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Utah football: Utes adding JuCo athlete Derrick Vickers to 2017 class

First Published      Last Updated Feb 06 2017 02:49 pm


Signing Day is not the finish line. Sometimes, it’s the beginning.

It was Wednesday, the morning of Signing Day, when Derrick Vickers got the call from Utah receivers coach Guy Holliday, offering him a scholarship. Would he like to come visit this weekend?

"I was actually waiting to take a visit to Colorado State on the 10th," Vickers said. "I said, ‘Sure, I’m not doing anything right now.’"

The visit was enough to sway Vickers, a 3-star recruit in 247 Sports' rankings, into becoming Utah’s latest commit to the 2017 class. The 5-foot-11, 188-pound athlete figures to play slot receiver when he arrives in July, but he could also run the ball — in junior college, he was adept at both.




In 11 games for Bakersfield last season, Vickers led the team in rushing (784 yards, 6.3 ypc, 13 TDs) and receiving (78 receptions, 894 yards, 7 TDs). He also was an electric kickoff returner, totaling over 28 yards per return with two touchdowns. He was drawn by the opportunity to play in Utah’s new-look offense, in which he could play the Swiss Army knife-role he had in JuCo.

"They’ll be spreading the ball out, and that’s a good fit for me," he said. "They want me to come in and play slot, but they also want to use me like I was used at Bakersfield."

Utah had been in the field for a while but hadn’t offered. The Utes were in the mix with Utah State, Middle Tennessee State and CSU. Vickers said he was initially planning to sign with Texas A&M, but his relationship started to get shaky close to Signing Day — "and that brought Utah back in the picture."

On his visit, Vickers said, he enjoyed tours of the Utah indoor facility and weight room, and he liked meeting with Utah’s academic staff. But the overwhelming feeling — one of belonging — helped him make his decision on Sunday afternoon.

"They’re just really good people," he said. "They treated me right."

Vickers will have some familiar faces at Utah: He’s played against both Tyrone Smith and Alec Dana. But one of his closest friends in the state isn’t a Ute at all, and actually had plenty of success against them: Tyrone Wallace, the former Cal basketball star who now plays for the Salt Lake City Stars.

"He said he’ll be there for a while," he said. "That’ll be fun."

Vickers said he should sign Monday or Tuesday with the Utes. He expects to join the program in July. He’ll be the fourth receiver to sign in the 2017 class. A full recap of Signing Day with a list of the class members is available by clicking here.

kgoon@sltrib.com
Twitter: @kylegoon

 

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