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2023 Recruiting Breakdown: Nevada

A class with intriguing players and numerous transfers

Nevada v New Mexico State Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Welcome to the sixth post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today will look at the #6 team in our rankings, Nevada.

Nevada rebounded very nicely from last year, jumping from tenth to sixth in our rankings. Due to the fact that they are still in the beginning stages of a massive rebuild, it makes sense that about half of their class is filled with junior college and transfer talent. However, that does not mean they did not mine for talented high schoolers in this class as well. In every phase of the class, there are players with the potential to contribute to the Wolf Pack’s next winning season. To read more about all of their signees, continue scrolling.

The Skinny:

  • 25 players signed.
  • 13 high school players, 4 JUCO players, 8 transfers
  • 13 offensive, 12 defensive
  • 9 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
  • Players with a composite rating over 85: 2
  • Players with a composite rating over 82: 6
  • Breakdown by state (excluding transfers): 8 California, 2 Utah, 1 Hawaii, 1 Mississippi, 1 Nevada, 1 New Jersey, 1 Oregon, 1 Washington, 1 Australia
  • 247 Composite Rankings (subject to change)

- Overall: 108

- Recruiting: 115

- Transfer: 63

The Players:

QB Jax Leatherwood

Jax comes to the roster as a quarterback with a bit of pedigree from high school. He possesses great size and the arm strength to match it. Leatherwood does a great job stepping into his throws, getting momentum and force behind his passes. He is extremely accurate and it shows up on film, along with great touch on his throws. Jax should have a solid college career by the time it’s all said and done.

Transfer QB Brendon Lewis

Brendon transfers into Nevada from Colorado. He as an easy, fluid throwing motion and can get the ball downfield with little issue. Lewis is mobile in the pocket but does a great job keeping his eyes downfield to find the open receiver. He goes through his progressions well and can take yards with his legs. Brendon looks like he could step into the starting role next season if he wins the quarterback battle.

RB Amini Amone

Amini is a running back recruit Nevada was able to secure. He is a hard, downhill runner who hits holes quickly. Amone bounces off tackles and keeps his feet moving in order to fight for every last yard. He goes full force on every play but is also durable and built to carry the load of a running back. Amini would benefit from a redshirt season but figures to be part of the running back rotation in the near future.

RB Conner Noah

Conner comes to this class as a running back. He is a speedy back who does a great job making quick cuts to get into the open field. Noah is able to reach his top sped right when he hits the line of scrimmage, which helps to make defenders miss as he changes direction. He is at his best getting tosses out of the backfield where he has the ball in space and is able to do damage. Conner figures to redshirt but he should get some carrier before too long.

Transfer RB Sean Dollars

Sean is a big-time running back transfer from Oregon. He is a hard runner with breakaway speed who is always capable of making a big play. Dollars eludes tacklers very well, picking up extra yards on a regular basis. He can be used in a variety of ways as he is a solid receiving threat as well. Sean should be an immediate contributor for the Wolf Pack.

Transfer RB Ashton Hayes

Ashton is another highly regarded transfer, and was originally a local high school player. He is an explosive back, hitting his stride early in his runs and breaking free from the defense into the open field. Hayes does a very nice job taking good angles and crisp cuts that allows him to get extra yards. He has great vision and does a nice job avoiding contact, frequently bouncing outside to open parts of the field. Ashton’s presence and talent will surely keep the rushing attack going for Nevada.

WR Marshaun Brown

Marshaun joins the Wolf Pack as a wide receiver. He is a big, tall target who covers a lot of ground in a hurry with his long strides, getting easy separation from defenders. Brown is a well-rounded receiver, capable of running short slants as well as deep routes for big gains. He has a large catch radius and solid hands that consistently come down with the ball. Marshaun will likely redshirt next year but expect to see him on the field sooner rather than later.

WR Nate Burleson

Nate is another wide receiver in this class. He excels at getting to where the ball is and uses his height to high point the ball and come down with it. Burleson is very skilled at making catching down the sideline but he is also talented at running slants in the middle of the field and making catches in traffic. He is a tough player who isn’t afraid to get physical with defenders. Nate has the potential to develop into a dynamic receiver for Nevada down the line.

TE Jayden O’Rourke

Jayden hails from the land down under, as the Wolf Pack searched far and wide for talent. He has incredible size and is still able to move fluidly downfield, even lining up as a wide receiver. O’Rourke has a wide catch radius and simply out-jumps defenders for the ball, meaning he comes down with the catch more often than not. He is a matchup nightmare because no defense can match his size and speed ability to move at the same time. Jayden is still a bit raw and will likely redshirt, but he is clearly an intriguing talent.

Transfer TE Keleki Latu

Keleki is another transfer in this class, and the second one coming from Cal. He was a two-way player in high school, and he is persistent and energetic no matter what position he plays. Latu does a great job of using his body to shield defenders from the ball when preparing to make a catch. He is a physical player and isn’t afraid to make a big block in the run game. Keleki should see some snaps next season for Nevada.

OL RJ Esmon

RJ is an offensive lineman entering the fold for the Wolf Pack. He has tremendous size and knows how to put his entire body into his blocks. Esmon does a nice job staying as low as possible to maintain leverage as he pushes defenders out of the way to open up holes for the run game. He has nice footwork in pass protection and looks comfortable moving backward. RJ will need to add weight in order to compete in college, but he already has the ability.

OL Josiah Timoteo

Josiah is another player being added to the Union. He does a good job staying low when blocking and executes his assignments with no problem. Timeteo moves well laterally and keeps defenders in front of him, using his strength to keep them at bay. He stays patient, reading the defense, and then goes full force into his blocks. Josiah looks like he has all the makings of a great tackle for Nevada.

JUCO OL John Bolles

John comes to Nevada as an offensive lineman from junior college. He is a mobile force, getting out into space to make blocks in the second level. Bolles attacked the defense immediately after the ball is snapped, springing into action to make big hits. On film, he is often the main blocker on run plays, either pulling to one side or taking out a defender or two on from his right tackle position. John is a good bet to stick at tackle and should find the field next season.

Transfer DT Mackavelli Laie Malotumau

Mackavelli is transferring in from Utah Tech. He is a force on the defensive line, attacking the offense as soon as the ball is snapped. Malotumau is relentless in his pursuit of the ball, not giving up on a play until he can get his hands on the ball carrier. He possesses great strength and pushes blockers around as he gets to the quarterback. Mackavelli has a lot of potential as a replacement for Dom Peterson if he can put it all together.

Transfer DE Henry Ikahihifo

Henry is another Cal transfer, but he actually started his college career at Nevada in the 2019 class. He signed as a tight end but will be a defensive end in his second go-around with the team. Ikahihifo played on offense on most of his highlights, but it’s apparent he is quick off the snap and covers ground in a hurry. He is a smart player who has a good understanding of what to do each play. Henry will inject a lot of talent to the Wolf Pack defense if he gets on the field.

JUCO DL Sosefo Moeaki

Sosefo is another player in this class coming from the JUCO level. He is an imposing figure on the defensive line and has the tenacity to play once the ball is snapped. Moeaki has a quick twitch that allows him to gain an extra step on blockers and takes good angles on his rushes to beat them more often than not. He wraps up very well, bear-hugging quarterbacks to make sure they don’t escape his grasp. Sosefo looks like he can find a role on the Wolf Pack defense next year.

LB D’Angelo Davis

D’Angelo is one of the linebackers in this class for Nevada. He is explosive after the snap, flying across the line in his pursuit of the quarterback. Davis reaches his top speed quickly, often before offensive tackles can react, and gets to the quarterback with ease. He is great at getting his hands on the quarterback and is strong enough to ensure they don’t get away from them. D’Angelo looks like he has a bright future as a pass-rushing linebacker for the Wolf Pack defense.

LB Hezekiah Anahu-Ambrosio

Hezekiah comes to Nevada to play linebacker. He goes full speed on every play, getting to the ball quickly no matter what his assignment is. Anahu-Ambrosio is at his best around the line of scrimmage, where he can come in as a blitzer or drop back into coverage in the flat. He gets around blockers thanks to his speed and delivers hard hits. Hezekiah would probably benefit from a redshirt season but he shouldn’t stay off the field for long.

Transfer LB Jackson LaDuke

Jackson is another transfer from Oregon coming to Nevada. He is an aggressive, high-energy player who bursts through the line of scrimmage, getting past offensive linemen before they can react. LaDuke shows impressive strength, matching up with tackles quite well as he pushes them back into the backfield. He also can beat blockers with his speed, hunting down quarterbacks trying to get away. Jackson is coming in to play right away and appears up for the task.

DB Journey McKoy

Journey is a defensive back coming from California. He is short in stature but plays big, flying all around the field making plays. McKoy is a physical corner, matching receivers with his speed but getting after the quarterback on bliztes. He also has good hands from his time as an offensive player, and has value on special teams. Journey will likely need to redshirt but can definitely play at the college level.

DB Jonah Lewis

Jonah is one of the best high school recruits in the Wolf Pack class. He plays tight, physical coverage, sticks close to receivers and gets inside leverage on a ball thrown their way. Lewis has quick feet and fluid hips, allowing him to get into position quickly. He can track down the ball in the air and has great hands, pulling down a high number of interceptions. Jonah could make a case to play at a corner spot next season if all goes well.

DB Bishop Turner

Bishop is another defensive back in this class. He does a good job identifying where the ball will end up so he can get into the proper position. Turner has great closing speed and excels at coming in on a play to make a physical tackle or deflect a pass. He isn’t afraid to mix it up in the run game and displays sound technique when tackling. Bishop should keep developing into a solid cornerback.

JUCO DB Tori Mulkey

Tori is coming from junior college looking to make his mark at the D1 level. He plays fast and is physical, sticking to his man as closely as possible on routes. Mulkey is a solid tackler and has great closing speed, flying in to make a play. He will join the team with a lot of eligibility left, which gives him a lot of chances to produce for the program. Tori should add depth to the secondary and will likely see snaps in some capacity next season.

JUCO DB Michael Coats Jr

Michael is a junior college player coming to the secondary. He can read plays as they develop and moves his lower half smoothly to adjust his runs to make a play. Coats has average size for a corner, but he plays bigger with his ability to highpoint a ball and pull down an interception. He stays low when going in for a tackle and doesn’t let receivers get away from him. Michael brings game experience and appears ready to step into an important role next year.

Transfer DB Tre Weed

Tre is yet another transfer in this class. He flies around the field making plays, both on defense as well as special teams. Weed has a high football IQ and great awareness of the field, consistently getting into the proper position to make a play. He is also a physical player, making big hits in the open field for unsuspecting receivers. Tre brings instant experience and talent to the Nevada defense for next season.

Team Writer Thoughts:

This was not a bad recruiting class for second-year Pack head coach Ken Wilson, who secured 25 players on National Signing Day. For th second consecutive class, he did a good job attacking the transfer portal — especially from his own roots at Oregon — including some familiar local commits, such as Jackson LaDuke and Ashton Hayes. The biggest headliner, however, is securing 6-foot-8 quarterback Jax Leatherwood, a three-star commit that could push for the starting job next year along with former Oklahoma State transfer Shane Illingworth and sophomore AJ Bianco. After the treasure trove of tight ends Wilson brought in last year, he didn’t bring in as many, but he attacked the other skill positions well, as well as recruiting some high-profile defensive backs, where the Pack lose a lot of production. Overall, this a good-not-great second class for Wilson after the Pack won just two games last season. The foundation was laid, now it’s time for Nevada to build on it. — Matt Hanifan

Quick Hits:


Mike: Lewis, Leatherwood

Matt: Leatherwood, Lewis

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Lewis, Leatherwood, McKoy, Amone

Matt: Leatherwood, Lewis

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Davis, Burleson

Matt: Hayes, Burleson

Best unit:

Mike: Quarterback, Defensive Back

Matt: Defensive back, Running Back, Quarterback


Nevada was able to plan ahead a bit more with their recruiting class this cycle, and it seems to have paid off for them. While they won’t be confused with the top of the conference, they were able to secure a handful of talented high school players with numerous transfers who will be able to step into key roles right away. This class should be a nice step forward in their rebuilding efforts and it will be fun to watch the young talent develop over the years. On paper, this group checks a lot of boxes for the Wolf Pack.

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