On Friday night the USC Trojans were in Salt Lake City for a bout with the hometown Utes. It was an important game for Coach Whittingham and company, not only because of what it meant for his team in the Pac-12 race, but also because the Utes had important recruits in town to take in the game. Tyquez Hampton, a wide receiver out of El Dorado, TX, was one of those visitors, and the talented playmaker had an excellent experience.
“Oh the visit was great. Me and my parents both loved it,” Hampton said. “We got there, and had some time to ourselves and the coache,s but then went to the game, and that game was jumping.”
That’s important, as the game day atmosphere & experience is an important factor for Hampton. Although the weather certainly made things less than ideal, Ute fans didn't disappoint. “At first I was like, ain’t nobody here man. It’s cold and raining. I’m trying to get somewhere warm.The game hadn’t started yet, and it was like I got shoes with no socks, man it was cold. I did not think people would come out in that. But I went to the bathroom and took my time warming up, and then came back around outside it was probably like 5 minutes, and the place was packed, I was blown away. The MUSS was crazy too, they were hyped all night,” he said.
Hampton is one of the more talented receivers in the class of 2017. He’s currently the 65th ranked receiver by Scout, while also committed to Washington State. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound receiver runs an impressive 4.5 second forty. He’s a receiver that loves to get the ball, and shows great ability after the catch. He has a very good frame, as he’s long and built very well already. When you watch his film, it’s easy to see why the Utah staff is so high on him.
As he explores his recruiting options, finding the right offense that will get him the ball will be important to Hampton. He jokingly said, “At first I was like, they running the ball a lot, like can they throw it? Even my parents were like, man what is going on? And then they started throwing it, and I said, ok now we got ourselves a game," he said. "I talked to Coach Whittingham about it and he said, that was the plan to draw them in with the run and then hit em up the pass, and you know, it worked. The game kind of reminded me of our game the night before against Eastwood, where we had to get a stop and score which we did and won. So it was crazy, but it was good to see them open it up and throw the ball like they did.”
Hampton not only got a look at the offense and experience the atmosphere, but he also spent the weekend with Ute quarterback commit Jason Shelley. Hampton knew of Shelley beforehand, but they didn’t really have a relationship as they live on opposite sides of Texas. But this weekend provided them with the time to develop a bond. "Me and Jason are real cool now. We were just chillin in each other’s room just talking about football and just life outside of football. We got here and just started playing around, messing with each other, like throwing toilet paper at each and stuff like that. We together almost the entire time, it was great," he said.
With the game on Friday, it wasn’t like most visits, where recruits arrive on Friday while coaches are still prepping for the game the next day, but instead they got the game day experience as soon as they arrived. “It was cool, I wasn’t really expecting to get too much time with them on Friday, I thought they’d be preparing for the game you know," he explained. “But we got there and they told us they prepared all morning so they could spend some time with us, and walk us through the game plan and stuff like that, which was real cool.”
Not only did they get time with the coaches on Friday, but they spent a majority of the following day with them, as well as their hosts, and other players. “Saturday was cool, we got to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, all nice places. Then we went to this haunted house called Nightmare on 13th, and it was a pretty good haunted house. It was me, Jason [Shelley], Jeremy [Patton], my host Raelon [Singleton], Kenric [Young], [Typer] Huntley, and bunch of other dudes. It was fun,” he said. “Not only that, but we spent the most time with the coaches too, we went to dinner with them and they came to the haunted house as well. We talked a lot and we just had a good time with them.”
Not only did the players have a good time, but it sounds like Hampton's mother also enjoyed her time on the visit. “Another reason why Utah is standing out is my moms,” he said. “She doesn’t really like talking, she’s quiet, but her and Coach Holliday were talking, like really talking, which was crazy, it got to the point where I was like, ‘man, can we leave?’ Not only that but she talked to Coach Whittingham as well, and they had a good conversation too, which stood out. That’s important. Gotta have mom's approval.”
With such a great experience at the game, the Utah fans perhaps made the biggest impression on Hampton. “What stood out most though, was the fans, which we went out on Saturday and a lot of people already knew who me and Jason were, which was crazy,” Hampton said. “So the fans, but what really stood out was the academics. They have one of the top medical programs in the nation, which is what I want to major in and guys there don’t fail. They graduate almost every player. Like coaches said, the academic advisors, we even asked the players and they said you gotta be a real dummy and try really hard to fail, the support system there is so good there, and that’s really important to me. Have to get that degree,” he said.
From here, Hampton is planning on visiting West Virginia this upcoming weekend, although that hasn’t been confirmed with them just yet. He’s still also committed to Washington State, and will try to set up a visit with them some time during the season but that remains to be seen if that will happen. As it stands now, Utah looks really good to Hampton, but those remaining visits will be a factor.
Hampton had one last thing to say about his trip. “It was so good, it was to the point that I didn’t want to go home. I did not want to leave. That was by far my best visit because I did not want to leave whatsoever.”