Several athletes will ink their commitment with Utah State’s football program Wednesday as part of National Signing Day.
Aggie head coach Gary Andersen will conduct a press conference at 1:30 p.m. to discuss his program’s 2019 recruiting class, and it will be streamed live at utahstateaggies.com/watch. Fifteen players — 14 of them high school seniors — signed letters of intent or acceptance with Utah State during the early signing period a couple of months ago.
Those athletes were offensive linemen Ashton Adams (Salem, Oregon), Aric Davison (Richland, Washington) and Jackson Owens (Sandy); linebackers Christian LaValle (Mission Viejo, California), Simon Thompson (Salem, Oregon), Jaymason Willingham (Lacey, Washington) and Sione Moa (North Ogden); quarterback Josh Calvin (Bellflower, California); safety Keith Harris (Lawndale, California); wide receiver Cam Lampkin (Mesquite, Texas); defensive linemen Dean Rice (Yuba City, California) and Aaron Bredsguard (Bountiful); kicker/punter Pierce Callister (Ogden); long snapper Jesse James Vasquez (Thousand Oaks, California); tight end Mosese Manu (Bountiful), who played two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.
Davison, LaValle and Manu are already enrolled at USU, while Moa will serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling.
Here are capsules on the players with scholarship offers who are expected to sign with the Aggies on Wednesday:
Cooper Legas, QB, Orem High: This three-sport star pledged his commitment to the Aggies on Monday. The 3-star recruit averaged a whopping 386.8 yards of total offense per game and accounted for 63 touchdowns during the 2018 campaign for two-time defending 4A champion Orem. Legas is also a 4A champion in wrestling and a two-time state titlist in the javelin.
AJ Vongphachanh, LB, Chiawana (Washington) High: The 6-foot-3, 230-pound edge rusher was dominant this past season as he was a first-team all-state selection and the 4A Mid-Columbia Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The 3-star recruit recorded 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks and also rushed for several TDs. Vongphachanh never made an official visit to USU, meaning he can be pushed forward to the team’s 2020 recruiting class. This is also a possibility with Legas.
Ajani Carter, WR, North Shore (Texas) High: This 3-star recruit became somewhat of a social media celebrity when he hauled in a 45-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play of the Texas 6A state championship game, propelling his team to a stunning 41-36 victory. The 6-1, 185-pounder was once a UTEP commit.
Dominic Tatum, DB, Culver City (California) High: The 6-3, 180-pounder was once committed to Nevada and has scholarship offers from every Mountain West program with the exception of Boise State and Air Force. The 3-star recruit finished his senior season with 94 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes broken up. Tatum’s father, JerRon, was a wide receiver at USU nearly 20 years ago.
Kaleo Neves, LB, Timpview High: The 3-star recruit racked up a team-high 11.5 sacks in just eight games for the Thunderbirds as a senior. The 6-2, 215-pounder also lined up as a defensive end for Timpview.
Sonny Makasini, OL, Timpview High: The 3-star recruit gives the Aggies good size at offensive guard at 6-3, 315 pounds. Like Legas, Makasini also had an offer from BYU.
Jaylen Warren, RB, Snow College: This big, punishing tailback is the reigning National Junior College Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year. The 5-8, 225-pounder rushed for 1,435 yards and 15 scores in just nine contests for the Badgers as a sophomore. The 3-star recruit also amassed more than 1,000 yards on the ground as a freshman.
Cole Motes, TE, Thatcher (Arizona) High: This 3-star recruit verbally committed to the Aggies last June and is planning on serving a mission for the LDS Church before playing. The 6-6, 230-pounder, who is also a standout basketball player, caught eight passes for 158 yards and two scores in Thatcher’s rush-happy attack as a senior. The two-time defending state champion Eagles rushed for 3,625 yards in ’18.
Demarcus Griffin, CB, Olympic (North Carolina) High: This 3-star recruit had offers from more than 20 FBS programs, including Power 5 Conference teams like Florida, Florida State and Michigan. The 5-9, 170-pounder tallied 26 tackles, two INTs and nine PBUs as a senior.
Tobias Gilliam, S, Arizona Western College: This 3-star recruit started his collegiate career at Kentucky and has two years of eligibility remaining. The 5-11, 190-pounder contributed 46 tackles, two INTs and a team-high seven PBUs in 11 games for the Matadors as a sophomore. Gilliam had offers from several Power 5 Conference programs while in high school.
Troy Lefeged, S, Fullerton (California) College: The one-time Old Dominion commit has two years of eligibility left. The 6-0, 190-pounder finished with 37 tackles, two INTs and four PBUs in 10 games as a sophomore for the Hornets.
Two players who originally verbally committed to the Aggies but likely will sign with other programs are tailback Dadrion Taylor (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and cornerback Akili Arnold (Mission Viejo, California). Taylor recently committed to Texas Tech, while Arnold has received increased attention from a couple of Pac-12 Conference programs.
A couple of players the Aggies are hoping to sign are 3-star prep senior O-linemen Hunter Hill (Orem) and Cole Thomas (Seattle). Hill is a Washington State commit who recently received an offer from USC, while Thomas announced on Twitter his three finalists are USU, Texas Tech and Washington. Thomas, who has announced he will make his decision Wednesday afternoon, would likely be a preferred walk-on at TTU or Washington, his father’s alma mater.