Fourth-year head coach Matt Wells welcomes back 12 starters (O-9, D-3) and 38 letterwinners (O-20, D-15, S-3) from last year's team that finished tied for second in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 5-3 record, and played in its school-record fifth-straight bowl game.
2016 PRESEASON HONORS: Athlon Sports First-Team All-Mountain West; Phil Steele First-Team All-Mountain West; Rimington Trophy Fall Watch List.
HONORS: Honorable Mention All-Mountain West (2014, 2015); Phil Steele Second-Team All-Mountain West (2015); Phil Steele Third-Team All-Mountain West (2014).
UTAH STATE: The leader of the offensive line... Does a great job of blocking the second level... Has good reach in the run game and is very good at sinking his hips and gaining leverage on a defender... Does a great job communicating to the rest of the offensive line.
2015 (JR): Started all 13 games at center and earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors... Was also a Phil Steele second-team all-conference selection... Had an overall performance grade of 78 percent for the season, which included five games over 80 percent... Recorded 42 knockdowns, including a season-high six at Utah (9/11)... Best game of the season was against Wyoming (10/30) as he graded out at 86 percent and recorded four knockdowns... Allowed just one sack on the season.
2014 (SO): Started all 14 games at center and earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors... Was also a Phil Steele third-team all-Mountain West selection... Had an overall performance grade of 85 percent... Graded out at 86 percent in effort, including nine games over 80 percent... Also graded out at 92 percent in assignment, including 11 games over 90 percent, and 75 percent in technique, including four games over 80 percent... Finished the season with 50.0 knockdowns, including a season-high nine against both BYU (10/3) and UNLV (10/25)... Best overall game of the season was against UNLV as he graded out at 93 percent, which included 97 percent in assignment, 94 percent in effort and 87 percent in technique.
2013 (RS): Redshirted during his first season at Utah State.
JUNIOR COLLEGE: Earned first-team all-conference honors as a freshman at Iowa Western Community College as he helped the Reivers to a 12-0 record and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship in 2012... Was part of an offense that averaged 62.8 points and 598.4 yards of total offense per game (262.3-rushing, 336.1-passing).
HIGH SCHOOL: Earned Iowa Class 4A Division I first-team all-state, first-team all-conference and first-team all-region honors as a prep senior at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, as he helped the Tigers to a 14-0 record and a state championship... Also played baseball all four years of high school as a first baseman, catcher and pitcher... Earned second-team all-state honors at first base during his senior season as he led the state with 14 home runs.
PERSONAL: One of three sons of Randy and Annette Stephens... Aunt, Amy Stephens, is the assistant women’s basketball coach at Nebraska... Graduated from Utah State in the spring of 2016 with an interdisciplinary studies degree and is working on a second bachelor’s degree in sociology.
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