Sitting behind a podium in the Jim and Carol Laub Athletics-Academics Complex Wednesday afternoon, Utah State head coach Matt Wells spoke optimistically about his fourth full recruiting class.
As of Wednesday, the class of 2017 includes 20 players; 13 high school graduates and seven college transfers. Five of the high school recruits will serve two-year missions for the LDS Church before enrolling at USU.
Headlining the incoming group of players are Carson Terrell (TE), Henry Colombi (QB), Savon Scarver (WR), and Jamaal Evans (QB/Athlete); each three-star recruits.
Seven of the incoming freshman are coming from in-state high schools.
“We’ll always recruit this state first and foremost,” Wells said. Wells also said that he’d “love to sign the whole class from Utah,” but that it is unlikely to happen.
“We don’t ever get everyone we wanted,” he said. “There’s certainly a lot of in-state kids that I would’ve loved to have but they chose to go other places so good luck to them.”
The focus for the recruiting class was to improve the offensive line and linebacking corps. Five offensive linemen and five linebackers accounted for half of the group.
Wells said two of the incoming linebackers, Suli Tamaivena (Kirkland, Wash.) and Louy Compton (Waterford, Mich.) will be competing immediately for prominent roles in the front seven. Robert Castaneda, an offensive line junior college transfer, projects to be a contender on the interior offensive line.
The Aggies’ recruiting class won’t make national headlines (ranked 117th nationally and ninth in the Mountain West according to 24/7 sports), but Wells isn’t concerned about how many stars his recruits got.
“That’s the kind of stuff out there that doesn’t matter to me and doesn’t do anything to our evaluations,” Wells said. “It’s for fans, it’s for twitter, it’s for all those kinds of things. When the kids come into Utah State they got to be able to bond and have great chemistry.”
Wells said loyalty is often something he feels is very important in his recruits.
“It’s the kids that have stayed loyal to Utah State,” Wells said, “that end up being our best and most productive players. There’s a lot of kids that turned down schools that stayed very very loyal to us at Utah State. I think that that’s what takes kids to another level once they get here.”