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Utes hoping to land Trinity players

Published January 16, 2013 11:00 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's 2013 football signing class could have a significant Texas flavor to it if all goes well this weekend. The Utes are courting three players from Trinity H.S., in Euless, Texas who will be in town on official visits. The threesome, offensive lineman Salesi Uhatafe (6-5, 290), defensive lineman Gaius Vaenuku (6-5, 270) and defensive end Sam Tevi (6-5, 255) are among the more than 15 players who will be on campus. Trinity assistant coach John Thompson said Tevi, who committed to the Utes in July, is solid for the Utes. As for Vaenuku and Uhatafe, both have some upsides for the Utes. Vaenuku took an unofficial visit earlier in the year and liked the school well enough that he has the Utes in his final choices along with BYU and Missouri, according to Thompson. Vaenuku is an agile player who Thompson said runs a 4.8 in the 40. "He has great straight ahead speed," he said. "There is a lot of talk about playing him at tackle, but in our system, he can play end and tackle. You could call him lanky, if you can imagine 270-pounds being lanky." Thompson said Vaenuku is keeping an open mind about his prospects even as the recruiting period winds down. "He did it right and waited until the season was over to weigh his options," he said. "He wants to go through the whole process." As for Uhatafe, he had an offer from Arizona State but waited too long in making a decision and his spot went to others. Now the Utes and Missouri are the only two major schools wooing Uhatafe, Thompson said. "We're hoping with these trips we can find a place for him," Thompson said. "We know at this point it's a numbers deal for a lot of schools but we think he is a Division I player." Thompson said the three players aren't a 'package deal,' as some players from the same school promote themselves. "They are close guys and a tight knit group, all our players are," Thompson said. "But I don't think that is a determining factor." According to Rivals.com, Troy McCormick, a 5-10 back out of Houston, Texas, committed to the Utes on Tuesday. He is among the players visiting this weekend. In other news, Star Lotulelei is projected to go at No. 10 in this latest mock draft. - Lya Wodraska