UTAH UTES

Kyle Whittingham, Utah Football Gearing Up For Historic Early Signing Day

Dec 20, 2022, 2:46 PM
Kyle-Whittingham-Utah-Utes-USC-Trojans-Pac-12-Championship-Game...
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes gets a Gatorade bath by Paul Maile #54 during the fourth quarter in the Pac-12 Championship against the USC Trojans at Allegiant Stadium on December 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for the Utes. Just when it seemed like they were down and out for the 2022 season, fate worked its magic and Utah did what Utah always seems to do best: take advantage of it. A second straight Pac-12 Championship appearance and dominating win later, everything is looking a little rosier for Utah, including recruiting. Ahead of early signing day on December 21, head coach Kyle Whittingham and Utah football are preparing for what will likely be a historic signing class for the program.

 

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Last week, Whittingham noted the uptick the Utes had been seeing in recruiting and more importantly commitments after their masterful dismantling of USC a week earlier. The Utes are now flirting at the door of a Top 20 signing class which would be a first in program history.

“We’re closing in on a Top 20 class which we’ve never done,” Whittingham said. “We could be inside the Top 20 when all is said and done, we’ll see. Nothing helps recruiting more than success. Back-to-back Pac-12 Championships and the back-to-back Rose Bowls- all of that stuff matters. Obviously, NIL is a big part of that. We are not a school that has a ton of NIL resources, but we do have a lot of momentum in recruiting right now. We’re trending in the right direction, and we’ve just got to keep it going.”

What Whittingham Expects Wednesday

The Early Signing Period for college football will open up on Wednesday, December 21 and go through December 23. Whittingham said after practice availability on Tuesday he and the staff feel good about where they are at and what they are expecting to happen, but like anyone who has been heavily involved with recruiting, knows there is always a chance for a surprise, though hopefully a good one.

“We hope status quo, unless it’s a good surprise,” Whittingham said. “Right now, we think, and we know when you look at the lists on the sites and stuff- it’s not exactly matching up to what we are expecting. Just because something happens differently than what you see on the list, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a surprise to us. You always hope for the things you are counting on to happen and maybe a good surprise or two.”

The Evolution Of Early Signing Day

Early signing day is a relatively new invention that has evolved quite a bit in its short existence. When the concept was first introduced in 2017, it was a little clunky, but has since been a streamlined process that Whittingham has grown to like.

“I think it’s a good thing and I think they are continually modifying things with the visits and how they are structuring it,” Whittingham said. “They are figuring it out. As each year goes by, the NCAA figures it out a little better and gives you a few more positive things in recruiting to accommodate for that early signing period.”

The early signing day process isn’t complete yet either. Whittingham talked about one tweak in particular coming up for the 2024 recruiting cycle that could really help kids make the important decision of where they want to try and spend four-years a little easier.

“There is more on the table for this next year,” Whittingham said. “Some things that maybe you’ll be able to contact juniors in the spring whereas before you couldn’t talk to them. The NCAA is trying to make it doable. When it first came out it was a little rough, but I think we are getting to the point where everyone is used to it and the more, they can make it so the players have the opportunities they need to visit and all that type of thing before they make their decisions is much better now than it was originally.”

 

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Kyle Whittingham, Utah Football Gearing Up For Historic Early Signing Day