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The Recruiting Road So Far: Utah State

The secondary in this class is gearing up to be a good one. The other positions still need some life in them.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

This is part three of our twelve-part series to kick off the recruiting season. The aim of these articles are to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, what to expect come December 20th, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February.

Utah State: 10th in the MWConnection Recruiting Rankings

The drop hasn’t been pretty for the Aggies. 3 seasons ago, they were a 10-win team trying to build consistency onto the shifting sands of being a mid-major. After two disappointing seasons, they clawed back to a 6-6 finish. Unfortunately, those numbers don’t tell the full story. Those wins came against Idaho State, BYU, SJSU, Hawaii, and UNLV; teams with struggles of their own and only one or two can be considered at their level of competition this season. The positive is that 5 out of those 6 wins were done in decisive fashion, and they were paired with some close losses (Colorado State, Wyoming, Air Force).

The Aggies offense is classified as a spread concept, which is common for many teams today. One feature of that is the QB makes one quick read after the snap of where and who the ball will go to. Usually there are only two options and it depends on how one specific defender will react. A RPO (run-pass option) is a common example of this, and requires the QB to be athletic enough to make plays with his legs. Athleticism is preferred in the other skill positions too, as plays as often designed in the quick strike style to get the ball into player makers hands as quickly as possible.

Defensively, they appear to run a 3-4 base scheme. As was highlighted in the SJSU article yesterday, this calls for oversized players on the DL across the board, athletic and speedy players at LB (especially the OLB rush/coverage positions), and trust in the secondary to handle coverage while the front seven often focuses on pressuring the quarterback. It’s popular defense because it can disguise blitzes, which can come from a number of players, and if the right players are there, it can lend to versatility with the LBs blitzing, stopping the run, or dropping back in coverage. If the right players are there.

The Road So Far:

The Utah State class has been slowly coming together over the months. It is up to seven, which is about respectable for this time of year, but it is now time for the staff to kick things up a notch. They have done good work at the skill positions. Most notably they were able to secure a commitment from a top JUCO player, CB Jason Thomas. He also had an offer from Washington State and is expected to provide an immediate impact for them in the secondary next year, and a productive impact at that. Also at CB, Deven Thompkins is small at 5’7 but athletic and skilled for the position. Throw in Chris Nash at safety, who has nice size at 6’2 and they have the makings of a very good secondary.

Tim Patrick is an athlete who can play on either side of the ball. He is the kind of athlete needed either in the spread offensive scheme or could be valuable as a DB in that scheme. Newest commit Wyatt Bowles should develop into a great future OT. Who he will protect is the question as the Aggies have two QBs listed: Andrew Peasley and Crew Wakley.

Number Expected to Sign in December: 2-3 appear to be signing in the early time frame.

Number Expected to Enroll Early: 1 has been confirmed at this time.

Top Targets Remaining:

OL Anthony Pardue, LB Johnson Hansen, SDE Seni Tuiaki, OT Jacob South, OT Kyler Hack, WR Jarrell Anderson, WR Kalonji West, S Manase Time.

The Road Ahead:

With 18 outgoing seniors, it would be expected for the Aggies to take 18-20 in this class, always adding a few players assuming attrition in the spring or summer. That means they still need about two-thirds of their class. Unlike the two other teams who have been previewed, Utah State has very few linemen in this class. Some additional offensive weapons are needed too, as QB and one OL seem to be all they have in place, (although the ones they have appear to have solid potential). Some linebackers also seem to be a big need.

The best case scenario for the Aggie would of course be to get everything on their wish list before Christmas. Pardue is a hot name in the MWC so getting him would be a priority. Anderson is HUGE at a listed 6’4, 240 lbs. He may be more of a TE, but either way, he would be a great weapon to pair. Identifying (and securing) a RB is also a main priority. Tuiaki, South, and Hack would also build up their line and Hansen would be a great get at LB to improve their defense.

If they Aggies can add even two or three names on this list before December 20th, it would be a big win for them. Utah is a fertile recruiting area and any in-state talent that can get is a major boost for a program that is in need of one going forward. Coach Wells and his staff are putting in the work and have already begun to reap a few benefits with their current verbal pledges.

Up Tomorrow: Air Force

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