USU football: Linebacker Jake Doughty is latest walk-on to step up for Aggies
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Logan • Those former walk-ons just keep producing.

Last week, Zach Vigil played the best game of his career in a win over Colorado State. On Saturday night, in a 35-13 win over UNLV, it proved to be Jake Doughty's turn.

The junior linebacker out of Juan Diego High came up with a career-high 13 tackles, 11 of them solo. His performance spearheaded another very good defensive effort for Utah State, which moved to 4-1 on the season. Indeed, the kid with the mullet starred from his linebacker spot.

"I thought the defense as a whole was huge," Doughty said. "We got stops when we needed to. It was huge for momentum, and I'm happy with how we played as a group."

Doughty is not one to shy away from being a personality. His smile is engaging. He's equally angry when his defense is scored on, and he's developed the reputation of a hard-nosed and tough competitor who will do anything it takes to win a football game.

This week, Doughty made national headlines and an appearance in the Not Top 10 on ESPN's "Sportscenter" for taking out Colorado State's kicker on an onside attempt last week. True to Doughty, he's not remorseful of the play, which landed him a 15-yard penalty. He saw the football, saw the kicker in the way and took him out.

"Watching myself on TV was pretty cool," Doughty said. "I was trying to make a play, and he was there."

Since taking over the starting job from Kyle Gallagher, Doughty has distinguished himself as a great tackler, as well as a linebacker who can drop back into coverage and play against the passing game. Those attributes have allowed him to be an every-down defender.

He came to Utah State as a walk-on, and has since earned a scholarship. He's one of those in-state players whom Andersen promised to recruit — and land — when he took over the USU program back in 2008.

Today, Doughty is paying dividends for Andersen's recruiting strategy. He's a starter now, colorful off the field, a bit nasty between the lines.

Just like all standout defenders have to be.

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tonyaggieville