It starts slow usually, with a single tweet. But before too long, often mere minutes, it becomes a flood.
Tweet after tweet after tweet, all with the same hashtag — #HurdEmUp.
Follow Utah State football on Twitter, pay attention to any of the program’s coaches or staff, even some current players, and you’ll have noticed it by now. When the Aggies get a commitment under head coach Blake Anderson, they let you know.
It has been happening a lot lately. Between the 2022 recruiting class — Utah State currently has eight players committed and boasts the No. 1 class in the Mountain West Conference, per 247 Sports, not to mention the 51st-best class in the country — and transfers, Utah State has reshaped its roster now and for the future in the six or so months under Anderson.
The transfers are who will make the most immediate impact, of course. That’s why Anderson and his staff brought them to Logan.
“(We) didn’t promise any guys starting positions, we promised them opportunities to compete for one,” Anderson said on national signing day. “... We targeted the positions specifically because we felt like there was a need, but it’s their job to come in and compete.”
After the latest commitment, this one from former Nebraska wide receiver Jamie Nance, USU is up to 14 incoming transfers since December, and that number excludes the return of Aggies like Deven Thompkins, Cash Gilliam and Terin Adams who at one time or other were intent on leaving the program.
Here are all the transfers who’ve decided to become Aggies under Anderson.
- Patrick Joyner (DE) — Miami.
- Jahaziel Lee (DT) — Georgia Tech.
- Jamie Nance (WR) — Nebraska.
- Hunter Reynolds (CB) — Michigan.
- Kyle Mayberry (CB) — Kansas.
- Quazzel White (OL) — TCU.
- Byron Hobbs-Vaughns (DE) — Texas.
- Calvin Tyler Jr (RB) — Oregon State.
Group of Five
- Logan Bonner (QB) — Arkansas State.
- Brandon Bowling (WR) — Arkansas State.
- Maisen Knight (OL) — Liberty.
- Justin Rice (LB) — Arkansas State.
- Aurion Peoples (DT) — College of the Canyons.
- Kobe ‘KT’ Hylton (S) — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
“Rice was one of the more unique transfer stories of the wild 2020 season,” Max Olson and Bruce Feldman wrote. “The linebacker left Fresno State in the middle of August as a grad transfer after being named preseason defensive player of the year in the Mountain West. He joined Arkansas State and was on the field two weeks later. Rice had another terrific season there with 76 tackles and a nation-leading 18.5 tackles for loss.
“He then opted to follow coach Blake Anderson to Utah State for his super senior season and performed well this spring. Texas transfer Byron Vaughns also had an excellent spring and is a long, twitchy athlete with a high motor and three years to play. Between those two, the Aggies have added some serious talent at linebacker.”
Hobbs-Vaughns, Joyner and Lee are all expected to play key parts on a revamped Aggie defensive front, along with returners Nick Heninger and Marcus Moore. That front is expected to be among the team’s most impactful position groups this fall.
“Our expectations are to lead the defense,” defensive line coach Al Lapuaho said. “In my personal experience, the D-line should be the alpha males, so our biggest goal is to be the hardest working group and lead by example. We have a lot of young guys and a lot of older guys, and we need some of the younger guys to contribute. We are putting some guys at different spots and we’ll see what they can do.”
Knight and White, meanwhile, are expected to lend some serious and meaningful experience, to say nothing of a talent influx, to what has been a youthful and at times ineffective offensive line.
Tyler adds experience and depth to a running back group that needs it, as does Mayberry and Reynolds in the secondary.
Bowling and Nance give the Aggies a pair of playmakers on offense, something the team was in desperate need of season ago, even with stalwarts like Savon Scarver and Jordan Nathan on the team.
Then there is Bonner, who is widely expected to win the starting quarterback job in the fall, though he missed spring camp and Cooper Legas and Andrew Peasley both have made their claims to the job.
The Aggies might not be done adding transfers the roster just yet either, given the offers reportedly handed out by the USU, according to Rivals.
If Utah State doesn’t add another player, though, it won’t change the fact that under Anderson the Aggies have remade themselves, and utilized the transfer portal to do it.