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Utah State football: Late additions bolster big Aggies signing class (VIDEO)

Published February 5, 2014 2:09 pm

USU • Going down to the wire helps team land several players.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Logan • Even up to the very end, Matt Wells and his Utah State coaching staff were holding their breath.

The Aggies spent much of the two weeks leading up to signing day squeezing out commitments, trying to make up for a light December when the Mountain West title game and a bowl berth ate up recruiting time. Utah, Boise State and Vanderbilt were just a few of the schools the Aggies were contending with.

On Wednesday, a beaming Wells recapped his first full year of recruiting as head coach. By investing a lot of time and energy into the program's latest signees, he said, the Aggies won more of those battles this year for one of the most anticipated classes in program history.

"We had maybe a half a dozen kids on this list that were on trips to really good schools," Wells said. "We had to wait until Sunday night, and Monday night, and a couple last night to make their final decisions."

A flurry of late commitments helped bolster a 27-man signing class announced Wednesday that showed the Aggies have more sway out of state while retaining some core groups that have helped the program grow: missionaries, junior college talent and Polynesians among them.

Among the group is some promising talent at the skill positions, including three-star recruits Texas quarterback Kent Myers, Florida tight end Marcus Mosely and Texas running back Justen Hervey — who hadn't revealed his intentions publicly before signing Wednesday morning.

Immediate help will come from eight junior college additions, especially on the defensive line and at wide receiver. Among the late commitments who signed were Snow College linebacker Sunia Tauteoli and defensive lineman Edmund Faimalo, who collectively had offers from Utah, Arizona State and Boise State.

Locally, the Aggies made waves by flipping East tight end Joe Tukuafu from his Utes commitment the day before he signed. Other locals in the class include East receiver Preston Curtis, Lone Peak safety Baron Gajkowski, Lehi tight end Derek Hastings and Logan lineman Logan Rice. Only Rice will attend school this fall, with the other four serving LDS Church missions.

In all, the Aggies signed four Texas natives, four Florida natives and nine California natives. Four of the California recruits hailed from junior college.

While Wells insisted the "blueprint" has not changed for how Utah State recruits and who they recruit, the program's ability to pull more out-of-state recruits and win some tight battles is in part a reflection of the team's rising influence. The credit is in part due to the Aggies' aggressiveness and persistence on the recruiting trail, but also can be attributed in part to three straight winning seasons and back-to-back bowl wins.

"I think kids know we're winning football games," Wells said. "We do it the right way. They know where we finished, and it speaks volumes."

kgoon@sltrib.com

USU signing class

Player Hometown School Pos Ht Wt

Enrolled

Chase Christiansen Tooele, Utah Stansbury LB 6-2 210

Already enrolled athlete has fit in well

Landon Horne Kaysville, Utah Snow College TE 6-3 230

Could be versatile as an H-back in USU offense

Siua Taufa Concord, Calif. Diablo Valley College DL 6-1 265

Mean and nasty pass-rusher made a splash as freshman

John Taylor Colton, Calif. Riverside City College DE 6-2 270

Edge rusher can get into the backfield quickly

Ian Togiai West Valley City, Utah Hunter OLB 6-2 230

Still-growing Hunter product has strong potential

Signed

Adewale Adeoye Overland, Mo. Ritenour OLB 6-4 235

30 combined sacks in junior and senior seasons

*Demytrick Ali'ifua San Leadro, Calif. San Leandro OL 6-3 280

Older brother Ricky Ali'ifua plays for Aggies

*Preston Curtis Salt Lake City, Utah East WR 5-10 175

Speedy all-purpose offensive player will go on mission first

Jalen Davis La Mesa, Calif Helix CB 5-10 160

Earned all-league defender of the year and has return skills

Edmund Faimalo Redlands, Calif. Riverside City College DT 6-3 290

Four-technique reminiscent of Al Lapuaho

*Baron Gajkowski Highland, Utah Lone Peak S 6-2 200

Athletic prep quarterback will play defense after mission

*Derek Hastings Lehi, Utah Lehi TE 6-3 250

All-stater was a two-way threat for Pioneers

Justen Hervey Beaumont, Texas West Brook RB 5-9 180

Lightning quick sprinter who has bulk as well

Deshane Hines Fremont, Calif. College of San Mateo CB 5-10 180

Physical corner who should compete for time

LaJuan Hunt Fort Lauderdale University RB 5-8 185

Versatile back won a state title as a junior

Marcus Mosely Tampa, Fla. Alonso TE 6-4 210

Big-bodied pass-catcher had offers from nine FBS schools

Kent Myers Sachse, Texas Sachse QB 6-0 185

Athletic dual-threat threw 42 touchdowns as a senior

Logan Rice Logan, Utah Logan OL 6-6 225

Big piece of Grizzlies region championship squad

Devonte Robinson Del Ray Beach, Fla. Dodge City College WR 6-2 184

Tall receiver can stretch the field

Jontrell Rocquemore McKinney, Texas McKinney S 6-2 185

Has a nose for the ball on picks and fumbles

Gasetoto Schuster Long Beach, Calif. Long Beach Poly NG 6-1 280

Turned down a late push from Vanderbilt

Hunter Sharp Palmdale, Calif. Antelope Valley College WR 6-0 190

Versatile receiver could line up outside or in slot

Sunia Tauteoli Salt Lake City, Utah Snow College ILB 6-0 225

Former East prep athlete could fight for reps this fall

*Joe Tukuafu Salt Lake City, Utah East TE 6-4 235

Big flip from Utes can be a big catching threat

*Mohelika Uasike Richard Hills, Texas LD Bell DT 6-2 300

Line playmaker had Boise State, Vanderbilt chasing

*Christopher Unga Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Rancho Cucamonga DT 6-1 280

Four older brothers played DI football

Aaron Wade Lithia, Fla. Newsome S 6-2 180

Aggies like his length, ball skills in secondary

*Will serve an LDS Church mission