Looking Back: How Utah Football's Draftees Became Utes

UteZone takes a trip in the wayback machine to look at how each of Utah's eight draftees became Utes...

It was a banner weekend for Utah football. A school record eight Utes were selected in the NFL draft, the most of any Pac-12 school. Much has been written about how these Utes project in their pro careers. However, today, UteZone takes a look back at how these eight players became Utes and the assistant coaches that were key in their recruitment.

Garett Bolles


Recruiting Class: 2016

Lead Recruiter: Morgan Scalley

Looking Back: Bolles was a five star offensive tackle coming out of Snow College, and he was absolutely deserving of that rating. It was clear that Bolles had NFL talent and athleticism the day he stepped foot on campus and Jim Harding helped him mold that talent into a first round selection. Utah faced a lot of competition during Bolles’ recruitment, as he had offers from nearly every school of importance in college football. In the end, it was the strong effort by Morgan Scalley and Jim Harding in developing a relationship with not only Bolles, but his wife and extended family as well, that made the difference in his choice. It’s incredibly rare to see a one and done from the JUCO ranks in college football, but Bolles was special enough to make it happen.

Marcus Williams


Recruiting Class: 2014

Lead Recruiter: Morgan Scalley

Looking Back: For a player as athletic and intelligent as Williams was in high school, he flew under the radar for much of his recruitment. Williams had a handful of offers from Mountain West schools - the most prominent being Boise State - before the Utes came in with a late offer. He committed in December and never looked back, becoming a starter at free safety his freshman year. Williams was a receiver and safety at Roosevelt High School, but Utah offered him as a safety. At the time, it looked like Morgan Scalley, Williams’ lead recruiter, had found a diamond in the rough. That thought was a huge understatement, as he was an impact player from day one.

Joe Williams


Recruiting Class: 2015

Lead Recruiter: Dennis Erickson

Looking Back: Utah knew they needed JUCO running back help in the class of 2015, and they had one target in mind: Joe Williams - an under-the-radar speedster from ASA College in upstate New York. Williams had already been through the recruiting process once before, having spent a season at UCONN before a disciplinary incident forced his departure. He spent a year at ASA getting his life together, and Utah came calling in December with a scholarship offer. Dennis Erickson was Williams’ lead recruiter, and was a big reason behind his decision to move across the country. Personnel director Pablo Cano was also an important figure in Williams’ recruitment, helping the Utes find and develop a relationship with the talented back.

Isaac Asiata


Recruiting Class: 2011

Lead Recruiter: Jay Hill

Looking Back: Isaac Asiata is one of the most beloved personalities to go through the Utah program in the Kyle Whittingham era - and for good reason. He’s been a part of the program since he committed early back in 2010. Current Weber State head coach and current BYU head coach Kalani Sitake were key figures in Asiata’s recruitment, and he spurned offers from BYU (he attended BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s church congregation at the time of his commitment) and Washington to become a Ute. After serving an LDS mission, Asiata became a stalwart on the Ute offensive line.

Brian Allen


Recruiting Class: 2012

Lead Recruiter: Morgan Scalley

Looking Back: Allen was a tall, lanky receiver from La Marque, Texas with offers from schools such as North Texas, Nevada, and UTEP before Morgan Scalley extended an offer. He committed soon after, and stayed with the Utes despite a late push from Oregon State - where his teammate Kendall Hill had committed. Although he started his career as a receiver, it was at cornerback where Allen blossomed.

J.J. Dielman


Recruiting Class: 2012

Lead Recruiter: Jay Hill

Looking Back: When Dielman committed in December of 2011, Jay Hill was convinced he had landed the best offensive lineman in Arizona. Not a lot of big schools were as convinced, as Dielman mostly held offers from schools like Fresno State, San Diego State, and UNLV. Once again, it was Hill’s tireless work at building a relationship with Dielman that convinced him to come north and become a Ute. Hill’s hunch wasn’t wrong, as Dielman became a four year starter after redshirting his first year on campus.

Sam Tevi


Recruiting Class: 2013

Lead Recruiter: Morgan Scalley

Looking Back: Tevi was one of three players from Euless Trinity to sign with the Utes in the 2013 class (Gaius Vaenuku and Leka Uhatafe were the other two) and he was the first to commit, after visiting Salt Lake City in July of 2013. Tevi was a big recruiting win for the Utes at the time, as he was coming off a dominant performance at the All Poly Camp, and had offers from a number of P5 schools. He never wavered, in his commitment, and developed into a solid offensive tackle after beginning his career as a defensive lineman.

Pita Taumoepenu


Recruiting Class: 2013

Lead Recruiter: Kalani Sitake

Looking Back: Taumoepenu’s recruitment to Utah was unconventional. He had only played a year of high school football - a year in which he recorded 25 sacks - before committing to BYU in early 2013. After deciding to forego an LDS mission, Taumoepenu switched his commitment to the Utes in August, and was able to join the team just after fall camp started - much to the consternation of BYU fans and pundits. 

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