Utah moves up one spot in Pac-12 recruiting class rankings after strong June

Ryan Kostecka

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.

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 last season, the Utes appeared to be turning things around when they finished with the nation's 29th best recruiting class, including checking in at No. 5 in the Pac-12.

Ironically enough, last year's player rating average was .8653 — but right now, the Utes check in with a higher grade at .8708 so if they continue on that current trajectory, the program will end up just fine. 

Here's a breakdown of the Pac-12 class rankings and when each program is shining...

-- Number of Commits: 4
-- National Ranking: No. 94
Stanford is typically better than this at this point in the summer, but the COVID-19 pandemic has apparently hurt Stanford worst than others. The Cardinal are currently led by three-star dual-threat quarterback Ari Patu out of Folsom, Calif. Expect the Cardinal to rise in the coming months as they're currently in the mix for a number of big-time prospects that could see them rise the Pac-12 rankings very fast.

-- Number of Commits: 5
-- National Ranking: 93
Colorado got a big boost when three-star tight end Erik Olsen decided to stay in-state when he committed to the Buffaloes on July 4. Olsen is Colorado's highest-rated recruit and the No. 5 prospect in the state. Expect Colorado to stay in the 10-12 range if class rankings as the summer goes on

-- Number of Commits: 7
-- National Ranking: 85
Much like Colorado, the Beavers got a huge boost when local product and three-star running back Damir Collins committed to Oregon State in mid-June. Collins is ranked as the nation's No. 7 all-purpose back — and with that only because of his smaller size (5'9'', 185-pounds). His athleticism is off the charts and if he was a bit bigger, he would easily be a four/five-star prospect.

9.) UTAH
-- Number of Commits: 7
-- National Ranking: 79
Apart from Oregon and Arizona, Utah is one of the hottest programs on the West Coast in recruiting during the month of June. The Utes have picked up four recruits, most notably though getting players from Florida, Texas, Washington and Utah shows how far the Utes can reach. Costelli still remains the top prospect, but the Utes are in the running for a number of big-time prospects to help them continue climbing up the rankings.

-- Number of Commits: 8
-- National Ranking: 72
The Sun Devils are currently led by three-star outside linebacker Jaydon Williams outside of Texas, but are also the favorites to land four-star wide receiver Junior Alexander out of Washington. Arizona State is one some sort of a hot streak with three commits at the end of June, but they all rank in the lower part of three-star status. The Sun Devils have a long ways to go if they're to meet last season's expectations when they finished fourth in the conference and No. 23 overall in the country.

-- Number of Commits: 11
-- National Ranking: 70
Right now, the Cougars may be the most over-achieving team when it comes to recruiting as they currently have the conference's No. 7 class, and this was after finishing No. 11 last season. Three-star cornerback Elisha Lloyd is the top-rated commit, and one of three players to pledge their allegiance to Washington State in June.

-- Number of Commits: 13
-- National Ranking: 56
Welcome to the show, Arizona. The Wildcats are blazing hot on the trail with EIGHT commits in the month of June alone and two more in July, but none bigger than three-star quarterback Clay Millen, who's brother is a backup for Oregon right now. The Wildcats finished last year with Pac-12's worst class and appear to be well ahead of finishing in that spot again. Out fo the 13 commits though, there are no wide receivers so that must be a priority moving forward.

-- Number of Commits: 9
-- National Ranking: 49
Bang for your buck, Cal might be one of the conference's top recruiting programs as the Golden Bears have five four-star commits among their nine. The fourth of July brought fireworks to Cal as they secured the commitment of four-star wide-receiver J. Michael Sturdivant, the nation's No. 34 ranked receiver. A slight cause for concern may be the fact that Cal only has two commits since the end of April.

4.) UCLA
-- Number of Commits: 11
-- National Ranking 46
Securing four-star athlete Devin Kirkwood out of So Cal was a huge win for the Bruins, as not only did they keep one of the state's top prospects, he's their highest-rated guy right now. More recently, securing the commitments of Thomas Cole and Garrett DiGiorgio in the past few weeks has given UCLA a big boost. The 6-foot-7 tackles are only ranked three-stars, but both are high on upside.

-- Number of Commits: 13
-- National Ranking: 28
The Huskies have been cleaning up in the state of Washington, and it's been hurting Utah more than any other team in the conference. Both Will Latu and Jabez Tinae, a pair of four-star prospects had the Utes in their final grouping but ultimately elected to stay home and play for the Huskies. Washington is led by five-star quarterback Sam Huard, Tinae's teammate and the top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the country. Washington has a ways to go to catch the top two teams in the Pac-12, but are still in the running for a number of high-end prospects.

2.) USC
-- Number of Commits: 17
-- National Rank: 7
USC has completely turned things around this recruiting cycle, going from the Pac-12's 10th best class now to its second best. The Trojans are led by a pair of four-star pro-style quarterbacks, both of whom hail from So Cal. Altogether, the Trojans are looking to reestablish themselves in So Cal again with 11 of their 17 commits being from the area. USC is also locked in a battle for the nation's top overall prospect in Korey Freeman, a So Cal native USC cant afford to let go.

-- Number of Commits: 16
-- National Rank: 5
The Ducks have put together the best offensive grouping in the nation, led by five-star wide receiver Troy Franklin and recent Elite 11 star quarterback Ty Thompson. The Ducks also have the top recruits from New York, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada, while being the front runner for Kinglsey Suamataia (top recruit in Utah) and Freeman (top recruit in California). The Ducks have four commits since the start of June, highlighted by Franklin fellow wide receiver Isaiah Brevard.

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