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May 19, 2011

Utah safety staying home

The Utes have traditionally taken a handful of prospects in-state each year, with several more walking on as part of head coach Kyle Whittingham's overall recruiting strategy to stay competitive and relevant in the beehive state. Typically by this point in the season however, Utah has already landed promises from a couple of local products, so Whit and crew wasted no time in offering Alta defensive back Austin Lee earlier this week.

For Lee, the prospect of playing for the school of his dreams has always been tantalizingly close, but never materialized into a full blown offer, until now.

"They've been telling me to stay patient," admitted Lee, a 6-foot, 185-pound strong safety prospect.

They always told me they liked me and to stay patient, said the offer was right there and to keep working hard, and not to get too cocky."

This past Monday, Lee finally received the call he'd been waiting for.

"They called and said we think you're going to be happy," he said.

"They said that I had an offer, and I talked with my parents and called the coaches back and committed that night."

Making the decision to pull the trigger so quickly was almost a no-brainer for Lee, the lifelong Ute fan and son of Ute fan parents.

Said Lee, "My parents have always liked Utah, and so have I."

Expanding on his affinity for the program on the hill, Lee singled out the coaching staff as one of the biggest factors of his commitment.

"I've always wanted to play at Utah - I just felt like I needed to stay home and I really love their coaches. They're just very personal and outgoing with me, made me feel comfortable and just going up there makes me feel comfortable."

Up to this point, Utah and Utah State have offered Lee scholarships, and schools like BYU and other Pac-12 schools have been recruiting him as well.

None of those other schools matters to Lee at this point however, insisting that he is one hundred percent committed to Utah and will not waver.

To illustrate how highly the coaches at Utah think of the safety from Alta, one particular comparison to a former Ute has set the bar high for Lee.

"They've compared me to (Eric) Weddle a couple of times," he said.

Whatever the future holds for Lee, at least one thing is in stone in his mind; his future wearing the crimson and white.

"I'm one hundred percent committed. No school could come and persuade me."

Lee projects as a strong safety at Utah and plans on serving a two-year mission for his church before enrolling at the University of Utah.


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