Quantcast

Utah State football: Bowl appearance giving USU respect in battling for recruits

Published: Monday, Jan. 30 2012 12:47 p.m. MST

D.J. Nelson of Logan High, right, pitches out teammate John Schmidt of Logan, left, during the Logan High School vs. Cottonwood High School football in August. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) D.J. Nelson of Logan High, right, pitches out teammate John Schmidt of Logan, left, during the Logan High School vs. Cottonwood High School football in August. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Editor's note: This is the third of a three-part series examining the recruiting efforts of the state's three FBS programs leading up to today's National Letter of Intent Day.

LOGAN — Utah State University's football season may have ended over a month ago, but there has been no rest for the Aggies' coaches. USU head coach Gary Andersen and the rest of his staff have been working overtime in advance of today's 2012 National Letter of Intent Signing Day.

The success of this year's football team, finishing with a winning record for the first time since 1993 and in a bowl game for the first time since 1997, has also translated into success in homes of recruits.

"Traveling around the country, whether it be Oklahoma or Texas or California or wherever the Utah State logo is gaining more respect," Andersen said. "Winning and being on national TV definitely helps. I'm not going to say being in a bowl game has got us kids we normally wouldn't, but it certainly doesn't hurt."

Fremont's Nick Vigil runs against Pleasant Grove's Paul Hatch (18) and Parker Johnson in State football playoffs in Plain City, Utah, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010.  Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Fremont's Nick Vigil runs against Pleasant Grove's Paul Hatch (18) and Parker Johnson in State football playoffs in Plain City, Utah, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Andersen could not comment on individual players until they sign the dotted line and fax in their commitments today, but he was excited about the overall strength of this expected recruiting class.

"Everyone thinks they have a great recruiting class, and you don't know until you see it on the field," Andersen said. "All I can do is judge it by the schools we are recruiting against, and we are going up and winning some battles against quality competition. That doesn't mean we won't take a kid if we are his only offer, but overall we have been in a lot bigger battles."

Take for example running back Tavarreon Dickerson, who has reportedly verbally committed to the Aggies. The Arlington, Texas, native had offers from Pittsburgh, Indiana, Tulsa, North Texas and Louisiana Tech to name a few.

Signing day may be just around the corner, but the Aggies aren't done and won't be done recruiting for some time. As of last weekend, Andersen was still looking to fill three different needs: a defensive end, a cornerback and a difference-maker on the defense regardless of position.

On offense, the Aggies are still in the market for a running back and perhaps a quarterback if the right player comes along. Recruiting a quarterback is a tricky proposition for Utah State right now as the Aggies try and find someone who is willing to develop behind sophomore-to-be Chuckie Keeton for the foreseeable future and compete with Logan High School standout D.J. Nelson, who has verbally committed to USU.

Come today, Utah State could keep as many as four scholarships on the table to try and find a quarterback and running back, or a player that for some reason fell through the cracks.

"It could be a J.C. (junior college) kid who decides to come out a year early, or a kid that made grades that didn't think he could, or a player whose scholarship fell through from another school," Andersen said on the possibilities of saving a couple of scholarships.

Last year, the Aggies used a scholarship in late June when wide receiver Chuck Jacobs unexpectedly became available. Jacobs went on to become one of the Aggies' best deep threats in their wide receiving corps.

Notable Utah State verbal commitments

Andrew Chen, Calabasas HS, Calabasas, Cal. 6'4", 215 OG. Aggies continue to increase their size, length and depth in the trenches.

Tavarreon Dickerson, Arlington HS, Arlington, Tex. 5-9, 165 RB. Dickerson was one of the most-exciting running backs in Texas this past year. He chose to commit to the Aggies over programs such as Tulsa, Wake Forest and Indiana.

Marquan Ellison, Bradley Tech and Trade HS, Milwaukee, Wis. 5-11, 180 CB. Coach Gary Andersen burned up the miles recruiting this midwest prospect.

Devontae Glover-Wright, Eastern Arizona Junior College, Thatcher, Ariz. 6-0, 165 CB. Like most junior college signees, Glover-Wright will be looked at to compete immediately for the Aggies.

Delroy Hamilton, Hallandale HS, Hallandale, FL. Hamilton is the latest in a line of talented Floridians to join the Aggies as Andersen has worked to open a pipeline into Florida.

Dontavious Heard, King HS, Lithonia, Ga. 6-1, 175 WR. Heard held an offer from Memphis and is receiving a lot of late interest from Nebraska.

Jordon Jenkins, Coffeyville CC, Coffeyville, Kas. 6-0, 195 WR. Utah State continues to look for consistent threats in the passing game.

Dwayne Lorick, Anacostia HS, Washington, DC. 6-4, 200 WR. At 6-foot-4 will be a huge target downfield for USU.

Logan Malohifo'ou, Copper Hills HS, Salt Lake City, UT. 6-7, 240 OT. Returned from an LDS Church mission to Fiji in October. Chose Utah State over Utah and BYU.

Bruce Natson, Boyd Anderson HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL. 5-7, 165 WR. Speedy slot receiver expects to come in and immediately compete for playing time. Also has skills as a kick returner

D.J. Nelson, Logan HS, Logan, UT. 5-10, 175 QB. Broke nearly every record in the book while at Logan High and won the 4A state title for the Grizzlies. Will compete for time at quarterback when he returns from an LDS Mission.

Jake Simonich, San Ramon Valley HS, Danville, Calif. 6-6, 270 OL. Simonich was recruited by Boise State, Sacramento State and Nevada before committing to Utah State in early January.

Bill Vavau, Snow College, Ephraim 6-4, 325 OL. Vavau will compete for immediate playing time in Logan after a successful stint at Snow.

Nick Vigil, Fremont HS, Plain City 6-2, 180 RB. Vigil was considered as the top running back in the state in 2011 and committed early to be an Aggie.

Patrick Ward, Glendale CC, Phoenix AZ. 6-5, 285 OL. Utah State won this recruiting battle over Big 10 schools Indiana and Purdue and the Pac-12's Washington State.

Alex Wheat, Palomar College, San Marcos, CA. 6-4, 210 WR. Big target also has downfield speed with a reported 4.5 40-yard dash. Caught 47 passes for 854 yards and 11 TDs as a freshman last season at Palomar.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company