Junior Salt is one of the most highly recruited Junior College linemen in the west.
Despite playing junior college football at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California (near Anaheim), Junior Salt considers himself a Salt Lake City recruit.
"We moved to Utah when I was 8 years old. I've been there ever since. Pretty much, that's all I know is Utah. That's my whole life. I come from a big family. There's 8 kids, 6 boys, 2 girls, and I'm the oldest. My parents still live in Utah. I'm familiar with Salt Lake. I went to High School at Brighton."
"Out of High School, I committed toward UNLV."
However, before Salt pursued college football, he chose to serve an LDS mission.
"I served an LDS mission from 2007 to 2009. I was fortunate to go back home to Tonga where my parents grew up. I was blessed to go out to a place that I really wanted to go. I had never been, but that's where all my ancestors and my family come from."
After returning from his LDS mission, Salt decided not to attend UNLV. Instead, Salt set his sights on the school located only 10 minutes from his house.
"I kind of had a change of plans. I wanted to stay home, play near home in front of all my family and friends. All I had to do was take the ACT but I didn't pass. I couldn't get an 18. So I had to take the JC route. I loved Snow, I loved the program and everything. But even though I wanted to stay home and play at Utah, I didn't want to go to Snow. Even though they had a tremendous football program and everything with school is good, for some reason I didn't want to go there. I wanted to leave Utah and find another JC. So I talked to a couple of my coaches from high school, I talked to Sione Mahe, who is now currently with the Utah Utes, he's helping out with the defense, he gave me the info out here. He had some hookups with coaches at Mount San Antonio College, and so I took that opportunity and came out here to California."
Since enrolling at Mt Sac, Salt has established himself as a top tier Division 1 prospect. Salt attributes much of his development as a player to his decision to head west for junior college.
"For me, I think it was the best decision I made toward a JC. Coming out here in 2009, that team took it. Then when I came out the next year, we were fortunate again to win back to back championship games. Right now we've got 2 titles under us, and hopefully we can do a 3-peat."
"There is a lot of talent out here in California. All the schools have a bunch of talent. That's another thing I wanted when I came out here. Out here has more speed, while Utah is more physical with power and everything. But out here, the tempo is quicker."
Out of high school, Junior Salt may have flown under the national recruiting radar. Coming out of Mt Sac, Salt has a plethora of college schools to choose from.
"A lot of the schools that are interested are from the west, mostly in the Pac 12. Schools like Utah, Utah State, Kansas State, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, I'm talking to Oregon, I'm talking to Miami. It's going pretty good with recruiting right now. The recruiting and everything is a good thing, but I'm more focused right now on schooling. I'm working to finish up after the season so I can see where I can go after and transfer."
Salt has offers from Utah, Utah State, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona Sate and Colorado.
"They are all pretty good schools. I don't want to favor any schools yet. They all have what I'm looking for as far as playing at the next level, and for education. They are all great programs. I'll probably make a final decision after the season."
With great size (6'3, 340), quickness and strength (bench over 400 lbs, squat into the 600s), Salt can play on either side of the line. The University of Utah is recruiting Salt mostly as an Offensive Guard.
"From colleges like Utah, they told me I could come play either offensive or defensive line, but they already talked to me about playing offense."
"When I'm playing Guard, I'm good at protecting in the pocket. I'm pretty good at one on one pass blocking, as well as being physical up front with running the ball. That's one of my favorite things is going one on one with a defender, and let the running back or quarterback do their job. For me I think I'm pretty quick for how big I am."
Salt is already very familiar with many members of Utah's coaching staff, with some relationships stretching back for nearly 10 years.
"Kyle Whittingham. I got to play with his son my sophomore year. Kyle Whittingham's son was a senior. I really had a great relationship with Kyle Whittingham. All through High School he was talking to me, as well as their defensive coordinator now, Kalani Sitaki. So those two were always on me. All of their coaches, Coach K up there, Chad Kauhaahaa was with USU before he made the transition to Utah. My coach from High School is up there as well, helping out Kalani with the defense. I'm familiar with all the coaches up there, Morgan Scalley, and everybody, all the coaches up there."
Salt is working hard this summer to complete summer courses. Salt is on pace to graduate in December, in time for spring semester and spring football.
Salt Has Ties to Utah
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