Utah played for its 3rd Pac-12 championship in 4 seasons just a few weekends ago. After coming up short in 2018 to Washington and again in 2019 to Oregon, the Utes stomped the Ducks in Vegas 38-10 to win their 1st league title.

But the Utes have been knocking on the door for some time. With a 10-win season already secured before a Rose Bowl meeting with Ohio State, Utah has now won at least 9 games in 6 of its last 7 full seasons (3-2 in 2020) and has reached double-digit wins for the 3rd time since joining the Pac-12.

Though head coach Kyle Whittingham has the Utes playing at a high level year in and year out, this Pac-12 title was huge for the profile of the program.

It opened doors only a title could open.

“Our brand is starting to become more well-known, and it gets us in the door of virtually any athlete that we want to recruit,” Whittingham said during an appearance on the Pac-12 Network Wednesday, per Jon Wilner. “We’ll get in the door and be able to give them our pitch.

“We had, before we won the championship, 6 or 7 (recruits) on the fence that really had not made a decision yet. And I think we got every one of them. Every one of them that was on the fence and deliberating has jumped in the boat. A lot of it’s due to our success. The best thing you can do to boost recruiting is win games.”

By the time the sun had set on the opening day of the Early Signing Period, the Utes sat inside the top 40 for 247Sports’ team rankings. Already Utah has signed a 4-star linebacker and a 4-star quarterback.