Welcome to the tenth piece of our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at UNLV.
UNLV hasn’t had much to be excited about the past few years, but after their fantastic 2023 season, things are looking up for the program. It turns out Barry Odom and his group of coaches were the perfect hires to help turn this program around. After a warmup win to start the season, the Rebels lost to Michigan but played hard and didn’t seem overmatched. Then, they had a thrilling victory against Vanderbilt at home and followed it up by beating UTEP. Those were the first two of five consecutive wins before they dropped their first challenge against Fresno State. They got back on track against New Mexico and then passed their next two tests by beating Wyoming and Air Force. Unfortunately, they did end the year on a three-game losing streak. They lost a close one to San Jose State at home, were beaten handily by Boise State in the championship game and then fell against Kansas in the bowl game.
Coach Odom and the Rebels were just as successful on the recruiting trail, putting together one of the best classes in the Mountain West this cycle. To learn more about them, keep reading.
The Road So Far:
Coach Odom used his southeast ties to stretch the borders of where Mountain West schools have recruited over the years, and combined them with tradition conference once. The rest was 22 total players, all of them high school players, from a total of nine different states. Nevada led the way with seven, Texas and Missouri had three each, then Arizona, Hawaii, Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and California were also represented. 11 signees play offense, 10 are on defense, and 1 is a special teams player.
The offense is made up of players covering every position. After losing a quarterback earlier in the cycle, UNLV added one late in Gael Ochoa, but he has succeeded in the Texas HS football circuit. Devin Green and Greg Burrell are the two running backs and are sure to fit the offensive system well. Next are a pair of wide receivers who are versatile with lots of playmaking potential in Damien McDaniel and Kayden McGee. They are joined by Jae Beasley, the local tight end. The Rebels invested heavily in the offensive line, signing five in this class. Amare Taase and Mason Vicari look primed for the interior spots, while Hank Purvis, Toby Moore, and Dyllan Drummond could all look good at the tackle positions.
Defensively, Darius Pahmahmie and Max Mogelson are being brought in to load up the middle of the defensive line and look up to the task. Joining them is Andre Porter, a local prospect who will play defensive end. Perhaps the best position in this class linebacker, where they signed three recruits. Charles Correa comes from local powerhouse Bishop Gorman, and Kahekili Pa’ao’ao has tons of potential. But the best recruit in this class is Melvin Laster, who could be star from day one. UNLV loaded up on defensive backs this cycle, with Nijrell Eason II and Jaylen Allen looking to fit in at cornerback to complement Kela Moore and Tre’Jon Fulton at the safety positions. Finally, the Rebels are adding Caden Chittenden to handle the kicking duties down the line.
Number who signed in December: 22
Number who will enroll early: 8
247 Composite Rankings:
- Overall: 76th
- Recruiting: 72th
- Transfer: 74th
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: EDGE, TE
UNLV picked up the majority of their class in the first signing period, but there is always a more work to do to complete a signing class. It’s much different than last year, where Coach Odom and his staff had to do more work after December than before it. Now, it’s just about putting the finishing touches on things.
The only position that truly seems lacking on paper is the EDGE spot, where the Rebels only brought in one recruit. This could be an area where a transfer player could make an immediate impact and improve the defense. Similarly, while they signed a tight end, adding one with proven production could give the offense a boost in a different area next year. All of that being said and UNLV will surely not turn down any transfers who could excel in their system on either side of the ball.
All in all, this 2024 class looks solid from top to bottom. Anyone added between now and February should be considering icing on the cake of an impressive class.
Previous Posts: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State
Coming next: Utah State