UTAH UTES

Utah Utes National Signing Day Commitments

Dec 19, 2018, 11:27 AM | Updated: 11:27 am
(Photo by Getty Images)...
(Photo by Getty Images)
(Photo by Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah has announced their early signees for the 2019 season.

Kyle Whittingham and his staff have clearly made an emphasis in signing offensive lineman as they had four offensive lineman sign in the early signing period.

They have added a wide receiver and a running back on the offensive side of the ball. Five players on the defensive side of the ball have signed on the dotted line, including two defensive lineman, one linebacker (graduate transfer), and two defensive backs.

Utah has also signed Mitch Wishnowsky’s replacement at punter.

Here are the 2019 signees from National Signing Day:

Donte Banton, Wide Receiver

The 6’0, 189 lbs. receiver comes to Salt Lake City as a three star prospect from Lauderhill, Florida. He led all receivers in the 40-yard dash (4.58) at the 2018 Opening Miami Regional.

Banton helped Deerfield High School to district football championships in 2017 and 2018.

Keaton Bills, Defensive Lineman

Bills was signed by the Utes in 2016 but did not arrive on campus until 2019 because he served a church mission. In 2015, he was named 4A first-team all-state out of Corner Canyon High School by the Deseret News. He also earned Region 7 Defensive MVP, first-team all-region in 2014 and second-team all-region in 2013.

Bills was the No. 2 defensive end in the state of Utah by Scout and Rivals pegged him as the No. 15 overall prospect Rivals. He is 6’4, 240 lbs.

Scout, Rivals and 247Sports rated him as a three-star prospect. After his high school career, he collected 141 career tackles and 8 sacks.


Micah Bernard, Running Back

A three-star recruit according to 247Sports, he was a 2017 All-CIF Southern Section Division 10, Cal-Hi junior all-state in 2017 and two-time all-area, earning Area Offensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2017 and collecting first-team honors.

He racked up 716 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior at Gahr High School, while having 606 receiving yards and six touchdowns through the air.


Manny Bowen, Linebacker

Bowen is a graduate transfer from Penn State and will have one year of eligibility with the Utes. The 6’2, 231 lbs. linebacker played in 35 games while starting 21 contests with Penn State. Through his career with the Nittany Lions, he collected 134 tackles, 12 and a half for a loss, three and a half sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

He is from Barnegat, New Jersey.

Falcon Kaumatule, Offensive Lineman

Kaumatule comes to Utah from Las Vegas, Nevada and Bishop Gorman High School. He is 6’8, 232 lbs.

He played defensive end and tight end in high school but will play on the offensive line for the Utes. Kaumatule had 17 tackles, one and half sacks and a touchdown as a junior in 2017. He played high school football in Hawaii as a sophomore with Punahou High School where he was an offensive and defensive lineman in 2016.

Kaumatule is a three-star recruit by Rivals and 247Sports.


Semisi Lauki, Defensive Lineman

Another recruit that was signed in 2016 but didn’t arrive on campus until 2019 because he served a church mission. In 2015 at Leuzinger High School in Hawthorne, California, he was a first-team all-Pioneer League defensive tackle and first-team all-Pioneer League offensive lineman in his junior season.

He is a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout, he is 6’2, 235 lbs.


Sataoa Laumea, Offensive Lineman

Laumea is a 6’5, 300 lbs. lineman from Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California. He is a four-star prospect by 247Sports after being named first-team all-area and first-team All-Citrus Belt League during his junior season in 2017.

Laumea was invited to the 2019 Polynesian Bowl.


Aaron Lowe, Defensive BackΒ 

A three-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals, he is 6’0, 179 lbs. from West Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas.

He was named first-team All-District 7-5A safety in 2018 after collecting 74 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble as a senior. Lowe started his high school career as a wide receiver and much like Utah players, switched to defense after his junior season.

Johnny Maea, Offensive Lineman

A local “hometown hero” will play college football up the street from where he played high school football. The East High School product is 6’4, 305 lbs. He signed in 2016 but served an church mission.

He was the No. 7 overall rated recruit from Utah by Scout after he graduated from East High School.


LaCarea Pleasant-Johnson, Defensive Back

He was the No. 15 ranked recruit in Arizona by 247Sports and No. 12 prospect from azcentral. Pleasant-Johnson is a three-star cornerback by 247Sports and Rivals from Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Arizona.

During his senior season, he collected 51 tackles, four interceptions and 15 pass breakups, he is 6’1, 161 lbs.

Ben Lennon, Punter

The Australian Punter pipeline continues for the University of Utah as Lennon will follow in the footsteps of Tom Hackett and Mitch Wishnowsky.

The Viewbank, Australia product played four seasons of Australian rules football in the Australian Football League from 2014-17. He was selected in the first round of the 2013 AFL draft and played 21 career games with 10 goals.


Marist Talavou, Offensive Lineman

He is a three-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals and will play in the 2019 Polynesian Bowl. Talavou is 6’2, 320 lbs. and is from St. John Bosco High School in Norwalk, California.

Talavou helped St. John Bosco to the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 title in 2016 and a runner-up finish in 2017 and 2018.

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Utah Utes National Signing Day Commitments