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Utah football: Like his brothers before him, 2017 Cottonwood ATH Taniela Pututau commits to Utes

Published January 29, 2017 10:24 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Some families just have football running in their blood. And few have been kinder to Utah than the Pututaus.

The program has one brother, Howard, already enrolled. Another, Fu'a, committed on Signing Day last year and is serving a mission. And now, the Utes add a third brother to the 2017 class.

The latest, Taniela Pututau, is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound three-star athlete from Cottonwood High. He said he gave his pledge to Kyle Whittingham on Saturday night, and decided to announce Sunday.

"All the love that was shown, I wanted to repay it," he said. "They have a family atmosphere, and I really buy into that."

Pututau last played receiver and defensive back in high school. The Utes are anticipating that his body will change when he serves a two-year LDS Church mission (as his brothers before him) before starting his career, and project him as a defensive end. But if he doesn't gain weight between now and 2019, he could play on offense as a receiving target.

Pututau's final two schools were Utah and Oregon State, which pitched him as a tight end. But he said the allure of playing close to home was hard to resist.

It wasn't always that way: Pututau said he was being recruited by Washington and Stanford early in his process, and he really liked both schools. But they backed off after he suffered a season-ending injury before his senior season with the Colts.

"It was really hard, and I lost some opportunities that I wish I had," he said. "But it all worked out, and I was able to realize that I wanted to stay home and play at Utah."

As one might expect, both of his brothers played a role in him coming to Utah. Taniela said the opportunity to join Howard and Fu'a was a big sell for the Utes.

They were among the first to know: Howard, who redshirted last year with the Utes, learned from their parents. Taniela sent Fu'a, serving in Honduras, an e-mail, and said he was excited to hear the news.

Utah was able to close strong with an official visit in the final recruiting weekend, ending a process they had kept up since defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley first started recruiting him in his freshman year. Pututau is the first of the weekend visitors to commit, among a slate of players that Utah hope it will land including Bingham tackle Jay Tufele.

Pututau said he knows it will be a long wait to play at Utah: "But I'm just going to trust the process, and know that my skills will translate at the next level."

The Tribune has a preview of Utah's Signing Day class that appears in Monday's paper. Here's a list of the other prospects Utah has signed or received commitments from:

Pima College OT Jordan Agasiva
Blinn College S Corrion Ballard
Texas WR Tyquez Hampton

Dodge City College S Marquise Blair
Texas WR Jaylen Dixon
Arizona RB T.J. Green
California CB Javelin Guidry
California DB Jaylon Johnson
Riverside City College CB Tareke Lewis
California ATH Devin Lloyd
Snow College DT John Penisini
American Fork OL Michael Richardson
California OL Orlando Umana
Texas QB Jason Shelley


Highland DT Hunter Lotulelei
California QB Jack Tuttle

Twitter: @kylegoon






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