Welcome to the third piece in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured, in order of where they fall in their current MWCConnection ranking. Today looks at Nevada.
3rd in the MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings
Nevada had an up and down, inconsistent year. They made a bowl game, so they were able to keep last year’s momentum going, but perhaps it felt a bit more hallow due to no step forward taken. Being in the same spot more or less for the second year in a row is never as fun as the first year. The Wolf Pack air-raid offense didn’t produce a ton of points. On the defensive side, they weren’t mistaken with a formidable unit (leading to the dismissal of three defensive coaches, including the coordinator).
They had a revolving door at quarterback this season and may still be looking for an answer there. They likely have young skill players on the depth chart, but their offense can always use more receivers, and they have yet to develop that true difference-maker. On defense, they can fill holes pretty much anywhere and everywhere, save for a spot in each unit. The secondary especially could use another round of new talent with a player or two that can compete for playing time right away.
The Road So Far:
For the second season in a row, Nevada secured about half of their class early on in the summer. They continue to make good use of the rule, allowing official visits in the spring/summer by getting players on campus and securing commits in June. This strategy allowed the Wolf Pack to have more commits than the rest of the conference for months as they beat out some of their conference mates for recruits simply by recruiting them earlier than other teams.
Like many teams in the Mountain West, Nevada did the bulk of their work recruiting the talent-rich state of California. Nine of their signees hail from that state, which contends a trend for how they’ve attacked the state over the years. The rest of their current class comes from a few different states, from the more common MWC states of Oregon and Washington, along with the non-traditional ones like Georgia and Nebraska.
On the offensive side of the ball, they restocked the offensive line by bringing in four commits at that position. Grant Starck, Frank Poso, and Jacob Gardner all have the size to be future key tackles, while RJ Taylor should find a home in the interior. A trio of skill players are also in the fold, with athletic Tory Horton and the talent early enrollee Isaac Jernagin at receiver spots and Avery Morrow as the bigger running back who has done well in their offensive system.
The defense was able to secure some size in the middle of the line by bringing in tackle Teivis Tuioti, who looks to be ready to plug up the middle in their 3-3-5 front. Jackson Lataimua adds some talent to their secondary, which requires upgrades. Then preferred walk-on long-snapper Nick Barcelos and scholarship punter Charlie Pollock were good finds to keep special team units running on all cylinders going forward.
Number who signed in December: 13
Number who will enroll early: 1
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: DL, DB, WR
Although it is a good rule of thumb to take at least one quarterback in every recruiting class, Nevada doesn’t necessarily need to do that this year. They have added Kaiden Bennett, a QB from the 2019 class, so he basically counts for this class. For an air-raid team, there is never such a thing as too many wide receivers to have in the program. Likewise, a group that was poor on defense this past season needs to improve quite a bit, and recruiting is a good step towards doing that.
Nevada should spend the dead period identifying the top remaining defensive backs and defensive ends and maybe a wide receiver to stick on the outside. Topping off this class with some nice defensive additions will get the ball rolling towards making improvements on the field next year. Likewise, taking a flier on a high-upside developmental project at wide-receiver could end up paying dividends in a year or two, and they can afford to use a spot for a gamble like that on offense. I usually knock teams for using junior college players too often. Still, the Wolf Pack could actually benefit from the right JUCO player or two on defense to give them immediate depth while other players develop behind them.
With only five spots remaining in this class, the Wolf Pack must be selective with their remaining scholarships to ensure they get the most out of their space. It’s not too hard to imagine them identifying 2-3 DBs, 1-2 DEs, and a WR before February. Nevada turned in a solid class last year, and this class compliments them well so far by adding some quality pieces to a team with young talent.
Previous posts: Boise State, Wyoming
Coming tomorrow: San Jose State