Welcome to the third post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #3 team in our rankings, Nevada.
Nevada was one of the most improved teams on the field this past season and it was mirrored in recruiting. They didn’t have room for the biggest class but made it count, bringing in one of the deeper classes from top to bottom. Also, Nevada was at or near the top of our site recruiting rankings for most of the year. The Wolf Pack actually took advantage of the early official visit rule better than most other teams in the nation, which allowed them to secure verbal commitments from about half their class by mid-summer. Read more about their class below.
- 18 recruits signed
- 8 offensive, 10 defensive
- 12 players listed at 3-stars by one of the major recruiting sites.
- Breakdown by state: 11 California, 4 Texas, 3 Arizona, 1 Georgia
- 91st in the 247 Composite Rankings
QB Austin Kirksey
- Austin Kirksey looks like a great fit in Nevada’s air-raid offense. He has great size and has a cannon for an arm. The first thing that jumps out on film is he will be very comfortable in the Wolf Pack offense as he ran something similar in high school. Also, the film shows that Kirksey is capable of making quick reads and getting the ball out quickly. He can run if needed and can make reads in the RPO-game that is so common in today’s college game. Austin looks like a QB of the future and it’s just a matter of when, not if.
WR Melquan Stovall
- Melquan Stovall is a great fit in this offense. His size and speed make him ideal for an inside slot receiver and it’s easy to see how he can put up big numbers in this offense and become a a favorite target in years to come. Stovall is a good route-runner and can do damage in both short and longer routes. He is at his best getting the ball in stride where he can rack up yards after the catch running at full speed. Melquan could be a factor in the return game and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he found a role as soon as next season.
WR Justin Lockhart
- Justin Lockhart is another wide receiver who fits well in the offense that Nevada likes to run. He will slide in well as an outside receiver where he can make good use of his height and routes along the sidelines. Lockhart may be at his best on deeper routes, as his long strides allow him to gain separation easily and he is skilled at winning jump balls. In addition to this, he has good hands and sets up defenders well when running routes.
WR Jamaal Bell
- Jamaal Bell was a great get for Nevada when he announced on signing day. Bringing immense talent a skill set that can play at running back or slot receiver, he is versatile. Bell is at his best in the open space where his speed and quick change of direction stand out. That will suit him well as a returner and designed plays like screens or passes to the flat to get him the ball in space. Jamaal can be a productive player for the Wolf Pack from day one and once he adjusts to the college game, he will be an impact player for many years.
OL Zac Welch
- Zac Welch is a lineman with great size, which will suit him best at a tackle position going forward. He can pack on weight to his frame and will need to in order to continue to dominate going forward. Welch is quick to move when the ball is snapped and has quick feet, enabling him to get in the correct position to make his blocks in pass protection. He delivers punishing blocks in run support and is mobile enough to be used to pull. Zac should be a fixture on the offensive line for years once he works his way on to the field.
OL Blake Baughman
- Blake Baughman appears to be one of the more versatile lineman coming in to the Mountain West this year. He lines up on the inside and outside on his film, basically moving around to wherever he is most needed on that play. However, right tackle may be a good fit for him. Baughman moves well for his size and can get into the second level with his blocks on run plays. It’s easy to see how Blake could become a multi-year starter down the line for Nevada.
JUCO OL Trey Price
- Trey Price adds a plug and play athlete to the offensive line. He can come and play one of the tackle positions right away, which is important as the Wolf Pack have lots some quality OL players to the NFL and graduation the past two years. Perhaps Price’s best trait is his ability to finish blocks and plays to the whistle. He uses his strength to simply overpower defenders. Trey will serve a mentor for the younger players as well as someone who can bridge the gap as they develop.
TE Henry Ikahihifo
- Henry Ikahihifo is one of the best tight end signees in the MWC. In the air-raid, which employs a receiving tight end, he will be a big target who can be a dependable safety valve option as well as a big-play threat running down the seam in the middle of the field. Ikahihifo is athletic enough to line up both on and off the line as well as on the outside, and he can flat out move after the catch, which may catch defenders off guard at first. Henry is a complete receiving tight end and his film doesn’t show what kind of blocker he is, but if he’s good, then he’s actually a complete tight end.
DL Breylon Garcia
- Breylon Garcia is another high-motor defensive player on this list. He is an absolute terror at defensive end, using his athleticism and quickness to disrupt running backs and quarterbacks alike. His film shows he beats one-on-one coverages with ease and even shows the ability to make a play while fighting through double teams. Garcia has an advanced array of rush moves and lines up in multiple spots and rushes in multiple gaps, which points to a high football IQ to pair well with his natural athleticism. Breylon is a premium player at a premium position and will see a large number of snaps next season.
DE Logan Arnold
- Logan Arnold is someone on the defensive line who can line up anywhere. In the 3-3-5 defense Nevada he will be an end, but in a 4-3 he can play inside or outside. Arnold moves well and plays with a high-motor, and he’s definitely a player who shouldn’t be left blocked by merely one person. On film, he was simply strongly than those trying to block him and still athletic enough to out run blockers or play contain for run players. Logan should be a good fit for the Wolf Pack in their schemes.
DE Javasia Brunson
- Javasia Brunson is an athletic defender who can cause a lot of havoc in the backfield for quarterbacks. He uses his speed at defensive end when pass rushing and can identify plays and blocking schemes well in the run game. Brunson’s ability to play the run and the pass will allow him to be a complete three-down player at the end position for Nevada. It may be an uphill battle for Javasia to crack the rotation next season but he should be on the two-deep before too long in the program.
LB Jalen Williams
- Jalen Williams will a major athlete at linebacker for the Wolf Pack. He’s athletic enough that he was a skill player on offense and that speed will suit him well playing both man and zone coverage on defense. Williams is still physical enough to step in for run support and deliver big hits. While he may need some time to develop and fully commit to defense, he should be an impact player before it’s all said and done for Nevada.
LB Javanz Dornners
- Javanz Dornners is an athletic linebacker who has great game speed. He is skilled at stepping in to stop the run or blitzing off the side to get to the QB. Dornners is a sound and hard tackler who doesn’t give up on plays. He doesn’t have a ton of film in coverage but is able to drop back into a short zone as a MLB. Javanz but a defensive coordinator’s dream as he can line up in a few different spots and impact the play in many different ways.
DB Cam Stephens
- Cam Stephens is yet another athletic defensive back. When playing a 3-3-5 defense, DBs are a necessity and he will fit right in. Stephens covers a lot of ground in the secondary in zone coverage, where he can fly around over the field to step in a make a play. It’s apparent he studies film well because he shades over to where the play is going to be and he closes in the play with tremendous speed. Cam could fill a few of the five DB roles for Nevada, but his skill set may be best for the SAM/Nickel spot.
DB Kacee Williams
- Kacee Williams brings nice size to the corner back spot. He lets his length and height serve him well with jump balls, and uses his body well to get in good position to block off WRs. Williams does well playing soft coverage and closes well with his long strides to make a play on the ball. He’s an ideal fit to go up against the taller wide receivers in the conference and should be a multi-year contributor given his unique skill set.
DB Kieran Clark
- Kieran Clark is quite the athlete going off of his highlight film. He has the ability to impact a game both on defense as well as a returner. He speedy and can change directions better than much of the competition he was going up against, making him difficult to catch on a return or following an interception. Clark looks capable as a cornerback, where he covers extremely well thanks to his speed, allowing him to match receivers stride for stride.
DB Avery Carrington
- Avery Carrington looks great as a play-making high safety on film. He appears comfortable and fluid in his back-pedal and keeps his eyes constantly moving between the quarterback and the receivers. Carrington closes on the ball nicely and delivers physical and technical tackles. Overall, he has a knack for the ball and should develop into a ballhawk. Avery is a good bet to play sooner rather than later.
DB Jayce Godley
- Jayce Godley is a smart player to have in the secondary. On film, he diagnoses plays well and trust his instincts to put himself in to good position to make a play. Godley steps up in coverage well, usually against inside receivers, where he can make use of his speed and agility. He is probably at his best as a high safety he can double up on a receiver or else cover lots of ground to make a play anywhere. Jayce’s ability will put the secondary in good hands for years to come.
Team Writer Thoughts:
Isaiah Burrows: As Mike stated previously, the Pack lack a true headline recruit for the 2019 season, but they added some much-needed depth for 15 departed seniors. Nevada did a great job plugging some gaping holes on the offensive line, linebacker and a few key pieces in the secondary to fit their 3-3-5 scheme. The quarterback position is still up in the air with Cristian Solano, Kaymen Cureton and Griffin Dahn, but Austin Kirksey has the arm for the air-raid offense and may get his chance down the road. Overall, Nevada filled the necessary holes on both sides of the ball and several will be expected to contribute right away.
Mike: Breylon Garcia, Jamaal Bell, Henry Ikahihifo,
Isaiah: Breylon Garcia, Cam Stephens
Talented enough to play right away:
Mike: Garcia, Bell, Ikahihifo, Stovall, Stephens
Isaiah: Garcia, Stephens, Jalen Williams, Melquan Stovall
Mike: Javasia Brunson
Isaiah: Blake Baughman
Mike: Wide Receivers, Tight End
Isaiah: Defensive Back, Offensive Line
Again, Nevada was able to add quite a bit of talent as most positions because their class was so deep. They identified and recruited players early and it really paid off for them. There are lots of athletes in the secondary and the wide receiver group looks impressive. Even better, the players fit extremely well into their air-raid and 3-3-5 schemes. This class will likely allow them to continue building the program and more bowl victories.
Previous: Boise State, Colorado State
Tomorrow: Fresno State