X'avier Shepherd locked in after Utah trip

The first time wide receiver X'avier Shepherd (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) stepped onto the Utah campus, he pulled the trigger on a commitment. The second time -- this past weekend for his official visit -- he firmed up an already-firm pledge.

"I'm a strong commit to Utah," Shepherd said. "When I say I'm going to do something, I keep my word, especially if I firmly believe in it. This is something that I believe will be the best for me. I hope other recruits feel the same way I do, so we can get some more great players up there. But as for me, I'm loving Utah, and I'm strongly committed."

Shepherd had an opportunity to meet several players on the team he didn't get to meet on his last trip, and he had a chance to spend plenty of time with passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick. But the biggest thing he'll take from the trip was his experience during Utah's big win over California.

"It was just enticing," he said of the atmosphere inside the stadium. "You couldn't hear anything at all. You couldn't hear yourself think. The MUSS (Mighty Utah Student Section) is just amazing. Utah is in such a beautiful and loving town. The crowd was just ridiculous. It was a pretty cool experience."

During the game, Shepherd was able to watch wide receiver Reggie Dunn return two kickoffs for touchdowns for the Utes, which had special meaning for the Utah commitment.

"We grew up together, and he's like a big brother to me," Shepherd said of Dunn. "The coaches were telling me that they want me to fill his shoes, so I was pretty excited to hear that, especially after what he did last night. I'm looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to coming in there and bringing the same spark to the game that he does."

Shepherd also seems excited about bringing other playmakers along with him. He was joined this weekend by defensive end Joe Mathis (Upland, Calif./Upland) and outside linebacker Gabe Perez (Valencia, Calif./Valencia).

"I flew up here with Jojo Mathis, and we were together most of the time," Shepherd said. "When I got up here I got to meet up with Gabe Perez and some of the other recruits. I got a chance to talk to all of them, and they were telling me they loved the program, the coaching staff was amazing and the team was like a family."