Pututau last played receiver and defensive back in high school. The Utes are anticipating that his body will change when he serves a two-year LDS Church mission (as his brothers before him) before starting his career, and project him as a defensive end. But if he doesn’t gain weight between now and 2019, he could play on offense as a receiving target.
Pututau’s final two schools were Utah and Oregon State, which pitched him as a tight end. But he said the allure of playing close to home was hard to resist.
It wasn’t always that way: Pututau said he was being recruited by Washington and Stanford early in his process, and he really liked both schools. But they backed off after he suffered a season-ending injury before his senior season with the Colts.
"It was really hard, and I lost some opportunities that I wish I had," he said. "But it all worked out, and I was able to realize that I wanted to stay home and play at Utah."
As one might expect, both of his brothers played a role in him coming to Utah. Taniela said the opportunity to join Howard and Fu’a was a big sell for the Utes.
They were among the first to know: Howard, who redshirted last year with the Utes, learned from their parents. Taniela sent Fu’a, serving in Honduras, an e-mail, and said he was excited to hear the news.
Utah was able to close strong with an official visit in the final recruiting weekend, ending a process they had kept up since defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley first started recruiting him in his freshman year. Pututau is the first of the weekend visitors to commit, among a slate of players that Utah hope it will land including Bingham tackle Jay Tufele.
Pututau said he knows it will be a long wait to play at Utah: "But I’m just going to trust the process, and know that my skills will translate at the next level."
The Tribune has a preview of Utah’s Signing Day class that appears in Monday’s paper. Here’s a list of the other prospects Utah has signed or received commitments from:
• Pima College OT Jordan Agasiva
• Blinn College S Corrion Ballard
• Texas WR Tyquez Hampton
• Dodge City College S Marquise Blair
• Texas WR Jaylen Dixon
• Arizona RB T.J. Green
• California CB Javelin Guidry
• California DB Jaylon Johnson
• Riverside City College CB Tareke Lewis
• California ATH Devin Lloyd
• Snow College DT John Penisini
• American Fork OL Michael Richardson
• California OL Orlando Umana
• Texas QB Jason Shelley
• Highland DT Hunter Lotulelei
• California QB Jack Tuttle