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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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(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham, pre-game as the BYU Cougars host the Utah Utes, college football Saturday, September 21, 2013 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Was Utah's signing class good enough to help Utes improve?

With Utah's signing day all but in the books, here is a breakdown of how the day went for the Utes.

Overall it was disappointing from an outsider's view as the players on the fence decided to sign elsewhere.

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In the past Utah has made some great runs on signing day getting some of the undecided top talent available.

This year it didn't happen with Tre Watson sticking with Cal, DJ Law going with Ole Miss and Granger product Kenyon Frison signing with Oklahoma.

The failure to land those guys had most recruiting services ranking Utah's class in the 70s overall and at or near the bottom of the Pac-12.

Such low rankings has to be a little unsettling to Utah fans, particularly after coach Kyle Whittingham made it clear time and time again this year the Utes needed to improve through recruiting.

Is this the kind of class that will help the Utes get where they want to be after back-to-back 5-7 seasons?

Check back in two years to see.

Whittingham always says he never puts stock into ratings, pointing out Utah's long history of taking one and two-star players and turning them into all-conference or pro athletes.

Utah fans can only hope Utah can keep up that tradition.

The Utes did sign the quarterback they wanted in Donovan Isom and made some waves in Florida by signing safeties Andre Godfrey and Monte Seabrook, among others.

Out of the defensive signees, watch for defensive lineman Pasoni Tasini, Godfrey, Louisiana defensive back Travonne Hobbs and Las Vegas product Casey Hughes to compete for playing time.

Also don't forget about safety Tevin Carter, who already has enrolled. He'll miss spring ball due to ankle surgery, but should be able to participate in summer workouts, Whittingham said.

Overall I'd grade this class a C-. Kudos to the Utes for trying to compete with other Pac-12 schools for prime talent, but it's obvious from this class winning those battles won't be easy. As with everything it seems it is going to take the Utes a year or two to level the playing field.

The big question is if they'll be able to win on the playing field in the meantime.

Star of the Class

Jackson Barton - The offensive lineman already has enrolled and is impressing coaches in workouts. He could contend for playing time immediately.

Biggest impact

Pasoni Tasini - The Utes needed to re-load at defensive tackle and it looks like they have done so in the likes of Tasini, a transfer from Snow College. He weighs about 273 now, but should be up to 300 pounds.

Player to watch

Casey Hughes - The Utes don't sign many players from Nevada, but they've had a lot of success with the ones they do get from the state. We're betting Hughes follows suit. The Utes had just three interceptions last year, perhaps he can help Utah improve in that department.

Biggest disappointment

Kenyon Frison - The Granger star committed to the Utes early, but he opened up the recruiting process and determined Oklahoma was best for him.

Late addition - Lowell Lotulelei, the younger brother of former Ute Star Lotulelei, stuck with his commitment and signed with the Utes. He committed to the Utes last year but Utah State made a push for him. He is one the Utes are definitely happy to keep in the fold.

- Lya Wodraska



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