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Of all Utah's commitments in this class, the latest has the chance to have the biggest impact on the 2016 season.

Utah received a verbal pledge Tuesday from Santa Monica College quarterback Troy Williams, who played at Washington before opting to play junior college and will have two seasons remaining.

Utah has long had its eye on Williams. His uncle's cousin is former Ute and current Baltimore Ravens wideout Steve Smith, who likewise came to the U. from Santa Monica, and Williams has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,582 yards, 15 touchdowns and just four interceptions while rushing 29 times for 133 yards and six touchdowns this season.

Last week, in a 61-36 win over L.A. Harbor, Williams passed for four touchdowns and rushed for three.

He plans to enroll in spring and will theoretically battle current redshirt freshman No. 3 Chase Hansen, sophomores Brandon Cox and Conner Manning and incoming freshman Tyler Huntley for the starting job next season.

Timpview's Kahi Neves may also get a shot at quarterback, though he might also end up at linebacker or defensive end. Utah generally likes to carry between four and five quarterbacks.

"I understand nothing is guaranteed anywhere, especially in the Pac-12," Williams told The Tribune on Tuesday afternoon. "I know I'm going to have to work."

Williams said he "just felt like I wasn't getting a fair opportunity to showcase my skills" at Washington, where he was unable to unseat Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles in 2014 while finishing the 2014 season with 176 passing yards, two interceptions and a rushing touchdown.

He considers himself more of a pocket passer than a dual-threat quarterback, even though he was once rated as the nation's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback by Rivals.

And his current head coach agrees.

"I think he's a thrower who has escapability," said Santa Monica's Gifford Lindheim, "but he's a thrower first."

The Harbor City, Calif., native was recruited originally by now-former USC coach Steve Sarkisian and first connected with Utah assistant director of player personnel Pablo Cano early this year while visiting his old coaches at Narbonne High. Cano was checking in on another player and told Williams that Utah had a strong interest.

Williams then made contact with co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick and cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah, and he also received a visit this spring from running backs coach Dennis Erickson.

It didn't hurt to know that Utah is the nation's No. 3 team, or that he'll be surrounded in Salt Lake City by some familiar faces in Los Angeles products Dominique Hatfield, Cory Butler-Byrd and Delshawn McClellon. Hatfield attended Narbonne with Williams as a freshman, before transferring to Crenshaw, and "he hasn't had anything but good things to say" about Utah, Williams said.

Lindheim said Utah fans will most appreciate Williams' competitiveness.

"A tremendous leader, and high-character," he said. "He's a winner and takes the game very seriously."

Here is a full list of committed players that The Tribune has reported on.



— Matthew Piper

Twitter: @matthew_piper