Campus Tour Stop #3; University of Utah
After my stops at Nevada and Wyoming, I headed off to Utah. I had great visits at the previous 2 schools, a large part of that due to the fact that I knew some coaches on their staff prior to arriving there. I wasn’t sure what to expect at Utah, as I didn’t know a single coach on their staff and had never spoken to any of them before. I also hadn’t ever been to Salt Lake City before, but I kept an open mind and hoped this visit would be as good as the first 2.
Utah just joined the Pac 12 last year, and had an up and down season. In fairness to their program, they dealt with more injuries than most teams do in a season. Despite all of that, they still had a winning record and played in and won a bowl game. Since the turn of the new Millenium, Utah has had 2 undefeated seasons and played in numerous BCS games. It’s located in beautiful Salt Lake City, right at the base of the mountains. The campus itself is separated from downtown, so you really get the best of both worlds as far as having a campus life, but also having a major city located less than 10 minutes away. Salt Lake City has a population of over a million people, and the student enrollment at Utah is 31,000.
Only a few minutes into the Utah summer camp, I met Grant Duff. Grant is the LB coach at Utah and also the coach responsible for recruiting our NW kids. I could tell right away that he was a great guy, and I watched him for a few minutes coaching and it was very apparent he’s a great coach as well. At the lunch time break, Grant and I walked around and he showed me all of their athletic facilities. From the video that I shot, you’ll be able to see all of them. What stood out to me right away about Grant was the fact that he was willing to do this. We had both heard of each other before meeting, but he went above and beyond to show me around and talk me through everything about their program. Mind you he was right in the middle of their summer camp, and at a lunch break where most of the coaches went to their office to get in the shade and kick their feet up. During our walk and talk, he expressed to me his desire to really break into the market of kids in the Northwest. All of the kids he mentioned and talked about he was spot on, so I knew this was a guy who really had this recruiting thing figured out and someone for real to deal with. After our facility walk through he had to go back and coach the afternoon session of their camp.
At the conclusion of camp, Grant again met up with me and we drove/walked around the Utah campus. Again, you’ll be able to see all of the footage on our attached video. I was truly blown away with the breath taking views that students enjoy on campus. All of the buildings seemed brand new, and their were tons of open spaces with fields, benches, etc. that students had access to just to hang out between or after classes.
Overall I would give Utah a B+. They have been a consistently winning program for the last 2 decades, and now for our Northwest kids it’s even better because they joined the Pac 12. Their facilities are outstanding, and they have a lot of construction happening that when finished will give Utah some of the most modern, top of the line facilities not only in the Pac 12 but the entire country. The campus of Utah is beautiful, and the scenery is even better. I love the fact that the school is located in a place that student have their own college campus, but also have a big city and all the things that come with it located only minutes away. And the clincher to me is Grant Duff, the man on the Utah staff responsible for recruiting the Northwest region. He is a great guy and someone that I now consider a friend. He’s a great coach, great person, and the type that any parent should feel comfortable sending their kid out to knowing that they’ll be well taken care of. Grant even made the effort to get out to the Showcase Event at UW last weekend. He’s really making strides in this region and building a name for himself and the program of Utah. I recommend that any and all of you reach out to him and find the time in your schedule to get out there and visit Grant and the Utes program. If you have even half of the positive experience I did on my visit, you’ll be glad you went.