As February slowly approaches, the Utah coaching staff has been deliberate in pulling together the recruiting class of 2017. With a signing class that is expected to be relatively small, Ute coaches are taking great care in their evaluation and recruiting process. UteZone breaks down the biggest positions of need for the class, starting with the big bodies up front: the offensive line.
The Utes lose a lot of talent and experience on the offensive line after this season, with all four departing seniors having started at least one game. JJ Dielman, whose season has already been cut short due to injury, has started at tackle or center since 2014. Isaac Asiata has started at tackle or guard since midway through the 2013 season. Sam Tevi has started the past two seasons at right tackle. Nick Nowakowski got his first start at center against Arizona on Saturday. Not only do they have significant experience, but they are make up the most talented line in the Kyle Whittingham era. Dielman, Asiata and Tevi all have excellent chances to play at the next level, Dielman’s injury notwithstanding.
The good news for the Utes is that offensive line has been a heavy priority for the past two recruiting cycles, so there are several talented players that have been in the system and are waiting in the wings. That said, Utah will be looking to reload at the position and will take between 3-4 players, depending on who’s available and which signees decide to serve LDS missions.
Here's a quick breakdown of where the Utes stand with the current recruiting class:
Departing Players: JJ Dielman, Isaac Asiata, Sam Tevi, Nick Nowakowski
Returning Players: Garett Bolles (JR)* Salesi Uhatafe (JR)*, Lo Falemaka (JR)*, Jackson Barton (SO)*, Tucker Scott (FR), Darrin Paulo (rFR), Jake Grant (FR), Keven Dixon (rFR), Nick Carman (rFR), Johnny Capra (rFR), Scott Peck (FR)
*Denotes player has either started or has seen significant game reps.
Missionaries Returning: N/A
Current Commits: N/A