Now that all the signings are official and the classes are finalized, it’s time for a countless amount of hype and articles about your favorite team’s recruiting classes. It’s a fun time of year because teams have secured so much talent, and coaches, players, and fans dream of each one of them reaching their potential.
Our aim here at MWCConnection is to discuss how much talent and potential are entering the conference in this recruiting class. This will be accomplished through numerous different posts this month. Some of these posts will be team specific, and others will be looking more from the standpoint of the conference as a whole. Today is a snapshot of the top talent entering the Mountain West in this class. Here is our version of the top 10 players.
How did we come up with this list, you ask? Good question!
Jeremy, Zach, and myself (Mike) put our heads together and spent a few hours spread out over a week or two to arrive at the ten recruits we listed below. It’s important to remember there is no perfect formula for recruiting, but we considered a few different things. Of course, we leaned on the 247 recruiting site and the rankings they provided. This helped to narrow our focus substantially. Then, we considered offer lists, watched highlight films, and stated our cases for players. Other factors, such as position or level of competition also used to an extent, mainly coming into play in “tie-breaker” scenarios. What you see below is the result of that process.
It is crucial to keep in mind this isn’t a prediction on who will make the most significant impact or be the best players in four years. Instead, it is a statement of who are the best recruits entering the Mountain West as freshmen. Recruiting rankings should never be mistaken as an exact science, as each year, some highly-rated players don’t live up to their rating, and players entirely off the radar end up making a bit impact. However, the rankings end up getting it right more often than not.
As mentioned above, we released three teams. A first team, second team, and JUCO/Grad Transfer team. The first two teams are high school players only, where the third one gives college players their time to shine. A few other quick notes: We went with two WRs and a FLEX spot on offense. On defense, we went with a FLEX as well, along with the traditional four defensive linemen and four defensive backs rather than divide them into ends, tackles, corners, and safeties. This was done to promote the four best players at each unit.
QB Clay Millen (Nevada)
RB Jordan Hornbeak (Fresno State)
WR Eric McAllister (Boise State)
WR Deamikkio Nathan (UNLV)
FLEX Johnathon Arceneaux (Fresno State)
TE Matthew Lauter (Boise State)
OL Josh Simmons (San Diego State)
OL Mason Randolph (Boise State)
OL Dominic Eldrige (Nevada)
OL Anthony Rosas (UNLV)
OL Ross Maseuli (San Diego State)
DL Nick Dimitris (UNLV)
DL Julius Lewis (Fresno State)
DL James Wilborn (Boise State)
DL Ja’Quez Harvey (Fresno State)
LB Rejhan Tatum (Boise State)
LB Jai Jones (Boise State)
LB Marco Notarainni (Boise State)
FLEX Kamren Blanton (UNLV)
DB Nolan Avinger (San Diego State)
DB CJ Baskerville (San Diego State)
DB Jalen Williams (Fresno State)
DB Zion Washington (Boise State)
K Collyn Hopkins (San Diego State)
P Jackson Ray (Colorado State)
LS Anthony DeBerardino (Air Force)
QB Jaylen Henderson (Fresno State)
RB Jordon Vaughn (Wyoming)
WR Kaden Dudley (Boise State)
WR Keyonta Lanier (New Mexico)
TE Gus McGee (San Diego State)
FLEX Samuel Green (UNLV)
OL Joseph Amos (Boise State)
OL Braylen Nelson (Fresno State)
OL Andrew Madrigal (Nevada)
OL George Miki-Han (Colorado State)
OL Anton Ambuehl (UNLV)
DL Tyler Quinn (Colorado State)
DL Jeremiah Bodwin (Nevada)
DL Kevon Ivy (UNLV)
DL Brye Lighon (UNLV)
LB Byrun Parham (San Jose State)
LB Josh Bertholotte (Hawaii)
LB Zyrus Fiaseu (San Diego State)
FLEX New Zealand Williams (San Diego State)
DB Jaylen Lane (UNLV)
DB Lathan Adams (Colorado State)
DB Ty Marsh (Hawaii)
DB Cale Sanders (Fresno State)
K Jay Kartub (Air Force)
P Owen Konopacki (Air Force)
LS Mason Hutton (Boise State)
QB Jalen Maylen (San Diego State)
RB Jayvaun Wilson (UNLV)
WR Tyrell Shavers (San Diego State)
WR Ty Jones (Fresno State)
TE Caleb Phillips (Hawaii)
FLEX Jordan Wilmore (Fresno State)
OL Quazzel White (Utah State)
OL Maisen Knight (Utah State)
OL Vince Picozzi (Colorado State)
DL Zacchaeus McKinney (Hawaii)
DL Pita Tonga (Hawaii)
DL Mike Ciaffoni (Colorado State)
DL Christopher Whittaker (Nevada)
LB Bryron Vaughns (Utah State)
LB Patrick Joyner (Utah State)
LB Isaac Garcia (Fresno State)
FLEX Matthew Tago (San Jose State)
DB Kyle Mayberry (Utah State)
DB Bentlee Sanders (Nevada)
DB Mychal Victor (UNLV)
DB Linwood Crump (Colorado State)
Team Totals: (HS players listed only, first team in parentheses)
Boise State: 11 (8)
UNLV: 9 (4)
Fresno State: 8 (5)
San Diego State: 8 (5)
Nevada: 4 (2)
Colorado State: 4 (1)
Air Force: 3 (1)
Hawaii: 2 (0)
New Mexico: 1 (0)
San Jose State: 1 (0)
Wyoming: 1 (0)
Utah State: 0 (0)
Utah State: 5
Colorado State: 3
Fresno State: 3
San Diego State: 2
San Jose State: 1
- As shown above, the high school talent was basically recruited by four teams, Boise State, Fresno State, SDSU, and UNLV, then after a sharp drop off, Colorado State and Nevada securing some talented players as well. The remaining six teams did not recruit at the same rate as the others mentioned above.
- In fact, only 6 of the 12 teams signed a high school player with a composite rating of 85 or higher. 2 of those teams (Air Force and Hawaii) only signed one player with such a rating.
- This year, defensive back was by far the most challenging position to narrow down. As many as fifteen players were considered for the eight high school spots, and both of the FLEX spots went to DBs as well.
- Other deep positions in this class were quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and linebacker. There were tough calls with at least one deserving player having to be left off the teams.
- On the flip side, tight end and offensive line were relatively easier decisions or had smaller pools of players to chose from.
- With the JUCO/transfer team, running back and linebacker were by far the most talented positions. Players who would typically headline the list could not even crack the team.
- On the other side of things, offensive line, defensive back, and special teams were the thinnest spots.
Yesterday: Our top 10 MWC Recruit List
Coming Monday: In the MWC Recruiting Roundup, we release our final class of 2021 Team Rankings.
Your turn: Who do you agree with? Who got snubbed? Talk about it in the comments section.
Follow @Mike_SBN for all MWC recruiting news and updates. Jeremy Rodrigues and Zach Ballard also contributed extensively to this article.