Utah makes top 7 for 2021 4-star RB Cam'Ron Valdez out of Texas
It's no secret that Utah isn't one of the Pac-12's premier recruiting programs. Rather, head coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff do a tremendous job of developing three-star talent and turning those players into all-conference, all-American and future NFL draft picks.
But Whittingham and co. and now in the running for another big-time prospect, four-star running back Cam'Ron Valdez out of Rockdale High School in Rockdale, Texas. He announced his top-7 schools on Friday, July 10 — and sure enough the Utes made the cut.
It's very typical for Utah to get off to a slow start on the recruiting trail — but the month of June was extremely kind to the Utes.
Utah landed four commitments since the start of the month, highlighted by soon-to-be four-star running back Ricky Parks out of Florida. The addition of Parks to go along with three-star offensive lineman Koli Faaiu and three-star wide receiver Deamikkio Nathan gives Utah a very good starting point on offense when you throw in four-star quarterback Peter Costelli.
Defensively, Utah landed three-star defensive end Viliami Pouha early in June. He joins three-star linebacker Trey Reynolds and JUCO defensive tackle Tevita Fotu.
Now sitting at seven commits in the 2021 class, Utah is now ranked No. 9 in the Pac-12 class rankings, one spot higher than the Utes were to begin June.
*4-star, Running Back
*Rockdale HS — Rockdale, TX
Valdez can flat out play football and might be one of the most complete running backs in this class who's beginning to rise up recruiting boards. He's one of those guys who's benefitted from the pandemic because it's has forced coaches and analysts to watch his game film, and he really pops on it.
Currently ranked the No. 17 running back in the country, Valdez has the athleticism and the frame that coaches want in a running back. Listed at 5'10'', 187-pounds, he looks wiry and could easily fill out to that 205-210-pound frame once he gets into a college lifting program.
He already has good vision but tends to not be very patient as a runner right now, instead using his athleticism to beat high school opponents. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, which is becoming a bigger part of Utah's offense.
There are certainly things he needs to work on, mainly pass protection and patience, but he's a physical runner who doesn't shy away from contact.
Valdez is an interesting prospect for the Utes as he was very high on the school prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and with it, the essential shutdown of recruiting. He was planning a trip to check out Utah, a school he was high on but how things have changed.
The local programs have been all over him during the shutdown, blowing up his twitter with cool edits and he seems to be loving it. But Utah hasn't stayed out of the picture, and the Utes have done the work on low and kept up a good relationship with him. Getting him onto campus for an official visit will be a massive swing in his recruitment once it's allowed again.
Utah's running back room is a little less crowded with the departure of Devonta’e Henry-Cole — which leaves expected junior starter Devin Brumfield and sophomore backup Jordan Wilmore, who drew raves in fall camp, as the two primary ball carriers.
While the Utes only signed one running back in the 2020 class 3-star Ty Jordan, he is versatile and could move into the slot.
Utah already has a commitment from Parks out of Florida, so landing Valdez may be difficult. But based on Valdez's size and running style, he could immediately come in and challenge for carries, while pairing with parks as a deadly combination.
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