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NateTheGreat

[2024] Utah State Aggies Offseason Roster Outlook

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Utah_State_Aggies_logo.svgOFFSEASON OUTLOOK: Utah State Aggies (Logan, Utah)

by NateTheGreat

 

 

Dark Days in Logan

usufoot_notes_090216~0.jpg

                                                                                                                        Maverik Stadium in 2023 (Chris Detrick / Salt Tribune)

 

 

There's not many positives you can point out about Utah State's 2023 season, I guess maybe that they managed to play all 12 games or at least they didn't go winless, finishing with a dreadful, 1-11 record (0-8 in MWC). Sadly, this has been the state of the Aggies since 2020. 2020 being the year they won the St. Petersburg bowl with famed Utah State coach ZachTyzwyz; outside of that season there's been a revolving door of coaches like @jrram4, @Phillyfan3, @CoachEdwards and @TuscanSota. None of them were as fortunate, finding little to no success here in Logan, eventually leaving the program or being fired. Quite frankly, Utah State has been one of the worse football programs in the entire country and it's going to take a special kind of coach to overhaul the culture here at in Logan. Could new hire, @believer be the answer? The Mountain West native, coached Boise State for 4 seasons ending his MWC career with a respectable [conference] mark of 15-8 and an 1-2 bowl record. He went onto the Pac-12 for a season at Stanford, before returning at the end of the 2023 season with a simple message, "I'm back." at his introductory press conference. There's no question @believer has the skills and credentials within the conference to turn this program around but we all know this is a long-term project and nobody has been willing to stick by for it, yet. When asked about it, believer responded "Right now, I'm here for the long haul. Utah State is a school where I can lay back and really take my time and can manage multiple things in my personal life and still be the best coach for this team." Who knows, this could be the very beginning, as we check into how the 2024 season is shaping up for the Aggies.

 

Quinn Lauer and the 2023 Utah St. Aggies taking on in-state rival, BYU (K. Dyson / Associated Press)

usufoot_111016~0.jpg:usu:Departures

  • Quinn Lauer, TE (RS Senior) 6'1, 229lbs | Career Highlight: Transferred to Utah State 2022 and started all 12 games for the Aggies in 2023.
  • Jackson Helm, LS (Senior) 6' 252lbs | Career Highlight: Started at Long Snapper for the Aggies the last 2 seasons.

 

 

Outlook: Yes, you're seeing this right. The Aggies welcome back every member of their roster except these two players. Both happen to be starters but they weren't crucial to the team; tightend Quinn Lauer was used mostly for blocking assignments and his peers handled receiving duties, then, Jackson Helm was solid but they already have a backup in place and nobody ever has lost sleep over a long snapper. This is the best case scenario for a team that is considered to be bottom of the barrel. They'll be welcoming back a huge class of seniors and we all know how vital experience can be when it comes to winning games. There's not many things UTU fans can smile about but, this is one.

 

 

 

 

Incoming transfer, ILB Savion Spears played as a reserve for the BYU cougars, 2020-2022. (J. King / Associated Press)

111216_FTBvsSUU-4-1024x683.jpg:usu:New Faces

  • Savion Spears, ILB 
  • James Bernard, QB
  • Raymond Earl, WR
  • Jalen Daniel, TE
  • Kyle Reagan, OG
  • Nathan Martin, DE
  • Jayson Dowell, DE
  • Bryce Fleming-Roberson, DE
  • Kwon Small, DT
  • Shane Switzer, DT
  • Neal Lundy, ILB
  • Jamel Redd, OLB
  • Iye StJohn, OLB 
  • Cooper Bynum, OLB
  • Amir Parris, CB
  • Xavier Melvin, FS
  • Ajani Hardy, FS
  • Nicolas Greene, FS
  • Owen Burnett, K
  • Hakeem Hicks, LS
  • Jayden Marroquin, LS
  • Chance Haywood, ATH

 

Outlook: The Utah State Aggies are welcoming a nice quantity but poor quality recruiting class. No names jump off this list, although I do like the Amir Pharris signing and think he will be a good player in the future, there's just not enough talent. The most talented athlete they are adding this offseason is transfer, Savion Spears, who hadn't even started a game for BYU before transferring and is currently a grad senior. That is not a good look for a team desperately in need of talent. In the team's defense this class is probably due to the ever revolving door at Utah State, nobody wants to commit to a team that has no idea what they're trying to do and sorry, but I don't think a bunch of 2:star: players are going to get the job done either. That could change with a new coach on board though. He will will have to go back to the drawing board and keep an eye out on the crooting trail, in hopes of the upcoming 2024 class not being as ugly as this one, especially if they plan on digging this program out the dirt anytime soon. It'll be interesting to see what this program and Coach @believer can come up with.

 

 

Kieron Farmer led the charge for the Aggies in 2023. (G. Henry / Associated Press) 

Jordan-Love.jpeg:usu:Returning Starters

SENIORS HIGHLIGHTED IN BOLD

  • Kieron Farmer, QB
  • Delontey Austin, RB
  • Makai Simpson, WR
  • Booker Randolph, WR/PR
  • Willy Waldron III, WR/KR
  • Cyrus Smalley, FB
  • Damani Crawford, OT
  • Hudson Wilkes, OG
  • Marc Whalen, C
  • Raymond Cuevas, OG
  • Marlon Jefferson, OT
  • Jalen Wooten, DE
  • Jermon Ransom, DT
  • Harry Winter, DE
  • Darius Mayfield, OLB
  • Nikolas Sutherland, ILB
  • Roman Coker, ILB
  • Asher Hancook, OLB
  • Preston Handy, CB
  • DeSean Vinson, CB
  • Benjamin Pennington, CB
  • D'Andre Kemp, FS
  • Kimbrell Joseph, SS
  • Ronan Snow, K
  • Chase Duval, P

 

Outlook: As mentioned earlier, Utah State is only losing two players in general so they welcome back almost all of their starting lineup, seven of which will be seniors. At the top of the list and rightfully so is star quarterback, Kieron Farmer. Farmer, a Utah native and former 4:star: prospect, posted tallies of 3,153 passing yards (3rd in MWC) and 22 total TDs (T-2nd) which should be viewed as quite the accomplishment considering how bad the Aggies' were at winning games. Farmer has the type of game that elevates his teammate's play, he has a rocket of an arm and isn't afraid to make any throw. He, of course is joined by his #1 target in Booker Randolph, who led the conference in receptions (79) and placed 3rd in receiving yards with 931, senior Makai Simpson and physical wideout and returner, Willy Waldron III. They figure to piece together one of the most potent Arial attacks in the Mountain West with this offensive line coming back better than ever. IF these new coaches can utilize his weapons correctly by putting them in the right spots. Coach @believer had high praise for his guys, saying in a press interview "I'm gonna evaluate every part of the team and see what works. I want a complete team, but when we have an enormous talent like Farmer, we gonna ride him as much as he can and have him captain and lead this team. That's not to disregard everyone else. This team has talent and we have the opportunity to bring in more.The concern however, is that they don't have a true every down back, finding themselves without any true consistency on the ground. Word around the campus early is that there will be an open competition at running back, it'll be interesting to see who will come out top. The offense is surprisingly young but I expect them to still take step forward. Despite the hype surrounding the returning players on offense, the same cannot be said about the defensive side of the ball. It's a fact, they'll be getting back all their defense starters but last year they proved time after time they just weren't capable of playing at a high level, in fact the only reliable player for them was 2nd Team All-MWC DT, Jermon Ransom but even he had his troubles. It might be nice to have all these guys coming back but it won't matter much if they haven't grown up a ton this offseason.  Hell, a couple of these guys could lose their spot come springtime and you don't like being able to say that about your starters.

 

 

Final Thoughts & Grade

I'm going to start off with the things Aggie fans want to hear. Firstly, this offense has a chance to be really good this year and I can see Kieron Farmer taking home Mountain West honors and being nationally recognized. I'm very sold on him and his ability to put up numbers. Next, I'd like to say @believer was the right hire, he knows the conference well and is constantly searching for ways to improve; when it's all said and done it could be a match in heaven. Finally, the abundance of youth puts Utah State in a good place, sure there will be growing pains and such, but they could turn out to be complementary pieces later down the road and that's always a plus. Now after getting the good news out the way, reality is about to kick in for UTU. Simply put, this team is not good enough to win now. They just haven't been successful enough on or off the field to indicate any expectations and you can't anticipate a team this bad, to turn things in a day (or a year per se). Hawaii and Boise State seem to have a hold on the rest of the conference anyways, so I wouldn't be surprised to find poor ol' Utah State battling at the bottom of the standings. Honestly, I would be surprised if these boys even made it to a bowl game. For these reasons, I gotta give UTU a grade of D-. It's hard to point to anything the Aggies did last year and be confident heading into this season. This upcoming season I expect them to struggle the same way unless these guys somehow start playing beyond their potential or asking Farmer to score a lot every game to have a chance, which is ideal when you think about it but no team has won playing football on one side of the ball, it just doesn't happen. In short, just not enough progression from last season to this one for there to be any major changes in 2024. I hope the Aggies prove me wrong, for their own sake because, I don't think this program can handle another near winless season and it's bad business for the Mountain West.

 

 

Tags: #AggiesAllTheWay:usu: #UTUFootball 

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This is doopppeee.

 

Just gonna say, one day, Utah State will be elite

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1 hour ago, believer said:

This is doopppeee.

 

Just gonna say, one day, Utah State will be elite

I believe it. Everything will come together...UTU just has been treated like trash the last few years.

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