LOGAN — College football’s early signing period for the recruits of the 2020 class officially commenced at 7 a.m. local time Wednesday morning.

Athletes across the country put pen to paper throughout the day, signing letters of intent to their chosen schools. One of those schools was Utah State University and at the close of the day there were officially seven new Aggies in the fold.

The school announced portions of head coach Gary Andersen’s latest recruiting class, which includes five high school and two junior college athletes. 

“It was a good day. Everybody that we expected to sign signed. We are excited about everyone that’s going to be joining our program, whether it be in January or next fall. This class has always been about quality not quantity” — Utah State head coach Gary Andersen

“It was a good day,” Andersen said in a statement. “Everybody that we expected to sign signed. We are excited about everyone that’s going to be joining our program, whether it be in January or next fall. This class has always been about quality not quantity.”

The quality included three-star defensive lineman Poukesi Vakauta. A native of Euless, Texas — the only USU signee from Texas — Vakauta prepped at Trinity High School where he starred as a two-sport athlete, playing football and competing in the shot put. According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, which takes into consideration the ratings of major media recruiting services, including 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN, Vakauta is the 12th highest-rated recruit in Utah State history. 

He was only one of five signees on the defensive side of the ball, the greater emphasis by far of USU’s 2020 class. Also signing were three-star safety Luke Marion (Tualatin, Oregon), three-star defensive end Dahlin Mesake (Las Vegas, Nevada), three-star cornerback Xavion Steele (Orange, California) and two-star defensive end James Hansen (Fullerton, California). Steele and Hansen — JUCO transfers each — were late commits to the program, with both verbally committing on Monday, Dec. 16.

Utah State Aggies football: 2020 recruiting class (+live updates)

In addition to the defensive talent brought in, Utah State added three-star running back Elelyon Noa and two-star punter Stephen Kotsanlee. Noa starred at Helix Charter High School in LaMesa, California, known for alums such as former USC star Reggie Bush and former Utah quarterback Alex Smith and he broke Bush’s all-time rushing record this season.

As for Kotsanlee, he is the latest in a long line of kicking prospects out of ProKick Australia, which was “developed in 2007 to help guide and transition Australian athletes to perform at the College/ NFL level.”

“Aggie Family is growing today!” USU director of player personnel Keegan Andersen tweeted. “Excited to have these ballers join us!”

Of those seven signees, five will enroll at USU for the 2020 spring semester, while one will serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before beginning his collegiate career.

Not among the announced signees was Kearns High athlete Isaiah Afatasi. A three-star running back, Afatasi held a signing day event in Kearns, but as of Wednesday night was not announced as an official signee.

The same could be said for Northridge High wide receiver Otto Tia, who James Edward of the Deseret News reported as having signed, but not by Utah State. A three-star recruit, Tia verbally committed to the Aggies on Oc. 14, after having only played organized football for two years.

Most recently, Tia was named first-team All-State (6A) by the Deseret News — Afatasi was a first-team All-State selection (6A) as an athlete — having recorded 647 receiving yards and five touchdowns this season, at an average of 16.6 yards per catch. 

Afatasi and Tia weren’t they only verbal commits to go unsigned. Skyline High (Sammamish, WA) quarterback Yaro Duvalko, who has been committed to Utah State since June 19 also went unannounced.

All told, the state of California produced the most signees of the day with three, followed by one each from Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Australia.

There is work yet to be done with Utah State’s 2020 recruiting class — currently the group is rated 125th nationally and 11th in the Mountain West Conference — and the complete class will be announced on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

“We are excited about everyone that’s going to be joining our program,” said Andersen. “We will continue to work to finish this class through the February signing day.”