Utah State football coach Matt Wells knew the institution of an early signing period for football, which starts Wednesday, might mean some changes in the recruiting process.

How much of a change started becoming apparent toward the end of the regular season.

As the Aggies earned an invitation to the Arizona Bowl, USU’s coaches hit the road in pursuit of the next incoming group of players.

“It’s been an interesting evolution over the last month,” Wells said. “From where it started was that not many guys thought they were going to sign to, right now, quite a few of them are signing. In fact, we thought we would only sign a couple or three, and now we think we’re only going to have a couple to three left.”

With an eye on his recruits’ Twitter accounts for any signs of changes, Wells said several of the verbal commitments appear to stay on track to be an Aggie.

“It’s been rewarding to see, but you understand that a lot can change in the last five days,” Wells said.

The USU coach said the Class of 2018 will be around 15 deep — a combination of high school and junior college players, with the possibility of a few returning from church missions.

Wells estimated Friday — with the caveat of “let’s see how this weekend goes” — that around half of the recruiting class will be made up of mid-year graduates, either on the high school or junior college level, who can enroll immediately at USU.

All in all, the Aggies coaches have quickly repositioned how they approach the idea of an early written commitment. Wells said it’s not a matter of urging certain players to sign early. It instead is becoming more of a standard recruiting stance.

“Every kid that’s committed to Utah State needs to sign Dec. 20 or I will take that as they’re not committed,” Wells said. “We’re looking forward to signing day and getting a lot of guys signed. We’re excited about Wednesday. It’ll be the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort. This is shaping up to be a really good class.”

THREE WHO MIGHT SIGN EARLY

Crew Wakley, QB, Jordan High •
Wakley threw for 2,998 yards with 22 touchdowns against eight interceptions as a senior. He also broke out of the pocket to run for 1,407 yards.

Andy Koch, DE, Roosevelt High (Eastvale, Calif.) • Originally a verbal commit to Oregon State, Koch had 36 tackles and nine sacks as a senior.

Hale Motu’apuaka, LB, Punahou High, (Honolulu) • Motu’apuaka has won six junior world championships in fireknife dancing.