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Soi prepped — and ready to help Aggies

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LOGAN — Brian Soi left Timpview High in 2003 as a heavily decorated football player heading for neighboring BYU for a career filled with tremendous promise.

Soi, the Region 6 MVP, two-time first-team all-state selection and three-year starter, was expected to be a big key for Gary Crowton in rebuilding the Cougars, but that never came to fruition. The dominant defensive lineman was one-quarter English credit shy coming out of high school and was unable to play for the Cougars.

"It was my fault," said Soi, who, after a year of prep school in Virginia in 2003, verbally committed to play for Utah State last year along with his brother, Justin.

"I goofed off in high school, and I didn't get enough credits to get into a Division I school."

Now, with his grades in order, Soi is beginning his first football season at Utah State as a defensive lineman.

"I'm excited. I'm grateful to be back on thee field playing ball," he said. "It's been almost two years."

During those two years Soi, 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, had to remain focused, which wasn't easy.

"One year I was lost and wanted to kick it with the boys," he said. "But I have a great family back home. It was hard for me, but now it's great to be playing ball."

He is listed as a sophomore because of his Prop 48 status, but if he completes a degree in four years, he will earn one year of eligibility back. He is currently studying Criminal Justice.

"I'm going to get a degree and have something to fall back on," he said.

Soi entered camp around 325 pounds, and several practices in, he's lost 10-15 pounds, which will only help him in the long run.

"I've got to get in better shape," he said. "They (the practices) are killing me out here."

He wouldn't have it any other way.

"Football is my life, and it's been my life for a long time," he said.

THE YOUNGER SOI: At the same time Brian committed to play for Utah State his younger brother, Justin Soi, did also. Justin, however, is planning on serving an LDS Church mission before enrolling.

YEARS OF CHANGE: Linebacker Jarom Fano is playing under his third coach during his tenure at Utah State. He was a redshirt in 1999 under Dave Arslanian, and after serving an LDS Church mission, he played two years for Mick Dennehy before he was replaced by Brent Guy last December.

Utah State coach Tom McMahon has also worked for the same three coaches.

APPROACHING 3 MILLION: The 2,992nd fan who walks through the turnstiles in the Sept. 3 season opener against Nicholls State will be the 3 millionth fan in the 37-year history of Romney Stadium.

That lucky fan will be recognized by the athletic department during the game.

FIRST-YEAR BLUES: Guy will be trying to do something that no other rookie USU football coach has done since 1973 — have a winning season in his inaugural year.

Since then, three coaches —Chris Pella, Arslanian and Dennehy — won five games but didn't finish with a winning record or even a .500 mark.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com