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Utah State football: Aggies branching out for latest class

Published January 31, 2014 5:50 pm

USU football • Group includes prospects from Texas, Florida.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Every year, there seems to be a little more pressure for the Aggies to have a big Signing Day.

Coming off a 9-5 season in the Mountain West, Utah State football has transformed over the last five years from a cellar dweller to a program from which success is anticipated, if not expected. In his first full calendar year as head coach, Matt Wells got a chance to bring in his own recruits and start putting his own stamp on the program.

The class that Utah State expects to sign Wednesday may show signs of where the program is going: The Aggies are bringing in a diverse group of recruits with more out-of-state prospects than in-state, opening or widening pipelines from California to Texas and Florida. There's immediate impact with speed, but also with several prospects who may take a few years to start seeing the field.

While reaching further out on the map — and for a higher caliber of athletic talent — much of what the Aggies have looked for is the same: Players who are excited about the prospect of coming to Logan. And it seems those players have been easier to find.

"I was told a long time ago by a veteran coach that it's about the guys you sign, not the ones you lose," coach Matt Wells said last month. "Those are the ones you need to concern yourself with. So that's what we've done. We concern ourselves with who wants to be in Logan, Utah, be a Utah State Aggie and buy into our values and fundamentals."

While Utah State's class isn't going to be at the top of the Mountain West — 247 Sports ranks the Aggies in the bottom half of the league — it represents the program building for the long term. With the increased exposure that comes from being in a new conference and winning games, the coaching staff has found it easier to get recruits to learn about and follow the team.

It's evident that the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation are important to Utah State. They've gotten some of their highest-rated players from those states, including Texas quarterback Kent Myers and defensive linemen Mo Uasike, as well as Florida receivers Aaron Wade and Marcus Mosely.

Junior college talent should provide immediate help at cornerback and receiver, where the Aggies graduated significant talent. Receivers Devonte Robinson and Hunter Sharp will compete for time on the edge, while Tyler Floyd and Deshane Hines help replace some of the Aggie defensive backs who were so valuable down the stretch of last year's run.

There may be late additions to the class as well: Utah State is still in the mix for Texas three-star running back Justen Hervey. He would be another fleet-footed addition to a group with several receivers valued for their quickness.

kgoon@sltrib.com

Utah State's 2014 commitments

Player Hometown School/College Pos Hgt Wgt

Chase Christiansen Tooele Stansbury LB 6-2 215 Two-way high school star already enrolled, will play defense

Siua Taufa Concord, Calif. D. Valley College DL 6-1 265 One-year JuCo sensation had 11.5 sacks last season

Ian Togiai West Valley City Hunter LB 6-2 230 Took a year off after standing out for Wolverines

Committed

*Demytrick Ali'ifua San Leadro, Calif. San Leandro DT 6-4 280 Mission-bound big man joining older brother Ricky Ali'ifua

*Preston Curtis Salt Lake City East WR 5-11 185 Local speedster going on LDS mission first

Jalen Davis La Mesa, Calif. Helix CB 5-9 165 Dynamic athlete could be a factor in return game as well

Tyler Floyd Orlando, Fla. Fullerton College CB 5-9 185 Quick-footed DB will help cover slot threats

*Baron Gajkowski Highland, Utah Lone Peak LB/S 6-3 205 Quarterback likely to play defense after mission

*Derek Hastings Lehi Lehi TE 6-4 250 Aggies like potential of big-bodied athlete after mission

Deshane Hines Fremont, Calif. Coll. San Mateo CB 5-11 180 Physical cornerback nearly wound up in Pac-12

*Samuel Lauaki Los Angeles Cathedral OL 6-4 250 One-time Hawaii commit to serve LDS mission

Marcus Mosely Tampa, Fla. Alonso TE 6-3 210 Big pass-catcher a three-star recruit out of Florida

Kent Myers Sachse, Texas Sachse QB 6-1 180 Threw for 3,300 yards, 42 touchdowns as a senior

Devonte Robinson Del Ray Beach, Fla. D. City College WR 6-2 184 Former WVU Mountaineer has speed in spades

Jontrell Rocquemore McKinney, Texas McKinney S 6-2 185 Ball-hawking safety grabbed four picks last year

Gasetoto Schuster Long Beach, Calif. Polytechnic DT 6-3 270 Got late looks from Vanderbilt, UTEP

Hunter Sharp Palmdale, Calif. A. Valley College WR 6-1 190 Chose Aggies over Kansas, Wyoming, USF

Jonah Trinnaman American Fork American Fork WR 5-11 175 One of the fastest local recruits could be big playmaker

*Mohelika Uasike Hurst, Texas LD Bell DT 6-2 295 Early commit will go on a mission first, has high ceiling

*Christopher Unga R. Cucamonga, Calif. R. Cucamonga DT 6-1 270 Four older brothers went DI, including BYU's Uani Unga

Aaron Wade Lithia, Fla. Newsome WR 6-3 180 Sunshine State recruit has immense physical gifts

*Player will serve LDS mission before playing