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USU football: Aggies' family emphasis strengthened as National Signing Day nears

LOGAN — Normally when a coaching staff changes not one but two offensive coordinators in an offseason, it can have a substantial negative impact on the incoming recruiting class. Not so with this year’s Utah State football team.

Despite losing offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin, and changing up the defensive staff by hiring Dave Aranda as defensive coordinator, the Aggies have been full steam ahead in recruiting. This positive momentum head coach Gary Andersen attributes to the family atmosphere that Utah State has cultivated in his tenure.

“We have an emphasis on family here and team recruit,” Andersen said. “We like our recruits to get to know the entire staff.”

Aranda’s impact on the current class has been minimal, as he only joined the staff two weeks ago, but Andersen expects him to pay dividends in recruiting next season.

On offense, new coordinator Matt Wells has put together a class that fits his style. Wells spent his first year on the coaching staff as the recruiting coordinator and quarterback coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in early January.

“We will continue to emphasize the physicality and importance of the run game that we have established, and will place greater emphasis on the vertical passing game and taking shots down field,” Wells said when announced as offensive coordinator. “We want to be a dynamic offense that is up-tempo and aggressive in all areas that is exciting to watch and for our players to play in.”

Judging by the verbal commitments the Aggies have gotten, Wells is following through on that promise. Utah State could have as many as five wide receivers fax in a letter of intent on Wednesday as they work to improve the downfield passing game. In the trenches, the Aggies also hope to see five offensive lineman sign the dotted line to help improve the depth and size of an already physical and increasingly feared front line.

» Follow the Deseret News sports team for Aggie signing day coverage.

Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be reached at or followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.