Ogden • Jay Hill has been a busy new football coach.
Only seven weeks after being hired at Weber State, Hill signed 34 players to national letters-of-intent Wednesday.
A former assistant at the University of Utah, Hill added 21 in-state players to his program.
“Numbers-wise, we had a bunch of holes to fill,” said Hill, who had difficulty hiding his happiness over the way his first recruiting class came together.
“We got a big number of top-notch guys. We feel super-good about it. In-state, we went head-to-head with a bunch of good schools and won most of those battles, we think.”
Weber State went 2-10 last season, including 1-7 in the Big Sky Conference. The Wildcats were only 4-19 in two seasons under former coach Jody Sears.
Hill was hired on Dec. 12 after nine years as a member of Kyle Whittingham’s staff at Utah.
He knew “at least 10” of Weber State’s new recruits from his days with the Utes.
“Those guys would come to our camps,” he said. “They were guys the University of Utah didn’t offer [a scholarship]. But they were next-tier kids and we got them. That’s what we’ve got to do every year. Guys who don’t go to the Pac 12 or BYU or Utah State, we’ve got to land them.”
Hill believes “six or seven” of his new recruits have the ability to become “phenomenal, big-time guys” at Weber State.
One of the most talented players who joined the Wildcats is running back De’Saan Hardwick. A 5-foot-10, 200-pound transfer from San Diego State, he has two years of eligibility remaining.
“He is weight-room strong,” Hill said. “He’s a very good football player. We expect big things from him.”
Coming out of Madison High School in San Diego, Hardwick was listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. He redshirted in 2011, missed the 2012 season because of an injury and saw only limited action for the Aztecs last year.
During his senior season in high school, Hardwick rushed for 1,086 yards and 11 touchdowns. He scored 16 touchdowns and averaged 9.8 yards per carry as a junior.
Weber State’s 2014 signing class
Player Hometown/School Pos Ht Wt
Drew Batchelor St. George/Dixie HS WR 6-0 180
Ismael Betancourt Buckeye, Ariz./Union HS OL 6-4 285
Riley Bradshaw Meridian, Idaho/Rocky Mountain HS QB 6-1 190
Baron Bruce Sandy/Alta HS OL 6-4 295
Garry Callis Meridian, Idaho/Rocky Mountain HS DL 6-3 240
Houston Cassita Sandy/College of DuPage RB 6-1 215
Darryl Denby Murrieta, Calif./Vista HS WR 5-9 175
Brock Doman St. George/Desert Hills HS OL 6-3 275
Shamir Geisinger Sparks, Nev./Spanish Springs HS CB 6-0 170
Nick Giles Salt Lake City/Brighton OL 6-48 280
Cameron Hansen Taylorsville/Juan Diego HS LB 6-2 190
De’Saan Hardwick San Diego/San Diego State RB 5-10 200
Jawain Harrison El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito HS Safety 5-10 175
Xequille Harry Woods Cross/Woods Cross HS CB 5-11 155
Taron Johnson Sacramento, Calif./Sheldon HS WR 6-0 170
Michael Key Salt Lake City/East HS OL 6-5 340
Chad Leckington Shelley, Idaho/Shelley HS QB 6-2 220
Karsen Liljenquist Highland/Lone Peak HS LB 6-2 215
Raphael Longangu Euless, Texas/Trinity HS TE 6-4 200
Cole McGinnis Gooding, Idaho/Gooding HS DL 6-3 275
A.J. Lolohea Salt Lake City/West HS DE 6-3 200
Clay Moss Sandy/Jordan HS LB 6-0 205
Scott Nichols Southern Jordan/Bingham HS RB 5-10 180
Iosua Opeta Stansbury Park/Stansbury HS DL 6-4 245
Marquis Pippins El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito HS WR 6-3 185
Lane Sale Homedale, Idaho/Homedale HS TE 6-4 200
Tanner Sansom Sandy/Alta HS Safety 6-1 200
Jared Schiess Manti/Manti HS DL 6-3 240
Pio Stowers Provo/Timpview HS LB 6-1 220
Hyrum Tapusoa West Valley/Granger HS OL 6-5 275
Emmett Tela Provo/Timpview HS LB 6-1 215
Auston Tesch Eden/Weber HS LB-RB 6-2 205
Sione Tuikolovatu Salt Lake City/East HS DL 6-0 285
Stetson Wood Layton/Layton HS OL 6-4 255