FINAL EDITION: Utah Football Signing Day 2016

11239696_10153039156912587_7306502612516394887_o Griffin Adams

The Daily Utah Chronicle will update this story as Signing Day continues and athletes sign to the U.

The wait is over, and the next wave of Utes are finally ready to make it official. National Signing Day has arrived, and Utah looks to reel in one of the best classes it’s had since joining the Pac-12 conference. Check out the list of recruits who signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to play for the Utes.

 

DL Semisi Lauaki, 6-foot-3, 231 pounds, Leuzinger High School

The defensive lineman from Hawthorne, Calif. plans on serving a church mission before enrolling at the U, so Utah fans will have to wait two years before seeing Lauaki in action. But Lauaki was the first team all-Pioneer League defensive tackle his senior year and was selected to participate in the Polynesian All-American Bowl game. He is a three-star prospect on both Rivals.com and Scout.com.

LB/WR Davir Hamilton, 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, Long Beach Polytechnic High School

The multi-talented Hamilton can help Utah on either side of the line. During high school, he recorded a total of 108 tackles and 17 sacks, then on offense had a total of 2,296 all-purpose yards and 25 touchdowns. In his senior season, he had a couple of fumble recoveries and all of this earned him a three-star rating from scout.com.

LB David Luafatasaga, 6-foot-4, 232 pounds, Arizona Western College

Rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, Luafatasaga will fill a much-needed void at linebacker with the departure of Gionni Paul and Jared Norris. The JUCO transfer led Arizona Western with 93 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss and four sacks. His 6-foot-4 frame is impressive size for the linebacker position, and that will aid the Utes as they try to develop a new linebacking core.

DL Fua Pututau, 6-foot-2, 242 pounds, Cottonwood High School

The No. 9 recruit in Utah plans on serving an LDS mission before hitting the field for Utah. As a senior, he made his first-team all region after recording 60 tackles and five sacks. He also had two fumble recoveries. His brother, Howard, is joining the Utes this fall after having served his own mission.

DE Leki Fotu, 6-foot-5, 276 pounds, Herriman High School

Despite sitting out his junior year, Fotu more than made up for it during his senior season. The 2015 5A MVP lead Herriman to win the championship and during his final high school year had 79 tackles, 10 of which came in that final game, and recorded 7.5 sacks. His brother also plays in the Pac-12 for Arizona.

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TE Cole Fotheringham, 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, San Clemente High School

Fotheringham had, and is still having a memorable athletic career at San Clemente. As a junior, he had 585 yards on 50 catches for eight touchdowns. Then in his senior year, he improved on that to register 45 receptions for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns, good enough to place him on the 2015 All-USA California team his senior season. He’s currently playing basketball and has the most wins out of any San Clemente basketball player. Utah will have to wait a couple years for Fotheringham to suit up as he’ll be serving a mission for the LDS church.

DE Bradlee Anae, 6-foot-3, 229 pounds, Kahuku High School

The Anae family continues to get more interesting with the commitment of Bradlee Anae to the Utes on Wednesday. His father played for BYU back in the day, and his uncle left the Cougars after the fall season to join Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia. But Anae committed to join his sister, Adora, who also attends the U and is a member of the volleyball team. Anae was a first team all-state selection in Hawaii and is a versatile athlete, also participating in basketball and the high jump for the track & field team at Kahuku. 

CB Terrell Burgess, 6-foot-0, 182 pounds, San Marcos High School

Burgess is a versatile player who can play on both offense and defense, so if injuries become a problem for Utah again next season, his services will surely be needed. A three-star prospect, according to both scout.com and rivals.com, in his four years of high school he had a total of eight interceptions (three of which came in 2015) and 90 tackles. In his senior year alone, he had 1,162 yards on 61 catches and made it into the end zone 16 times. For that performance he was placed on the All-CIF San Diego Section first-team at wide receiver.

WR Alec Dana, 6-foot-2, 186 pounds, Chaffey College

This three-star prospect, according to rivals.com and scout.com, is finally settling down after jumping around a bit from college to college. He’s coming in as a wide receiver to fill in for the likes of Kenneth Scott, who recently graduated, and Britain Covey, who is going on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At Chaffey in 2014, Dana had 543 yards on 39 receptions.

LB Donavan Thompson, 5-foot-10, 214 pounds, Miami Central High School

Thompson had a dominant high school career as his school won four state championships, one for every year he was on the team. Although he performed better as a junior, with 14 sacks and 167 stops, as a senior he recorded 135 tackles and 11 sacks and also came up with forced fumble when it counted most in the championship game.

OL Tucker Scott, 6-foot-4, 288 pounds, San Clemente High School

Son of a former NFL center, Scott just adds to the already-rich recruiting class for Utah’s offensive line. It’s clear head coach Kyle Whittingham is focusing on this unit, as Scott is the fifth offensive lineman of the 2016 class. Scott was a two-time first-team All-Sea View League selection with San Clemente.

OL Johnny Maea, 6-foot-4, 308 pounds, East High School

Although Utah will have to await his arrival another two years while Maea serves an LDS mission, he’s sure to return with some of that fire power he had while helping East win the 4A championship as a senior. According to scout.com, in Utah he’s the No.7 best recruit and was also named to the All-USA Utah Football Team in 2015.

LB Kurtis Taufa, 6-foot-2, 236 pounds, Snow College

Joining his teammate Boles, Taufa comes to Utah by way of Snow College, and before that, he played high school ball at Lone Peak High School. The linebacker plays with tenacity, finishing his sophomore season at Snow with 68 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss. He was a first-team all-state selection as a senior in high school.

CB Nygel King, 6-foot-0, 169 pounds, Klein Oak HS

Despite missing most of his senior season due to injury, King was still rated as a three-star recruit coming out of high school. King will add some size to the secondary that some corners like, fitting the mold of current Ute Brian Allen.

OL Garett Bolles, 6-foot-6, 296 pounds, Snow College

Truly one of the stars of the recruiting class, Boles was a NJCAA All-American at Snow College, where he terrorized opposing defensive lines. He was rated as the No. 1 overall JUCO prospect by scout.com and has a four-star rating by Rivals. While stars and ratings mean nothing at the college level, Boles has the size and skill necessary to contribute for the Utes immediately and potentially earn a starting role on the offensive line.

RB Devontae Henry-Cole, 5-foot-8, 168 pounds, St. Thomas Aquinas High School

Speaking of Devontaes, here’s a Ute commit who not only plays the same position as the departed Ute senior but also carries the same name. Henry-Cole only played three games his senior season due to a wrist injury, but he made enough noise as a junior to convince the Utes they have something special. During that season, Henry-Cole averaged 11.8 yards per carry in a limited role, but it’s his speed that really has Utah coaches itching to get him on the field. Henry-Cole is also a track athlete who’s clocked in at 10.87 in the 100-meter dash.

RB Zack Moss, 5-foot-10, 206 pounds, Hallandale High School

Hailing from Hallandale High School, where two of his high school teammates are already enrolled at Utah, Moss brings efficiency and a hunger for the end zone with him to Salt Lake City. Related to longtime NFL receiver Santana Moss, the running back rushed for 1,098 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior. He also showed some versatility with 425 yards and four touchdowns receiving the ball, and Moss will add some needed depth after the departure of Devontae Booker.

ENROLLED

P Mitch Wishnowsky, 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Santa Barbara College

If you asked which player of the departing Utah Football senior class will be the most missed, many would answer punter Tom Hackett. Well, new Ute commit Wishnowsky is hoping to ease that pain and maybe even help you forget about the old punter from down under. As a matter of fact, Wishnowsky also hails from Australia and looks to carry on the Aussie tradition as the next great Utah punter.

QB Troy Williams, 6-foot-2, 197 pounds, Santa Monica College

It’s been a long, tough journey for Utah’s new JUCO transfer quarterback Troy Williams. Listed as the No. 1 dual-threat QB coming out of high school, Williams originally committed to Washington. After not panning out there, Williams played at Santa Monica Community College to improve his game and return to the Division-1 level, and he did that and then some by throwing for 2,750 yards and 31 touchdowns compared to just his four interceptions. Expect Williams to be in an intense battle for the starting position.

WR Demari Simpkins, 5-foot-10, 176 pounds, Hallandale HS

Another athlete from Hallandale, Simpkins brings some much-needed depth to the receiver position. His senior season, Simpkins finished with 38 catches for 506 yards and seven touchdowns. SImpkins is a versatile player and even played QB at his high school before transferring to Hallandale senior year and switching to receiver.

OL Scott Peck, 6-foot-6, 312 pounds, Central Valley High School

Rated as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the state of Washington, Peck will bring some intensity and size to the OBlock here at Utah. Peck adds physicality with his brute style of play and will look to immediately make a contribution on the line.

QB Tyler Huntley, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Hallandale High School

Out of all of the recruits who are coming to Utah from Hallandale, Huntley might be the most exciting. As the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in the state of Florida, Huntley went 34-10 as a starter, throwing for 9,053 and 106 touchdowns in his career. He led Hallandale to the 5A regional finals for the first time in school history after a stellar season that saw him throw for 3,636 yards and 42 touchdowns. Expect Huntley to be in the mix as a true freshman for the starting quarterback position.

OL Jake Grant, 6-foot-4, 279 pounds, Horizon High School
As a three-star recruit, Grant chose to be a Ute in hopes of participating in the family that is the Utah OBlock. He was an all-state selection in Arizona and was the state’s No. 6 overall prospect.

g.adams@dailyutahchronicle.com