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College football: New Weber State football coach Hill gets 34 players on national signing day

Published February 5, 2014 11:13 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

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