Lemming On The Road - Utah Crossing the nation looking for gems, Part VII
June 2, 2006
By Tom Lemming
Special To CSTV.com
Tom is CSTV's college football recruiting analyst, and writes for CSTV.com regularly. E-mail here!
I'm right here overlooking the Hoover Dam as I put to paper my evaluation of the top prospects from the state of Utah, the next stop after Colorado. It's a good year in Utah, with three potential All-Americans in the state. Overall, it's never a great state, but it's always a pretty good state. Here are some of the top players:
Famika Anae (6-5, 260 lbs.) is a defensive end that I really like from Timpview in Provo. I think he's one of the more underrated defensive ends in the country. He has real quickness off the ball, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9, has real good strength and is a big-time guy. He's got a lot of people coming after him -- but his father is a coach at BYU, so I would say that right now it probably means that he's going to end up at BYU. He's an outstanding defensive end and has a lot of ability. He had nine sacks last year despite facing double-teams the whole year.
Another kid is Tanner Richins (6-6, 275 lbs.), an offensive tackle from Logan High. He's one of the best offensive linemen in the state, and helped lead Logan to the state championship last year. He's got a lot of schools coming after him, like Utah State, Utah and BYU. He's got a 3.7 GPA so Stanford's coming after him too. Right now, a lot of schools are interested because of his athletic ability, but he's not real strong yet.
Then there's Braden Brown (6-6, 240 lbs.), another defensive end -- one of a number of very talented defensive linemen in the state this year. He's from Salt Lake City Highland, and plays both defensive end and tight end. Brown is a very quick athlete who moves real well. In one game that I watched on tape, Brown had three receiving touchdowns and two quarterback sacks. He's going to be a heavily recruited kid.
The best player in the state is Simi Fili (6-3, 315 lbs.) from Cottonwood High in SaltLateCity. Fili has a lot of offers, among them Tennessee, Ohio State, Nebraska and all the local schools including Colorado. I watched him on tape and this guy can really move. He picks up two or three different people when he's moving a line, when he's really got a lot of people just pounding away at him. Next to Marvin Austin, Fili has to rank right up there around the top five defensive tackles in the country. Utah might have the lead right now, but he's going to get a lot of offers from a lot of people. A powerhouse of a guy, Fili benches 445 pounds, making him one of the strongest prospects in the country.
Then there's an offensive guard that I like: Ryan Mulitalo (6-3, 280 lbs.) from HunterHigh School in WestValleyCity. He's only going to be a sophomore, but he's a very quick-footed and powerful offensive lineman who can also move his feet. Mulitalo is not very tall but is another powerhouse guy who does a great job at offensive guard. In two years he'll be the most recruited player in the state of Utah. He's got a brother who's going to be a senior: Ray Mulitalo (6-0, 250 lbs.) is a defensive end and outside linebacker who will probably be a nose tackle in college. He tallied 10 sacks last year and has all the local schools coming after him.
Then there's Jake Cook (5-11, 185 lbs.), a tailback and free safety from Salt Lake City East High. Cook had 1,700 yards rushing and averaged over 10 yards a carry last year. He's been offered by Colorado, Stanford, BYU and Utah, and will remain one of the more highly recruited kids in the state.
Here's one of the guys in the top three in the state: defensive tackle Houston Reynolds (6-8, 250 lbs.). His father is also a coach at BYU. Reynolds has really quick feet, and a lot of schools pushing hard for him. But I would imagine he's going to end up at BYU where his father's coaching and his brother's playing.
Two last standouts are defensive end James Aiono (6-8, 250 lbs.) from Murray and Tanner Brown (5-10, 200 lbs.), a defensive back from Grand Country in Moab. Aiono could be a top six or seven guy in the state, while Brown is a hard-hitting safety who also plays as a running back.