Tyler Wegis of San Juan Hills High in San Juan Capistrano isn’t used to waiting around. The three-star defensive end prospect bursts from the line of scrimmage and screams off the edge, attacking quarterbacks and running backs. But he had to wait until after his senior season began for his recruitment to take off.
“At the start of the year, it was really slow,” Wegis said. “I think it was Week 3, Utah offered and then that was kind of the picking-up point of my recruiting and it just piled on from there and it got to like a peak in like this last month. Utah was the one that did all the digging and finding of me, and then once they offered me, obviously Utah’s a highly respected program, so other schools ended up hopping on.”
Wegis picked up double-digit scholarship opportunities in the month and a half after Utah offered him the chance to play college football. The early digging and a family environment the Utes showed during an unofficial visit to Salt Lake City proved crucial, though. Wegis committed to the Utes on Monday.
“They did an excellent job with the unofficial. They just made me feel like family,” he said. “My dad wanted me to keep doing this process of taking unofficials to find the right school and every unofficial visit we did, compared to Utah, it just wasn’t it. We were just like, ‘It’s time to hop on.’ It’s crazy and I’m just so blessed to be wanted by such a top-tier program. ”
Wegis never panicked when his recruitment didn’t take off early despite a solid junior campaign when he notched 6 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He watched last year as teammate Cade Albright had one scholarship offer before his senior season, but following a 19-sack, 33-tackle-for-loss season, was being pursued by a number of schools from the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences before signing with Brigham Young.
Wegis played primarily as a 170-pound defensive tackle with Albright outside.
“They just wanted to use me, so they put me at D-tackle,” Wegis said. “I was around 6-4, 6-5 at that time. It was just 600 pounds double teaming me all day and I’m at 170 trying to hold them off.”
He occasionally got to line up opposite of Albright as bookend defensive ends, but Wegis’ stock has really taken off this season after he moved outside permanently and added 40 pounds. Now measuring 6 feet 6, 210 pounds, he has been a nightmare for opposing offenses. He has 36 tackles for loss, including 10 1/2 sacks. He doesn’t have as many sacks as Albright, but has 10 more quarterback hurries with a highlight reel full of big hits just as quarterbacks release the ball.
And he’s only getting better and bigger. Wegis, 17, continues to grow, as a player and physically.
“Even though everyone’s losing weight [during the season], I’m still maintaining, but getting stronger, so I’d say I’m still in my growth spurt,” Wegis said. “Going to Utah and having a tremendous football program try to build my body, I feel like I’ll blow up real well. I know I’m most likely going to redshirt at Utah. I know they want to build my frame. So just buying into the program and doing the weights, the eating, anything they tell me to do.”
He’s hoping to follow the path of Utah senior Bradlee Anae, a former three-star prospect who has become an All-Pac-12 performer, All-American candidate and likely early round NFL draft selection.
“He’s an unbelievable player and a great defensive end,” Wegis said. “I look up to him. I want to fill that role because he’s leaving this year. The four-man front they offer, the way they talk about it, I feel like I’ll fit in great there. What they do to [develop] defensive linemen is impressive and I want to be a part of that.”