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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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(File photo | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kyle Whittingham likes the effort he saw from his team every day during spring practice. “They had a great attitude and work ethic,” he said. “It was apparent they truly enjoyed what they were doing and had a lot of energy every day.”
Utes set for recruiting day

As many signing days as he has been through as a coach, Utah's Kyle Whittingham still gets a little nervous because inevitably there are always a few last-minute surprises.

"It's never a done deal until everything is official," he said.

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At least this year one of the biggest decisions should be known in the morning since Granger offensive lineman Kenyon Frison is expected to announce his decision around 7:15 a.m.

Frison, who committed to the Utes early then opened up the recruiting process again, will make his decision between Utah and Oklahoma, according to his coach, Cecil Thomas.

The Utes are also hoping to sway Dacorius Law, a running back out of Florida, Tre Watson, a running back out of California and Brayden Lenius, a receiver out of California.

The Utes are thought to be underdogs for all those players, but if they can get one or two of them it would go a long ways in bumping up the value of the class.

The Utes also have to hope the guys committed stay true to their word.

Several players have changed their minds in recent weeks, with the latest being Donovan Wilson, a defensive back out of Louisiana who has switched his commitment to Texas A&M.

As it stands the Utes' best player out of the crop could be Jackson Barton, an offensive lineman from Brighton H.S. who already has enrolled and participated in workouts.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Barton fits in well.

"He has worked his tail off getting in shape," Whittingham said. "He hit the ground running and that is a big positive for us."

The bad news is for the Utes another highly anticipated player, safety Tevin Carter, won't participate in spring ball after having ankle surgery.

"It's disappointing because he needs reps but he should be able to participate in full in the summer," Whittingham said.

It should be noted that the Utes can't announce any players that national letters of intent can only be signed for the upcoming year, so any players who plan to serve church missions before enrolling won't sign.

Kyle Christiansen, a defensive tackle out of Mountain Crest H.S., Amone Finau, a Kearns High product, linebacker Thor Katoa out of Pine View H.S., defensive tackle Pita Tonga out of Highland H.S. and Joe Tukuafu, a tight end out of East H.S. and Howard Pututau, a linebacker out of Cottonwood H.S., all plan to serve missions before enrolling at Utah.

- Lya Wodraska



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