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2018 Recruiting Breakdown: Nevada

How well did the Wolf Pack recruit for their scheme?

NCAA Football: UNLV at Nevada Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 class was an important one for all schools (obviously), but it was particularly important to Nevada. The Wolf Pack switched schemes both offensively and defensively under the new Jay Norvell regime. Due to this, it can often take a few years to get the right players for the scheme on the roster and ready enough to play. That being said, 2018 was key to begin that process and bring the right recruits in that fit their schemes. How did they do? Read below:

The Skinny:

  • 25 recruits signed
  • 15 offensive, 10 defense
  • A total of 13 players were listed as 3-stars by either Rivals or 247.
  • Breakdown by state: California 14, Nevada 3, Arizona 2, Florida 1, Hawaii 1, Ohio 1, Oklahoma 1, Oregon 1, Utah 1

QB Carson Strong

  • highlights
  • Strong is an extremely mobile quarterback who throws very well on the move. He is accurate with his passes, including deeper throws and is a very elusive runner. He goes through his progressions fairly quickly and seems to make decisions with confidence. Strong will fit very well into the air-raid offense as it will allow him to showcase his arm and he will also be able to extend plays with his legs and hit open receivers from outside the pocket.

RB Toa Taua

  • highlights
  • Taua has the look of a powerful, pound it between the tackles type of runner. And he is. However, he is much more as he possesses fantastic speed for a back of his build. Taua can cut and run past a defender but it just as likely to bull right through a defender. He has a nice one-cut move in the open field and his mind is on the end zone every play.

RB Devonte Lee

  • highlights
  • If Taua is thunder, than Lee is lightning. A much shorter back, he is still built well and has surprising speed given his sturdy build. Lee will perhaps bode well in an air-raid type of scheme as a running back as he doesn’t need to rely on many blockers, instead fighting for his yards on his own. He has great vision and elusiveness which allow him to pick up extra yards other backs can’t.

HB Crishaun Lappin

  • highlights
  • In a nod to the old school style of football, Lappin played full-back in high school. He will be set for a similar role as the H-back once he gets to college. He is a physical blocker who isn’t afraid to make hit after hit to pave the way for runners behind him. When he is running himself, Lappin is a solid, if not spectacular runner. He will be dependable for consistent yards on his touches.

WR Romeo Doubs

  • highlights
  • Doubs is as pure of an athlete as they come, with four different positions listed on his highlight film. His tape however, shows his most at quarterback, so it’s a bit difficult to gauge his ability as a WR. He is certainly fast and hard to tackle. He is a great runner who keeps his eyes up the field, allowing him to make quick cuts as well as take good angels to avoid defenders. As a defender, Romeo moves well and has fluid hip movement. His athleticism should translate well.

WR Charles Ross

  • highlights
  • Ross shows the potential to be dynamic at wide receiver. He appears like he can play outside or inside in the air-raid scheme, which will be heavily valued by the Wolf Pack. He is very fast and the sharp cuts he takes combined with that speed allow him to gain separation between himself and the defender on routes. Ross does especially well when executing double moves because defenders simply can’t keep up with him.

WR Cole Tuner

  • highlights
  • A wide-out with length, Turner will be a great fit as an outside receiver. He put up big numbers in high school and figures to continue that in college. What stands out in his tape are his productivity in corner fade routes, which Turner will win the majority of the time due to his height and well-timed jumps. He also has deceptively good speed, which is evidenced by the amount of times they ran screens for him on his film and can be seen in his yards after catch once he has some space in front of him.

TE Hayden Werbeckes

  • highlights
  • Hayden’s versatility was on display on his highlight film, showcasing his ability at defensive end, tight end, and special teams. No matter where he is lining up, he has a non-stop motor and is one of those players who is committed to making some kind of play every time he is on the field. Hayden will do all the little things right, which will translate into big differences over the course of a game.

TE Ryan Smith

  • highlights
  • Smith is huge, but at the same time fluid and mobile as a route runner. He will plug in well as the stretch tight end in the air-raid scheme. This is due to his ability to stretch the field and given how comfortable he is lining up off the line in more of a slot position. Smith is also an effective blocker, which will aid the big-play type of running backs they have in this class.

OL Jack Bolduc

  • highlights
  • Bolduc played predominately left tackle in high school and there should be no reason that he can’t stay there during his career with Nevada. He has a massive frame with plenty of room to pack of good weight. He stays low with good knee-bend in pass protection. He’s quick and tenacious going after defenders to block in the run game. All in all Bolduc looks like he could be a future all-conference type of lineman.

OL Trey Hamilton

  • highlights
  • Hamilton is a versatile offensive lineman who displays the ability to play both outside as well as on the interior. Like most linemen coming out of high school, he will definitely need to add weight to be able to compete against college defensive lineman but he certainly looks like he will be able to. Hamilton is a capable blocker who should have no problem paving the way for the backs in the run game.

OL Kevin Coblentz

  • highlights
  • Unlike the two players above, Coblentz is at college-ready size according to his listed weight. After watching his film, he mainly played on the left side of the line but could project better as a right tackle going forward. He has good technique and footwork when blocking in pass protection, moving backward quite fluidly for someone his size. And as a run blocker, Coblentz delivers punishing blocks to defenders who try to get by him.

OL Cole Watts

  • highlights
  • Watts has elite height at 6’8. Yes, 6 feet, 8 inches tall. He is another lineman who projects as a tackle at the next level, he simply overpowers many of the defenders at the high school level on his tape. Watts understands and executes his assignments quite well and he is always looking for someone to lay a block on during a play. Because he is able to handle players so easily at this level, Watts may need to tighten up his form and technique a bit in order to keep succeeding at the college level.

JUCO OL Moses Landis

  • highlights
  • Landis is a great pickup for a Wolf Pack team that can always use extra O-line players to rotate in to the mix come next fall. He is strong with solid footwork and blocking skills who plays quick off of the snap. Landis moves well laterally and understands his assignments on specific plays well, executing his assignment with technique as well as brute strength.

JUCO OL Jermaine Ledbetter

  • highlights
  • Like Landis above, Ledbetter will provide immediate depth, but will do so on the interior of the line as opposed to the exterior. Despite his massive size, he is very effective pulling out to be a lead blocker on runs outside of the pocket. On his highlight tape, Ledbetter makes key block after key block, showing that he is able to process how the play is developing as he is moving and pick up defenders to extend plays.

JUCO DL Kaleb Meder

  • highlights
  • An extremely versatile lineman, Meder looks capable of playing inside or outside on the defensive line. He may be at his best in a 3-technique type of spot. With great size and good speed, he can get past blockers using either trait. More so, Meder is athletic enough to drop back in to coverage in spurts, daring passers to throw his way as he can bat down a ball or make a play.

JUCO DL Tristan Nichols

  • highlights
  • One of the better pick ups in this class, Nichols should see the field right away next season. He’s extremely active along the line, getting off of blocks quickly and using a nice swim move to simply get by defenders mostly untouched. Nichols should fit well along the interior of their defensive line, bringing great size and experience at a great junior college.

JUCO DL Kevin Scott

  • highlights
  • Scott was a late, but great get for the Wolf Pack in this recruiting cycle. He is another player who comes from a great JUCO program. He has the look and abilities of a nose tackle, able to eat up multiple blockers to allow lanes for teammates to make plays. Strong and agile, Scott can get off his blocks by using his strength and the opponents momentum, pushing them out of the way and enabling him to get into the backfield.

JUCO DL Fanon Vines

  • highlights
  • Stop if this sounds familiar. Vines committed to Nevada late in the recruiting process, comes from a solid junior college program, and plays defensive line. He brings nice size along the edge of the defensive line, playing with high intensity on every play. Vines has a good nose for the ball and gives an all out effort on every tackle attempt, leading him to make plays other players may not.

LB Giovanni Miranda

  • highlights
  • Miranda is a great pickup at linebacker for Nevada. He’s mobile, possessing great sideline to sideline speed, and can still pack a powerful hit when making a tackle. He can be used as a blister or in coverage in addition to his run-stopping responsibilities. Miranda will bring a lot of energy and an even greater amount of talent to the Wolf Pack at his linebacker spot.

LB James Fotofili

  • highlights
  • Fotofili appears to be a highly instinctual player, according to his film. He is able to dissect plays quickly, giving him an advantage when it comes to making plays. Often, he is able to get a running start when blitzing or stopping the run, making him a formidable force for any blockers getting in his way; Fotofili is a high energy player who should make a number of plays for Nevada in the future.

S/LB Josiah Bradley

  • highlights
  • Bradley was announced by Nevada as a LB but he looks like he could be a perfect fit for the hybrid spot in their 3-3-5 scheme. A very physical player in the backfield, he is at his best on the move, either coming in to stop the run, playing over coverage to stop a dump off route, or using his speed to cover deep. Bradly has great speed and strength from his time as a running back and that combination will make him an ideal 5th DB.

DB Patrick Willis

  • highlights
  • Another box type of safety, Willis is great at stepping up and stopping the run. He appears extremely comfortable shooting through gaps as well as staying patient reading plays and figuring out where the runner is going. Willis plays with good instincts and will be a great asset in stopping the run going forward.

DB Jaden Dedman

  • highlights
  • Out of the DBs in this class, Dedman is more of the classic cover cornerback. He’s a hard-hitter who does well specifically playing soft coverage and then getting a running start to make a play. He is able to do this because he’s a good tackler in space. Dedman’s style is to play a physical, press-man type of coverage that suits his skills well and can cause stress for opposing receivers.

DB Emany Johnson

  • highlights
  • A really nice athlete, Johnson should make a big impact in the secondary for Nevada. He can play a number of positions on offense, defense, or special teams. He looks comfortable playing in the box as a safety, but could also hold his own in coverage out wide against WRs if he was playing cornerback. Johnson has good vision for finding the ball and plays sideline to sideline as a defender.

Headliner(s): Taua, Bradley

Talented enough to play right away: Taua, Bradley, Smith, Miranda

Sleeper Recruit(s): Turner

Best unit: They added a good group of DL players all ready to step in next fall, but the players in the secondary looks especially promising.

Summary:

Nevada had a big checklist to pull off in this class, and they pulled it off very well. They brought in lots of skill players who can fit well into their system going forward. Specifically, this class features a QB, RB, 3 WRs, a few DL players and 4 DBs, plus more, who will be a great fit into the air-raid offense and 3-3-5 defense. A few of the WRs and DBs should expect to see the field next year, as will the abundance of JUCO players they brought in to fill the ranks along both sides of the line. It takes a few years to get the program full of players who fit the system but the Wolf Pack made this class count as they moved closer to that goal.

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