Were the Utes recruiting Utah State star safety Ike Larsen, others on Saturday?
Larsen and other Aggies were on hand to watch the Utes take on Oregon Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City, with USU on a bye
Utah State coach Blake Anderson was as clear as he could be Monday during his weekly press conference.
Aggie fans need not worry that star junior safety Ike Larsen, freshman safety Titan Saxton and others were at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday for the Utah Utes’ afternoon showdown with the Oregon Ducks.
“He is not afraid of the moment. Most people get there and honestly can’t make the play. They miss it. They close their eyes and their technique is bad. When the moment gets bigger (Ike) tends to get better. And that’s a great trait.” — USU coach Blake Anderson on Ike Larsen
Many Utah State fans on social media were on edge after pictures of Larsen and Saxton circled on X, via screenshots of Larsen’s story on Instagram.
Those pictures showed Larsen and Saxton specifically inside Rice-Eccles Stadium, sporting sideline passes for the Utah-Oregon game.
Per Anderson, though, there is nothing for Aggie supporters to worry about. Larsen and other Aggies were in Salt Lake City to cheer on friends and former teammates that were playing in the much-ballyhooed game. Nothing more.
“They’ve got a bunch of friends over there, had an open week and thought that was going to be a great game,” Anderson said. “Sometimes you just want to be a fan. I’m not going to read anything into it. I feel like our guys, when you talk about both Utah and BYU, these guys know a ton of players on both rosters. Sometimes you just want to go enjoy a game and they thought that was going to be a great game. They had an opportunity to go watch it and were back here last night ready to go, working their tails off.”
Aggie fans’ fears weren’t exactly unreasonable, though. Larsen, for one, has been nothing short of a standout in his USU career, an All-Mountain West Conference player with the potential to continue his football career at the next level.
Anderson himself has described Larsen as being a rare kind of player, noting after the Aggies’ victory over Colorado State earlier this month that Larsen “just has a knack for finding the ball. People like him and (Anthony Switzer) and MJ (Tafisi), they’re just calm in the moment. Their body control at the point of attack is really really good.
“He (Larsen) is not afraid of the moment. Most people get there and honestly can’t make the play. They miss it. They close their eyes and their technique is bad. When the moment gets bigger (Ike) tends to get better. And that’s a great trait.”
Throw in the fact that the Aggies lost 36 players to the transfer portal last offseason, with more than 40% ending up at Power Five schools — including multiple starters to in-state rival BYU — and that Anderson himself has bemoaned in-season recruiting of his players by P5 schools, and one might assume that Larsen was being recruited by the Utes.
Anderson made it clear on Monday, however, that that wasn’t the case.
“Hopefully,” Anderson said, “fans won’t freak out too much about that. Understand it was a good Saturday afternoon to go watch a game. I would assume probably most people here at home were tuned into that one as well, if not some of them (being) at that game in person.”