Logan • Utah State has taken the next step as a program.
No longer are the Aggies just hopefuls on the recruiting trail, promising prospects the opportunity to come to Logan and be a part of a turnaround.
Today, USU is established as a program that has tasted the postseason. And the results have been tangible. Just this week, the Aggies received a commitment from offensive lineman Patrick Ward out of Glendale Community College in Arizona. Utah State beat out Washington State, Indiana and Purdue for his talents.
Gary Andersen has kept up with his local ties, snagging D.J. Nelson, the Class 4A MVP out of Logan High, and Class 5A first team all-state running back Nick Vigil out of Fremont along with former local star Bill Vavau, a big offensive lineman out of Snow College.
As recuiting winds down to Wednesday's signing day, however, the biggest news out of Logan centers around recruits who haven't committed.
Utah State is one of three finalists for Snow College defensive lineman Tenny Palepoi, a former star at Skyline High. Palepoi told The Tribune last Tuesday that he is leaning toward USU. However, he grew up a Utah fan and will be visiting Kyle Whittingham's program this weekend.
Getting Palepoi would be a huge bounty for an Aggie defensive line that already has Al Lapuaho and Bojay Filimoeatu.
Also, Utah State is trying to sway Pleasant Grove star lineman Brandon Fanaika to decommit from Stanford. The coaching staff visited Fanaika on Thursday night. He already has a brother on the team, Jason, who started for much of the season at outside linebacker. USU is hoping that the lure of playing close to family would be enough to sway the younger brother.
USU has running back Tavarreon Dickerson, a high school commit from Arlington, Texas, enrolled in school and working out with the team. Returned missionary Jeff Manning, a former all-everything quarterback at Logan High, is back and will be ready for spring practice.
With few spots and much of the cast that took the Aggies to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl returning, the coaching staff wanted to address depth issues at receiver. Alex Wheat, a big wideout at 6-foot-5, has committed.
Utah State was more selective in who it recruited, figuring that success would bring in quality talent. On paper, it looks as if the Aggies were right, as they again are expected to have to top recruiting class in the Western Athletic Conference.
With precious little time until Wednesday, Utah State is hoping that Palepoi commits and the class gets a little bit better.
Utah State's projected signings
Player Pos. Hometown School Ht./Wt. Comment
Andrew Chen OT West Hills, Calif. Chaminade 6-4/275 Will provide depth to growing offensive line
Tavarreon Dickerson RB Arlington, Texas Arlington 5-9/163 Speedster is already on campus and working out
Marquan Ellison WR/DB Milwaukee Bradley Tech 6-1/170 Coaching staff loves his versatile potential could contribute soon
Devonta Glover-Wright DB Thatcher, Ariz. Eastern Arizona JC 6-0/175 Will be counted on to step into defensive backfield
Delroy Hamilton LB Hallandale Beach, Fla. Hallandale 6-1/195 Another speedster from Florida for the defensive to use
Jordon Jenkins WR Coffeyville, Kansas Coffeyville CC 6-1/195 Good hands, good route runner a big need
Bruce Natson WR Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. Boyd Andersen 5-8/165 May need to add strength, but explosive athlete
D.J. Nelson QB Logan Logan High 5-10/175 Possesses same intangibles as his famous BYU brother Riley
Jake Simonich OL Danville, Calif. San Ramon Valley 6-6/270 Could come in and challenge for playing time right away
Bill Vavau OL Salt Lake City Snow College 6-3/320 Prized prospect brings size and toughness
Nick Vigil RB Plain City Fremont High 6-3/200 Terrorized Class 5A football for past two seasons
Alex Wheat WR San Marcos, Calif. Palomar C.C. 6-5/210 Counted on to be a downfield threat with great size
Patrick Ward OL Phoenix Glendale Community College 6-3/285 USU beat out Washington State for Ward