Fall is closing in fast, and it is time to start breaking down the Beehive State and the best prospects at each position. These rankings are solely based off of my evaluations from spring and last year's game tape. Evaluations are fluid and things will be reevaluated dozens of times between now and the end of the 2014 football season.
My categories are defined as the following: "Top Tier" which means the prospects in that group are D1 bound. The next group is "Next Level Guys" which means the prospects in that group are not definite D1 scholarship guys, but have a shot and certainly belong at some level of college football. And lastly, is the "Keep An Eye On" which are the guys that have potential to play in college and are on the radar at some level.
Top Tier Defensive End
1) Porter Gustin- Gustin is arguably the best all-around athlete in Utah right now. He is big, strong, fast, and pretty much good at every sport he tries. At the next level I believe Gustin will have the most success as a defensive end. His skill set will make him a tremendous pass-rusher. Having to play in space against smaller and quicker play makers is not his strength. Gustin is more than capable of dropping into pass coverage, but after watching a lot of his game tape and seeing him in person this spring, I think DE is the spot for him. Gustin could realistically end up at 6-5 260 pounds. He has a great frame and is a weight room warrior. He reminds me a bit of Trent Murphy with his non-stop motor and size.
2) Mufi Hunt- Hunt is a great athlete with unbelievable size and length. Hunt is every bit of 6'6 and is still growing. He is only around 215 pounds, but with a mission on the horizon, Hunt should be at least 240 by his freshman year. He is a good basketball player and that translates to having very active hands on the football field. He uses his long arms well and also abused offensive linemen with his quickness. Once Hunt can pack on some muscle, he could be unstoppable. College coaches are noticing the Taylorsville High School defensive end, Hunt has a dozen offers (including 8 Pac-12 schools).
3) T.J. Fehoko- Nobody in Utah knows how to get to the quarterback like Fehoko, in fact based off of last year, nobody in the country can do it better. The Cottonwood senior racked up 34 sacks last season and has set the bar higher this year. Colorado may have stolen one from the Beehive State. Fehoko has a great motor with brute strength and a nice variety of pass-rush moves.
4) Hausia Sekona- Sekona is a diamond in the rough. The East HS defensive linemen is only entering his 3rd year of football, but he has a tremendous upside. Sekona is undersized, which is part of the reason he is being under recruited, but there's a good chance he makes a lot of noise this fall. Sekona's first two steps are as fast as anyone in the state and he is down right violent with his hands. Nevada may have their work cut out for them keeping him committed, but if they do, they have a Beehive State gem.
5) Devin Kaufusi- Kaufusi hasn't had much of an impact for Timpview to this point, but he receives an A+ on the eye test. Kaufusi has a great frame to play defensive end. To go along with that, Kaufusi is a good athlete on the basketball court. This fall should be his breakout campaign and the Cougars should be getting another solid Kaufusi.
6) Langi Tuifua- Tuifua may be young, but he already looks like he is a senior. Tuifua has long arms and an ideal frame. He has looked great this spring in various camps and should be one of Bingham's best players for the next few years. The 2017 Ute commit blocked 5 kicks last year on special teams and he has only gotten bigger and faster since then.
7) Fua Pututau- Cottonwood has two very good defensive ends. Fehoko and Pututau are going to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Pututau is already a three-star, despite only being a junior. He did some really impressive stuff on tape as a sophomore. He isn't on too many radars now, but after another big season, he could be one of the most highly touted 2016 prospects in Utah.
8) Steven Latu- The Lehi defensive end is a big time sleeper heading into his senior year. He is currently committed to Southern Utah, but other schools are watching him closely. Latu has a good motor with a frame that can pack on a lot more muscle. He is a long and rangy 6-4 230 pounds right now. If Latu can pack on an addition 30-40 pounds of muscle, he could be a great 3-4 end.
Next Level Guys
9) Darius McFarland- The 2016 Box Elder prospect can play all over the field. McFarland can play fullback, tight end, defensive tackle, outside/inside backer, and obviously defensive end. I think DE is the best fit for him. He is a great athlete; not only standing out on the football field, but also on the hardwood and baseball diamond. McFarland could turn into a solid D1 prospect.
10) Max Christensen- Christensen is going into his junior year at Sky View and has a lot of upside. As a sophomore, he racked up 60 tackles and 14 sacks. The biggest thing holding him back at this point is strength. At 6'3 210 pounds, Christensen doesn't have the mass to beat offensive tackles that outweigh him by 100 pounds. If he can put on good weight and size, he will quickly become a legit D1 prospect. There is a chance outside linebacker is his college position as well.
11) Harris LaChance- LaChance is 6-7 225 pounds. He is a pretty good athlete with a strong work ethic. His game tape shows glimpses of a D1 defensive end, but he is inconsistent. There aren't too many with more potential than LaChance in Utah. A lot of colleges will be watching the Herriman DE to see how his first few games go. If he dominates the way he should, offers should start coming in.
12) Dylan Bennett- Everything I said about LaChance applies to Bennett as well. Bennett is Herriman's other d end, and at 6-5 245 pounds he is an impressive prospect. Bennett looked really solid at the All-Poly Camp, walking away with an MVP award. If he can play consistently this year, he is in the same boat as LaChance.
(Dylan Bennett) Keep An Eye On