With the Jordan Love era over, Utah State’s Henry Colombi stands out in QB battle

Logan • The last time Utah State set cleats on a football field was when it lost to Kent State in the Frisco Bowl. So much was different back then. Different quarterback. Different coordinators on offense and defense. Different place-kicker.

And as the new-look Aggies took the field at Maverik Stadium for their first practice of the spring in preparation for the 2020 season, one of the afternoon’s main themes was the opening at quarterback. Four players — Henry Colombi, Andrew Peasley, Cooper Legas and Josh Calvin — took their snaps during the two-hour session, with one of them shining through.

It was Colombi, a junior who has appeared in 13 games in the last two seasons after redshirting in 2017.

“Henry’s experience showed today,” Aggies coach Gary Andersen said. “He was by far the best quarterback out there today. I guess one would expect that, but I don’t think the other quarterbacks quite expected that.”

Colombi was the second-string quarterback in 2019 behind Jordan Love, who declared for the NFL draft and is making plenty of noise in professional workouts and camps. In 2018, Colombi was the third stringer to Kent Myers and Love.

Heading into the fall, Colombi finds himself as the most experienced quarterback of the bunch.

“He’s going to be the one that we hope to have some command of the offense and be able to move the offense up and down the field,” said Bodie Reeder, USU’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Colombi’s career numbers are notable despite being a small sample size. He has completed 53 of 69 passes for 460 yards and thrown two touchdown passes to one interception. He also has 139 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

In a third-down drill Tuesday, Colombi went 50%, Andersen said, while the other quarterbacks did not perform as well. The offense lost that drill, much to the joy of cornerback Troy Lefegred, Jr.

“I feel good because we beat the offense today,” Lefegred said.

Peasley tore the MCL and PCL in his right knee in September last season, putting him out for the year. Andersen said Peasley has to shake off the rust.

Peasley said he feels almost 100% healthy and that his biggest strength is his legs. Reeder pinpointed Peasley as the most athletic among the quarterbacks vying for the starting spot.

Of Legas, Reeder said he has the history of winning at every level in multiple sports. Legas has won Utah state championships in football, wrestling and javelin at Orem High.

Andersen said he thought Legas “came in and did some good things” with the time he saw on the field.

But after the first day of spring practice, Colombi appears to have the edge. Even when it comes to how he carries himself, Colombi caught the eye of his coaches.

“It’s about command and demeanor,” Reeder said. “Henry, right now, seems the least freaked out. Some of the other guys look like they’re in the middle of traffic and they’re trying to find their way. Henry is breathing slow and he’s got a command of what’s going on right now.”