ST. GEORGE – College football fans get pretty excited for National Letter of Intent Day, the day high school football players can officially put pen to paper and sign to play at the next level.
It’s a unique thing in southern Utah, however. Always a speculative day, many young players in our part of the state will take advantage of the now lower age qualifications for missions in the LDS Church and head on those missions immediately after high school.
Such is the case for some of the brightest stars from Region 9’s last season. Dixie’s Blake Barney, the classifications reigning MVP, as well as Desert Hills stars Ty Rutledge and Josh Anderson are among those young men who signed LOI’s today, but don’t plan on attending their schools of choice until the 2015 season.
In Barney’s case, Weber State is the school of choice, but an LDS mission is his first choice.
“I really loved the coaches and facilities and everything about my visit to Weber State,” Barney said. “I really look forward to playing there, but a mission is my first priority. My papers are already in and I’m pretty sure I’ll be leaving in June.”
Rutledge and Anderson both signed in a ceremony on the Desert Hills campus, committing to play at Southern Utah University.
“I really like where their program is headed,” Anderson said. “Plus the idea of playing with Ty and Mike (Needham, a 2012 DH graduate) is pretty cool.”
Rutledge, who led the Thunder to the Region 9 title as their elusive quarterback, also said he believes in what SUU is doing.
“I know this is the right place for me,” he said. “They want to use me all over the field, QB, slot, defensive back. My papers are ready to go and Josh and I plan on being on the field in 2015.”
Pine View also the signing of Cody Boyer, an offensive lineman who will join his brother, K.J., at Utah State University, and defensive linemen Wes Moeai and Wes Kauvaka, both of whom will head to Cedar City and SUU.
Pine View’s record-setting running back, Prentiss Miller, did not sign an LOI, but has expressed interest at walking on at the University of Utah as has Panthers defensive back Austin Gibbs.
Snow Canyon lineman Austin Best committed to Dixie State College today, while Hurricane has a couple of prospects in Sean Hafen and Adam Thompson, who have yet to commit.
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