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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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U football puts emphasis on offense

By James Boehly

After a strong focus on loading up on defense last year, Kyle Whittingham’s fourth recruiting class has shifted to the other side of the ball, as the majority of recruits are offensive players.

“We feel that we have put together another solid recruiting class that has a lot of talent and potential,” head coach Whittingham said. “We held true to our philosophy of recruiting the best players, regardless of position, and we became a more athletic team with this class.”

Specifically on offense, Whittingham has stacked up on the wide receiver position as five members of this year’s recruiting class play this position. The freshmen WRs include Aiona Key, Ryan Lacy, Luke Matthews, Kendrick Moeai and David Reed, who is a transfer from Pasadena City College in New Britain, Conn.

The other position in which the Utes stacked players for was the offense line. Three recruits play that position and include Sam Brenner, Zach Davila and Derek Tuimauga.

“Football games are won and lost in the trenches, and we feel fortunate that five quality linemen have committed to us,” Whittingham said. “Another area of emphasis was at wide receiver, and we anticipate the five players we signed will make this a very competitive position on our team for years to come.”

With all the wide receivers and offensive linemen in this recruiting class, quarterback DeVonte Christopher out of Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas might be the most critical player in the bunch. In his senior year, Christopher passed for 3,265 yards and had a total of 44 touchdowns. With Brian Johnson entering his final year, Christopher will be competing with fellow quarterback Chad Manis to take over Johnson’s position.

Of the 15 players recruited, Utah and California seemed to be where the Utes recruited the heaviest. Five players are from Utah, and five are from California.

“Recruiting the state of Utah is always a priority for us, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the five players we signed,” Whittingham said. “California continues to be a fertile recruiting ground for us as well. In addition to five Californians, we recruited two Connecticut natives out of California junior colleges.”

In addition to those recruited, the Utes will also add four LDS missionaries who have returned for the 2008 season. Linebackers Gary Bird and Afa Garrigan along with offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom and defensive back Grayson Dart are expected to make valuable additions to the team.

Overall, this year’s recruiting class is all about offense. When Johnson and others from the offense leaving at the end of this year, many of these players will need to step up if they wish to be part of the team’s future.

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