Utah is one of the nation's fastest-growing states, having seen its population increase around 20 percent in the past 10 years. With that rise, there has been a major increase in the amount of Division I football talent in the state. The talent level has improved so much that Utah has become a must-stop spot for national programs.
In the Class of 2009, 26 Utah-bred players signed with Football Bowl Subdivision (i.e., Division I-A) schools compared to 11 from the Class of 2002. The state produced four "national" recruits in the class, including the nation's No. 1 center,
The Class of 2010 group looks as talented as ever, with two four-star prospects already on the charts and at least 12 players receiving offers before the spring evaluation process has started.
"Per capita, we sign more Division I football players than any other state," said
"Fifteen years ago, basketball was the No. 1 sport. It's changed."
There are many reasons Utah has become such a hotbed, but the biggest involve better coaching, great youth league organizations, the support of the community from a facilities standpoint and the family atmosphere generated throughout the region.
"We have a brand-new stadium that seats 7,000, and places like Bingham have a brand new video scoreboard," Hamilton said. "That's a commitment from our administration and our community. We put a lot of time and money into our facilities. We're not Texas by any means, but we do have very nice facilities.
"Our kids are motivated to play high school sports in the state of Utah. You put that with a family-oriented community like you have in Utah because of the predominant religion, you get pretty good athletic programs."
"The population increase has been big," Whittingham said. "I think [the number of signees] increases proportionally as the population increases. I think the quality of coaching in Utah is getting better and better each year. The high school coaches are doing a great job with these athletes with fundamentals, techniques and that type of thing."
The state's top prospects for 2010 are Timpview tight end
Both are four-star prospects, and other big-time prospects around the state are Pleasant Grove quarterback
Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.) four-star defensive end
"I feel real solid about it," he said. "I had taken several unofficial visits throughout the country and Oklahoma State just felt right. They don't down talk other programs, which speaks volumes about them. No program is perfect; you just have to find the program that is perfect for you. I think I've done that."
With his commitment out of the way, Rome now will be a recruiter for the Cowboys.
"I've already met [Oklahoma State commitment]
Texas A&M kicked its recruiting efforts into high gear with a trio of commitments over the weekend: Cayuga (Texas) High athlete
The commitments also could help open the door to two of the state's top programs -- Skyline and Cedar Hill -- more in the future. Malena said he's going to do his part to help the Aggies at Cedar Hill.
"I'm pretty sure that, with my commitment, people from my school and from other schools around the [Dallas] Metroplex are going to think a lot harder about joining the Aggie family," Malena said. "A&M's going to start getting players from Cedar Hill, for sure."
• One of the best players in Kansas has moved across the state line and now is attending school in Missouri.
• Reports have surfaced that Florida commitment
• Thomasville (Ga.) High safety