It's becoming more of a recurring theme for the Utes to add a "non-traditional" recruit to each recruiting class, and it most often has to do with signing junior college players late in the process, after they've taken care of academic hurdles. Last season it was wide receiver Tim Patrick, who made an impact that same season before suffering a leg injury towards the end of the year, and this year it's defensive back Jordan Fogal.
Fogal comes from the College of San Mateo, where he started at free safety as a true freshman, but redshirted as a sophomore due to tearing his ACL shortly before the beginning of the 2014 season. Fogal also played corner back in high school, so that gives him some versatility to play a couple different positions when he joins the Utes.
The first thing that jumps off Fogal's film is the physical nature that he plays with. He does a good job playing "centerfield" and quickly converges on receivers to deliver a bone crushing hit. For only being 6'0-180lbs, Fogal can deliver quite the blow to opposing players, which is something that can also help him out when asked to play closer to the line of scrimmage. When given the opportunity he provides very good support in the run game, and does a good job of wrapping up ball carriers and completing the tackle all the way through the process.
The biggest question mark in Fogal's game right now is does he possess the speed and athletic ability to play free safety in the PAC 12. When playing against elite quarterbacks, which is nearly every week in the PAC 12, free safeties must be quick decision makers, with great technique and closing speed to break up passes, or even intercept them. This is especially true in Utah's defensive schemes, as the free safety is often asked to cover sideline to sideline. Ute greats like Eric Weddle and Robert Johnson were able to do that, because they possessed those very specific traits.
Fogal's best position may end up being strong safety, or even possibly nickel back. Utah's defense needs a physical, hard hitting presence in the defensive backfield and Fogal can bring that to the table. If he does end up at one of those two spots, you won't likely see him playing much on defense in 2015, as both spots are occupied by incumbent starters Tevin Carter and Justin Thomas, but you will see him contributing on special teams.
Every team needs a couple defensive players that seem to play with a reckless abandon, and throw their body around whenever given the opportunity. Fogal is exactly that. With 3 years of eligibility, expect to see Fogal contribute on special teams right away in 2015, and push for a starting spot next season.
Check out Fogal's Freshman Highlights here.
Commitment Analysis: Jordan Fogal
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