Welcome to the eighth 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 Utah State.
8th in MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings.
The Rams had hoped the 2018 season was an aberration, but it ended up becoming a trend for 2019. They only won one game in their first six tries and that as against Western Illinois. In mid-October, it appeared they might have been reversing their fortunes as they got hot heading into the second half of the season. Three straight wins over New Mexico, Fresno State, and UNLV had people think they could pull an upset in one of their remaining games, but it was fools gold. They dropped their last three games, all against divisional opponents and tough teams in Air Force, Wyoming, and Boise State. When the season ended, so did the Mike Bobo era.
First and foremost, the Rams should attempt to find the quarterback of the new era in this class. They will need to replace two starters along the OL and could use additional depth at tight end, running back and maybe fullback (if their new offense employs it). Over on defense, that unit disappointed yet again, so any talent should be looked at. The defensive line may be the most significant need depth-wise, but they are also a bit young at linebacker. While the secondary is pretty good now, it’s a good idea to add to it when possible.
The Road So Far:
As mentioned above, the Rams put much of this class together in the week or two before signing day after enduring a coaching change. They focused on local talent (almost half of their class with four signees), which should pay off a bit now and hopefully more in the long-term. As for the other signees, two came from Texas, and then one each from California, Florida, and the more obscure Pennsylvania.
Four recruits are coming in to play offense. Two are slated as running backs, with the highly productive local talent Tanner Hollens and the more all-purpose back approach of Kyjuan Herndon, who could make quite the combo. Tight end Dylan Walker brings size and ability and could develop into quite the weapon. Also, lineman Brian Crespo is an imposing figure and has lots of potential at his spot.
The defense was the slightly bigger haul so far, with five on this side of the ball. James Mitchell, on the inside and Casey Irons on the outside, could form a talented tandem on the future Rams defensive line. Chase Wilson adds another local talent to the linebacker room, and they can take their time developing him. In the secondary, Henry Blackburn and Brandon Guzman are talented pieces that will likely develop into starters down the line.
Number who signed in December: 9
Number who will enroll early: 0
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: QB, OL, WR, LB, DL
There is still a lot of work to be done in this class, but it could have been much worse considering how messy recruiting can get when there is a coaching change. This class so far was about keeping as many recruits as possible (which they did reasonably well in) and then adding some local talent to add pieces and build in-state recruiting avenues for future classes (the first part was accomplished, the second part won’t be known for a few years). Now the new staff has to finish the job.
Colorado State still needs to pursue and add their quarterback of the new era. Finding the right player who will fit in their system will go a long way in recruiting and make other positions easier. Adding some talent to the OL room is still a pretty big need, and though depth is good, it’s not the best idea to ignore the WR position. Probably adding one more player at each of the positions on defensive would be helpful. Linebacker needs at least one if not two, and if the Rams are keeping their 4-3 base, then another defensive lineman would remain a need as well.
Again, this was a pretty good first step for the Rams, and there are quite a few more steps needed. It’s hard for a new coach to recruit on the fly in their first class, and things could be far worse. The key in any new class is to get the right recruits who buy into the culture and the coaches. Investing in local talent is also a step in the right direction. Now Colorado State needs to take the right steps between now and February.
Previous posts: Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada, San Jose State, Air Force, Fresno State, San Diego State
Coming tomorrow: Hawaii