Utah loads up at offensive line, receiver, defensive back to address immediate needs



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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham knew his team was short-handed at several key positions after the 2014 season and set out to address them with the 2015 recruiting class. From a sheer numbers aspect — mission accomplished.

The Utes signed 20 new players to letters of intent during Wednesday's Signing Day and 14 of those will suit up on the offensive line, at receiver and in the defensive secondary.

"We felt like we really took care of the immediate needs," Whittingham said. "Offensive line was the top of the list. ... Closely followed by wide receiver and defensive back. Those were definitely the three primary areas of concern for us and we needed to restock."

Utah will welcome four new offensive linemen along with six defensive backs and four wide receivers.


Top 25 Class: No.

Best in class: Defensive back Cory Butler had the highest rating of any player in the class with four stars from Rivals.com. The junior college transfer brings the type of athleticism needed in the pass happy Pac-12 and can contribute immediately. He could also see snaps as a receiver and kick returner. "Lot of speed, very talented, can play corner or wide receiver," Whittingham said. "He's got the top end speed that you look for at corner. ... Really just the sheer speed and athleticism that he possesses is what attracted us to him."

Best of the rest: Safety Philip Afia should bring a high-level of physicality to the position along with good speed. He also played receiver in high school, so should be a threat to pick off balls he gets his hands on. Afia received a three-star rating from both Rivals.com and Scout.com.

Late addition: Offensive lineman Darrin Paulo came into the fold with a commitment two days before Signing Day. His massive frame, at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, makes him an ideal fit at tackle.

One that got away: Major programs, including Ohio State, fought for five-star linebacker Porter Gustin, from Salem Hills (Utah) HS, to the end. USC pulled the elite athlete from the state and there's a chance he could also play baseball for the Trojans.

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