Power in the Trenches: Wildcats Land Big Hawaiian Guard Plus Arkansas Defensive Tackle for 2016

Arizona Sports News online

Photo: Scout.com

Arizona continues to have a fantastic month for their 2016 class. After holding their #OKG16 event at the Lowell-Stevens facility two weeks ago, the Wildcats received verbal commitments from Seven players.

On Monday night, they added yet another and quite possibly one of the most high profile prospects yet. 

The 6-3, 305 pound Michael Eletise is considered the number one offensive guard on the west coast and ranked 11th in the nation by Scout.com. He recently competed in The Opening 2015 Finals where he received very high praise.

In watching him on film playing left tackle last season for Kaiser High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, he has a great center of gravity, a great base, solid footwork and it looks like defensive lineman are charging into a wall when the ball is snapped.

As the reigning 2014 Pac-12 South Champions, the Wildcats look to be riding some momentum with this recruiting class after the success they had last season. But Eletise told KHON in Honolulu that their success last season was not the deciding factor.

“Not as much as you might think,” he said just after his live announcement on KHON. “It had to do with the coaches and how they talked to me and how the players interacted with the coaches. And everything just combined together.”

The state of Arizona is already home to one member of Michael’s family as his older sister Keilani lives in Phoenix attending Grand Canyon University. 

“Me and my sister are very close,” he mentioned. “She irritates me very much but at the end of the day, it would be nice to see my sister on the weekends, have her come to some of my games.”

Eletise chose the Wildcats over 40 reported offers which was narrowed down to five consisting of rival Arizona State, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Washington. He becomes the 14th commitment for Arizona’s 2016 class and the first offensive lineman. Scout.com has Eletise as a four-star prospect which makes it now three four-star’s for the the Wildcats in this class joining quarterback Devon Modster and quarterback/athlete Khalil Tate.

A little over 12 hours after the news of Eletise came down, the Wildcats landed a commitment from their 15th player for the class of 2016.

Utsey is a 6-4, 295 pound defensive tackle from Park View High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Arizona was his only offer and after also being in Tucson during #OKG16 a couple weeks ago, he decided not to let his recruitment play out any longer and made his pledge to the Wildcats.

Here are highlights from Utsey from last season:

In the film, Utsey shows a great burst off the line of scrimmage and what especially stands out is his athleticism to break away from offensive lineman and get into the offensive backfield. Arizona was very thin on the defensive line when Rich Rodriguez first took over as coach and with each passing year, the Wildcats have gotten better and better in that spot. 2016 might be the best batch of defensive lineman brought to the program during Coach Rod’s tenure.

Utsey joins Tucson Salpointe’s Justin Holt as well as Jabari Watson and Jake Burton from California as the Wildcats group of defensive lineman to this point for the 2016 class.