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Why did Utah State bring in former Fresno State/Utah running back Jordan Wilmore?

Wilmore, a former four-star recruit, was a late addition to the Aggies roster this summer

SHARE Why did Utah State bring in former Fresno State/Utah running back Jordan Wilmore?

Fresno State running back Jordan Wilmore is chased by Connecticut linebacker Hunter Webb during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021.

Gary Kazanjian, AP

If you weren’t paying attention you might have missed it.

Former four-star running back Jordan Wilmore, once a Utah Ute and a Fresno State Bulldog, is now a Utah State Aggie.

Wilmore never officially announced his commitment nor that he signed with Utah State. But it is official.

The Lawndale, California, native is on Utah State’s roster heading into the 2022 season, part of a running back room that now includes Calvin Tyler Jr. — formerly of Oregon State — John Gentry, Pailate Makakona and Robert Briggs.

So why did the Aggies add Wilmore?

After all, they have an established starter in Tyler, while Gentry has shown flashes at times during his Utah State career.

As it turns out, with the loss of Elelyon Noa — via the transfer portal — Utah State coach Blake Anderson just didn’t feel comfortable with the depth the Aggies had at running back, and Wilmore’s past was intriguing.

“We felt like we needed more opportunity in that room to maybe play by committee a little bit,” Anderson said. “Wilmore comes in having played on some Power Five rosters. People in the state are familiar with him. At one point he was listed as the starter at Utah, at least for a game or two.

“Some staff changes at the place he was at (Fresno State) made him available to us and we felt like he could challenge some of the guys in the room.”

Wilmore once appeared to be part of the future at running back for Utah.

In early 2019, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was impressed enough to make Wilmore one of the primary backups to future NFL running back Zack Moss, and as a true freshman no less.

“Jordan Wilmore … very impressed with that kid. … He’s going to be a good one,” Whittingham told the Deseret News.

Then-Utah running backs coach Kiel McDonald had plenty of praise for Wilmore as well, noting his “great feet, balance, good vision, tough — everything that encompasses a Utah football player.”

After the emergence of Ty Jordan during the abbreviated 2020 season, Wilmore elected to transfer from Utah, after which Whittingham said, “When freshmen rise up and do well, upperclassmen sometimes get the notion that maybe they’re not in the plans,” he said. “So we’ll see what happens with that position.”

Unfortunately for Wilmore, he transferred to a Fresno State team that was almost as well-equipped at running back as the Utes, and in one year with the Bulldogs, Wilmore carried the ball only 14 times, rushing for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Now at Utah State, Wilmore has no guarantee of playing time, but Anderson hopes that he makes an immediate impact. The Aggies have yet to determine who will serve as their No. 2 and No. 3 backs, so why not Wilmore?

“Don’t know where he will fit and didn’t promise him anything,” Anderson said. “Just the opportunity, but we did feel like it was a need to bring in another guy who has played at this level. He’ll have a role, however big or small.”