LOGAN — A three-star prospect coming out of Orem High in 2019, Cooper Legas’ journey as a Division I quarterback has been a unique ride that has really only taken shape over the last five months.

With no game appearances in 2019 and 2020 and caught behind what was a two-man race between Andrew Peasley and Logan Bonner for the starting quarterback spot, it looked like Legas would again be a long shot to see the field for the Aggies in 2021. 

Eventually, Bonner laid claim to the starting spot, and Legas found himself behind Peasley in the pecking order.

When Peasley suffered a season-ending shoulder injury while taking a handful of snaps against New Mexico, Legas became the QB in waiting. In fact, Legas took his first five career snaps that game, but they occurred during garbage time and didn’t amount to anything.

So what, right?

Bonner was still there and Legas was unlikely to see the field for any significant amount of time. It looked as though the former Orem Tiger would go a third season with little to show for it.

But when Utah State made its trip to SoFi Stadium to take on Oregon State in the inaugural LA Bowl, Bonner left the field with a knee injury late in the first quarter and everything changed for Legas.

Utah State quarterback Cooper Legas is hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates after they won the LA Bowl 24-13 over Oregon State in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. | Associated Press, Ashley Landis

Legas entered the game and threw a 62-yard touchdown strike to Deven Thompkins on his first collegiate pass attempt before leading the Aggies to a memorable 24-13 win.

In three quarters of action, Legas went from being an afterthought on the quarterback depth chart, to playing a crucial role in a victory that capped off the best season in program history.

Four months later, Legas carried the momentum he generated in the bowl game into Utah State’s spring practice sessions.

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“I was glad I finally got a shot to go in a game, because there’s only so much you can do at practice,” Legas said after the Aggies’ spring contest.

“Personally I knew I could play in a real game, and I think everyone (in the program) assumed that I could, but having that real game experience just let me know that I can play at this level, and it lets my coaches and teammates know that I can play at this level. It was just a confidence thing for myself and those around me.”

With his confidence boosted and with Peasley transferring from the program and starting quarterback Bonner still nursing an injury, Legas was the signal-caller for the first team offense throughout the team’s spring practices, and looks to be the frontrunner not only for the backup spot, but potentially the heir apparent to Bonner, who has just one more season of eligibility remaining.

Utah State coach Blake Anderson said Legas looked steady throughout the spring and that he and his staff feel even more confident that he would be able to win games for the Aggies if needed.

“For sure, since my time here, it’s been by far the most reps that I’ve had,” Legas said of the spring practices.

“It’s been enjoyable going with the ones and I think I’ve built that trust within my teammates and the coaches. I’m excited about the fall. Once Logan’s healthy, we’ll see what happens, but yeah, I’m very excited.”

Time will tell if Wyoming transfer quarterback Levi Williams will be able to make up ground on Legas with more time in the system.

What is now known is that the onetime afterthought in the quarterback room has shown this spring that his performance in the LA Bowl wasn’t a fluke, and he’s ready to perform when his number is called.

From left, Utah State quarterback Cooper Legas (5), wide receiver Deven Thompkins (13), and defensive end Nick Heninger (42) hold championship belts after they beat Oregon State 24-13 in the LA Bowl NCAA college football game in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. | Associated Press, Ashley Landis