LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State head football coach Matt Wells announced Wednesday the signing of Demytrick Ali’ifua, Viliamu Auwae, Alex Byers, Antonio Cole, Sean Taylor and Victor Villareal to National Letters of Intent, along with Jordan Love, who has signed an aid agreement to join the program. All seven players will enroll at Utah State for the spring semester of 2016.
Byers, Taylor and Villareal (Vil-uh-re-al) will all have two years of eligibility, while Cole has three years of eligibility. Ali’ifua, Auwae and Love will all enroll at USU as freshmen.
Ali’ifua, who is the younger brother of current Utah State junior DE Ricky Ali’ifua, originally signed with Utah State in 2014. Auwae, whose name is pronounced Vil-e-ah-mooh Ah-why, originally signed in 2015.
Ali’ifua, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound offensive lineman from San Leandro (Calif.) High School, earned California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) all-Foothill League first-team honors as both an offensive and defensive lineman as a prep senior in 2013, as he recorded 31 pancake blocks on offense and notched 19 total tackles (13-solo, 6-assist) on defense, to go along with two quarterback hurries. He helped San Leandro HS to a Foothill League Championship during his senior season after posting a 5-0 record as the Pirates averaged 209.5 rushing yards and scored 52 total touchdowns.
Following his high school career, he played in the Polynesian All-American Bowl. Along with football, he also wrestled, played baseball and was a member of the track & field team in high school.
Auwae, a 6-5, 265-pound offensive lineman from Kapolei (Hawaii) High School, earned Hawaii Division I first-team all-state honors at offensive tackle from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser as a prep senior in 2014, anchoring an offensive line that helped the Hurricanes average 245.7 yards per game (142.2 passing, 103.4 rushing). He was ranked as the top offensive tackle in the state of Hawaii by Scout.com following his senior season and played in the Blue-Gray All-American Game in Dallas, Texas.
Byers, a 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Calif., earned California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) All-Pacific League American Division first-team honors as a sophomore this past season as he caught 56 passes for 1,072 yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games. During his sophomore campaign, Byers ranked fifth in the state in receiving yards, and set school records for both receiving touchdowns and yards.
As a freshman for the Marauders in 2014, the native of Tampa, Fla., had 23 catches for 398 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games. He also returned 14 kickoffs for 496 yards and three more scores.
Byers, a 2009 graduate of Spoto High School in Riverview, Fla., caught 11 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns as a prep senior as the Spartans advanced to the playoffs for the first time in program history.
Cole, a 6-1, 175-pound cornerback from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Okla., was an honorable mention all-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection following his freshman season with the Golden Norsemen in 2015 as he recorded 18 tackles, including 1.0 for loss, while adding three pass breakups. His best game of the season was against Navarro College as he had six tackles.
Cole, a native of Edmond, Okla., earned all-state honors following his senior season at Edmond North High School. He had 20 tackles as a junior in 2013.
Love, a 6-3, 180-pound quarterback from Liberty High School in Brentwood, Calif., completed 102-of-200 passes for 1,960 yards and 21 touchdowns during his senior season. He also rushed for 709 yards and eight touchdowns on 112 carries (6.3 ypc). During his junior season with the Patriots, Love completed 102-of-198 passes for 1,930 yards and 18 touchdowns, to go along with 384 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 86 carries (4.5 ypc), as Liberty advanced to the Central Section Division I title game.
Taylor is a 6-5, 274-pound offensive lineman from Laney College in Oakland, Calif. During his sophomore season in 2015, Laney helped the Eagles’ offense average 317.3 yards (227.5 passing, 89.8 rushing) and 22.7 points per game.
As a prep senior at Valley (Calif.) High School in 2012, Taylor recorded 25 tackles, including 0.5 sacks, and one fumble recovery, while playing on the defensive side of the ball.
Villarreal, a 6-5, 225-pound linebacker from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., played in eight of his team’s 10 games as a sophomore in 2015 and recorded 62 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks, to go along with two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry. His best game of the season came against Saddleback JC, when he recorded a season-high 14 tackles, which included 2.0 sacks.
As a prep senior at Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Calif., Villarreal recorded 52 tackles, including 8.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Utah State (6-6, 5-3 MW) will conclude its 2015 season against Akron (7-5, 5-3 MAC) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 1:30 pm (MT) in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Zips.
Utah State is playing in its fifth-straight bowl game and has won each of its last three bowl games, both of which are school records. With a victory against Akron, USU will secure a winning season for the fifth-straight year, a first for the program since also doing so from 1971-75.
Tickets for the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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