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The Utah Utes celebrate following NCAA football against the Weber State Wildcats in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
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Utah’s Coaching Staff Develops Talent ‘Better Than Anyone’

The Utah Utes celebrate following NCAA football against the Weber State Wildcats in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Brett Ciancia covers college football for Pick Six Previews and out of the 66 teams that he watches and covers in power-5 conference, Utah’s coaching staff does the best job at developing talent.

Ciancia told the Crimson Corner podcast that while recruiting is important, Utah’s coaches have an eye for talent whether they are two, three or four-star prospects.

“I think that recruiting is very important,” Ciancia told KSL Sports. “It starts with recruiting. But that’s only the starting point, you have to recruit to your scheme and recruit to your culture and then once they’re on campus, you got to coach them up and develop them and have the scheme and the X’s and O’s to make it work as a total package. Just from what I’ve watched Utah over the last nine years covering them, but then also my phone call with Morgan Scalley, it’s clear, Utah knows exactly the kind of player they want and the exact kind of personality they want and they target them in recruiting. They develop them better than anyone.”

In his preview book, Ciancia tracks recruiting while also seeing which talent gets developed to the point where they jump to the NFL.

“I have a stat in my book called player development,” Ciancia mentioned. “It might seem simple, but what it is, it’s just the recruiting rankings compared to what they produce in the NFL Draft, because something’s happening on this three and four and five years on campus. So, in that metric, Utah is number one, so literally they do the most with the least, compared to what they sign on signing day and what they’re producing to the NFL. No further proof needed than leading the entire Pac 12 in NFL draft picks.”

You can listen to the entire interview with Brett Ciancia of Pick Six Previews, below.

Picked To Finish Second In Pac-12 South

Ciancia predicted where each team in the Pac-12 would finish in their division. He picked USC to win the South Division with Utah at No. 2 in front of Arizona State which is against what the rest of the national pundits have predicted.

“Arizona State is probably the consensus number two nationwide, but I have Utah above them,” Ciancia said. “A couple things I really like in an unprecedented offseason. I know that’s kind of a buzzword, but really when you think about it without a spring ball, I really am relying on these coaches and the coaching continuity year over year and scheme continuity. So you just know the proven track record that Utah has as player developers, converting your talent into wins, their scheme on defense, especially as proven and now (Andy) Ludwig is also an offense. So, trust the offensive and defensive coordinator stability.”

Ciancia thinks that the coaching changes in the off-season and the limited amount of time together in the off-season will have a negative impact on ASU’s immediate success.

“When you look at Arizona State, yeah, they’re making some strides under Herm Edwards, for what it’s worth,” Ciancia stated. “It’s a lot of 50/50 ballgames within a score wins and losses. So it’s not too certain that they’re a top 25 caliber team anyway, but for whatever stability they were building, both coordinator changes in the offseason now with no spring ball. They also lost some NFL power with Eno Benjamin at running back, their consistent runner. So yeah, I’m trusting Utah a bit more.”

Top 30 Team In Preseason Rankings

In the Pick Six Preview book, Ciancia ranked Utah at No. 27 in the country despite the new faces that Utah will have in 2020, he believes that the Utes have the team to sneak into the top 25. Keep in mind, the rankings is only based on teams in Power-5 conferences as well as BYU and Notre Dame.

“There’s kind of a pool of teams between 20 and 30 that could kind of shake them around,” Ciancia mentioned. “I am a little bit worried about some of the youth on defense, that could be something that could limit them out of the top 25. The other teams that I have in front of them have a little bit more star power coming back, a little more certainty coming back. But that’s not to say that this team can’t gel and move past that number 27 rank.”

If Utah fans want to order the Pick Six Previews 2020 College Football Preview book, they can receive a discount by using the promo code “Utes” at checkout.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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