Welcome to the tenth post 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 this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at UNLV.
The 2020 season had its bumps and bruises for pretty much everyone, and UNLV was no exception. The Rebels did not win a game all season, going 0-6 with two games deemed a no contest due to Covid. They struggled to find consistency on offense, especially at the quarterback position. They were in a few games, which counts for something in year one of a new coach, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
With eligibility rules being adjusted for Covid, it’s a bit difficult to know which players are staying or leaving. That makes it a bit harder to understand what specific needs are in the class. That being said, this class needed to shore up the depth in almost every area after the program experienced a high amount of attrition following the coaching change. To see how they’ve done so far, look below.
The Road So Far:
What a difference a year can make. After signing no commits last December, UNLV signed 18 commits in this class. And it wasn’t just quantity either; the Rebels have brought in a tremendous recruiting class thus far. They have hit California and Texas hard this year and showed their work in January of last year was no fluke. Under Arroyo, it’s safe to say they are one of the better-recruiting programs in the Mountain West.
On the offensive side of the ball, there is a lot of obvious talent in the class. Cameron Friel has a prototype build to play quarterback and may finally provide some stability at that position. Likewise, Samuel Green could see carries at running back as early as next year. Shaun Grayson is an athlete with great size for a tight end that will hopefully add another dynamic to their offense. The prize recruits on offense are dynamic wide receiver Deamikkio Nathan and offensive lineman Anthony Rosas, who is the highest-rated OL commit ever for the Rebels. Graham Keating and Anton Ambuehl rounded the offensive line, who both have massive size and project as tackles.
The Rebels defensive signees are also stacked with highly rated recruits. Nick Dimitrius is the star in this class, and along with Kevon Ivy, it continues the trend of UNLV being able to recruit pass-rushers. At the linebacker spot, they are planning for both the present and the future with Arizona transfer Kylan Wilborn and high schooler Marsel McDuffie, respectively. They loaded up on defensive backs with this class, led by Kam Blanton and Jaylen Lane. Johnathan Baldwin, Kilinahe Mendiola-Jensen, and Cameron Oliver are great pieces as well, and junior college player Mikey Victor will step into an immediate role. Also, this doesn’t even account for Brye Lighon, who is being taken as an athlete and is one of the top recruits in their class.
Number who signed in December: 18
Number who will enroll early: 1
247 Composite Rankings: 70
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: WR, DL LB
After the work they have done in the 2020 class and the work so far in the class of 2021, it is safe to call coach Arroyo and his assistants one of the top recruiting staff’s in the Mountain West. They have done the heavy-lifting through December and now only need to put the finishing touches on this class.
Although there aren’t many remaining needs, a wide receiver would one of them. The Rebels need all the help they can get on offense, and adding two more in this class would go a long way. On the other side of the ball, identifying recruits on the interior of the defensive line would fill out the class nicely. Lastly, UNLV was targeting another linebacker for the class, and either signing that player or finding another or the position makes sense.
If the Rebels can accomplish that, they will solidify one of the conference’s most talented classes.
Previous posts: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State
Coming tomorrow: Utah State