Aggie Wideouts Show Talent, Depth In Home Opener

Aug 28, 2022, 10:42 AM | Updated: 10:43 am

Utah State vs. San Diego State - MW Championship...

Offensive lineman Alfred Edwards #72, wide receiver Justin McGriff #10 and cornerback Shawn Gates #13 of the Utah State Aggies celebrate after McGriff caught a touchdown pass against the New Mexico Lobos during the second half of their game at University Stadium on November 26, 2021 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Aggies defeated the Lobos 35-10. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah State lost a host of talent from 2021, but if game one is any indicator, the wide receiver room in Logan might not be a question mark any longer.

Deven Thompkins, Derek Wright and Brandon Bowling each took their talents to the NFL following the Aggies bowl win over Oregon State. Thompkins is currently in training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Derek Wright is in camp with the Carolina Panthers. Bowling is not presently on an NFL roster.

Entering 2022, there were questions about the Aggie wide receiving core.

Who would be replacing the 206 catches, 3,328 yards and 31 touchdowns lost with the departures of Thompkins, Bowling and Wright?

Would an Aggie offense that averaged 303 passing yards and 32.6 points per game in 2021 be able to keep up?

“I’ve been really pleased with the group, honestly,” said second-year passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Kyle Cefalo. “We’re establishing some depth and I like the leadership that’s starting to emerge.

Cefalo specifically mentioned graduate transfer from the University of Maryland Brian Cobbs and the internal development of a junior wide receiver out of Timpview, Kyle Van Leeuwen.

For the Aggies though, the answers began with the lone returning starter in senior Justin McGriff. McGriff caught 35 passes for 414 yards and six touchdowns last season and has 50 catches 599 yards and eight touchdowns in his Aggie career.

“The emergence and the maturity of Justin McGriff has been pretty obvious, not just to the coaching staff, but really to everybody that’s been around this program,” added Cefalo. “He really is taking on a role of leadership. He wants to be that guy, and he’s fully capable of being that guy that we lean on and depend on. The next thing for him is to continue that progress and now let it fly on Saturday in the fall. I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s working.”

Let it fly on Saturday in the fall is exactly what this trio did against UConn in USU’s season opener.

Van Leeuwen put the Aggies on the board with his first career touchdown catch, an 11-yard second quarter back corner grab. Van Leeuwen finished with a career-high-tying three receptions for a career-best 54 yards.

Later in the second quarter, McGriff got in on the scoring action when he just got his toes down in-bounds on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Bonner. McGriff finished with three catches for 53 yards.

Two quarters later, with the offense sputtering and UConn within one score at 24-20, Brian Cobbs snuck loose for his first touchdown catch as an Aggie. An 11-yard dot from Bonner that put the game out of reach.

Cobbs was stellar in his Aggie debut, finishing with seven catches for 78 yards and the score.

All told, eight players caught a pass for Utah State in game one with Bonner throwing for 281 yards on 20-for-29 passing.

Up Next

The Aggies turn their attention to perennial powerhouse Alabama. Utah State travels to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where they will face the preseason No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in their season opener.

Every Utah State football game can be heard on the KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White on the call.

  • Utah State Aggies Scoreboard

  • Utah State Aggies Team Leaders

  • Utah State Aggies Standings

Utah State Aggies

Utah State Aggies Football Andre Seldon passes away...

Chandler Holt

Utah State Mourns Loss Of Football Student-Athlete Andre Seldon Jr.

Utah State Football honored newly-transferred cornerback Andre Seldon who passed away in a tragic accident on Saturday.

5 hours ago


Amy Donaldson

Former Utah State Administrator Jerry Bovee Disputes School’s Accusations, Recounts Firing

When the pain of being fired from a job that was more of an identity than a paycheck feels unbearable, Jerry Bovee summons the reason he ever started chasing his dream of being a college athletic director.

10 hours ago


Chandler Holt

Blake Anderson’s Representation Releases Part Of Response To Utah State University

Former Utah State football head coach Blake Anderson's legal team released parts of his 70-page response to Utah State University.

1 day ago

Blake Anderson, Utah State, Administrative Leave...

KSL Sports

Utah State Terminates Football Coach Blake Anderson

Utah State announced they are moving forward with the termination of head football coach Blake Anderson after notifying him of their intent to do so early this month. 

2 days ago


KSL Sports

60 in 60: #32 Utah State’s Robert Briggs (Running Back)

The countdown is on for Hans & Scotty’s 60 in 60 for the 2024 college football season. Coming in at No. 37 is Utah State RB Robert Briggs.

4 days ago


Brian Preece

Jerrod Calhoun To Lead Utah State Basketball On European Tour

First-year head coach Jerrod Calhoun and the Aggies will play teams from across Europe on a tour that spans August 9-19.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Aggie Wideouts Show Talent, Depth In Home Opener