Sting Factor: The elimination of Utah’s Randon Fontenette

When a major program loses a key player, Rivals.com looks at how big of a blow it is to the school in question and breaks it down locally and nationally. To measure the “sting” of each execution, we assign a score from one to 10, where one is no problem and 10 is a terrifying blow.

THE STORYTELLER

Randon Fontenette joined Utah in July and it was a big recruiting win for the Utes as they dipped into Texas for a four-star prospect. His promise continued a long line of talented players in the minors heading to Salt Lake City.

But in recent days, the Freeport (Texas) Brazosport standout backtracked on his pledge to the Utes as TCU and Vanderbilt have now emerged as serious contenders for his recruitment.

Defensive back recruiting certainly isn’t a problem for Utah, and after the Utes landed a pledge from Kahuku, Hawaii three-star safety Brock Fonoimoana in August, there were some rumblings that Fontenette might be looking at other options.

It certainly hasn’t hurt TCU’s chances with the prospect that it’s been playing so well this season, and some signs point to the Horned Frogs being the primary player for the four-star prospect.

Now back on the market, Fontenette has heard from Oklahoma, Texas and Notre Dame so there is clearly a lot of interest in him.

*****

LOCAL RESPONSE

Cutting Fontenette hurts Utah because they told him he was the only safety they would take. He took it seriously enough that when Utah received a commitment from Brock Fonoimoana — who is expected to serve an LDS mission first — Fontenette asked the Utah staff.

The reality is that Utah beats out safeties on a yearly basis Morgan Scalley. Utah is also safe for at least one to three years. The waiver was 100 percent Fontenette’s decision. Fontenette should go on to a successful college career, but Utah won’t miss a beat at the safety spot. He’ll be another team’s gain, not Utah’s loss — though Utah would love to have him. – Alex Markham, UteNation.com

sting factor: 6

*****

NATIONAL REACTION

Fontenette would have been welcomed with open arms by Utah because he’s really talented, he’s got range and athleticism, and he’d fit in really well with the Utes. Plus, recruiting Texas is always a critical factor in success, and this would have been a major coup for Utah’s staff.

But the Utes will live. With TCU, Texas, Oklahoma and others more involved, it’s no surprise the Freeport (Texas) Brazosport standout is looking elsewhere. Utah will be loaded in the playoffs because of the coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff does a phenomenal job of managing their roster so while Fontenette would have been a great piece of the recruiting puzzle, the Utes will be just fine. – Adam Gorney, National Recruitment Manager

sting factor: 5

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