Welcome to the eleventh 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 Utah State.
Utah State reached a bowl game once again but had an inconsistent time getting there. They opened the season with a close loss to Iowa and then destroyed Idaho State in a contest that broke many school records. They dropped two games before narrowly beating UConn in a come-back victory. The Aggies then alternated wins and losses for the rest of the year, including a thrilling double overtime win against New Mexico to become bowl-eligible. They lost handily in the bowl game, but overall still produced a successful season.
In his previous classes, Coach Anderson has left no stone unturned when it comes to recruiting. He isn’t afraid to find players from high school, junior college players, or players from the transfer portal. Though the proportions of each are different this year, they are more of the same overall. Read about it below.
The Road So Far:
Utah State signed a big class in December, totaling 19 players. 8 of them are coming to play offense, meaning 11 are slated for defense. This cycle, they went heavy on junior college players, with 8 of them, plus 6 transfers, meaning only five high school players. This class went to a few different states to collect talent, with signees from Utah, Arizona, California, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, Hawaii, and Florida.
Looking at the offense, transfer Spencer Petras will battle for the starting quarterback spot next season, coming in with lots of experience. Speedy Tate Kjar will develop behind the incumbents in hopes to be the next great Aggie slot receiver, while Robert Freeman IV will add immediate depth to the WR room. At tight end, Grayson Brousseau is a big target who should feature heavily in the passing game once he gets on the field. Utah State loaded up on offensive linemen in this class with four. Camden Jury is the lone high school player and has huge size. Jared Pele from junior college looks to slide into an interior position, while a pair of transfers, Trey Anderson and George Maile, will also likely play tackle and guard, respectively.
Defensively, the Aggies featured all of the positions pretty evenly, but all but one signee was from the junior college or transfer ranks. Braydon Bailey, Ricky Lolohea, Mayco Williams are being brought in to fortify the defensive line. The trio all come with size and experience, which the team needs after losing so many from the DL in the portal. Pass-rusher Marlin Dean is one of the best JUCO players entering the Mountain West and should provide immediate help to the Utah State defense. He will be joined by Carl Nesmith who should also provide a boost to the pass-rush. Tanner Williams is the lone high school player on defense and will be ready to play coming from the successful Mater Dei program. Transfers Will Shaffer and Jadon Pearson are talented and should provide immediate depth next season. In the secondary, look for EJ Fisk to line up at a corner, with Terrell Taylor and Mason Edwards at safety spots for the team.
Number who signed in December: 19
Number who will enroll early: 13
247 Composite Rankings (subject to change):
- Overall: 116th
- Recruiting: 129th
- Transfer: 69th
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: QB, RB, WR, DB
Utah State has been aggressive in its recruiting efforts, and that has led to the majority of its class being compiled and signed as things stand now. They now look to continue that aggressiveness going into February to shore up a few positions.
The biggest hole in this class on paper appears to be running back, the only position where the Aggies didn’t sign any player. While their offense is at its best getting their big passing game going, they also lean on a steady running game for balance. Continuing to stockpile depth at the tailback position is important for the USU offense. A taller wide receiver to line up on the outside would be good for this class too. As far as other spots, they are pretty well covered; however, adding to the quarterback depth, potentially with a high school player, might be a good idea. Also, finding a transfer or high school defensive back to pair with their junior college signees may be an option for the team.
Expect the Aggies to put the finishing touches on this class over the next few weeks. They are no strangers to adding transfers with college game experience to supplement their needs and fill holes, and add new transfers from all over the country, There is a lot to like about their current class and it could look even better by February.
Previous Posts: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV
Coming next: Wyoming