conference season in 2009 after Matt Asiata went down with an injury. He's runs harder than his size would indicate and turned into an impressive back with a solid career at Utah.
Re-ranking: 3 star

S JC 3 stars Robert Johnson
(Los Angeles Southwest) Los Angeles, CA
Arguably the top player in the class. Johnson was an All Conference player in 2008 and 2009 who pulled in 13 interceptions over the course of his career. A captain in the backfield who had unlimited range. Had a knack for making huge late game plays.
Re-Ranking: 5 star

S JC 2 stars Deshawn Richard
(Victor Valley) Victorville, CA
Played in 25 game and was a solid contributor, especially his senior year with 3 interceptions, including 2 returned for touchdowns.
Re-Ranking: 3 stars

QB JC 3 stars Chad Manis
(Cerritos) Norwalk, CA
Manis was the consummate team player. Started out at quarterback, did a little bit of holding on special teams, and ended up as a starting linebacker by his senior season. Utah lost two regular season games in 2010. Manis missed both of them to injury. The 10 he did play in were wins. Shows his value.
Re-Ranking: 3 star

CB NR 2 stars Mike Honeycutt
(Lone Peak HS) Highland, UT
Honeycutt took off for a mission before re-enrolling in the spring of 2010 and seeing part-time action as a freshman. He'll compete for a spot at corner in 2011, but is yet to make much of an impact.
Re-ranking: 2 stars

TE 63 2 stars Dallin Rogers
(Union Mine HS) El Dorado, CA
Rogers played in every game as a true freshman before taking off for a mission. Coming back in 2010, he was a nice redzone weapon and will be part of the three headed tight end monster in 2011 along with Kendrick Moeia and Westlee Tonga. Has the size and intangibles to be a solid contributor.
Re-ranking: 2 stars

OG NR 2 stars Louis Finner
(Plano East Sr HS) Plano, TX
Finner played sparingly as a redshirt freshman before leaving the team.
Re-Ranking- 1 star

CB JC 3 stars Josh Broughton
(Citrus) Glendora, CA
As far as I can tell, never played for the Utes.
Re-Ranking- No Stars

DE 51 3 stars James Aiono
(Murray HS) Murray, UT
Aiono took some time to get on campus having to take the JC route before he finally was able to suit up as a Ute in 2010. He didn't have the impact last year that the Utes were hoping for, but is in line to start at DT in 2011. Could be poised for a big season.
Re-ranking: 3 star

QB 31 3 stars Griff Robles
(Spanish Fork HS) Spanish Fork, UT
Robles decided a mission was in the cards before returning in 2009 to a redshirt year. He saw action in 2010, mostly running the ball as the third QB. Is competing with Tyler Shreve in the spring for the backup QB spot to Jordan Wynn.
Re-Ranking: 2 Stars

The Awards

Offensive MVP: Matt Asiata
The JC transfer running back finished with over 1,700 yards and 24 touchdowns in his career. Could run, catch, and throw. Imagine the numbers he could have put up if he was healthy throughout his career. Beats out Jereme Brooks by a hair.

Defensive MVP: Robert Johnson
Received Mountain West honors all three years at Utah. 13 career interceptions. Runs away with this award.

Biggest Bust: James Aiono
Damilyn Tanner came in with four stars, but never played for Utah. Of the players that did play, James Aiono took years to qualify and hasn't lived up to the hype so far. He could turn that all around this year.

Biggest Disappointment: Corbin Louks
Louks was supposed to be the heir apparent to Brian Johnson. Someone who was lighting quick running the ball and could throw it a bit. The problem was that he couldn't throw it at all. He's now a safety at Nevada.

Biggest Surprise: Jereme Brooks
THe diminutive receiver has been starting games since his freshman year. 152 catches career catches with 14 touchdowns. Not many people run that quick seam route down the middle better than Brooks.

Most NFL Potential: Brandon Burton
Robert Johnson has already showed that he can play in the league, but I'll go with Brandon Burton. He's a lockdown corner with good size. If an NFL GM is smart, he'll snatch him up in the first two rounds.

Future Coach: Chad Manis
Manis is the lovable guy in the room that always has a smile on his face. He was the consummate team player who understood the game as he moved from position to position.

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