Breaking down the top recruits from the state of Utah: No. 9, Jeffrey Bassa
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...
*Kearns High School — Salt Lake City, UT
Bassa is one of Utah's top priorities, and for good reason. He's the top-ranked athlete in the state and has as much potential as anybody to succeed at the next level.
While he's listed as an athlete, I think he's best suited as a hybrid linebacker/safety at the next level. It's a position that's being utilized in the NFL right now like Tyrann Mathieu and Derwin James, or even former Clemson Tiger Isaiah Simmons.
He already pops off as somebody with good size and athleticism, particularly in a shortened area which would make him ideal for that hybrid role. He'll put on good weight in college and could become an absolute nightmare on defense as a swiss army knife, something that Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley would love to have.
Bassa is still slightly raw in terms of development, but it's also because he hasn't really had to designate a position as of yet. Once he does, I fully expect him to thrive and begin to tap into his potential.
Utah has stayed strong on his recruitment, and despite an initial push by Oklahoma State, the Utes are right there for Bassa's services. Getting him on campus again and being the hometown school would be huge steps — but what would hurt even worse is losing him to another Pac-12 school like Oregon or Arizona.
He recently released a top-6, and sure enough Utah was there, giving the Utes a good chance at landing the elite athlete.
The Utes did add three safeties in last seasons recruiting class, headlined by 4* prospect Nate Ritchie. But they don't have anyone to fill out that hybrid role and Bassa's athleticism would make him an intriguing fit.
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