Utah State football: Kellen Bartlett ready to be a weapon for Aggies
Logan • You can see it in the way he catches the ball, turns upfield and makes defenders miss. You can see it in the way his coaches use him, in multiple formations, lining him up in different places depending on the down.
Kellen Bartlett has a chance to be a game-changer for Utah State. That is, if he can stay healthy.
Now 22 years old, mature and coming off a broken leg, Bartlett is back for his senior season, his fifth with the Aggies.
He's the "old man" of Utah State's offense. Make no mistake, though, he will be a major factor if he can stay on the field and out of the doctor's office.
"He's a weapon," USU coach Gary Andersen said. "You can use him in the red zone, or you can split him out wide, or you can run him deep. He's got a lot of talent, and we plan on maximizing that talent."
Bartlett broke his leg a year ago in a routine practice, a day before Utah State's first major intrasquad scrimmage. Knowing that he would miss at least two months, Andersen opted to use his redshirt season and bring him back for a fifth year.
In drills during the first two camp sessions, Bartlett has consistently gotten open and made tough catches. He has lined up in the slot, in the backfield as well as at his standard spot. It's a dimension the Aggies didn't have last season.
"I'm a firm believer in God having a plan for me," Bartlett said. "It wasn't fun sitting out, but I've come back bigger and stronger this season. The leg is stronger than it's been before and I've put on muscle. We've worked really hard, and I want to have a breakout season. I think this could be a fun year."
A late addition
Linebacker Cade Cowdin was in camp on Friday, practicing with the Aggies after transferring from Oregon State.
A St. George native, Cowdin spent the spring with the Beavers, after signing out of College of the Desert. He emerged from spring practice second on the depth chart, but left the program early in the summer.
Cowdin has been initially cleared by the NCAA to practice, but Utah State is waiting on final clearance for him to be fully eligible.
The next step
The Aggies will practice in shoulder pads on Monday afternoon, which means a more physical workout, Andersen said.
"Guys are ready to hit each other," Andersen said. "It's been kind of pretend football on the lines. The guys are ready for more."