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2021 Recruiting Breakdown: Nevada

A class led by a star

NCAA Football: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl-Tulane at Nevada Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the fifth post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #5 team in our rankings, Nevada.

As usual, Nevada kept with their preference of putting the bulk of this class together early in the cycle. However, they saved their best signee for the very last day. While most of the class is made up of solid but not spectacular talent and balanced by transfers, the Wolf Pack secured the biggest recruiting star in the entire Mountain West. To read more about all of their signees, continue scrolling.

The Skinny:

  • 24 players signed.
  • 19 high school players, 1 JUCO player, 4 transfers
  • 11 offensive, 13 defensive
  • 18 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
  • Players with a composite rating over 85: 1
  • Players with a composite rating between 82-84: 6
  • Breakdown by state: 6 California, 5 Texas, 4 Washington, 2 Arizona, 2 Nevada, 2 Florida, 1 Colorado, 1 Ohio, 1 Utah
  • 85th in the 247 Composite Rankings

The Players:

QB Clay Millen

Clay is arguably the best recruit in the Mountain West, easily the best recruit coming to Nevada, and probably the best recruit in the Norvell era. He’s incredibly mobile in the pocket, making him difficult to tackle, and he can extend plays with his legs. Millen has a cannon for an arm, displays great touch on his deep passes, and is extremely accurate. He isn’t afraid to staying in the pocket and taking a hit, he steps into his throws and adjusts his passes based on need. Clay is talented enough to play right away and may see some time next year even though he will be backing up Carson Strong.

QB Drew Scolari

Drew comes to Nevada as a legacy but he has the skills to back up his name as well. He possesses a big arm with nice touch when throwing deep balls. Scolari can make a variety of passes and is great throwing on the run. He can scamper as well, dodging defenders and picking up yards with his legs. Drew has starting potential and can develop in the Nevada system.

RB Zion Burns

Zion is one of a few running backs coming into the fold. He is a hard runner who burst through the holes, reaching the second level quickly. Burns is at his best running north and south where he can reach full speed quickly and pick up big yardage. He has some shiftiness and cut ability, especially around the line of scrimmage where he dodges tackles. It is easy to see Zion finding a niche on offense sooner rather than later.

RB Ty Collins

Ty is a talented running back Nevada was able to secure. He has great vision and his ability to change direction sets him apart. Collins is a bit small but difficult to bring down and he isn’t afraid to get physical between the tackles. He is hard to bring down as he does a great job keeping his legs moving throughout the play. Ty brings max effort to the field, which will bode well for him in college.

RB Jacques Badolato-Birdsell

Jacques is another running back in this Nevada class. He fits the mold of the other running backs in this class; shifty around the line of scrimmage and able to kick it into another gear in the open field. Badolato-Birdsell does a fantastic job keeping his head up and being patient just for a second as he surveys the scene before hitting the hold hard. He can make some plays as a receiver and follows his blocks well. Jacques can produce on the field and is a good back coming into this class.

WR Dazure Paggett

Dazure has the big play ability to excel in the Wolf Pack air-raid system. He has great straight-line speed and if he gets behind the secondary, it’s a big play every time. Paggett can make a quick cut to gain a step on his man and he possesses reliable hands when catching a jump ball. He is at his best working the sideline but is almost just as dangerous over the middle of the field. Dazure will be a great fit in Nevada’s system and should put up big yards.

TE Carlton Brown III

Carlton brings great size into the class for the Wolf Pack. He is a favorite target in the redzone, where his height and leaping ability become a huge factor. Brown is a strong route-runner who is able to get open with his cuts and long strides. He is a big factor in the run game, taking out defenders and opening up holes. Carlton should develop into a matchup nightmare for the rest of the Mountain West.

OL Dominic Eldridge

Dominic is one of the best offensive lineman entering the Mountain West. He plays with a nastiness about him and specializes in pancaking defenders. Eldridge’s size and strength give him he advantage in pass protection, and he can move backward and sideways fluidly. He is aggressive in blocking for the run, getting the first step on defenders. Dominic should blossom into one of the better left tackles in the conference.

OL Andrew Madrigal

Andrew is another great offensive lineman Nevada was able to secure. He is formidable in pass-protection, displaying impressive agility and footwork for his size. Madrigal is the focal point of the line, as most plays run through him, even if he has to pull or swing to another side. He routinely blocks second level linebackers which allows plays to extend longer for more production. Andrew is a tackle that can develop into an all-conference type of lineman.

OL Lysander Moeolo

Lysander is another o-line player in this class. He has great size and uses his power to push defenders around in the run game. Moeolo is pretty mobile, which allows him to block into the second level, ideal for a run-blocker. He sticks to his blocks and knows his assignments. Ideally, Lysander is used as a guard who can serve as a lead blocker in the run-game.

OL Trevyn Heil

Trevyn played primarily in high school but he will be on offense for the Wolf Pack. His tape shows a number of traits and skills that can carry over to the other side of the ball. Heil is quick off the snap and relentless in making an impact play. He is athletic and mobile, with good footwork and proper hand placement. Trevyn will need time to learn the ins and outs of a new position at a higher level but figures to make an impact.

DE Dwight Togiola

Dwight is a two-way lineman coming to the defensive side of the ball in college. He has big production in high school thanks to high high-motor and tenacious pass-rushing. Togiola is just as effective in the run-game, plugging up the holes and hard hits. He uses his speed to get after quarterbacks and has active hands to secure the sack. Dwight is versatile on the line and his production should carry over to college.

DE Caleb Manson

Caleb is a defensive end with great size. He is a quick, rangy attacker when he rushes the quarterback, making good use of his length. Manson possesses a great speed rush, and beats his blocker with a fast move, getting to the quarterback in a hurry. Even if he doesn’t get a sack, he can block the passer’s vision with his long arms and active hands. Caleb will be a big problem for opposing offenses who can’t block him.

DE Jeremiah Bodwin

Jeremiah is one of the best players in this Nevada class. He is a strong, athletic pass-rusher who gets past blockers with ease. Bodwin is quick off the snap, too fast for offensive lineman and he pushes them aside on his way to sacking the quarterback. He is patient at the line and is sure not to overpursue and still be in position to make a play. Jeremiah should not have to wait too long before seeing the field and making an impact.

DE Dion Washington

Dion is another defensive end in this class. He has a strong build and power on the edge of the defense line. Washington is explosive off the one of scrimmage and is more than a match for blockers as he blows past them to get to the quarterback. He does a good job keeping contain in the run game, remaining low in his stance and taking good angles towards the ball. Dion has big potential in college if he keeps developing on his current track.

Transfer DE Chris Whittaker

Chris comes to Nevada after transferring from Kentucky. He stuffs up the run at the line of scrimmage, giving backs no lane to run. Whittaker is also a stout pass-rusher, his lean frame and long strides allowing him to be force. He has an array of pass moves and wraps up well on his tackles. Chris should be plugged into a role immediately and give Nevada some defensive line depth.

JUCO DE Chase Davis

Chase is a rarity in the 2021 recruiting world; a junior college player. He is still talented, however, and will bring his talent to the defensive line. Davis brings great size to the position and is still agile enough to make a move on blockers and into the backfield. He is adept at getting to the quarterback and disruptive the rhythm of the offense. Chase will bring immediate depth and ability to the Wolf Pack d-line.

LB Drue Watts

Drue played both ways in high school but is sticking at linebacker for Nevada. He plays hard and fast until the whistle, putting all of himself into his hits he makes at full speed. Watts is adept at stopping the run, flying in to fill the gaps and fluidly moving on the field. He diagnoses plays quickly and commits to his assignment right away. Drue brings quickness and athleticism to the MLB spot and is a good fit for the 3-3-5 defense.

DB Zachary Lewis

Zachary is a two-way player coming over to the defense for Nevada. He sees the field well and lets his athleticism take over to make plays. Lewis is a ball-hawk who flies around the field making big plays. He has great hands from his time as a wide receiver and that helps him match routes and change directions as well in coverage. Zachary seems best suited for a safety or hybrid role to best utilize his skill set.

DB Richard Toney

Richard comes to the Wolf Pack as a defensive back. He is a physical back who hits hard in the open field. Toney also isn’t afraid to disrupt receives in the process of their catch, breaking up passes consistently. He has nice size for his position, which helps him match up against bigger wide receivers. Richard fits the bill for the DBs Nevada likes to recruit and his talent will fit the scheme.

DB Aedan Seiuli

Aedan is part of the commitment to restocking the secondary for Nevada. He is fast, which serves him well in coverage, matching the speed of receivers and recovering from mistakes. Seiuli comes out of his backpedal well and displays solid vision playing zone coverage. He can make his mark as a returner as well, where he showcases his speed and quick-cut ability in the open field. Aedan will be given time to develop before seeing the field but that isn’t a knock on his potential or ability.

Transfer DB Isaiah Essissima

Isaiah is the first of three transfers in the secondary. He comes from Wake Forest and brings his talent along with him. Essissima excels in deep coverage, tracking the ball in the air and positioning himself well against receivers to make a play on the ball. He can also play press coverage at the line of scrimmage and knock people off their routes. Isaiah looks like he can find a role right away next season.

Transfer DB Miles Hayes

Miles is transferring into Nevada to provide depth to the secondary. He sees the field well and has great reaction time to step up and make a play. Hayes put his entire body into his tackles, whether it is in the run game or in pass defense. He can cover a lot of field with the ball in the air, coming in to disrupt the pass. Miles has the skills and now can prove it at a higher level of competition.

Transfer DB Bentlee Sanders

Bentlee is another transfer in this class, hailing from USF. Like other DB coming in, he can also make an impact as a returner in addition to his skills in the secondary. Sanders is shifty and speedy, which will allow him to cover receivers in the slot or running backs out of the backfield. He makes athletic plays on the ball and constantly seems to be around the action. Bentlee looks like he would fit best as a nickel corner in Nevada’s defense.

Team Writer Thoughts:

(Provided by Matt)

Quick Hits:


Mike: Millen, Eldridge, Bodwin

Matt: Millen, Eldridge, Bodwin

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Millen, Eldridge, Bodwin, Madrigal, Badolato-Birdsell

Matt: Millen (though Strong is starting for the foreseeable future), Eldridge, Bodwin, Sanders (transfer), Madrigal

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Togiola, Watts

Matt: Scolari, Collins

Best unit:

Mike: Quarterback, Offensive Line

Matt: Quarterback, Offensive Line, Defensive Backs


Nevada has found sustained recruiting success under Coach Norvell. While they won’t be confused with the top of the conference, they are able to secure individual commits that are among, or in this case, the best in the Mountain West. The majority of their class fits their system, and all are showing varying levels of talent and potential. In many ways, the Wolf Pack program has found its place in the conference, both on the field and on the recruiting trail. It’s a safe bet to think this class will further cement that place in the MWC.

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