With national signing day upon us, the 2022 recruiting class for Utah State marks the first full recruiting cycle for head coach Blake Anderson and his staff.

Joining the Aggies late in last year’s cycle, Anderson leaned heavily on the transfer portal to bolster the squad — a strategy that obviously paid off as the program won 11 games — but with much more high school talent incoming this season, Anderson said the makeup of the 2022 class will be what fans can expect going forward.

“We don’t want to go all transfers at any point, we want to stay balanced and we want to build a foundation so this place is good for years and years to come,” Anderson said during his signing day press conference.

“We’re probably going to be in the 60-40 range as far as the high school-transfer (ratio) ... But I think this (class) is a good look at what you should see from us in the coming years.”

The class includes 33 players — 23 high school athletes, seven four-year transfers, two junior college transfers and one returned missionary. The class is evenly split on both sides of the ball, with 17 defensive players and 16 offensive players.

Utah State Aggies football: 2022 recruiting class (+live updates, video)

Three players in the class are planning to sign and leave on church missions.

The Aggie class is rated the fourth-best in the Mountain West Conference and 77th nationally, according to 247 Sports.

Over a third of the class (12 players) are either offensive or defensive linemen — half of which are in-state prospects. Anderson said that recruiting the trenches, especially on offense, was the primary focus of the class.

“We were shorthanded (at offensive line) all year long, so we knew we needed to start making up some ground there,” Anderson said. “It starts up front — I know touchdowns, balls thrown in the air and all that stuff is flashy — but at the end of the day you’ve got to be good up front on both sides. So we made an emphasis of recruiting some young guys, here in the state especially, so that we could start building the room for years to come. … Our philosophy is going to be ‘build the fronts.’”

Anderson added that the Aggies will continue to monitor the portal to see if any other offensive linemen become available.

The class’ consensus top-rated high school recruit plays at the offensive tackle position in Sione Tavo Motu’apuaka. The Hawaii native was committed to the University of Utah before flipping to the Aggies during the early signing period.

Aggies will use 2022 recruiting class to replace stellar group of departing seniors

Bingham’s Weylin Lapuaho and Timpview’s Irae Leilua also play on the offensive line and are among the class’ top overall prospects.

Five new players to the receivers room, as the Aggies look to replace last year’s standout seniors Deven Thompkins, Derek Wright and Brandon Bowling. Headlined by Power Five transfers Brian Cobbs (Maryland) and Xavier Williams (Alabama), the group also includes junior college transfer Terrell Vaughn, in addition to high school prospects Malachi Keels (Escondido, California) and Austin Okerwa (Skyline High).

Anderson said the significant turnover in the wide receiver room may result in a style of play that looks different from last year’s group, but he still expects the new players to produce.

The Aggies found success inside the state’s boundaries, with 14 of its signees coming from Utah, but also found success from afar. The class includes players from California (5), Texas (5), Florida (2), Nevada (2), as well as one player each from Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Virginia and Oklahoma.

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Anderson said that he was pleasantly surprised with the level of football the state produces at the high school level, which was one of the reasons the Aggies focused and will continue to focus so much on in-state talent.

Sixteen players in the class have already enrolled and will be participating in spring practices, while the remainder will trickle in later on during the offseason.

Anderson said that a few more players and some preferred walk-ons may be added to the recruiting class in the coming weeks, but that he was pleased with where the class stands currently.

“Every signing class looks great on paper,” Anderson said. “We feel like attitude-wise, personality-wise, character-wise (the class) fits the culture here. Physically, they fill our needs, we’ve just got to develop them. We’ll find out like everybody here in the next two to three years if this class was really good or not.”

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