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 two teams. A first team and second team of the best high school talent entering the conference (The JUCO/Transfer team will be getting it’s own post). 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 two defensive linemen, two edge rushers, three linebackers, and four defensive backs.
QB Javance Tupou’ate-Johnson (San Diego State)
RB Jambres Dubar (Boise State)
RB Damian Henderson (Colorado State)
WR Lavon Brown (Colorado State)
WR Baylin Brooks (San Diego State)
FLEX Justin Marshall (Colorado State)
TE Cayden Dawson (Boise State)
OL Jonah Rodriguez (San Diego State)
OL Taliafi Taala (Utah State)
OL Jr Sia (Utah State)
OL Ryan Silver (San Diego State)
OL Jason Steele (Boise State)
DL Vaka Hansen (San Jose State)
DL Lucas Conti (UNLV)
EDGE Brady Nassar (San Diego State)
EDGE Kennedy McDowell (Colorado State)
LB Caleb Otlewski (San Diego State)
LB Chase Martin (Boise State)
LB Wyatt Milkovic (Boise State)
FLEX Justin Johnson (Fresno State)
DB Marcus Ratcliffe (San Diego State)
DB Ty Benefield (Boise State)
DB Chase Davis (Utah State)
DB Jonah Lewis (Nevada)
K Bryce Olson (Air Force)
P Landon Ogles (Fresno State)
LS Morgan Tribbett (Colorado State)
QB CJ Tiller (Boise State)
RB Jaydon Bailey (Utah State)
RB Charles Greer (Fresno State)
WR Jaylen Gardner (Colorado State)
WR Jamari Person (Colorado State)
TE Oliver Fisher (Boise State)
FLEX Niko Lopez (Colorado State)
OL Carson Rasmussen (Boise State)
OL Ed Hayes (UNLV)
OL Christian Martin (Colorado State)
OL Kyle Cox (Boise State)
OL Briley Barron (San Diego State)
DL Michael Madrie (Boise State)
DL Mordecai Hines (Fresno State)
EDGE Sinn Brennan (San Diego State)
EDGE Demanuel Brown (Boise State)
LB Drew Rodriguez (Colorado State)
LB RL Miller (Fresno State)
LB Houston Hendrix (Air Force)
FLEX Franklyn Johnson (Boise State)
DB Jordan Napier (San Diego State)
DB Hunter Wiggins (New Mexico)
DB Nick Hawthorne (Boise State)
DB Gabe Tahir (Boise State)
K Joshua Horn (Boise State)
P Will Hutchison (Colorado State)
LS Dominic Diaz (Air Force)
ATH Domata Peko Jr (Hawaii)*
Team Totals: (1st team in parentheses)
Boise State: 16 (6)
Colorado State: 11 (5)
San Diego: 10 (7)
Fresno State: 5 (2)
Utah State: 4 (3)
Air Force: 3 (1)
UNLV: 2 (1)
Nevada: 1 (1)
San Jose State: 1 (1)
Hawaii: 1 (0)
New Mexico: 1 (0)
- As shown above, there was a large divide between the talent recruited by the top 3 teams (Boise State, San Diego State, and Colorado State) and the other teams in the conference. Those 3 accounted for 66% of the first team and 67% of the recruit teams overall.
- That is not to say there is no talent in the rest of the conference. 9 of the 12 teams signed a high school player with a composite rating of 85 or higher. However, that number drops to 5 when looking at teams who signed 2 players in that tier, and only 3 teams signed 4 or more players with such a rating.
- Boise State led the way in total commits, but got edged out by San Diego State in terms of players on the first team (7 to 6). Colorado State also had a high number of players on the first team and overall.
- Nevada, San Jose State, UNLV, and Utah State made the most of their selections. All but two of the recruits from those schools on this list made the first team.
- Quarterback seemed to be the most competitive position this year, followed by wide receiver and tight end. There were a number of players who could have made one of the teams this year who were not chosen, especially at QB. At least one player at every position had one deserving player that had to be left off the team.
- On the flip side, running back, offensive line, and defensive line were relatively easier decisions or had smaller pools of players to chose from.
- * Domata Peko Jr was announced by Hawaii as an ATH. He is an intriguing talent, and while we don’t know what side of the ball he will end up on, we wanted to list him somewhere to acknowledge his talent. Peko likely wouldn’t make our two-deep as TE, but would have a case as the #4 Edge player.
Yesterday: Our top 10 MWC Recruit List
Coming Monday: In the MWC Recruiting Roundup, we release our final class of 2023 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.