Welcome to the seventh post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today will look at the #7 team in our rankings, UNLV.
Coach Arroyo and his staff have shown how well they can recruit during the 2020 and 2021 recruiting cycles. However, those efforts took a step back for the class of 2022. That is not to say they did not secure talent. In fact, the top of their class contains three or four players who have the potential to be difference-makers going forward. Another factor to consider is they also relied more heavily on transfers and junior college players than they have in the past. While this may and likely will help them plug holes, it is also a change from their previous strategy. To examine the ins and outs of this class, read further below.
- 17 players signed.
- 6 high school players, 5 JUCO players, 6 transfers
- 9 offensive, 8 defensive
- 9 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
- Players with a composite rating over 85: 3
- Players with a composite rating over 82: 8
- Breakdown by state: 4 California, 2 Nevada, 2 Texas, 1 Arizona, 1 Colorado, 1 Washington
- 247 Composite Rankings
- Overall: 101st
- Recruiting: 100th
- Transfer: 83rd
QB Jayden Maiava
Jayden is a big-time quarterback recruit the Rebels were able to secure in this class. He’s very comfortable throwing on the move and is great in the play-action game. Maiava is poised in the pocket and makes good decision on when to tuck it and run. He’s an accurate passer and does a nice job keeping his eyes up field even when scrambling. It’s easy to see why the Rebels envision Jayden as their quarterback of the future.
Transfer QB Harrison Bailey
Harrison is a quarterback transferring in from the SEC. He possesses an easy throwing motion that leads to a subtly strong arm. Bailey does a great job going through his progression with time in the pocket and makes smart decisions during plays. He also has the ability to tuck the ball and run when the play dictates it. Harrison is talented enough to play right away if he can win the QB competition.
WR Randy Masters
Randy is a dynamic wide receiver in this 2022 class. He is elusive in the open field and has great hands as well. Masters does a great job gaining separation off his initial releases and instantly gains a step or two on defenders before the catch. He is electric with the ball in his hands, making an impact in the return game as well. Randy appears to be every bit the playmaker the Rebel offense is in desperate need of.
JUCO WR Jeffrey Weimer
Jeffrey comes in after playing at the junior college level. He has a great combination of size and speed, which allows him to beat defenses in a variety of ways. Weimer is a precise route-runner who makes catches look easy as he tracks balls down in the short and long passing game. He excels after the catch, routinely outrunning defenders and piling up the yards after the catch. Jeffrey should find a role in the offense come next fall.
Transfer WR Ricky White III
Ricky is coming to UNLV after spending time at Michigan State. He is dynamic in the open field and difficult to tackle due to his elusiveness. White gains instant separation at the line of scrimmage with his easy change of direction and becomes open almost immediately. He is a smooth route-runner with solid hands, especially when making catches in traffic. Ricky could play immediately as a slot receiver next fall.
Transfer WR Senika Mckie
Senika is another wide receiver transfer in this Rebel class. He primarily lines up on the outside where he creates matchup issues due to his length. Mckie is at his best catching the ball in stride on his routes where he reaches top speed and can blow past defenders after the catch for big gains. He has great straight-line speed and appears to change direction effortlessly. Senika has the potential to be a big-play type of receiver if he gets the opportunity to play.
OL Noah McKinney
Noah was a coveted in-state recruit who the Rebels were able to hold on to. He does a noticeably good job driving defenders backward, getting them on their heels and winning his matchups. McKinney is also quick and fluid in pass-protection, smoothly moving into position to keep the defender in front of him and block at a good angle. He is physical and routinely pancakes defensive linemen on film. Noah looks like he has the potential to stick at left tackle during his college career.
Transfer OL Cobe Bryant
Cobe comes into the Rebels with hopes of making an impact right away. He is physical at the point of contact and moves into position immediately after the snap. Bryant is agile and moves the line of scrimmage by using his strength when blocking. He is versatile, capable of playing either tackle or guard. Cobe should compete for a starting spot right away.
Transfer OL Preston Nichols
Preston comes in from the College of Charleston. He is an athletic lineman who moves around the line of scrimmage quickly and smoothly. Nichols moves well laterally and forcefully blocks defenders into the ground with his hits. He has a lean frame with the ability to pack on more weight once he gets on campus. Preston may be off the grid a bit but he could end up surprising once he arrives on campus.
JUCO DL Darius Johnson
Darius will be making the step up from the junior college circuit. He appears to be a high-motor player who clogs up the middle of the field to free up other players. Johnson regularly beats double teams to create a strong interior pass-rush and wreck havoc in the backfield. He makes life difficult for quarterbacks, wrapping them up after initial contact and running them down once he gets free. Darius looks like he can play a significant role right away next year.
DE Fisher Camac
Fisher is coming in as a defensive end. He is an active, energetic player who is physical off the edge. Camac is long and athletic and is a matchup nightmare for bigger linemen as he can shed blocks or run by people with ease. He is helpful in stopping the run, sticking to his assignment and not overpursuing in his assignment. Fisher may need some time to add weight and keep developing but can become a productive player soon enough.
JUCO DE Isaiah Sayles
Isaiah is another junior college player coming to UNLV. He is fierce off the edge, going all out every play in an attempt to make an impact. Sayles is especially skilled at gaining leverage over blockers, using his footwork to gain leverage and get by them. He displays impressive game speed, allowing him to chase down quarterbacks. Isaiah looks the part on film and has an opportunity to make an impact for the Rebels next season.
LB Tanner Salisbury
Tanner was one of the most sought out linebackers by MWC teams this year and is coming to play for UNLV. He is a long, speedy player who can cover from sideline to sideline. Salisbury has advanced coverage skills in the passing game for a high school linebacker. He is a physical tackler who can read and react extremely well. Tanner has a chance to play as a freshman but regardless, figures to be a multi-year starter at the WILL linebacker spot.
JUCO LB Fred Thompkins
Fred is yet another junior college player in this class, this one slotted to play at linebacker. He is a textbook tackler who plugs up the holes in the run game with little issue. Thompkins goes all out every snap and plays aggressively when pursuing ball carriers. He is adept in short coverage situations, which will aid him in being a well-rounded linebacker. Fred should carve out a role immediately for UNLV.
Transfer LB Jordan Eubanks
Jordan is a linebacker transferring to UNLV from Florida. He is a very instinctual player in the secondary who has a tendency to make big plays. Eubanks displays significant speed and can cover lots of ground in pass coverage or even when blitzing. He is a very physical tackler who wraps up in the open field. Jordan has the potential to become a big play-maker in the Rebel secondary.
DB Anthony Costanzo
Anthony is a big defensive back who the Rebels were able to secure early in the recruiting cycle. He also spent time at wide receiver, which will help neutralize opposing WRs when in coverage. Costanzo has good instincts and sees the field well, which allows him to get into position early and make a play. He can also play in the box and is a physical tackler. Anthony is versatile and that will bode well for him as he fights for playing time going forward.
JUCO DB Trenton Holloway
Trenton is a defensive back from the junior college ranks. He is a speedy player who roams the back of the field and disrupts the passing game of opponents. Holloway tracks the ball well in the air and is constantly putting himself in the proper position to make a play on the ball. He has great closing speed and isn’t afraid to be physical at the point of contact. Trenton is a skilled player who can benefit the defensive back room for UNLV next season.
Team Writer Thoughts:
UNLV has had some tough luck the past few years with their football program. However, once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up. I believe the Rebels are going to be on an upward trend for the next few years based on this recruiting class. The Quarterback recruits will be closely watched to see how they can develop. Not only do the Rebels need a good quarterback, but they also need a guy who is going to lead their team. I know Harrison Bailey is coming over from the SEC, which means that he has played at a high level of football, but this Jayden Maiava looks like he can be the leader they need. He’s big, can run around the field, and is not afraid to throw the ball into a tight spot. There is going to be a nice QB competition brewing in Vegas this spring and summer.
Whoever will start at Quarterback will have a few new electric targets to throw to in these new Wide Receivers the Rebels have brought in like Masters and White III. If Maiava ends up getting the job, too, these receivers will have the ball put right in their hands to make even more exciting plays on the field.
They got some big recruits and transfers on the defensive side of the ball with the likes of Defensive Back Trenton Holloway and Linebacker Jordan Eubanks. The Defensive Line has some sleepers like Isaiah Sayles, who is fast off the ball, and Darius Johnson, who is strong and able to move the linemen around. We’ll see what they can do against some of the big, corn-fed Offensive Lineman in the Mountain West.
Overall, the Rebels can potentially bring their win totals up (especially after last season) after looking at this new recruiting class.
Mike: Masters, Maiava, Salisbury
Jos: Maiava, Holloway, Eubanks, Masters
Talented enough to play right away:
Mike: Masters, Maiava, Salisbury, Thompkins
Jos: Maiava, Masters, White III, Holloway
Mike: Costanzo, McKinney
Jos: Sayles, Johnson
Mike: Wide Receiver, Linebacker
Jos: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Defensive Line
The Rebels are a program that has been recruiting extremely well under Coach Arroyo, so their class stands out a bit this year for taking a step back. However, their hands may have been tied a bit with eligibility rules and roster caps. With that being said, it is evident that talent is still entering the program in this class. Furthermore, the talent is entering through the high school, junior college, and transfer ranks. While that has its pros and cons, the Rebels are expected to be more competitive next season, and this class is helping to prepare for that.
Previously: San Diego State, Boise State, Fresno State, Colorado State, San Jose State, Utah State
Coming next: Wyoming