Cedar City • All things considered, Southern Utah football coach Ed Lamb was excited about the group of 22 players who signed national letters-of-intent with the Thunderbirds on Wednesday.
"These are guys who wanted to be here and these are guys we really wanted," said Lamb. "... We’ve gotten to develop close relationships with all of them and we’re happy they’re here."
Southern Utah’s 2014 signing class
Name Hometown/School Pos Ht Wt
Max Anae Orem/Timpview HS DE-LB 6-1 245
Wylie Brand Clovis, Calif./Fresno CC OL 6-3 300
Tyler Collet Moorpark, Calif./Moorpark HS Athlete 6-2 180
Matthew Criddle Highland/Lone Peak HS DB 6-1 185
Will Daines Bountiful Viewmont HS OL 6-5 280
Jeff Faletoi Salt Lake City Olympus HS LB 6-4 200
Guillermo Fierro St. George/Pine View HS OL 6-4 280
Christopher Flynn Compton, Calif./Southwest CC DB 6-0 180
Kahoalii Karratti Honolulu/Kaiser HS QB 5-10 180
Sione Lapuaho West Valley City/Hunter HS DL 6-2 250
Tua Laupata Salt Lake City/East HS LB 6-0 200
Tevita Loamanu Riverton/Riverton HS LB 6-4 215
Landon Measom South Jordan/Bingham HS WR 5-10 170
Cameron McGregor Fairfield, Calif./Armijo HS LB 6-2 205
Ammon Olsen Draper/BYU QB 6-3 205
Tyeler Perri Orem/Timpview HS OL 6-4 270
Tanner Redding Bountiful/Bountiful HS WR 6-4 200
Malakai Solovi Salt Lake City East HS Athlete 5-10 180
Noaese Taeatafa South Jordan/Bingham HS OL 6-2 275
Alex Thompson Boise, Idaho Capitol HS OL 6-6 260
Josh Thornton Belle Glade, Fla./Hancock College CB 6-1 190
Fesi Vaivaka South Jordan/Bingham HS OL 6-3 350
Southern Utah went 8-4 last season and earned the school’s first-ever berth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
After the season, however, SUU assistant coaches Steve Clark, Justin Ena and Fesi Sitake accepted jobs at Weber State.
Lamb rebuilt his new staff by mid-January.
Former BYU head coach Gary Crowton was hired as Southern Utah’s new offensive coordinator and former Canadian Football League head coach Ken Miller was named the offensive line coach.
In addition, Sam Lutui took over as the new running back coach and Rob Takeno was named the linebacker coach.
Lamb was thrilled by the additions, but admits the timing of the shake-up impacted Southern Utah’s recruiting.
"It was a trade-off," he said. "We lost a lot of the relationships that those [former] coaches had built with many of our recruits. ... That had a negative effect on us this year."
On the flip side, Lamb said, many recruits were impressed with the credentials of the new coaches, especially Crowton and Miller.
"A lot of the offensive players," Lamb said, "were clamoring to come here."
In all, 14 of the 22 players who signed with Southern Utah played at in-state high schools last season.
The most well-known member of the recruiting class is quarterback Ammon Olsen, a transfer from BYU.
Olsen started his career at Southern Utah before switching to BYU after returning from an LDS Church mission. He was Taysom Hill’s back-up last season but, in search of more playing time, he decided to return to Southern Utah.
"At the time we first recruited him, we didn’t have much going on in our program," Lamb said. "I told him if he came in for a year, went on his mission and didn’t like what he saw when he came back, he was free to look around. He’s the only player I’ve done that with."
Lamb didn’t think twice about welcoming Olsen back to SUU.
"Like a lot of guys, he thought the grass might be greener somewhere else," Lamb said. "But he found out that BYU wasn’t the spot for him. When he asked to come back, I said, ‘Absolutely.’"
According to Lamb, Olsen has "... the right character and his message to his new teammates has been very good. He’s humble and confident and told them he never should have left."
When spring football starts, Olsen will battle senior Aaron Cantu and sophomore Mike Sharp for playing time. Cantu was the starter most of last season.Next Page >
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