This is a big weekend for Utah football. The Utes host Oregon in a key game with major implications on the Pac-12 race. It's also Senior Day, where the Utes will honor current stars such as Joe Williams and Hunter Dimick. On top of that, Utah football will play host to seven recruits in what is one of the biggest recruiting weekends of the season. UteZone takes a closer look at the visitors and the kind of impact they potentially would have on the program.
Why the Utes are interested: Green is a speedy playmaker. They're still looking for another outside receiver that has the potential to be a deep threat, and Green fits the bill. He's got good hands, is an aggressive blocker, and is also an excellent returner on special teams.
What to expect: Green committed to Illinois over the summer, but has always planned on visiting Salt Lake City before shutting things down altogether. Our contacts in Florida tell us that Green is good friends with current Ute Donovan Thompson, who was his teammate at Miami Central last season. Although he claims that he's still solid to Illinois, it wouldn't be shocking to see him flip to the Utes if he enjoys his visit and feels comfortable in the program. He'll also visit Illinois and Pitt before shutting things down altogether.
Why the Utes are interested: The potential of Marcus Williams leaving for the NFL means that Utah needs a safety prospect with the ability to step in right away and win the open starting job. Ballard is one of the better JUCO safety prospects in America, and has a similar skill set to Williams. He's long, closes on the ball quickly, and has good instincts sniffing out the play. Ballard is a December graduate, so he'll have the ability to participate in spring football wherever he signs.
What to expect: This is Ballard's first official visit, so it's still early in the process for him. That said, Ballard has told UteZone that he's willing to commit to a program when he feels comfortable. Texas Tech and UNLV are recruiting him, but the Utes look like they have the inside track right now.
Why the Utes are interested: Cornerback is still a huge need for the class, and Dean would be a perfect fit in Utah's defensive scheme. He's aggressive, has good speed and athleticism, and is comfortable playing man coverage out on an island. He's got terrific instincts and plays with an edge.
What to expect: Dean is committed to Alabama, so in some ways it's already a major coup that the Utes convinced him to take an official visit. Utah will clearly try to sell him on the prospect of starting early on one of the top defensive units in the country, given the fact that Utah's top four corners are graduating. Dean is originally from Miami, and also holds offers from Florida and Miami, so even if he doesn't end up at 'Bama, Utah has a lot of work to do to convince him to come West.
Why the Utes are interested: At 6-foot-5 inches, 230, pounds, Tryon is a long levered, fast, relentless pass rusher prospect. Defensive end is another priority for this recruiting class and Tryon is one of the top ends on Utah's board. He'd be a terrific fit in Utah's aggressive pass rushing scheme.
What to expect: Tryon committed to Washington State in August. He also recently received an offer from Washington, so both programs are trying to sell him on the benefits of staying in-state and Utah may have an uphill battle on their hands. That said, look for the Utes to sell him on the prospect of playing in Sack Lake City. The scheme fits his skill set nicely, and they'll sell that hard.
Why the Utes are interested: Benjamin is clearly one of the top high school running backs in America. The Army All-American has put up eye popping numbers in one of the best leagues in Texas this season. Benjamin is a power runner with solid speed and an uncanny ability to make tacklers miss. He'd be a terrific addition to Utah's run heavy offensive attack.
What to expect: Benjamin, a one time Iowa commit, has been quiet since backing off of his initial pledge. He's already visited Arizona State and Missouri, and it looks like Texas A&M is starting to get into the picture. We've heard through sources that Benjamin has been especially receptive to Utah's pitch, and the Utes have a great opportunity to make an impression and emerge as his leader if everything goes well this weekend.
Why the Utes are interested: Offensive tackle is another big need for the class, and Agasiva is arguably the top JUCO line prospect on Utah's board. He's got very good footwork, is a violent blocker, and plays with a mean streak. He has the nasty disposition that would make him a good fit on Utah's line, and is a top priority target for the Utes.
What to expect: The Hawaii native has already taken a visit to Auburn and has named them as his early leader. TCU and Oregon State are also in the mix. Utah will need to make a big impression if they want to convince him to commit.
Why the Utes are interested: An Under Armour All American, Johnson is one of the top high school defensive ends in the country. He's long, has excellent speed and athleticism, and has a fantastic motor. On film, he's reminiscent of former Ute standout and current Cleveland Brown Nate Orchard.
What to expect: Johnson committed to Miami back in July, and is getting attention from many of the top programs in the country including major Big 10 players like Michigan as well as most of the Pac-12. Just getting Johnson on a visit to Salt Lake City is a big development. At this point, it may still be a bit of a long shot to flip him, but the Utes have already sold one major 4 star prospect from California on the program, so it's not out of the question.