It may be the month of July, and the COVID-19 pandemic may be seriously hindering recruiting for most of the college football programs throughout the country. But for the University of Utah, head coach Kyle Whittingham and co. are off to a stellar start in recruiting compared to where they usually are this time of year.
Headlining Utah's 2021 recruiting class is quarterback Peter Costelli, one of the top-ranked passers in the country according SI All American's John Garcia.
Joining Costelli is one of the premier running backs in the country in soon-to-be four-star running back Ricky Parks out of Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida. The Utes the secured their first wide receiver commit of the 2021 class when Deamikkio Nathan, the playmaker out of South Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, Texas, announced his commitment to the Utes on July 1.
All three players have been named SI All-American nominees.
But now with skill players catching on, Utah is still looking to beef up the offensive line and four-star offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia is the ideal candidate. A local product out of Orem High School, keeping Suamataia in state is a huge priority for head coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff.
Over the coming weeks, SI will unveil its preseason top 10 for each of 14 position groups (kicking off with quarterbacks this week). SI will unveil its initial top 99 ranking, the SI99, on August 24.
The evaluation process will continue throughout the season “until the list of 1,000 contenders coalesces around just 25 young men who can say proudly they are the best of the best -- they are Sports Illustrated All-Americans,” said SI Director of Football Recruiting John Garcia Jr.
The candidates will be narrowed to 250 in October and 99 in November, and will culminate with 25 first-team Sports Illustrated All-Americans saluted at SI’s annual Sportsperson of the Year banquet in New York in December.
Suamataia has been on college radars the past couple of years, picking up his first Pac-12 offer from Utah on Feb. 23, 2018 when he was just a freshman in high school.
Since that offer, he has racked up a total of 33 of them, with every team in the Pac-12 and national powers Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma all included.
Suamataia possesses a strong frame and build with long arms and broad shoulders, ideal measurements for an offensive tackle. He's also thick in his lower half, but not in a way that makes him stumble or unathletic. He's very mobile and showcases very good athleticism for a man of his size.
He has good flow throughout his hips, allowing him to explode off the snap or counter with a speed rush. He's very strong as well, as his initial blow often goes through his defender, and is very stout in pass protection.
But there are some questions regarding his tendency to look lackluster in games. He needs to improve in run-blocking and refine his technique, but there's no reason to think he can't thrive once he gets into a college program.
Another positive is that he's spent much of the COVID-19 pandemic working out with Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, someone he's extremely close with and the top tackle in college football. Working with the best in the game should give him a leg up when he gets to his college of choice.
Here's a complete breakdown by SI All-American director of recruiting John Garcia regarding what Suamataia can do at the next level...
Prospect: Kingsley Suamataia
Status: SI All-American Candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 278 pounds
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Orem (Utah)
Schools of Interest: Oregon, BYU and Georgia, among others.
Projected Position: Left Tackle
Frame: Athletic frame for an offensive lineman with long arms and thin ankles. Will easily continue to add mass and strength at 278 pounds.
Athleticism: Excellent balance and agility in both the run and pass game. Possesses good foot quickness and change of direction to execute his assignments. Fluid in space and has no issues on the second level or vs. smaller defenders. Easy movement skills to pull and trap, and can routinely wide-wash rushers on the edges past the quarterback in pass protection.
Instincts: Kingsley has solid instincts as a pass protector, evidenced by his ability to use his hands as a quick counter vs. rushers who attempt to stab him with an initial long arm. He also understands how to use a snatch-and-trap technique on the edge. Good vision and target-locate ability are displayed when he is asked to pull from his left tackle position.
Polish: He will need to continue refining his 45-degree set and be more disciplined in his base as a pass protector while becoming more consistent to play with a low pad level at the point of attack. After he fills out his frame, Kingsley should be ready to contribute to a college offensive line early in his career.
Bottom Line: This is an athletic lineman who has the movement skills, agility, frame and adjustability to recover to play left tackle. He also has the toughness to play guard, if need be. Kingsley fits best in a zone-blocking scheme, yet he has the foot quickness and athleticism to pull, trap, pin, seal and execute deuce blocks. He is somewhat reminiscent of former USC offensive lineman Chuma Edoga.
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