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Utah State football: Aggies beat out BCS schools for top recruits

Published February 1, 2012 9:02 am

Recruiting • USU loses Tenny Palepoi to Utes, but class still expected to be best in recent memory
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Live signing day updates on the Utah State University Aggies from Tony Jones on Twitter (twitter.com/tonyaggieville):

For hours on Tuesday night, Gary Andersen paced and made phone calls. Then he worried some more, wondering about the bigger schools after several members of his recruiting class.

It didn't stop until Wednesday morning, when it all became official, when the names were signed to the national letters of intent. And even then, he had to send a few of them back because of clerical errors.

It was different this year because Andersen isn't used to the BCS schools wanting the guys he has coming in. But coming off a bowl appearance, and a seven-win season, several recruits had been drawn to Andersen's success, and his penchant of putting players into the NFL.

"I chose the program because I see progress being made towards becoming one of the elite programs in the country," wide receiver Alex Wheat said. "I want to break records in Logan and win a lot of games."

Utah State beat out various BCS schools for Wheat, wide receiver Dwayne Lorick, offensive lineman Patrick Ward, and linebacker Delroy Hamilton.

Andersen is particularly excited about his offensive line recruits, as well as Lorick and Wheat, saying the two had the potential to be "special." The current roster had its appeal as well, as Wheat told the Tribune that another chief reason for choosing Utah State was the presence of rising sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton.

In all, Utah State signed 15 players Wednesday, with all of the signatures coming before noon. That made for a mostly drama-free signing day, even though Andersen lost coveted defensive line recruit Tenny Palepoi to Utah late Tuesday night.

The Aggies signed local stars D.J. Nelson and Nick Vigil, with Nelson being the reigning Class 4A MVP and Vigil being a first team all-state selection. They also signed offensive lineman Bill Vavau out of Snow College.

Overall, Andersen feels like this is his best class yet. He has four spots that he would like to fill in the coming weeks, including a linebacker, a running back, a cornerback and possibly a quarterback.

"I thought we accomplished a lot of goals,"Andersen said. "It's a credit to the program that we've been able to get into recruiting battles and win."

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tonyaggieville Utah State signees

Player Pos. Hometown School Ht/Wt Comment

Andrew Chen OT West Hills, Calif. Chaminade Coll. Prep 6-3/245 Aggies may greyshirt him

Tavarreon Dickerson RB Arlington, Texas Arlington HS 5-9/170 Enrolled over the semester break

Marquan Ellison CB Milwaukee Bradley Tech HS 5-11/170 Adds depth to young defensive backfield

D. Glover-Wright CB Mableton, Ga. Eastern Arizona JC 6-0/170 Coaches think he can be a star

Delroy Hamilton LB Hallandale Beac,h Fla. Hallandale Beach HS 6-1/210 Andersen compares him to Tavaris McMillian

Jordon Jenkins WR St. Louis, Mo. Coffeyville JC 5-11/170 One in an impressive receiver haul

Dwayne Lorick WR Washington D.C. Anacostia HS 6-5/230 Could start from day one

Logan Malohifo'ou OL West Jordan Copper Hills HS 6-6/245 Coaches want to bulk him up

Bruce "Jojo" Natson WR Oakland Park, Fla. Boyd Anderson HS 5-7/140 High school teammate of Aggie wideout Travis Reynolds

D.J. Nelson QB Logan Logan HS 5-9/180 Will leave for LDS mission in August

Jake Simonich OL Danville, Calif. San Roman Valley HS 6-5/255 Raw talent. Needs time to develop

Bill Vavau OL Salt Lake City Snow College 6-4/330 Former Jordan High star ready to contribute

Nick Vigil LB Plain City Fremont HS 6-2/200 Will make the switch from running back

Patrick Ward OT Phoenix Glendale CC 6-4/270 Beat out Washington State and Purdue

Alex Wheat WR Akron, Ohio Palomar JC 6-5/210 Nephew of NFL star Ted Ginn