Posted: 6:22 PM- The Utes have landed their big fish.
Heralded junior-college running back Matt Asiata has committed to play football for them starting next year, he said Sunday, giving coach Kyle Whittingham the bruising and dependable ball-carrier that he has lacked this season.
"It's good for me and my family," Asiata said. "My wife's happy."
The 6-foot, 232-pound Asiata was named a second-team junior-college All-American after rushing for 1,491 yards and 15 touchdowns for 11-1 Snow College this season. The former Hunter High School star is expected to compete for the starting job as soon as he arrives on campus next fall.
The Utes hope he can team with returning quarterback Brian Johnson to give them a more potent rushing threat than they have wielded this season. The Utes uncharacteristically rank just 56th nationally in rushing, and have had to shuffle backs because of injuries and ineffectiveness while finding ways to manufacture rushing yards with a variety of unconventional methods - like using defensive back Eric Weddle in the backfield.
"They have a great offensive line coming back," Asiata said. "They only lose one guy out of the whole offense. Brian Johnson is coming back and they say I'm a good fit with him." Asiata also had been recruited heavily by former Utah coach Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators,Asiata also had been recruited heavily by former Utah coach Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators as well as former Utah offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and the UNLV Rebels. But he turned them both down, in part because he wanted to stay close to home.
His commitment, along with another one Sunday from 6-2, 260-pound all-conference defensive lineman Koa Misi of Santa Rosa Junior College in California, brings to 17 the number of recruits who have told Whittingham they will sign letters of intent to join the Utes.