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Get up to speed on the Utah State Aggies’ 2022 recruiting class

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Utah State Aggies players celebrate after Utah State Aggies cornerback Michael Anyanwu (22) returns a fumble for a touchdown during an NCAA football game at Maverik Stadium in Logan on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. The play was then called back due to an incomplete pass.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Whether it be the middle of the college football season, the dog days of summer or the outset of spring camp, recruiting is an ever present part of college football.

There is no such thing as an offseason, and for head coach Blake Anderson and company, finding the next batch of Aggies is always a priority.

With that in mind, here is a look at Utah State’s 2022 recruiting class, with prospects listed according to reporting by 247 Sports, Rivals and the Deseret News.

(All commitments at this point are verbal and non-binding.)


National rankings

247 Sports — 65

Rivals — 62


The latest

Utah State has experienced both the good and the bad of recruiting over the last two days. On Sunday, the Aggies flipped former Utah pledge Sione Tavo Motuapuaka, a major win on the offensive line. Monday morning, though, Matt Freeman, a linebacker out of Cedar Hill, Texas decommitted. Later Monday, Snow College wide receiver Taylor Larsen committed to Utah State. A few hours later, senior defensive back Zahodri Jackson entered the transfer portal. To close things out, Lehi offensive lineman Teague Andersen announced his commitment to Utah State.


Max Alford

RB — Park City (Park City)

6-1, 215

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Rated the 32nd-best prospect in Utah and the 125-best running back in the country, per 247 Sports, Alford chose the Aggies over offers from Air Force, Colorado State and Navy, among others.

As a junior last season, Alford rushed for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns according to the Deseret News statistical database, and added 30 receptions, 448 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Alford was expected to be a key contributor again for the Miners, as they moved up to the 5A classification, but he suffered season-ending injury in a season opening defeat against Wasatch.


Saco Alofipo

S — Liberty (Henderson, Nevada)

5-10, 175

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Alofipo chose the Aggies over an offer from Northern Arizona, amidst interest (no scholarship offer) from Arizona, Arizona State and BYU. Formerly of Wood Cross High School, Alofipo is rated the 17th-best player in Nevada and the 119th-best safety prospect in the country.

As a Wildcat in 2019-20, he racked up 35 tackles and two interceptions (tied for the second-most on the team).


James Aloisio

OT — Timpview (Provo)

6-4, 270

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★★ — Rivals

Rated the 24th-best prospect in Utah, per 247 Sports’ composite rating, and the 146th-rated offensive tackle prospect in the country, Aloisio chose the Aggies over an offer from Nebraska. Sporting a 5.5 rating on Rivals (0.8315 on 247 Sports) Aloisio helped the T-Birds to a 7-5 record and a berth in the 5A state championship game as a junior.


Teague Andersen

OL — Lehi (Lehi)

6-5, 285

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Rated the 34th-best prospect in Utah and the 96th-best offensive line prospect in the country, Andersen chose the Aggies over offers from Baylor, Indiana, Air Force and Army, among others.

Andersen took an official visit to Utah State the weekend of Dec. 12, was offered a scholarship and committed the next day.

As a senior, Anderson helped the Lehi Pioneers win the 5A state championship.


Robert Briggs

RB — Bellville (Bellville, Texas)

5-7, 170

Not rated — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

An all-purpose running back out of southeastern Texas, Briggs was offered by the Aggies on April 11, visited Logan on June 23 and committed on June 25. Per 247 Sports, Briggs was Texas District 12-4A-II Offensive Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 2018, was a Texas 12-4A-II first-team All-District selection at both running back and returner as a sophomore in 2019, and was Texas District 12-4A-II Utility Player of the Year as a junior in 2020.

A speedster, Briggs runs a 4.42 second 40-yard dash and a a 10.7 second 100 meter dash. He is the first offensive skill player to commit to the Aggies for 2022.


Bishop Davenport

QB — Spring (Spring, Texas)

6-1, 187

Not rated — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

A pro-style quarterback, Davenport chose the Aggies over interest from Houston Baptist, Lamar and Texas Southern. As a junior last season, Davenport was named District 14-6A Overall MVP after leading Spring High School to an undefeated regular season. Davenport threw for 3459 yards and 36 touchdowns with only three interceptions, while also rushing for 680 yards and seven scores. He was offered by the Aggies on June 21 and committed on June 25.


Jordan Drew

WR — Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

6-0, 170

Not rated — 247 Sports

Not rated — Rivals

An under-the-radar prospect with scholarship offers from Army, Houston Baptist, Missouri State, and Central Oklahoma, Drew committed to Utah State on Oct. 30, following the Aggies’ victory over Hawaii.

Cousin to current USU defensive back Kyle Mayberry, Drew has played on both sides of the ball in high school, as a receiver and defensive back (corner and free safety).

In an interview with Tulsa World’s Bryce McKinnis, Drew explained that Utah State “just feels like home,” and the Aggies’ willingness to recruit outside of the Western United States impressed him.

“Man, it’s very important, just to show that (Utah State) would go out of their way and not just recruit the west side of the United States,” Drew said, “and how they’d just come to the central area... I had a lot of people just calling me at one point in time,” Drew said. “Now I can just have my one coach, and I can just focus on me and him, so I just feel like that will be a big thing for me. I can focus on the season now. I don’t have to worry about recruiting, or where I’m going.”


Paul Fitzgerald

OLB — Thunder Ridge (Idaho Fall, Idaho)

6-3, 235

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

A combination linebacker/defensive end — he also plays tight end sparingly — Fitzgerald chose the Aggies over offers from BYU, Idaho State and Nevada, with reported interest from Boise State as well.

Rated the 83rd-best edge rusher in the country and 5th-best prospect in Idaho, Fitzgerald originally committed to BYU, before de-committing and then pledging to the Aggies. Per Hudl, Fitzgerald runs a 4.67 second 40 yard dash and benches 315 pounds.


Kauasi Hansen

OT — Herriman (Herriman)

6-5, 285

Not rated – 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Hansen chose the Aggies over offers from BYU, Colorado State, San Jose State and New Mexico, among others. Utah State offered Hansen on March 2 and he committed July 5. Hansen was an integral part of a Mustangs team that went 6-6 last season, before falling short against Skyridge in the second round of the 6A state tournament.

Hansen and the rest of the Herriman offensive line helped four Mustangs rush for over 200 yards last season.


Takeao Hansen

ATH — Lone Peak (Highland)

6-3, 195

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Rated by 247 Sports as the 28th-best prospect in the state of Utah, as well as the 133rd-best athlete in the country, Hansen committed to the Aggies over offers from BYU and Colorado State.

Playing for Lone Peak as a junior last season, Hansen recorded 56 tackles, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns, helping the Knights advance to the 6A state championship game, where’d they lose to Corner Canyon.

Hansen also saw some time on the the offensive side of the ball last year, recording two receptions for 34 yards.

As a senior, Hansen had nine tackles, two interceptions and a kick return for a touchdown. One of those picks came in the 6A title game and it effectively clinched the title for Lone Peak.


Maximus ‘Lofa’ Fonoti-Maikui

OLB — Northridge (Layton)

6-3, 185

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

The 30th-best recruit in the state of Utah, Fonoti-Maikui made an instant impact even as a freshman in 2018-19. In his first season playing high school football he tallied 18 tackles and an interception. He then took a leap forward as a sophomore and led the Northridge Knights with 77 tackles and three sacks.

As a junior, Fonoti-Maikui transferred to Layton, where he had regular double-digit tackle performances and dabbled at playing quarterback. Fonoti-Maikui was back at Northridge for his senior year and had a breakout season. While playing quarterback, he threw for 2,824 yards, 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 301 yards and seven touchdowns.

Northridge head coach Andrew Fresques’ comments on Fonoti-Maikui:

“Lofa is a great young man and football player. He will not only bring physical toughness to Utah State, but also mental toughness. He has a high football IQ and motor, and is a great leader who leads by example. Utah State is getting a special student-athlete.”


Weylin Lapuaho

OL — Bingham (South Jordan)

6-4, 295

★★★ — 247 Sports

Not rated — Rivals

Rated the 14th-best prospect in Utah and the 52nd-best offensive line prospect in the country, per 247 Sports, Lapuaho chose the Aggies over offers from Utah, New Mexico and UNLV. He was offered by Utah State on May 21 and committed on July 2. Lapuaho helped the Miners to a 8-4 record and a run to the quarterfinals of the 6A state tournament as a junior.

Bingham head coach Dave Peck’s comments on Lapuaho:

“Weylin will be a three-year starter on our offensive line and he has played guard, tackle and center. He will be a great asset for the Aggies. He is a very hard worker and a great leader on our team.”


Irae Leilua

OL — Timpview (Provo)

6-4, 270

★★★ – 247 Sports

★★★ — Rivals

Rated the 18th-best prospect in Utah, regardless of position, and the 71st-best offensive line recruit in the country, Leilua committed to Utah State on Nov. 22, 2021, choosing the Aggies over offers from Tennessee, San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV, among others.

Leilua was a key cog on a T-Birds offensive line that helped Timpview finish 9-3 overall this season and advance to the quarterfinals of the 5A state tournament.


Ryker Lotulelei

OLB — West (Salt Lake City)

6-2, 230

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Rated the 36th-best prospect in Utah and the 180th-best linebacker in the country, per 247 Sports, Lotulelei was offered by Utah State on February 4 and committed on June 25. Lotulelei led the Highland Rams — he has since transferred to West High — as a junior with 50 tackles. The Rams lost to Spanish Fork in the first round of the 5A state tournament.

As a senior, Lotulelei racked up 47 tackles, three sacks and an interception for the Region 2 champion Panthers.

West head coach Olossa Solovi’s comments on Lotulelei:

“We’re super excited for Ryker and his family. He is a humble and hard working young man. His example on and off the field has given him the opportunity to play at the next level. Grateful for the Utah State staff believing in him.”


Ken Moore Jr.

CB — Colombus (Miami, Fla.)

5-9, 155

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Offered by Utah State on March 1, Moore committed to the Aggies on April 29. Capable of running a sub 11-second 100 meter dash, Moore played in 12 games as a sophomore in 2019-20, per MaxPreps, and racked up 42 total tackles, along with an interception. He also saw action as a kick returner, totaling 104 return yards.


Sione Tavo Motuapuaka

OT — Mililani (Mililani, Hawaii)

6-5, 280

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★★ — Rivals

Holding offers from Washington State, Hawaii, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah State and Utah, Motuapuaka announced his commitment to the Utes on Aug. 30.

Motuapuaka decommitted from Utah on Dec. 12, however, switching his allegiance to Utah State, citing “a change of heart.”

A participant in the Polynesian Bowl, Motuapuaka is considered the 4th-best prospect in Hawaii and a top 150 offensive lineman prospect nationwide (118).


Bryce Radford

OT — Green Canyon (Logan)

6-6, 285

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Offered by UNLV, New Mexico and Utah State, Radford chose the hometown Aggies, following in the footsteps of his father Curt Radford. Radford has been a key cog on the Wolves’ offensive line, and in 2019-20 helped Green Canyon to a 5-5 overall record and a berth in the second round of the 4A state tournament.

Green Canyon head coach Craig Anhder’s comments on Radford:

“Bryce is a hard working kid committed to excellence. He has brought a desire to get better to the whole program and I know he will take that attitude to USU!”


Jett Solomon

S — Desert Pines (Las Vegas)

6-0, 190

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ – Rivals

The 18th-highest rated prospect in Nevada and the 149th-rated cornerback in the country, Solomon chose the Aggies over an offer from the North Texas Mean Green. Solomon has played both wide receiver and cornerback for Desert Pines, helping form a group of pass catchers described by Jaguars’ head coach Tico Rodriguez as a “very talented young corps of receivers.”


Adam Tomczyk

DL — Los Alamitos (Los Alamitos, California)

6-4, 260

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

Offered by the Aggies on April 8, Tomczyk committed to play his college football in Logan on June 27. Rated the 193rd-best prospect out of California by 247 Sports — he is the 204th-best defensive line prospect in the country — Tomczyk recorded 31 tackles and eight tackles for loss in six games played as a junior.

Utah State is the only school to have offered Tomczyk a scholarship thus far and he is the 13th member of the Aggies’ 2022 class.


Chase Tuatagaloa

ATH — Orem (Orem)

6-4, 200

★★★ — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

The 38th-best prospect in the state of Utah in the 2022 class, Tuatagaloa was Utah State’s first commitment, choosing the Aggies over an offer from Morgan State.

A former Bingham Miner, Tuatagaloa transferred to Orem prior to last season. He proved to be a solid pass catcher for the Tigers, hauling in six receptions for 56 yards, an average of 9.33 yards per catch. His total receiving yardage was the fourth-most on the team.

As a senior, Tuatagaloa took over as the Tigers’ quarterback and threw for 1683 yards and 17 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He also demonstrated some versatility, rushing for 222 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.93 yards per carry.

Orem head coach Gabriel Sewell’s comments on Tuatagaloa:

“He is a great student-athlete and an even greater young man. He leads by example, puts his head down and is all about the work. He is going to be a great contributor and asset up in Logan.”


Mapa Vaenuku

S — East (Salt Lake City)

6-1, 200

Not rated — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

The fourth defensive back to commit to Utah State this recruiting cycle, Vaenuku was offered by the Aggies on February 25 and committed on June 25.

As a junior last season, Vaenuku racked up 29 tackles for the Leopards, who advanced to the semifinals of the 6A state tournament, before falling short to the eventual state champion Corner Canyon Chargers.

For his senior season, Vaenuku transferred to Tooele High, where he proved capable of playing on both sides of the ball. As a receiver, Vaenuku had 42 catches for 428 yards and six touchdowns. On defense, he had 26 tackles and five sacks, plus a defensive touchdown.

East head coach Brandon Matich’s comments on Vaenuku (via Twitter):

“This guy will be a state household name for several years. Unreal talent and a ceiling that we can’t even see yet! Great get for Logan!”


Joshua Williams

OLB — Mesquite (Mesquite, Texas)

6-2, 200

Not rated — 247 Sports

★★ — Rivals

The second linebacker to commit to Utah State during this recruiting cycle — Fonoti-Maikui was the first — Williams has only one FBS scholarship offer and that came from Aggies, back on May 3. He committed to Utah State on June 9, becoming the eighth member of the class at that time.

Williams has a 5.3 overall prospect rating per Rivals, and is not rated by 247 Sports.

As a junior at Mesquite High School, Williams showed great versatility from his outside linebacker position, playing behind both three-man and four-man fronts, where he was often asked to rush the quarterback.


Transfers

Taylor Larsen

WR — Skyline (Salt Lake City)

5-11, 195

A unrated JUCO wide receiver out of Snow College, Larsen announced his commitment to Utah State on Dec. 13. Larsen played high school football at Skyline High School, graduating in 2018.

Larsen is only the latest Snow College receiver to chose Utah State. Derek Wright, one of the Aggies’ best receiver’s this season, transferred to USU from Snow as well.