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Logan • Utah State coach Matt Wells believes his defense can excel this season.
The primary reason is the secondary.
Senior free safety Devin Centers, junior cornerback Jalen Davis and senior corner Daniel Gray have played a combined 90 games for the Aggies in their careers. They have made 49 starts.
Along with safety Dallin Leavitt, a junior transfer from BYU, Utah State's defensive backfield might be as talented and experienced as any in the Mountain West Conference.
The Aggies have depth, too.
Junior cornerback Wesley Bailey and sophomore safeties Jontrell Rocquemore and Gaje Ferguson are expected to see significant playing time.
"Our versatility will come into play when people get nicked up or injured," Wells said. "Having versatility allows you to move guys around, instead of having a guy in there who may not be ready. … I think we're deep back there.
There were only a couple of minor surprises this week when Wells released Utah State's first two-deep roster of the preseason.
At inside linebacker, senior Leki Uasike moved ahead of senior Anthony Williams and junior Patrick Miranda.
Along the offensive line, senior Jake Simonich has moved from right tackle to right guard to make room for junior Preston Brooksby.
True freshman Rayshad Lewis has played well in training camp and is listed as a No. 2 wide receiver behind senior Kennedy Williams.
At quarterback, junior Damion Hobbs and sophomore DJ Nelson are still running second and third, respectively, behind starter Kent Myers.
Watch these guys
Devante Mays, Austin Stephens and Simonich have been named to the Reese's Senior Bowl watch list for the coming season.
The game is an annual showcase of college seniors for National Football League coaches, executives and scouts. It is played in Mobile, Ala.
"The release of our watch list signifies the opening kickoff for the Reese's Senior Bowl," said executive director Phil Savage. "We are looking forward to evaluating these prospects over the next several months in trying to find the best 110 players in America."
Said Senior Bowl scouting coordinator Patrick Woo, "If a player is not on this list, it doesn't mean they can't play in our game. The players on our radar are not strictly limited to this list. This provides a starting point for us and NFL clubs."
Mays, Simonich and Stephens join 14 other players from the Mountain West Conference on the watch list, including six from San Diego State and three from Boise State.