Breaking down the top recruits from the state of Utah: No. 8, Isaac Vaha
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 Utes' top remaining recruits from the state of Utah...
*Pleasant Grove High School — Pleasant Grove, UT
If anybody wants to talk about a player with potential, Vaha is a guy whose name has not only be mentioned, but talked about.
Blessed with incredible size, athleticism and grace, Vaha hasn't even begun to realize his potential in football considering he's been a basketball player for so long. He's extremely raw to the game of football but he's a natural born athlete and has proven to be a quick learner.
His basketball background makes Vaha and immediate redzone threat on the gridiron, and with more technique, experience and refining of the game, could make him thrive on the football field for the Utes.
Vaha is up to 19 offers thus far, but the Utes were his first and that's so far gone a long way in helping them stay relevant. Also, offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has been reinenting the tight end position in Utah's offense, as evidenced by the emergence of Brant Kuithe last season.
There is also the possibility Vaha tries to dual-sport in both football and basketball.
As of right now, he is much more comfortable on the basketball court and shows good touch, strength and athleticism as a forward. If he was to focus solely on basketball, there's no doubt that he could play at the Power 5 level.
What Vaha ends up doing college is up for grabs, but my guess is that the school that's willing to give him a chance to shine on the field and the hardwood will better their chances at landing him.
Utah added one tight end in the 2020 recruiting class with 3* Connor O'Toole, so potential early playing time is there. But Vaha is seen as a project and could really take off as a junior and senior once he defines his abilities more.
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