UTAH STATE AGGIES

Will Added Competition Help Utah State Football Improve In 2024?

Feb 7, 2024, 3:17 PM

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Utah State football prepares for the 2023 season

LOGAN, Utah – After finalizing a 30-player signing class, the Utah State football program is in a completely different place today than it was one year ago.

Aggie head coach Blake Anderson spoke about the recruiting process with Hans & Scotty G on KSL Sports Zone.

RELATED: Competitive Quarterback Room Should Benefit USU in 2024

“Recruiting never stops,” Anderson cautioned about the present college football environment. “It started for us before the season was over, just recruiting our roster to stay put.”

After losing double-figure starters from the 2022 team, USU was so hamstrung by roster numbers that it was unable to hold formal spring practices. That won’t be the problem this year after the Aggies lost just one player (Devin Dye, Kansas) from their two-deep depth chart to a DI program.

“That was pure panic mode,” Anderson said of the recruiting mentality in 2023 after losing ten starters to the transfer portal.

With less turnover and added competition, Anderson and his staff hope the conditions push everyone to improve.

“I love the fact that we’re gonna have a huge competition this spring. Guys are going to get better.”

RELATED: USU Announces 30-Player National Signing Day Class

Four Quarterbacks, One Job

Barring injury, Utah State is expected to enter fall camp with transfers Spencer Petras (37 games) and Bryson Barnes (24 games), along with returning QBs Cooper Legas (21 games) and McCae Hillstead (8 games) looking to earn snaps.

That is 89 games worth of Division I quarterback experience. Barnes and Petras also bring the added factor of previously playing for Power-Five programs Utah and Iowa.

“There’s so much maturity in that room…There’s very few quarterback rooms in Division I football that have that many starts and that many competitive snaps under their belt as we do.”

Utah State Adds Physicality At Point Of Attack

Too often last season, the Aggies were pushed around in the trenches. A shallow roster to begin the season became further depleted when injuries hit the defensive and offensive lines.

“It’s easy to see we had to make a ton of improvements physically,” Anderson lamented. “We weren’t good enough a year ago. We weren’t good enough the year before… The best place to start is recruiting.”

Of their 30-player recruiting class, USU added eight defensive linemen with previous college experience.

“We had to be aggressive at the defensive line position, both on the inside and on the edges. We need to create some size, some power, some competition, and some depth. I feel like we attacked all those areas as best we could.”

Along the offensive line, Anderson talked about the benefit of returning a room of guys that played significant snaps last season.

“Everybody’s going to be a year better. That room is only going to improve.”

The Aggie head coach then touched on the additions of sophomore transfer George Maile (Baylor) and junior transfer Trey Andersen (Pittsburgh).

“At worst, they’re in a position to be a heavy, significant role player. That makes us better.”

Follow The Aggies With KSL Sports

Listen to USU football on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89).

Find KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics here. 

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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Will Added Competition Help Utah State Football Improve In 2024?