Breaking down the top recruits from the state of Utah: No. 1, Kingsley Suamataia
It's no secret that over the past couple of seasons, the state of Utah has been turning out some of the top high school and college football players in the nation — headlined by Penei Sewell, the top offensive lineman in the country and a projected top-3 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
But even with all of the talent in the state, the Utah football program has struggled to get those star players to wear Ute red and white.
Over the past five years, Utah has yet to sign the top prospect in the state despite being the only power-5 program in the state. In fact, since 2016 Utah has signed just 14 of the top 50 recruits from the state of Utah — likewise, hated rival BYU has signed 10 of those 50.
-- 2016 = Maxs Tupai (2), Leki Fotu (3) and Fua Pututau (7)
-- 2017 = Michael Richardson (10)
-- 2018 = Tennessee Pututau (6), Hunter Lotulelei (8), Jaren Kump (9)
-- 2019 = Simote Pepa (2), Junior Tafuna (7)
-- 2020 = Van Fillinger (2), Xavier Carlton (3), Nate Ritchie (4), Alex Harrison (5), Sione Fotu (8)
So far for the 2021 class, Utah isn't having near the success it did in 2020 as Viliami Pouha (7) and and Michael Mokofisi (10) are the only players currently committed to the Utes from the top-10. But Utah is still in the running for top recruit Kinglsey Suamataia, Logan Fano (4), Isaac Vaha (8) and Jeffrey Bassa (9) and could potentially flip Raider Damuni (5) from BYU.
In the 2021 class, Jackson Light (2) is committed to Oregon, who also happens to be favorite to land Suamataia, while Voi Tunuufi (3) and Branson Yager (6) are committed to Washington and Nebraska, respectively.
Now here's a breakdown of the top remaining recruits from the state of Utah...
*4-star, Offensive Tackle
*6-foot-6, 305 pounds
*Orem HS — Orem, Utah
Suamataia has been on college radars the past couple of years, picking up his first Pac-12 offer from Utah on Feb. 23, 2018 when he was just a freshman in high school.
Since that offer, he has racked up a total of 33 of them, with every team in the Pac-12 and national powers Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma all included.
Suamataia possesses a strong frame and build with long arms and broad shoulders, ideal measurements for an offensive tackle. He's also thick in his lower half, but not in a way that makes him stumble or unathletic. He's very mobile and showcases very good athleticism for a man of his size.
He has good flow throughout his hips, allowing him to explode off the snap or counter with a speed rush. He's very strong as well, as his initial blow often goes through his defender, and is very stout in pass protection.
But there are some questions regarding his overall toughness, and sometimes he has a tendency to look lackluster in games. He needs to improve in run-blocking and refine his technique, but there's no reason to think he can't thrive once he gets into a college program.
Another positive is that he's spent much of the COVID-19 pandemic working out with Sewell, someone he's extremely close with. Working with the best in college football should give him a leg up when he gets to his college of choice.
Senior Bamidele Olaseni and sophomore Simi Moala are expected to be the starters at the tackle positions entering the 2020 season. Moala is already established after starting most of last season at right tackle, so expect him to hold on to that spot until he leaves in three years.
Olaseni has an ideal frame, checking in at 6’7'', 332-pounds, but he has struggled in past season and will most likely get the first chance at the start role. A darkhorse candidate is Keaton Bills has shown a lot of potential, but he lacks experience so gaining some this year will be vital for him going forward.
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