A new locker room and training room facility, the Western Athletic Conference name, and more importantly a two-game winning streak were instrumental for Utah State coaches when they hit the recruiting trail to find the players to take the Aggies to the next level.
With 21 signees Wednesday on the first day to sign national letters of intent, the Aggies feel they have taken the right steps and landed the right players to help the program move forward.
"Winning those last two games were good for our program and good for our kids here and gave us momentum going into the offseason," Utah State defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Danilo Robinson said. "We were able to go into homes and point out to kids that we have a two-game road winning streak."
The Aggies were 0-10 at the time and had lost a half-dozen fourth-quarter leads, and the Aggies also used that to their advantage.
"(We pointed out to kids) we weren't able to finish it because we were lacking them and this class coming in," Robinson said. "The recruits were able to see that we're very close and we're on the cusp of some great things here. It was a great momentum boost for us, and it fired up the coaches to go out on the road as well."
In all, the Aggies signed 12 offensive players four tight ends, two offensive linemen, two wide receivers, two running backs and one quarterback.
On the defensive side, the Aggies inked four defensive linemen, three defensive backs and a linebacker.
Also, 16 signees are high school seniors, while the remaining five are junior college transfers.
"We are excited about this class," Robinson said. "We've addressed some of the needs we've had and, hopefully, they can come in and fill in some holes we have and be on the field as soon as we can get them. We're excited about this group and looking forward to having a good year with them."
Sevaro Johnson, who signed during the early signing period, washed out academically and will not play for the Aggies.
Other early signees defensive end Casey Davis (Snow College), tight end Jeremy Mitchell (Laney College) and safety Christopher Williams were on the Aggies' signee list.
The Aggies struggled defensively on the defensive line and, with the signing of Davis, Mangum Mauga, Robert Tidwell and Oscar Molina, they hope to have shored up that weakness.
"Offensive linemen and defensive linemen are always a priority. We addressed that need (defensive linemen) with older guys and a little bit bigger guys," Robinson said.
"As the season went last year, we had some injuries and we had to go with some younger guys. We did get worn down a little bit. We addressed that need. We signed several tackles and several bigger body guys that can come in and have an immediate impact."
The Aggies also received letters from QB Robert Fuller (Arroyo Valley HS), who could be in the running to start for the Aggies along with Sean Setzer, Jase McCormick and Diondre Borel. Utah State also signed playmaker Tremel Kline from Los Medanos JC.Utah State opens spring drills March 21.
Head of the class: Mangum Mauga
Immediate impact: Tremel Kline
Near miss: Greg Grimes