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Merlin Olsen - Los Angeles Rams
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Top Utah State Aggies Who Launched Onto National Scene

Merlin Olsen #74 of the Los Angeles Rams is blocked by an Atlanta Falcons guard in a early circa 1970's NFL football game at Atlanta Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Olsen played for the Rams from 1962-76. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Throughout the history of Utah State Athletics, a number of student-athletes have risen above the rest through their performances on the football field, basketball court, and more.

Many Aggies have skyrocketed their way into the professional ranks of their sport.

These are the top USU athletes to launch onto the national scene:

Merlin Olsen – Football

One of the best athletes to come out of the state of Utah, Merlin Olsen played offensive and defensive line for the Aggies in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was a three-year letterman who received All-American honors for his junior and senior seasons in Logan.

Olsen was honored as college football’s top interior lineman when he was awarded the Outland Trophy in 1961.

In 1962, the USU great was selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft. That same year, Olsen was selected by the Denver Broncos with the second overall pick of the AFL Draft.

Olsen decided to sign with the Rams. He played his entire NFL career with the Los Angeles based franchise.

From 1962-76, Olsen’s performance on the gridiron led him to the following honors:

  • 14-time Pro Bowl
  • Five-time First-team All-Pro (1966-1970)
  • Five-time Second-team All-Pro (1963-1965, 1973, 1974)
  • Bert Bell Award (1974)
  • NFL Rookie of the Year (1962)

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and his No. 74 jersey has been retired by the Rams.

Bobby Wagner – Football

Former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner came to Cache Valley in 2008. He was rated as a two-star product out of Ontario, California when he committed to the Aggies.

He finished his Utah State career having played in 35 games including 33 starts. During his time as an Aggie, Wagner recorded 299 total tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 9 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries.

Wagner left Logan early and passed over a potential senior season to pursue a career in the NFL.

He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks during the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. In his second season, Wagner and the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII.

During his career, Wagner has received the following honors:

  • Six-time Pro Bowl (2014-2019)
  • Five-time First-team All-Pro (2014, 2016-2019)
  • Second-team All-Pro (2015)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2012)
  • Two-time NFL Tackles leader (2016, 2019)

In 2019, the future hall of fame linebacker became the Seahawk’s all-time leading tackler.

Wagner recently completed his eighth season with the franchise.

Anthony Calvillo – Football

After spending two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College, Anthony Calvillo transferred to play for the Utah State Aggies in 1992. 

As a senior in 1993, Calvillo earned second-team all-Big West Conference honors and led the Aggies to their first conference championship since 1979. He set a school record with 3,260 yards of total offense during the regular season.

Calvillo led the Aggies to their first bowl win in school history with a 42-33 Las Vegas Bowl victory over Ball State to finish the season.

After his career in Logan, the former USU QB had a playing career in the Canadian Football League from 1995-2013. Calvillo played for the Las Vegas Posse, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Montreal Alouettes.

During his time with the Alouettes, Calvillo led Montreal to Grey Cup championships in 2002, 2009, and 2010. The former Utah State QB won Grey Cup Most Outstanding Player honors in 2002 and the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award in 2003, 2008, and 2009.

In 2014, the Alouettes retired Calvillo’s number 13. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Jaycee Carroll – Basketball

A native of Evanston, Wyoming, Jaycee Carroll arrived at Utah State in 2004.

During his career as an Aggie, Carroll became the only player in Utah State history to earn back-to-back All-America honors. He also became USU’s all-time scoring leader and the second all-time leading college basketball scorer in the state of Utah during his final season in Logan.

In 2008, he was honored as the WAC Player of the Year.

After his college career, Carroll traveled overseas to play professional basketball.

His first stop came with Teramo from 2008-09. In 2009, Carroll joined Gran Canaria. Since 2011, the former USU guard has played for Real Madrid.

During his time playing international basketball, Carroll has received the following honors:

  • 2× EuroLeague champion (2015, 2018)
  • EuroCup Top Scorer (2011)
  • 3× Spanish League champion (2013, 2015, 2016)
  • 2× Spanish League Top Scorer (2010, 2011)
  • All-Spanish ACB League Team (2011)
  • FIBA Intercontinental Cup champion (2015)

Jordan Love – Football

Jordan Love joined the Utah State football program in 2016. USU was the only FBS school to offer Love a scholarship after his career at Liberty High School in Bakersfield, California. During his first year in Logan, the quarterback sat out as a redshirt.

In 2017, the redshirt-freshman QB played in 12 games including six starts to close out the season. He ended the year completing 54.9 percent of his passes for 1,631 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Love set a Utah State record for most passing yards by a freshman in a season.

As a sophomore in 2018, Love had a breakout season. The QB completed 64.0 percent of his throws for 3,567 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. He recorded the 10th best passing efficiency (158.3) in the country and threw for the eighth-most passing touchdowns in the nation.

Love’s junior season at Utah State had its ups and downs. Former Aggies head coach Matt Wells left Logan for Texas Tech at the end of 2018 and former Utah State head coach Gary Andersen was hired for a second time to lead the program. Andersen and his staff maintained the previous staff’s offense with Love returning at quarterback. However, the Aggies lost a number of weapons from the 2018 season. Despite those losses, the Utah State quarterback still recorded a completion percentage of 61.9 percent during his final season in Logan. He threw for 3,402 yards and 20 touchdowns but posted 17 interceptions. Love also set USU single-season school records in both completions and attempts.

In December 2019, Love announced that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

He ended his Aggies career with Utah State records of 9,003 yards of total offense and 12 career 300-yard passing games.

In April 2020, the Green Bay Packers selected Love with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Packers traded up from their 30th pick slot in order to draft the former Aggie.

Love was the 4th quarterback selected in the Draft.

The former Utah State signal-caller will learn from future hall of fame QB Aaron Rodger during his rookie season.

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