The past eight days have been very fruitful for Utah State’s football program from a recruiting standpoint.
During that timespan, four current high school juniors have pledged their commitment to the Aggies, and the latest commit is someone Cache Valley high school fans are very familiar with. Green Canyon offensive lineman Bryce Radford announced his decision Wednesday on Twitter.
Radford is a two-year starter for the Wolves and garnered first-team all-Region 11 honors as a sophomore and junior. The 6-foot-6, 290-pounder was a second-team all-state selection this past fall.
“Division I football has always been my dream,” Radford said in an interview with The Herald Journal. “I’ve always wanted to play college football, especially for the Aggies. Growing up I always went to every game. I was and am obsessed with the Aggies, and I can’t wait to get to play in Maverik Stadium.”
Indeed, Radford’s family bleeds blue as Bryce’s father, Curtis, was a standout defensive end for the Aggies from 1994-99. Bryce Radford also received scholarship offers from fellow Mountain West programs UNLV and New Mexico, but the opportunity to play this close to home was too good to pass up.
“You know, it was a bit of a tough decision,” Radford said. “I love all the relationships I’ve built with coaches and the schools I’ve been recruited by, but Utah State has been able to connect with me better, so that helped my decision.”
The Hyde Park native was initially offered a scholarship by Gary Andersen’s staff when he was a sophomore. The 3-star recruit was re-offered by new head coach Blake Anderson’s staff in January.
What about the new coaching staff stood out to Radford?
“The energy the new coaching staff has brought is insane,” said Radford, who also plays basketball for the Wolves and is a thrower for the track & field program. “I have been to one of their open practices and the energy they create is crazy and so fun to watch, and I want to be a part of that. Also, the relationship me and (offensive line) coach (Micah) James have built makes me know he is whom I want to play for.”
Green Canyon won exactly half of its 10 games this past season and went 8-4 during Radford’s sophomore year. The son of Jodi and Curtis Radford is confident the Wolves are primed for some big things in 2021.
“This year my goal at Green Canyon is to win,” said Radford, who was credited for three tackles as a junior. “Just win. A new energy and mindset is being made here. We’re going to be all about hard work and winning at all costs. ... It will be amazing and I can’t wait to go out the field in August with my brothers.”
Radford, who plays left tackle for the Wolves, is one of three class of 2022 athletes from the Beehive State to commit to the Aggies since March 18. The others are soon-to-be Northridge outside linebacker Maximus Fonoti-Maikui and Orem tight end Chase Tuatagaloa. Tuatagaloa, who was recruited by USU as an athlete, also has experience as a prep quarterback. Fonoti-Maikui played his junior season at Layton High.
USU’s other class of 2022 verbal commit is Florida native Cahlede Jackson, a 6-1, 285-pound defensive tackle. The Herald Journal was able to catch up with Jackson, who commited Tuesday, earlier this week.
“It means the world to me,” Jackson said about the opportunity to play at the D-I level and get his education paid off. “I’m so blessed and happy to know that all the time, effort, literally everything my mother and I have been through has paid off. Word can’t describe how grateful I am. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure nothing gets in my way or causes this once-in-a-life-time chance to change.”
Jackson spent the 2020 season at TRU Prep Academy and will play for Chaminade-Madonna — the high school of former USU quarterback Henry Colombi — as a senior. The native of Hollywood, Florida, was also offered a scholarship by Syracuse.
“What drew me in (to USU) was not only football and the love and care that the entire staff shows,” Jackson said. “USU offers the undergraduate program I’m interested in to major in the field of sports medicine or orthopedic science, and Syracuse basically didn’t really make me feel appreciated or reach out like Utah State did.”
Jackson’s primary recruiters at USU were defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda, D-line coach Al Lapuaho and defensive front specialist Alex Devine. Banda coached in Jackson’s home state at the University of Miami from 2016-20.
“Feels like I’ve know the staff my whole life,” said Jackson, who played baseball in elementary and middle school. “I can sense the family environment. I love it.”
Fonoti-Maikui recorded 78 tackles, including 6.0 for a loss, and 5.0 sacks as a junior at Layton. The 6-3, 185-pounder was also credited with a forced fumble.
Tuatagaloa started his prep career at Bingham before transferring to Orem, where he helped lead the Tigers to the 5A state championship. The 6-4, 210-pounder was injured for most of last season and was credited for 81 yards and one touchdown on seven receptions in three games.
Fonoti-Maikui and Tuatagaloa are both 3-star recruits.
The Aggies will hold approximately a 120-play scrimmage Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at Maverik Stadium. The scrimmage is open to the public.
Fans will be required to wear masks and will not be allowed on the field at any time Saturday. Those attending the scrimmage can enter through the northwest and southwest gates of the stadium.