justice ena

Sky View defensive lineman Justice Ena (59) plays against Park City in the 4A state championship game in Nov. 2019 in Salt Lake City.

One of the best class of 2020 high school football players in Cache Valley will be staying close to home.

Sky View two-way standout lineman Justice Ena has verbally committed to Utah State’s football program. The senior offensive and defensive lineman was offered a scholarship by the Aggies last month and announced his commitment Tuesday on Twitter.

Ena is the son of current USU defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Justin Ena.

“It means a lot to me because all my uncles and my dad played D-I football, and I love the game and the physicality of it,” Ena said in an interview with The Herald Journal. “And playing at the FBS (level) is a dream that I have chased since I was little.”

Ena made a big impact in his lone season for the Bobcats, who went 13-1 in 2019 and capped off a 12-game winning streak with a 35-0 dismantling of Park City in the 4A state championship tilt. No. 59 sparkled on both sides of the ball, especially as an offensive linemen, where he was a first-team all-state selection. Ena, who was recruited to USU as an offensive guard, only allowed one sack all season long.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder helped anchor both sides of the line of scrimmage for Sky View in its first-ever state title run. The Bobcats were particularly dominant in their drubbing of the previously undefeated Miners in the championship game.

“Park City didn’t know what was coming at them that day,” Ena said. “It was the best feeling in the world to dominate in the trenches with my brothers, especially Hunter Larsen and Evan Hall.”

Thanks in large part to their offensive line, the Bobcats caught fire offensively late during the second half of the 2019 campaign. Sky View, which averaged 38.8 points an outing, was equally as dangerous running and passing the ball, especially in the playoffs.

Additionally, Ena was a key cog in one of the best defenses in Sky View history. The Bobcats finished with a program record six shutouts in ’19 and only allowed 10.7 points per game — 7.6 in five Region 11 contest. Ena recorded six-to-eight tackles in six games and finished the season with 62 tackles and 2.0 sacks.

What is arguably the biggest strength Ena will bring to USU?

“My athleticism I think is what I’ll bring to the Aggies,” he said.

Ena was seriously considering playing collegiately at Weber State “until Utah State came into the picture.” No. 59 also had a scholarship offer to another strong Big Sky Conference program in Eastern Washington.

Before his family moved to Cache Valley, Ena played his high school football at Clearfield. As a junior for the Falcons, Ena contributed with 29 tackles, including 4.0 for a loss, and 3.0 sacks in just six games.

Ena, who will undergo shoulder surgery Thursday, will serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling at Utah State. If it wasn’t for his surgery, Ena said he would play tennis this upcoming spring.

The senior is looking forward to the rare opportunity to compete at the same collegiate program his father coaches at.

“It will be fun, but it will also be an interesting experience,” Ena said.

Ena’s father is coming off his first season coaching at Utah State, but has 11 years of experience at the collegiate level — all in the Beehive State. Justin Ena has also coached at Utah (2015-19), Weber State (2014) and Southern Utah (2008-13).

Justin Ena was a three-time all-Mountain West linebacker as a player for BYU from 1998-01. He then spent four seasons playing in the NFL — three for the Philadelphia Eagles and one for the Tennessee Titans.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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