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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utes have big recruiting weekend planned

Utah's recruiting class isn't exactly lighting the world on fire, if you put stock into the ratings on numerous scouting sites. According to 247 Sports, which uses a formula in which several scouting systems ratings are combined, Utah's class ranks just 10th in the Pac-12.

However, Utah fans shouldn't worry about about this class just yet. First of all, Utah's coaches have a history of finding the 'diamonds in the rough,' players who were overlooked by many of the top schools yet developed into impact players for the Utes.

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If you do care about such ratings, take comfort in the knowledge the Utes are still in play for several highly rated players.

This weekend is a big one for the Utes, who will host more than 15 recruits.

Among those making their official visits are Troy McCormick, a back out of Houston, Texas, Gaius Vaenuku, a defensive lineman out of Euless, Texas, Lowell Lotulelei, a defensive lineman and the brother of Star Lotulelei, Sese Ianu, a defensive lineman out of Huntington Beach, Calif., Salesi Uhatafe, an offensive lineman out of Euless, Texas and Micah Thomas, a player out of Galena Park, Texas who is being recruited as a possible defensive back.

Utah's main competition for Thomas is Air Force, which is recruiting him as a quarterback.

The lines remain a priority for the Utes so getting commitments from Lotulelei (6-2, 290), Vaenuku (6-6, 260), Ianu (6-3, 300) and Uhatafe (6-5, 295) would be huge for the Utes.

Lotulelei is a guy many would expect might follow in his brother's foot steps and head to the U, but Bingham coach Dave Peck said Lotulelei is keeping his options open for now with Utah State and BYU remaining in the mix.

Other players taking official visits are recruits who already have committed, including quarterback Connor Manning (Lake Forest, Calif.), linebacker Filipo Mokofisi (Woods Cross), defensive end Sam Tevi (Euless, Texas), defensive end Vili Leveni (Hurst, Texas), defensive end Myron Aiava (Westminster, Calif.), offensive lineman Leroy Tanoai (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), tight end Harrison Handley (Sandy) and Haile Falemaka (Salt Lake City).

The Utes want to make sure those guys stay firm with their commitments. It doesn't sound like they have to worry too much about Manning, a 6-2, 195-pound quarterback who committed to the Utes in July.

Manning said he is solid with the Utes.

"I just want to look around this weekend and just see how I'll be living there and everything," he said. "I'm really excited to check it out. I loved everything about it this summer and I can't wait to get back."

- Lya Wodraska



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