Before Utah's bowl game, most recruiting experts were predicting that 4 star linebacker Christian Folau was going to end his recruitment by staying in-state and selecting the University of Utah. After the Utes bowl game, it could turn out to be a completely different story.
A 45-10 win to cap a nine win season would seem to work in Utah's favor, but this is college football and the game is much more than wins and losses. Even though the Utes had their best season since joining the Pac-12 with a ton of talent coming back next year, they lost defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake and defensive line coach Ilaisa Tuiaki after they accepted the same positions at Oregon State.
Whatever the reason is for Sitake and Tuiaki leaving Salt Lake, all that matters is that they are gone. Not only gone, but gone to another program within the conference. This could not only be big blow on the field next season and beyond, but this has the chance to do major damage to the Utes recruiting efforts, especially with Folau.
As I mentioned above, Folau, originally a Stanford commitment, looked like he was set to stay in-state and play for the Utes before all of this occurred. Now, the picture is a lot more cloudy.
After decommitting from Stanford, one of Folau's favorites in the recruiting process was Wisconsin. That was before Gary Andersen left. With Andersen at Oregon State and the defensive coordinator he was supposed to be playing for at Utah now with him in Corvallis, it's not out of the question the Folau chooses to put on a Beavers hat when he makes his pick during the Semper Fidelis All-American game this weekend. Or maybe this whole situation leads him away from the Pac-12 and to Oklahoma State? We'll all have to wait and see.
Whoever ultimately lands Folau will be getting one of the most physical linebackers in this entire recruiting class. He's an old school run stuffer that will be an asset on the field for any program. With the uncertainty surrounding Utah's coaching staff, Gary Andersen could land his first big recruit at Oregon State.
- The holidays were fairly dead in terms of major recruiting news, which is how it should be for both prospects and coaches. They call it the holidays for a reason.
Apparently Arizona State recruits didn't get the memo though because the Sun Devils received a lot of good news in the last week with three commitments and a signed letter of intent from a JUCO linebacker Davon Durant confirming his original commitment. Durant has NFL level athletic talent and should have the chance to make an immediate impact next season in the Pac-12 South.
If I was an ASU fan though, I would be even more excited about them getting a commitment from Under Armour All-American Paul Lucas. Not only is Lucas an explosive playmaker that could develop as a threat as a runner, receiver, and returner, he's one of the top players in-state in the 2015 recruiting cycle and the Sun Devils have really struggled convincing players like him to play closer to home.
- The most intriguing of ASU's recent run of commitments is offensive lineman Zach Robertson. Athletically, he is exceptional for his size. He has good feet and has all the tools to develop into an outstanding player at guard or tackle. The St. John Bosco product did show a lack of effort in sustaining his blocks on film though and that will need to change for him to live up to his potential.
- The latest commitment for the Sun Devils could turn into a gigantic steal for them. Junior college offensive tackle Jaypee Philbert could end up being their starting left tackle the next two seasons. He's not the most outstanding athletically at the position, but he is technically sound and has some edge to his game.
- Speaking of steals, I think Cal could also have one on their hands with athlete Depriest Turner. The former Duke commitment flipped to Cal last Monday and plans on playing defensive back in college rather than his high school position of quarterback. Him and another recent defensive back commitment, Antoine Albert, are the kind of big athletes the Bears need in their secondary in order to be better on defense in the Pac-12. I'm excited to see how Turner develops once he focuses on playing defense.