Welcome to the sixth post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today will look at the #6 team in our rankings, Utah State.
What a difference a year makes. After bringing up the rear last year in our rankings, Utah State makes the jump to sixth in the 2022 class. They recruited early and often and secured a nice blend of present and future talent. Something else that sticks out is over the past two classes is the Aggies do a great job recruiting locally. Also, Anderson continues to recruit through even possible means; high school talent, junior colleges, the transfer portal, and outgoing/returning missionaries. To see what the Aggies put together, read below.
- 33 players signed.
- 23 high school players, 2 JUCO players, 7 transfers, 1 returning missionary
- 16 offensive, 17 defensive
- 18 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
- Players with a composite rating over 85: 0
- Players with a composite rating over 82: 10
- Breakdown by state: 14 Utah, 3 Texas, 2 Nevada, 1 California, 1 Hawaii, 1 Idaho, 1 Oklahoma
- 247 Composite Rankings
- Overall: 80th
- Recruiting: 76th
- Transfer: 44th
QB Bishop Davenport
Bishop is one of the quarterbacks in this class. He is comfortable in an up-tempo offense and has a strong arm with an easy throwing motion. Davenport goes through his progressions and steps into his passes to make an accurate throw. He is very mobile as well, capable of tucking the ball and running to gain huge plays. Bishop looks like he will fit in very well in the Aggies offense.
QB Chase Tuatagaloa
Chase is another quarterback in this recruiting cycle for the Aggies. He is mobile in the backfield and goes a great job throwing on the run. Tuatagaloa has a big arm but is also very mobile, able to elude defenders and break away for positive yards. He keeps his eyes downfield which helps his decision-making when it comes to whether to run or pass. Chase’s potential and talent is apparent and now it’s a matter of developing it.
Transfer QB Levi Williams
Levi Williams was a top-rated QB coming out of high school and was a good get as a transfer. He appears extremely comfortable in the pocket going through his progressions and is confident in his arm and ability to make throws, even in tight windows. Williams makes strong accurate throws and can play out of shot-gun, in play-action and throw on the move. He can even take off and run it himself a bit when the situation arises. Levi instantly becomes one of the best and most experienced backup QBs in the conference.
RB Robert Briggs
Robert enters the fold as a running back. He is a powerful compact runner who is capable of finding another gear once he gets downfield and can run vertically Briggs is also able to line up as a receiver, which adds a new layer to the offense and makes him more difficult to guard. He is a patient runner who waits for plays to develop and shakes off tackles around the line of scrimmage. Robert will be a weapon for the Aggies down the line.
WR Malachi Keels
Malachi comes to the Aggies as a wide receiver after playing both ways in high school. He is supremely athletic and has the potential to turn every catch into an explosive play due to his ability to run after the catch. Keels does a great job high pointing the ball and is able to outleap defensive backs. He is also shifty and fast with the ball after a reception, outrunning other players with ease. Malachi appears to be an ideal fit for the Aggies offense thanks to his explosiveness.
WR Austin Okerwa
Austin is a tall, lengthy wide receiver in this class. He has serious elusiveness and a smooth change of direction after catching the ball in traffic. Okerwa’s long strides make it easy for him to outrun defenders and he is especially dangerous in the short and intermediate passing game. He can also turn on the jets and beat defensive backs on deep routes thanks to his straight-line speed. Austin has big-play potential and should develop well at Utah State.
JUCO WR Terrell Vaughn
Terrell is stepping into the team from the junior college ranks. He is a small and shifty back capable of turning short passes into huge gains as he picks up yards after the catch with little issue. Vaughn runs smooth routes and changes direction effortlessly, leaving defenders scrambling to catch up to him. He is also a weapon in the return game where he is a big-time threat with the ball in his hands. It’s easy to assume Terrell has a role instantly next fall in some capacity.
Transfer WR Xavier Williams
Xavier is a player with a lot of hype, transferring in from Alabama. He has a lot of potential as a deep threat, in large part due to his ability to gain separation on his routes and his success at 50/50 balls. Williams appears to have an extra gear after making the catch and is a threat to score every time he gets in the open field. He can also be a factor in the return game thanks to his vision to see holes and follow blocks. Xavier is clearly a talented player and if he can put it all together, he could be quite the dynamic player for the Aggies.
Transfer WR Brian Cobbs
Brian is another transfer wide receiver, this one coming in from Maryland. He is a dynamic player and has plus speed on every play. Cobbs outruns defenders easily, thanks to his speed and prolific route-running. He is a threat to score every time he touches the ball thanks to his vision on the field, superior speed, and resistance to being tackled. On film, Brian was head and shoulders above the competition but it remains to be seen how that will translate to his time at Utah State.
TE Kyle Baker
Kyle played all over the field in high school but will settle in at tight end for the Aggies. He is a huge target with a wide catch radius, making him an ideal target in the red zone. Baker is a physical player, whether blocking in the run game or bowling over defenders as he picks up momentum with the ball in his hands. He is versatile, being able to line up on the line, in the backfield, or out wide. Kyle looks like a well-rounded tight end who has the potential to be quite the play-maker in college.
OL Bryce Radford
Bryce is an in-state offensive lineman in this class. He is a towering figure who overpowers the other teams in his highlight films. Radford is at his best in pass protection where he can move with defenders and keep them at bay with his strength and technique, but he is a difference-maker in run-blocking as well. He moves well and is never hesitant to be physical and lay a hit on someone. Bryce looks like a great local product who has a bright future at Utah State.
OL James Aloisio
James is part of the Aggie effort to restock the offensive line. He displays good footwork and lateral movement as he sticks with rushers in pass protection. Aloisio is also utilized well pulling or rolling out and is mobile enough to block for run plays outside of the pocket. He drives players back with his lower body strength and can completely take defensive out of the equation with pancake blocks. James is versatile but looks like a good fit at a guard position in college.
OL Weylin Lapuaho
Weylin is a very talented offensive lineman the Aggies were able to secure. He has impressive straight-line speed, which aids him to get out in front of plays to block. Lapuaho can also push defenders back in the trenches with his strength, opening up holes for runners. He is agile and stout in pass protection, and very technically sound as he guards the QB's blindside. Weylin has enormous potential to be one of the best linemen in the conference.
OL Kauasi Hansen
Will be going on an LDS mission, part of 2024 class
Kauasi will have some time before he is part of the program, but he is still a talented player. He is an imposing figure on the offensive line and is no match for defenders with his strength and mobility as a blocker. Hansen is extremely agile, and that comes into play as he can swing around on a run play to get out in front as a lead blocker. He is just as effective in pass protection, where his stout footwork is most noticeable. Kausai can play anywhere but profiles best as a tackler moving forward.
OL Teague Andersen
Will be going on an LDS mission, part of 2024 class
Teague comes in as an o-line player. He is light on his feet and moves well laterally in pass protection. Andersen is a force in run-blocking, getting into proper position right after the snap and locks onto his blocks. He pulls well on run plays and has a developed understanding of what to do for each play. Teague looks like he can be a promising guard at the college level.
OL Sione Tavo Motuapuaka
Sione is an offensive lineman from Hawaii. He is a physical player who delivers menacing hits on defenders who attempt to get by him. Motuapuaka jumps out of his crouch after the snap and immediately gets into position to execute his assignment. He does a good job maintaining a low center of gravity while still being mobile. Sione looks to be versatile enough to play at multiple spots along the line but may do best on the interior.
JUCO DT Tavian Coleman
Tavian enters the fold for the Aggies from the junior college circuit. He has a high motor and pushes through blocks to get into the backfield and find a way to alter the play. Coleman sees plays develop well and can react accordingly, combining his mind with his physical ability. He is incredibly strong and attacks offenses with great force. Tavian could start or play a meaningful role right away next fall.
DL Adam Tomczyk
Adam will slot in on the defensive line. He is physically strong, able to push back blockers in order to get in the backfield. Tomczyk initiates contact after the snap to gain the advantage and flies past linemen to disrupt plays. He stays low when moving around and doesn’t overpursue on plays. Adam can play all over the defensive line at the next level and should succeed.
DE Paul Fitzgerald
Paul is coming in as a defensive end. He is a high-motor player who can generate a consistent pass rush for his team. Fitzgerald has a variety of pass-rushing moves which enables him to get in the backfield quickly. He sheds blocks quickly and is a sure tackler when wrapping up the quarterback. Paul has all the physical tools to be an effective pass-rusher in college.
DE Tom Turpin
Tom comes into the fold to play defensive end. He is ready to go from the moment the ball is snapped and will fight through every block in order to get to the ball and make a tackle. Turpin stays low and uses his leverage to fight off double teams and his strength allows him to get into the backfield. He is a sound tackler and stout in both stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. Tom projects to be the type of player who does his job consistently and puts up bigger numbers than one would realize.
DE Enoka Migao
Enoka is another defensive end in this Aggie class. He has a muscular frame but has great game speed to pair with it. Migao is at his best fiercely attacking the quarterback and puts forth a concentrated effort to get a hand on the ball carrier to disrupt the play. He sheds his blocks easily and takes good angles into the backfield. Enoka has lots of potential and if he continues to develop, he should be able to play up to that potential.
Transfer DE Daniel Grzesiak
Daniel is a transfer coming over from in-conference Nevada. He was primarily a backup over the past few seasons but was still able to create havoc in the backfield with tackles for loss and deflecting passes. Grzesiak pushes off blocks to get to the quarterback or running back and regularly blows up plays before they can develop. He explodes off the snap and plays with a high motor until the play is over. Daniel should carve out a roll right away for Utah State during his time with the team.
LB Maximus Maikui
Maximus comes to Utah State as a linebacker. He was athletic enough to play both ways in high school and his time as a quarterback should help him understand how to read plays more effectively on defense. Maikui covers ground quickly and commits to a play right away which gives him an advantage. He tackles soundly, especially in the open field. Maximus should be a contributor before too long, even if it’s making his mark on special teams initially.
LB Joshua Williams
Joshua is another linebacker in this class. He is an athletic player who excels in rushing and getting to the quarterback. Williams recognizes plays developing and finds the holes in the blocks in order to make a play. He can also hold his own in coverage, using his length and speed to keep up with tight ends. Joshua has all the tools to succeed at the college level.
LB Max Alford
Max is also coming in as a linebacker after primarily playing as a running back in high school. He possesses great vision on the field and changes direction smoothly when running. Alford is strong and not able easily pushed around or brought down by other players. He goes all-out once he commits to the play and is not afraid of contact. All of these attributes should help Max fully transition to the defensive side of the ball.
LB Ryker Lotulelei
Will be going on an LDS mission, part of 2024 class
Ryker is yet another local player the Aggies were able to secure. He diagnoses plays quickly and has great lateral speed. Lotulelei is in his element stopping the run with his powerful tackling ability but he can hold his own in coverage in the short passing game as well. He covers gaps quickly and possesses great closing speed. Ryker won’t join the team right away, but when he doesn't, he will be bringing a great deal of talent with him.
Transfer LB MJ Tafisi
MJ was a key signing by the Aggie staff as a transfer linebacker. He is an aggressive, high-motor player with excellent instincts on the field. Tafisi is equally skilled in rusher the passer, stopping the run, or dropping back into coverage thanks to his athleticism. He is a violent tackler who has the potential to make an impact on every single play. MJ should play immediately and be a key contributor next season.
Transfer LB Anthony Switzer
Anthony is transferring to Utah State from Arkansas. His tape shows a player who can roam all over the field to make plays. Switzer is a violent tackler who is equally skilled in defending the run and the pass. He is a player with a high football IQ and combines that with his athleticism to make an impact. Anthony should be able to see the field immediately next season.
DB Jett Soloman
Jett is a two-way player who is coming to play defensive back for Utah State. He has a knack for tracking the ball in the air thanks to his time as a wide receiver. Solomon also does a solid job in run support, stepping up into the box and delivering crushing hits on ball carriers. He has great vision on the field and is a threat to score with the ball in his hands. Jett is a nice athlete the Aggies were able to secure and it won’t be long before he is on the field in one way or another.
DB Jordan Drew
Jordan is an intriguing defensive back prospect in this class. He has long strides for someone his size and impressive speed, especially in the open field. Drew plays tight coverage and his athleticism allows him to make plays on the ball in nearly every situation. He is also a sound tackler when the opportunity arises and puts his entire body into his hits. Jordan is a nice prospect who has a chance to develop into a real talent in the Utah State backfield.
DB Saco Alofipo
Saco is yet another defensive back for the Aggies. He patrols the back of the field with his vision and speed, flying around to where the ball goes. Alofipo is an extremely physical player who possesses good instincts and excellent closing speed. He excels at tackling in the open field and can cover sideline to sideline as a deep safety. Saco is a player with all the physical tools to succeed in college.
DB Bronson Olevao
returning from an LDS mission
Bronson Olevao is yet another two-way athlete, doubling as a running back and safety in high school but will be a safety in college. He is the type of athlete who can an impact all over the field. Olevao is at his best when he’s responsible for large parts of the field and can run around to make a play. He can close in on a pass to deflect a pass or make an interception. Bronson can also deliver a tackle while running full speed and it won’t be long before he’s showing those talents over at Utah State.
Transfer DB Gurvan Hall
Gurvan is being brought in by the Aggies to play defensive back. He is a ballhawk down field, tracking the ball well in the air in order to make a play on the ball. Hall is a violent hitter, putting maximum force into his tackles to give receivers something to think about when trying to make a catch. He positions himself well pre-snap, making sure he is in the correct area to make a play on the ball. Gurvan looks like he can contribute immediately in the fall.
Team Writer’s Thoughts:
This is an interesting recruiting class for Utah State, who will try to defend their Mountain West title next season. The Aggies signed 33 players, and more importantly, they added to positions where depth was needed. Quarterback Bishop Davenport is a very good get, and the Aggies also add Adam Tomczyk and Paul Fitzgerald on the defensive line. Utah State also added quite a few players to their linebacker group, such as MJ Tafisi, a transfer out of Washington, Ryker Lotulelei, Joshua Williams, and Maximus Fonoti-Maikui. Depth was also added in the secondary, so Utah State looks to put up a stronger defense next year.
Mike: Motuapuaka, Lapuaho, Tomczyk
Graham: Motuapuaka, Tomczyk, Lapuaho, Drew, Davenport
Talented enough to play right away:
Mike: Motuapuaka, Lapuaho, Tomczyk, Drew
Graham: Motuapuaka, Lapuaho, Tomczyk, Cobbs, Williams
Mike: Radford, Alofipo
Graham: Robert Briggs, James Aloisiom, Tuatagaloa
Mike: Offensive Line, Defensive Back
Graham: Offensive line, Linebackers, Safeties
Utah State leaves no stone unturned when it comes to fulfilling its mission of compiling the best talent possible in this class. It’s safe to say the plan has been a successful one overall, at least on paper. The Aggies secured several talented high school players, especially on the offensive line, and some intriguing players scattered throughout the other positions. Also, they brought in several transfers who were former highly ranked recruits in their respective classes. It was a recipe for success last year, resulting in a conference championship. There is nothing wrong with continuing the formula until something forces it to be altered. This class should help out both next season and future seasons if all goes according to plan.
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