Over the past four weekends, the Mountain West Elite Camp in Salt Lake City, Utah provided a glimpse of the future wave of Utah football prospects. The class of 2016 and 2017 had a few standouts that really caught my eye.
The Top Prospects
Braxton Gunther- The 2016 safety out of Woods Cross High School put on a clinic, displaying technique that a lot of college defensive backs would be envious of. Gunther's footwork and hips are light years ahead of most football players in high school, and he is just a sophomore. While, the young safety isn't the most physically imposing DB, he is always in the right place and has a knack for making plays. There is a reason Gunther walked away with the Defensive MVP award, he is a clinician on the gridiron. If he grows another inch or two and adds the adequate strength, Gunther will be recruited at a high level.
Tayler Katoa- The 2017 quarterback/defensive end is already 6'2 210 lbs. Both of Katoa's parents were collegiate athletes and it looks like he is just tapping into his talent. He only played QB at M.W.E. and showed he has the ability to be a gunslinger. Katoa was completing a lot of difficult passes and showed good presence in the pocket. With freakish athleticism to go with an ideal frame, Katoa has a great chance to succeed at whatever position he decides to play. Katoa is young, but it is apparent that he has a ton of natural ability, to go along with a high IQ and fantastic frame. Look for Katoa to be an early offer kind of prospect.
Colton Durrant- The 2016 defensive tackle was an absolute force at the M.W.E. camp. He abused offensive linemen with power, finesse, and an unrelenting motor. Durrant used his hands very well and displayed a variety of moves to beat offensive linemen. If Durrant can pack on some mass over the next year, he will end up being one of the most heavily recruited prospects in the state of Utah. The M.W.E. defensive line coaches, Jeff Kaufusi and Jan Jorgensen raved about Durrant's aptitude to learn and willingness to get better. This kid was a beast at M.W.E. and walked home with the D Line MVP award.
Max Christensen- The 2016 defensive end is Colton Durrant's teammate at Sky View, this tandem is likely to give quarterbacks nightmares. Christensen is an athlete that has the ability to make offensive tackles look silly. The only thing missing is strength, but Christensen is working on that. Since his basketball season ending, he has already added 15 lbs of mass. The rising junior was the only defensive end to beat James Empey the entire camp. Christensen has some similarities to current Utah DE, Nate Orchard. Also worth noting that he led Sky View with 14 sacks as a sophomore.
Levani Damuni- The 2017 running back has an incredible skill-set for his age. Outside of Cole Casper and Lopini Katoa, there was no running back that could do what Damuni was doing out there. At 6'1 195, Damuni is an imposing freshman out of the backfield. Gliding around the field, Damuni makes everything look easy. The Mountain Crest back has the ability to be a good college prospect, and has the versatility to play a few positions on both sides of the ball.
Others To Watch
Jackson Kaufusi 2016 OLB Brighton HS
Caleb Taylor 2017 QB Layton HS
Kaden Hayward 2016 RB Herriman HS
Utah State held a Satellite camp at Juan Diego. There was some good talent there…