LOGAN – Wednesday was National Signing Day for college football prospects across the country. Utah State head coach Matt Wells announced <a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/gallery/collection_afe80d98-ca97-11e5-8084-83754314ffd7.html” target=”_blank”>20 signees</a> Wednesday that will join the football program.
Of the 20 signees, 16 signed out of high school, while four others were junior college transfers. The linebacker, wide receiver and offensive lineman position had the most signees with four each. Three defensive backs, two running backs, a quarterback, a defensive end and a tight end were also signed.
“This is one of the longer classes, we’ve got a lot of length,” Wells said. “We’ve got a couple of short-little slot receivers that are playmakers from Florida, other than that, I think everybody is 6-foot or taller.”
Wells said there are a few positions and scholarships still left out there, and he and his staff will be looking for guys throughout the spring.
Wells signed seven student-athletes out of Utah, three of those came from within the valley. Sky View wide receiver Bryce Mortenson, Logan High linebacker Troy Murray and Logan High defensive end Caden Andersen.
Wells said Mortenson, who was signed as a tight end, is a “big-time competitor” with “tremendous hands.”
“We’ve seen him play in multiple sports,” he said. “He’s tall, he’s long, he’s athletic, reminds us a lot of (current USU receiver) Dax Raymond, just because of the length and athleticism.”
Wells said Murray is very athletic for his 6-foot-4, 220 pound size.
“He’ll start where we played (Kyler) Fackrell,” Wells said. “If he grows and increases in size you can see his hand down in the future. He’s a pass-rush guy.”
Andersen, the 6-foot-3, 280 pound defensive end recently returned from a two-year LDS mission. The other instate recruits include Simian Matagi, a linebacker from Bingham High, Tre Miller, a running back from Dixie High and Zach Swenson, a safety from East High.
Rayshad Lewis is a 5-foot-10, 160 pound wide receiver and son of former NFL All-Pro linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis. Wells described Rayshad Lewis as a quiet, confident playmaker who can play corner or wide receiver.
“We signed Ray Lewis’ kid for who Rayshad is,” he said. “Because if Rayshad couldn’t play and help us win a Mountain West Conference championship we wouldn’t recruit him. That goes for any kid on there.”
Wells said even though recruiting Rayshad Lewis was the same as recruiting any other player, there will be some differences in having the son of a high-profile person on the team.
“(Ray Lewis) shows up in Logan the next few falls, and yeah, it may have an impact a little bit on recruiting,” he said. “It may have an impact on our current players too, but that’s not why we recruited him.”
Wells said Ray Lewis was a big support to his son and was “completely engaged” through the whole recruiting process.
“(He was) soaking up information about Logan and Cache Valley,” he said. “I mean he already had his fishing spots picked out. He knew where he was going to stay, he told me all this kind of stuff. He was fired up about it, but also very supportive of his kid and understood that the weekend was about him.
“He knew I was an alumni. He came to me multiple times and said, ‘Tell me more about Logan, tell me more about Cache Valley. Tell me more about these people. I like it here.’ So that was neat to see.”
In addition to Lewis, three other wide receivers signed, all from Florida. Two of them, 6-foot-2 Alex Byers and 6-foot-3 Ron’Quavion Tarver are junior college transfers.
“You look at those four signees, you’ve got two slots and two outside receivers,” Wells said. “Alex (Byers) is already here on campus, Alex is a long receiver, same JuCo as (former USU receiver) Hunter (Sharp). He’s tall. He’s got good speed for a 6-2 wideout.
“Ron’Quavion (Tarver) is and outside guy that can actually play as a flexed-out tight end a little bit. He’s a big guy, he’s physical outside. He gives you a different type of body as an inside receiver.”
At 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, Rucker is the smallest signee, but Wells said he, like Lewis, has “return capabilities.” Wells expects both Lewis and Rucker to compete immediately.
“(Rucker) is a guy you see with the ball in his hand and all the fly-sweep stuff that we do with the slots, hand them the ball,” Wells said. “The things we already have built into our offense with our returner-type kids.”
The Aggies signed one quarterback, 6-foot-3, 180 pound Jordan Love from Bakersfield, California, who left high school early to enroll at USU. Wells said Love is a “young, young 17-year-old kid, but very talented kid” who will take snaps in spring ball and will improve and be even better in training camp in the fall.
“It’s hard to say how quick they can pick it up at quarterback,” he said.
Wells said current quarterback Kent Myers will be the starter to begin next season, but said he will have to compete to keep the job.
“Kent Myers is the guy that has won 10 ball games, I believe, in the Mountain West the last two years,” he said. “So certainly he will probably take the first snap, there’s no question, but there’s guys in that room that are going to compete and get shots.”