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SALT LAKE CITY — By the time the NFL Draft wraps up this weekend, the Utes could potentially have another couple of players playing on Sundays.
Utah has talked about how important recruiting is, but how about developing players and getting them to the next level? Utah has recently been very successful, especially at the cornerback position, at getting players drafted into the NFL.
"Obviously our number one objective as coaches here at the University of Utah is to make sure our players leave with a degree in hand. That is the primary reason these athletes come to college and we never lose sight of that," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said.
"In addition, we have a responsibility to develop these young men to their maximum potential on the field as well."
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I think there are a few factors that have helped players get drafted. Reason one has to be playing in high profile games. The NFL knows that you don't get into these games without the players. Utah has certainly had the players the past few seasons. This last decade is when the Utes' program really started with the upward trend. Utah always had a few guys that were good enough to get to the league, i.e. Jordan Gross, Steve Smith, Luther Ellis, but it has recently been more successful at doing so.
"For many years now our assistant coaches have done a great job of identifying players that have the athletic potential to succeed at the Division 1 level and beyond and recruiting them to our program," Whittingham continued.
"As coaches we go to great lengths to develop that potential and we think the number of players that we have on NFL rosters is a good indicator of the job our coaches are doing in reaching that objective."
For many years now our assistant coaches have done a great job of identifying players that have the athletic potential to succeed at the Division 1 level and beyond and recruiting them to our program. As coaches we go to great lengths to develop that potential and we think the number of players that we have on NFL rosters is a good indicator of the job our coaches are doing in reaching that objective.
–Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham
The Utes play an NFL style of defense which helps immensely, but the part of that defense in particular is the man-to-man principles that the cornerbacks play. Utah has its DBs on an island. It is this reason that guys like Eric Weddle, Sean Smith, R.J. Stanford, Brandon Burton, and Brice McCain are in the league having some success. It is that reason as well that Conroy Black hopes to be the next defensive back out of Utah to get drafted this year.
The fact that Utah is getting players drafted in the NFL has to absolutely be a huge selling point in recruiting. In recruiting you look for every advantage and this has to be included.
In a conference that is known for its quarterbacks and offenses, it has to be nice to go into homes of defensive players and show them the NFL pedigree from the past decade.
Utah is a defensive team in an conference loaded with offenses. The Utes have to sell that niche.
Utah draft picks over the last decade
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