This is a series of four questions that will be important to consider for Utah State’s success this season. Each week of the series will look into a different question, leading to the season opener against Iowa. This weeks question:
#2: Who steps up at the defensive end position for Utah State?
Last season Utah State gave up 31.2 points per game with five returning starters. The defense would allow 399 yards per game with 194 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. Utah State returns five starters on defense this season but the Aggies lose starers Byron Vaughns (56 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) and Daniel Grzesiak (52 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks) at the defensive end position. Defensive ends Cian Stone and Enoka Migao are expected to start at the defensive end position.
Stone transfers from American River College where he made 84 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, and a forced fumble on his way to being named a California Community College Football Coaches Association All-American and the state’s defensive MVP. Stone provides good size for the Aggies at 6’4” 225 lbs and should be a key piece of the Aggies being able to get pressure on the ends.
Enoka Migao was rated as the 94th best recruit in California and as a three start prospect by 247 Sports. Over three seasons at Chaparral High School in Temecula, California, Migao had 97 tackles, 11 sacks, 24 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In his senior season, Migao registered 49 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, and nineteen quarterback hurries. Migao is also 6’4” 225 lbs. so should provide size and experience from a redshirt season to more actively contribute. Migao redshirted the 2021 season and played in seven games in 2022, which should provide important experience for a defensive line that will need the depth.
With Utah State facing Iowa, Air Force, and James Maddison in September with the addition of UConn, the Aggies need players at the defensive end to step up quickly to limit rushing yardage and keep the yards per carry shorter.