There was a simulation of the season due to the postponement of the season but now there is no need for a simulation because Mountain West football is back starting October 24! In light of the cancelled simulation, each week this series will give an in depth look at a different position group leading up to game week and what each position group needs to do for Utah State to have success.
This Week: Quarterbacks
This is probably the most intriguing position group for Utah State with the departure of Jordan Love, who was responsible for a lot of the production of the Utah State offense. Love completed his final season with the Aggies with 3,085 yards passing on 263 attempts but threw 17 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. Love really improved his draft stock in his junior year rather than his senior as he threw for 3,208 yards on 246 completions and had 28 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. In that season Love led the Aggies to a near upset win in East Lansing and only lost one other game throughout the season to Boise State as the Aggies finished the 2018 season 11-2, which was the Aggies strongest finish in a long time. The big question for Utah State going into the now confirmed season is who takes over for the production that Jordan Love produced? Luckily for the Aggies, there are some options.
Jason Shelley is a Junior and a transfer from the Utah Utes. Shelley did not see much playing time in 2019 as he only completed six passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. However in 2018, Shelley saw a lot more playing time due to injuries. He completed 71 passes for 860 yards and three touchdowns. While the numbers aren’t staggering, it is experience and that could be of great use for the Aggies as they don’t have much experience other than Shelley at quarterback.
Cooper Legas is a freshman but that doesn’t mean that he does not have the capability to start (Hank Bachmeir is a perfect example). Legas was a three star recruit per 247 sports and had offers from BYU, Navy, Air Force, Army and Arkansas. During his high school career, Legas threw for 9770 yards and 101 touchdowns to 26 interceptions. In his senior year, Legas threw for 4338 yards and 48 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. In his junior year, Legas had 4115 yards and 45 touchdowns to nine interceptions. The numbers show that Legas is very capable of playing the quarterback position and his development will be key to Utah State’s success.
Peasley only has five completions in limited playing time in his career and only had offers from Utah State and Portland State. In terms of where he might place on the roster, he will likely be behind Jason Shelley and Cooper Legas, where the competition will take place for starting quarterback. While Colombi was a highly rated recruit before transferring, Peasley was not as highly rated but will still have opportunities to play and make the most of his opportunities.
Calvin is a redshirt freshman and a three star recruit per 247 sports with offers from Utah State and Nevada. He had 3996 passing yards and 44 touchdowns to nine interceptions in three years of starting. This past season he had 1989 yards passing and 22 touchdowns to nine interceptions. These statistics are comparable to Cooper Legas, especially in terms of touchdowns since Legas threw for 48 touchdowns in his career and Calvin had 43, so Calvin may have the opportunity to make some noise in the competition for the vacant starting job.
The last quarterback Utah State has on roster (five total) is freshman Garret Larson. He is a walk on from the 2019 Utah State class and the potential of his contribution is unknown as the other three quarterbacks on roster that committed to Utah State had offers from Utah State. Larson put up good numbers as a senior in 2018, completing 160 of his 298 pass attempts for 1,877 yards 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He is currently on a two year LDS church mission and will join the team in 2021.
Well... Who starts?
I really think the starting job is going to be between Jason Shelley and Cooper Legas. This would have probably been a three quarterback competition if Henry Colombi had not transferred but it is likely a two man competition now. Legas put up some impressive numbers during his high school career and while it isn’t impossible to think that he could potentially win the starting job this year, the nod is going to likely going to go with experience and Jason Shelley. The reason for this is because Utah State cannot afford to start the season with big growing pains at quarterback. Shelley is the safe bet since he has two years of experience with Utah but if Shelley is struggling, don’t be surprised to see Cooper Legas get a chance to makes some plays.