Welcome to the eleventh piece of 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 may have had one of the worst seasons in the Mountain West in 2020. Not only did they lose on the field, but they also fired their coach early in the season, and the team basically decided not to play their final game. To summarize, new coach Blake Anderson seemingly inherited a disaster, and expectations were low coming into 2021. Instead, all the Aggies did was take the conference and college football by storm, win eleven games, win the conference and their bowl game. To say the least, it was an extremely successful season.
Coach Anderson has left no stone unturned when it comes to recruiting at Utah State. He isn’t afraid to find players from high school, players coming or going on LDS missions, junior college players, or players from the transfer portal. He does the same in the 2022 class. Read about it below.
The Road So Far:
Utah State hit the recruiting trail early and often in this current cycle. They had roughly twenty players give verbal commitments before the start of the football season. And though not all stuck with the team or signed in December, it demonstrated the Aggies were taking recruiting seriously. They signed fourteen players at this point in time; six on offense and eight on defense. They heavily recruited their home state of Utah but also found players in Idaho, Texas, Hawaii, and California.
Looking at the offense, the Aggies are investing in quarterbacks, signing two high school players (Bishop Davenport and Chase Tuatagaloa) to come in and compete for future snaps. Robert Briggs is a small scat-back type of player who could potentially be used in a variety of ways on offense. The trio of Sione Tavo Motuapuaka, Weylin Lapuaho, and Teague Anderson goes a long way towards fortifying the offensive line for years to come. The OL appears to be the strength of the class at this point.
Defensively, Adam Tomczyk brings great size to the d-line. Linebacker was a significant area of focus for the Aggies in this class, with four players signed so far. Maximus Maikui, Max Alford, and Joshua Williams all come from the high school ranks and are joined by transfer and former top recruit MJ Tafisi. That position looks set up nicely for the present and future. Lastly, Paul Fitzgerald is an intriguing and versatile athlete, while transfer Anthony Switzer can step into an immediate role.
Number who signed in December: 14
Number who will enroll early: 6
247 Composite Rankings:
- Overall: 68th
- Recruiting: 69th
- Transfer: 25th
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: WR, DL, DB, TE
Utah State has been aggressive in their recruiting efforts and looks to continue that trend going into February. They have several verbal commitments who did not sign in December, so the class may not be small as it appears to be currently. Whether the Aggies sign those players or others, they will need to add at least a few more to their ranks.
Wide receiver is definitely an area of need, as the Aggies rely on players at that position to make their dynamic offense go. A tight end would be helpful if they can find one in this class, but at least two wide-outs appear to be necessary. On defense, hitting the trenches seems to be the priority. Finding a few players from high school and the transfer portal will round out the class nicely. Also, adding another player or two in the secondary could prove beneficial.
Expect the Aggies to hit the transfer portal hard between now and February. They are no strangers to adding transfers with college game experience to supplement their needs and fill holes. A few key players are moving on with NFL hopes, and replacing those players will be vital in this class if Utah State wants to defend their conference title.
Coming next: Wyoming