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July 4, 2006
Fili fills up the top spot
Utah has produced several high quality players over the years and from early returns for the class of 2007, there is a good group of about 10 players that should be able to make nice contributions on the next level.
The leader in the Rivals.com Utah Top 10 is a definite impact player - monster defensive tackle Simi Fili of Salt Lake City Cottonwood.
Fili is the lone four-star player in the state and easily the best call for the No. 1 slot.
The 6-foot-2, 339-pounder has a powerful lower body, never gets knocked off the line of scrimmage and really gets a strong push up-field when the ball is snapped. He's definitely able to dominate at the point of attack and it's easy to see why teams like Oklahoma State, Arizona, BYU, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas Tech and Utah covet him.
Early on it looks like Oklahoma State might be the team to beat.
"I really like them a lot. I talked to coach Gundy and one thing I liked was that he said that 'You can go to any school in the country but here we're going to take care of you,' and I like that," Fili said after an unofficial visit to Stillwater, Okla., this summer.
Utah quarterback commitment Griffin Robles is the No. 2 player in the state. The 6-foot-4, 207-pounder committed to the Utes over a scholarship offer from Arizona and heavy interest from BYU, Cal, Colorado State and Oregon. He definitely impressed two weeks ago at the Elite 11 regional workout in Las Vegas and saw his stock go from a mid-three star to a high three-star prospect that's on the bubble of the four-star status.
Utah has another commitment in the top 10 - defensive end James Aiono (6-3, 255).
BYU has definitely done a nice job early on in its own backyard. The Cougars have three commitments from players in the top 10, including a pledge from the state's No. 3 player, Star Lotulelei.
Lotulelei is a monster prospect that's definitely worthy of the No. 3 slot and a three-star ranking. He turned down offers from Utah, UNLV and Weber State to commit, but if he had stayed on the market too much longer Pac 10 teams would have come calling. He's a strongside defensive end that's just as talented at stopping the run as he is rushing the quarterback.
BYU also has commitments in the top 10 from tight end Braden Brown at No. 4 and receiver Jordan Pendleton at No. 8. Brown is a three-star prospect, joining Robles and Lotulelei as the state's lone three-star prospects.