One of the Utah State football players who entered the NCAA transfer portal this offseason is receiving some publicity.
Earlier this week, 247 Sports’ Brad Crawford ranked his top eight available players still in the transfer portal after former Pitt wide receiver Jordan Addison committed to USC.
Utah State running back Elelyon Noa made the list at No. 7.
What did Elelyon Noa do at Utah State?
The 5-foot-8, 200-pound Noa had a breakout season for the Aggies last year, rushing for 597 yards and four touchdowns.
He also had 11 receptions for 85 yards.
Noa’s three best rushing games came midseason in back-to-back-to-back games.
After rushing for 97 yards in a close win over Colorado State, he followed that with a career-high 111-yard, one touchdown game in a victory over Hawaii while averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
The next week, Noa rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown in a win over New Mexico State.
His four touchdown runs came over a five-game stretch during midseason as well.
Why does Elelyon Noa make the list?
Crawford explained what qualified Noa for his top available transfer list. The running back entered the transfer portal in late January.
“Noa was the Aggies’ second-leading rusher last season behind Oregon State transfer Calvin Tyler Jr., galloping his way to 597 yards and four touchdowns during his sophomore campaign,” Crawford wrote. “He started three games and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
“Noa’s most productive stretch as a second-year player and contributor came at the midseason junction when he rushed for 97 yards against Colorado State and 111 yards against Hawaii.”
Who else is on the list?
Noa is joined by two other running backs on Crawford’s list: Boise State’s Andrew Van Buren and Sam Houston State’s Ramon Jefferson.
Regarding Van Buren, the only other Mountain West Conference product on the list, Crawford wrote: “Over his multiyear career with the Broncos, VanBuren appeared in 44 games and and rushed for 1,028 yards and 21 touchdowns during his Boise State career.
“The premium on running backs isn’t what it once was, but for a team in need of stability in the backfield, VanBuren is a veteran option with plenty of experience.”
Also on the list are two Oregon players — offensive tackle Jonah Miller tops the list at No. 1, and defensive lineman Kristian Williams.
Rounding out the list are Coastal Carolina linebacker Enock Makonzo, Tennessee offensive lineman Chris Akporoghene and Duke safety Nate Thompson.
Who returns at running back for Utah State?
While having Noa enter the transfer portal hurts USU’s running back depth, the Aggies have several experienced players returning at the position.
Tyler, who’s headed into his final college season, led Utah State with 884 rushing yards and seven touchdowns last season.
Also back are junior John Gentry — the team’s third-leading rusher with 235 yards last year — and Pailate Makakona for his senior season.
Robert Briggs also joins the program as a three-star prospect out of Texas who signed as part of the team’s 2022 recruiting class.