When the NCAA Board of Governors announced that it was extending the recruiting dead period for the remainder of the calendar year, football programs throughout the nation weren't happy.
This means that for the rest of the year, college programs will not be having any recruits on campus for official visits and no evaluations ahead of the first national signing day on Dec. 16.
While coaches can still use social media and phone calls to communicate with recruits, the allure of facilities or home games will no longer have any action on where recruits end up.
When news of the extension first broke, the first reaction for Utah fans wasn't good.
The Utes currently sit with the Pac-12's 11th ranked class and No. 77 in the nation. The class is headlined by four-star prospects in quarterback Peter Costelli and linebacker Mason Tufaga, and a slew of three-star recruits who could fill massive voids down the road.
But the more you dig into how the Utes are recruiting the 2021 class, having the extension might actually be a good thing. For instance, the two states Utah is looking at most are both its own state and Hawaii — the two states the program has the most ties with.
Out of the Utes' top eight recruits remaining on their board, seven of them hail from either Utah or Hawaii — and are some of the top recruits in each state. Because of the dead period, recruits are now forced to rely on whatever information they currently have.
That's a good thing for Utah when it comes to Logan Fano, Isaac Vaha and Jeffrey Bassa, three players from the state who all have the Utes listed in their top schools.
Those three players have all been to Utah's campus multiple times and know the coaching staff and players ever better. Because of the dead period, those players will be unable to take trips to their other top programs (unless its BYU) — and that's huge news for the Utes.
As for Hawaii players like Kahanu Kia, Titus Mokiao-Atimalala and Wynden Ho'ohuli, they are all high on the Utes. And after watching friend and fellow Hawaiian Tufaga commit to the program, it leaves Utah in a good spot for them as well. All three of them have a great relationship with the Utah staff and have been high on the team regardless of the recruiting shutdown.
If Utah was to secure commitments from everyone listed above — which is by no means a stretch — and sprinkle in a few others from California and elsewhere, this is a program that could drastically rise the ranks and finish with a flourish.
While the recruiting dead period may effect other programs much more drastically, the Utes can turn this to its advantage if done properly — and there's no reason to believe head coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff won't do it properly.
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