Utah State supplemented its early signing day class with an additional 10 high school commitments Wednesday.
Aggies football coach Matt Wells said the program was looking to bolster its offensive and defensive lines, but the best chance for incoming freshmen to make an immediate impact could be at wide receiver.
Among the most recent signees was Deven Thompkins, a wideout from Fort Myers, Fla., who will join early signee Tim Patrick from San Diego.
“We expect them to come in and compete. How well they’ll do that early, it’s hard to say,” Wells said. “Savon Scarver did it last year. Just with graduation, we’ve lost three seniors at outside receiver.”
Eight of the 10 players inked Wednesday are from Utah. Three of them — defensive lineman Johnson Hansen, defensive back Christian Nash and defensive lineman Seni Tuiaki — played at East High, which finished second to Bingham in Class 6A. Linebackers Mitch Medina from Alta, Karene Reid from Timpview and Highland’s Elijah Shelton also committed to the Aggies.
Wells said that Hansen, Reid and Tuiaki are expected to go on LDS Church missions when they graduate, then join the Utah State program.
Other commits were Alta quarterback Will Dana, Herriman offensive lineman Karter Shaw and Michael Anyanwu, a cornerback from Covina, Calif.
“I think the two guys that stick out that maybe have a chance to compete early on are Michael Anyanwu and Deven Thompkins,” Wells said. “I think we’ve got some talented freshmen linebackers that we’ve taken right here. Linebacker was a bigger need for us last year in terms of older guys.
“I would look at those two guys just from a skill spot. You lose two senior corners and three senior receivers — you’re just looking at sheer numbers — those are two positions we play a lot of guys at.”
The Utah State incoming class consists of 22 players. Not all of the players announced on Wednesday will be getting a scholarship.
Some, including Dana and Medina, are classified as preferred walk-ons. Meeting with boosters in Salt Lake City Wednesday night, Wells also said the program is holding two scholarships in reserve.
Only three of those were junior college transfers (Kyler Hack, Darwin Thompson and D.J. Williams), who all picked the Aggies in December.
“We didn’t think we needed as many junior college guys to come in and fill gaps,” Wells said. “I think that’s a testament to last year’s recruiting class. We signed some junior college guys last year that had four years [of eligibility] or they had three years.”
“Kyler Hack is similar. He’s a junior college offensive lineman, but he’s coming in as a sophomore,” he added.
Wells also said that two transfers are part of the incoming class. Tipa Galea’i and Fua Leilua joined the team in the fall and are eligible.
Galea’i is a linebacker who played at TCU and will be a junior in the fall. Leilua, also a junior, is a defensive lineman from Spanish Fork who went to Dixie State then Oklahoma State before transferring.
“Those are two guys that we really tried to recruit on the front end and, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out and now they’re with us,” Wells said. “And they do fill some needs.”
AGGIES RECRUITING CLASS
Wyatt Bowles, OL, 6-4, 270, Syracuse, Syracuse HS
Kyler Hack, OL, 6-4, 300, Las Vegas, Orange Coast CC
Andy Koch, DE, 6-5, 250, Eastvale, Calif., Eleanor Roosevelt HS
Hale Motu’Apuaka, DE, 6-2, 290, Honolulu, Punahou HS
Tim Patrick Jr., WR, 6-0, 180, San Diego, Morse HS
Andrew Peasley, QB, 6-3, 180, La Grande, Ore., La Grande HS
Jacob South, OL, 6-6, 275, Anacortes, Wash., Anacortes HS
Darwin Thompson, RB, 5-9, 195, Jenks, Okla., Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
Crew Wakley, ATH, 6-2, 190, Sandy, Jordan HS
DJ Williams, DB, 5-10, 185, Symrna, Tenn., Independence CC
Michael Anyanwu, CB, 5-9, 180, Covina, Calif., Charter Oak HS
Will Dana, QB, 6-1, 200, Sandy, Alta HS
Johnson Hansen, DL, 6-3, 270, Salt Lake City, East HS
Mitch Medina, LB, 6-1, 220, Sandy, Alta HS
Christian Nash, LB, 6-2, 190, Salt Lake City, East HS
Karene Reid, LB, 6-2, 220, American Fork, Timpview HS
Karter Shaw, OL, 6-3, 285, South Jordan, Herriman HS
Elijah Shelton, LB, 6-2, 215, Salt Lake City, Highland HS
Deven Thompkins, WR, 5-7, 160, Fort Myers, Fla., Dunbar HS
Seni Tuiaki, DL, 6-2, 250, Salt Lake City, East HS