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2018 Recruiting Breakdown: Utah State

The Aggies secured lots of talent from Utah, how did fare for them in this class?

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

Utah State came in at #9 in the MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings. As can be seen below, they searched near (half of their class from in-state Utah) and far (9 other states from all across the country) to complete their class. Even though their class wouldn’t be considered a top class in the conference, there is more than enough talent coming in for coaches and fans to get excited about.

The Skinny:

  • 22 recruits signed
  • 10 offensive, 12 defensive
  • 8 players in this class were listed at 3-stars by either Rivals or 247.
  • Breakdown by state: 11 Utah, 3 California, 1 Texas, 1 Florida, 1 Hawaii, 1 Oklahoma, 1 Tennessee, 1 Washington, 1 Oregon, 1 Nevada

QB Will Dana

  • highlights
  • Dana is more of a pocket-passer quarterback recruit. He combines a strong arm capable of making many throws with great accuracy. He throws the deep ball relative ease and is also able to throw well on the run. Dana appears to have great knowledge and command of his offense, which should translate to the college game well.

QB Andrew Peasley

  • highlights
  • A big athlete with a strong who is also a big time runner, Peasley is going to make tons of plays with his legs going forward. He’s fast and incredibly shifty, able to escape pressure with little issues. Peasley is also a capable passer, able to make effective and accurate throws while on the run.

RB Darwin Thompson

  • highlights
  • Thompson is a solid between the tackles type of runner. He hits the hole quickly and gets to top speed right away, allowing him to get into space. Thompson appears especially hard to tackle, breaking them on regularity and often taking multiple defenders to bring him down.

WR Timothy Patrick Jr.

  • highlights
  • Patrick is quite the athlete combing out of high school. He was able to excel as a quarterback, defender, runner as well as a wide receiver, with the latter being his home in college. He’s also very fast, displaying track-like speed in his highlight video. Patrick will be a threat to simply outrun many defenders and could make an impact right away.

WR Deven Thompkins

  • highlights
  • Thompkins is shorter, quicker, shiftier wide receiver who does most of his damage in the slot. He excels at making defenders miss and can make big plays whether he is in space with a running start or else stopping on a dime and making a quick juke, Thompkins is another player who could see the field right away as he has added value as a returner.

OL Jacob South

  • highlights
  • South is yet another versatile player on the offensive line. He is a menacing blocker who routinely knocks defenders down or else drives them back into the second level of the defense. He simply has overpowered players at the high school level. South also displays a high IQ as he seemingly knows who and where to block on each play.

OL Andy Koch

  • highlights
  • Koch could possibly be the steal of the class. He played a lot of defensive end in high school but the Aggies will mold him as an offensive lineman, where his athleticism could shine there. He identifies and reacts to plays well, which will serve him well on offense as it did on defense. Koch has nice technique as a blocker.

JUCO OL Kyler Hack

  • highlights
  • Hack is a strong, experienced player. He should compete for a starting start and looks best suited to player tackle. He has great footwork, borderline exceptional considering how nimble he is for someone as big and strong as him. Hack gets in great position, beating the defender to the spot, and then uses his strength to overpower them on the block.

OL Wyatt Bowles

  • highlights
  • Bowles is a nice athlete for a lineman, who played on both sides of the trenches during high school. Similar to Koch, Utah State will keep him on the offensive side and develop him there. He will be tasked with putting on weight and if he can keep his mobility while adding strength, Bowles will have quite the upside.

OL Karter Shaw

  • highlights
  • Shaw has a lot of upside and should develop nicely along the offensive line. He’s versatile, able to play inside or outside. He uses his body well as a run blocker, opening up holes for his running backs. Shaw has a nice physical presence about his game, often seeking out multiple people to hit on a given play.

DL Seni Tuiaki

  • highlights
  • Tuiaki will serve a LDS mission before joining the team. He looks like he will fit nicely as a defensive end down the line, although he played on both sides of the ball in high school. He’s extremely aggressive and doesn’t give up on plays. Tuiaki is determined to do something on each snap that will benefit the team.

DL Johnson Hansen

  • highlights
  • Hansen will serve a LDS mission before joining the team. He displays great strength and looks great as an interior defensive lineman. He has really nice speed for someone of his size and doesn’t over-pursue players, which often allows him to be in a good position to make a play.

DL Hale Motu’apuaka

  • highlights
  • Hale should develop into a great nose tackle for the Aggies going forward. He’s quick off the snap and runs through blockers will relative ease. At times, he even breaks through double teams to get in to the backfield and stop the run. Hale will be an anchor on the defensive line down the line.

JUCO DL Fua Leilua

  • highlights
  • As a JUCO player, Leilua will be expected to play right away. He displays good quickness off the snap and uses his strength to push off blockers and get himself in a position to make plays. When he’s tackling, he wraps up on players very well to ensure they won’t break away. Leilua attacks quarterbacks relentlessly as an interior pass rusher.

LB Mitch Medina

  • highlights
  • Medina has the look of an old-school, touch middle linebacker who was built to stop the run. He’s not afraid to hit and he hits hard, but plays fast and is pretty mobile, even showcasing his ability to play in coverage. But Medina has good vision, constantly moving his eyes to read plays and movement, putting himself in great position.

LB Karene Reid

  • highlights
  • Reid will serve a LDS mission before joining the team. He’s another athlete, which the Aggies really loaded up on in this class. He moves around well when playing in zone coverage, able to handle underneath routes, stopping receivers from gaining many yards after the catch. He’s an aggressive when blitzing, using a speed rush to get around slower linemen.

LB Elijah Shelton

  • highlights
  • A multi-sport and multi-position athlete, Shelton should reach his full potential focusing on one position going forward. His athleticism is very apparent in his highlight film, as he makes plays on both sides of the ball. Shelton is at his best as a pass-rusher, but with his speed and fluid movements as a wide receiver, he should succeed in pass coverage as well.

LB Tipa Galea’i

  • highlights
  • Galea’i played defensive end and linebacker in high school, and figures to fall into place at Utah State as a rushing linebacker. Long and rangy, he gets into the backfield and puts relentless pressure on the quarterback. Galea’i beats linemen with his speed and quick cuts and seems to have a good plan of how he wants to attack blockers on each play.

CB Michael Anyanwu

  • highlights
  • Anyanwu is a great athlete who does good feet, which allows him to play well in coverage and get out of breaks smoothly. He’s able to play tight coverage while also making plays on the ball effectively. Anyanwu is quick and athletic enough to recover on plays nicely and should develop into a very solid cover corner.

DB Christian Nash

  • highlights
  • Versatile enough to play anywhere in the defensive secondary, Nash possesses great length that not every DB has. He reacts to plays well and puts himself in great position to be in the thick of the play and make a stop. Nash is a physical cover man and honing his skills and technique will make him a high upside type of player.

JUCO DB DJ Williams

  • highlights
  • Williams is one of the bigger gets in this class. He should play right away and could be plugged in either at cornerback or at the Aggies’ nickel position. He’s a very versatile player who is equally skilled playing against the run or the pass. In coverage, he’s physical and has the speed to be able to cover slot receivers. Against the run, he’s a bruising tackler. He’ll be playmaker on defense.

ATH Crew Wakley

  • highlights
  • Wakley will serve a LDS mission before joining the team. He’s listed as an athlete but the bulk of his high school highlights are at quarterback. He’s gifted in the read-option offense, with the legs to make big plays against defenses. Wakley is at his best on the run making plays and that trait will be able to translate to a variety of positions.

Headliner(s): Williams, Dana

Talented enough to play right away: Medina, Patrick, Thompkins, Williams

Sleeper Recruit(s): Koch, Shelton

Best unit: The Aggies were able to add talent and bodies along the Offensive Line in this class.

Summary:

The Aggies made great use of their in-state recruiting, hitting Utah better than anyone else in the conference. They also effectively use the LDS mission, which allows talented players to get older and have their bodies develop more over two years. The Aggies did a solid job building up both the offensive and defensive lines in this class, bringing in many athletic players on each side. There are also quite a few interesting skill players, particularly at wide receiver. It will be interesting to see how this class shapes up over the next few seasons.

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Up next week: Wyoming