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The Recruiting Road So Far: Utah State

Taking a look at the Aggie’s December class.

Fresno State v Utah State Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Welcome to the eleventh 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 Utah State.

Utah State:

The 2020 season had its bumps and bruises for pretty much everyone, and Utah State was no exception. They dropped their first four games before a cancellation, and during that time, they fired their coach. Then came a bounce-back victory and another loss before forfeiting their last game as a protest. Perhaps no team wanted an end to the season more.

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:

The Aggies had a lot going against them in this class. They did not have many verbal commits to begin with, and then many players paused either when Gary Andersen was fired or when Blake Anderson was hired. Also, Anderson was hired so close to signing day that he hasn’t had a chance to meet the commits. Needless to say, all of this contributed to Utah State signing a very small class. Three of the five players returned from missions, and a fourth was a junior college player, leaving the lone high school signee.

One player was on offense, Seni Tuiaki, who plays offensive line. He played more on the defensive side of the ball in high school and may need to add some size still. However, he was one of the more talented players in the state of Utah in his original recruiting class.

The rest of the class is over on the defense. It contains JUCO product Aurion Peoples over at defensive tackle. He brings much-needed size and experience to the d-line. He’s joined there by Johnson Hansen, who is coming off a mission, and likely being brought in to get to the quarterback. Another returning missionary is Sione Moa. Moa was originally a wide receiver, but this time around was brought in as a linebacker. He is versatile and athletic and should be able to fit into a variety of defensive schemes. Finally, there is the high school defensive back, Isaac Larsen. Larsen is a cornerback coming from one of the better Utah programs and has the potential to only be better in college.

Number who signed in December: 5

Number who will enroll early: None were confirmed, but it’s often difficult to know with players returning from missions.

247 Composite rankings: 139

The Road Ahead:

Top Targets Remaining: QB, RB, WR, OL, TE, DL, LB, DB

Utah State signed only five players, which is the lowest among Mountain West schools. Circumstances were against them, but it was not the jolt the program needed coming off a disappointing season. Fortunately, there is still to put this class together. However, there is a lot of work left to do.

Looking ahead and there are more boxes left unchecked. The offensive still needs a quarterback, running back, a tight end, probably two offensive linemen, and at least two or three wide receivers. The defense may require less work, but it wouldn’t hurt to add another defensive lineman, at least one linebacker, and two or three additional defensive backs. They have space to add more players as well. Now it’s a matter of finding players. The Aggies do well in their home state, and that is a good place for the new coaching staff to start. USU will likely have to search all over the west to find and secure the best remaining players.

If Utah State can add another twelve players or so, mostly on offense and a handful of those being in-state recruits, then they can salvage the 2021 class before setting their sights on making a splash in 2022. It’s a large number of ifs, though. The coaching staff has their work cut out for them, and now all that’s left is to get it done.

Previous posts: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV

Coming tomorrow: Wyoming