LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State head football coach Matt Wells announced portions of his fifth signing class on Wednesday, as part of the new NCAA early signing period. The class, which includes 12 total players, is comprised of nine high school athletes and three junior college transfers. Of those 11 signees, six will enroll at Utah State for the spring semester in 2018, while one will serve a two-year LDS Church Mission before beginning his collegiate career.
The state of Utah produced the most signees during the early period with four, followed by two players from California, and one player each from Hawaii, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.
"We are really excited about this signing class and the young men who will represent Utah State University both on and off the football field," said Wells. "The skilled kids in this class have a chance to make an immediate impact, while the future of this program is with the offensive linemen."
The greatest emphasis thus far in Wells' fifth recruiting class was on the offensive line with six signees, to go along with one player each at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive line and defensive back. Furthermore, one player is currently listed as an athlete.
"We met many needs with this group, especially along the offensive line," said Wells. "We also were able to identify several players who will be able to come in and compete for immediate playing time."
In all, Utah State's early signing period class includes nine recruits on offense, two defensive players and one athlete.
The six new players who will enroll at Utah State for classes beginning in the spring semester of 2018 include junior RB Darwin Thompson, junior DB DJ Williams, sophomore OL Kyler Hack, freshman OL Heneli Avendano, freshman OL Wade Meacham and freshman QB Andrew Peasley.
Utah State will announce its complete 2018 signing class on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
HENELI AVENDANO --- OL • 6-3 • 305 • FR • HS • Sandy, Utah (Jordan HS)
Earned Utah Class 5A first-team all-state honors from the Deseret News and second-team all-state honors from the Salt Lake Tribune at defensive tackle as a prep senior at Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah... Was also named to the USA Today High School Sports 2016 American Family Insurance All-USA Utah Football second team at defensive tackle as a prep senior as he recorded 36 tackles (28-solo, 8-assist), which included 5.0 tackles for loss, as he helped the Beetdiggers to an 8-3 record... Posted a season-high eight tackles, including a season-best 2.0 tackles for loss, against Roy HS... Also had eight tackles, including 1.0 tackles for loss, against Bingham HS... Played center and right tackle on offense and led the team in pancake blocks as both a junior and senior as Jordan HS averaged 45.5 points and 553.1 yards of total offense per game in 2016 with 322.5 passing yards and 230.6 rushing yards... Helped anchor an offensive line that paved the way for some huge offensive production as the Beetdiggers scored a whopping 91 points against Taylorsville HS and put up 63, 60, 42 and 40 points in other games... Jordan HS also scored 40 points against eventual 5A champion and nationally ranked Bingham HS... Jordan HS played well enough in the offensive trenches to help its quarterback pass for 3,507 yards and rush for an additional 1,420 in 2016, while its top running back racked up 886 yards on the ground... Also participated in wrestling and baseball in high school... Originally signed with Utah State in February of 2017... Name is pronounced Hen-eh-lee Ah-ven-da-no.
WYATT BOWLES --- OL • 6-4 • 270 • FR • HS • Syracuse, Utah (Syracuse HS)
Earned Utah Class 6A all-state honorable mention honors from the Deseret News and was a Region 1 first-team selection following his senior season at Syracuse (Utah) High School, where he helped the Titans to the state quarterfinals and a 7-4 overall record… Helped pave the way for a Syracuse offense to average 22.8 points per game, more than 1,100 yards rushing and 2,000 yards passing… Also played defensive end for Syracuse HS and recorded 27 tackles and five sacks as a senior, as he led the Titans in quarterback hurries and was tied for the team lead in sacks… Tallied 46 career tackles, including six sacks… Was a three-year starter for the Titans, leading them to the state playoffs each season... Also competed in track & field at Syracuse HS, throwing the shot put and discus... Last name is pronounced Bowls.
KYLER HACK --- OL • 6-4 • 300 • SO • JC • Las Vegas, Nev. (Palo Verde HS/Orange Coast CC)
Earned California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) second-team all-Northern Division, Southern League honors as a freshman offensive lineman at Orange Coast Community College… Anchored an offensive line that helped the Pirates average 339.9 yards of offense per game with 225.4 passing yards and 114.5 rushing yards… Orange Coast CC had three games with over 400 yards of offense on the year.
Earned Nevada Class 4A second-team all-Southwest League honors as an offensive lineman as a prep senior at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, Nev… As a senior, helped lead the offense to 259.3 yards per game, including 219.8 rushing yards, as the Panthers totaled nearly 2,000 yards rushing in just nine games… As a junior, helped lead the offense to 294.2 yards per game, guiding the Panthers to over 2,800 yards rushing in 11 games… Also played basketball in high school.
ANDY KOCH --- DE • 6-5 • 250 • FR • HS • Eastvale, Calif. (Eleanor Roosevelt HS)
Earned California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section, Division 5 first-team honors as a defensive lineman as a prep junior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Eastvale, Calif…. As a senior, recorded 67 tackles (36-solo, 31-assist) including 9.0 sacks as a part of 15.5 tackles for loss… Recorded one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, both of which he returned for touchdowns… Had a season-high 14 tackles, all of which were solo, in a 48-6 win against Ayala HS… Reached double-digit tackles in four games during the season… Recorded a season-high 3.0 sacks in a 42-6 win against Corona HS… Logged 42 tackles (10-solo, 32-assist) during his junior campaign, including 3.0 sacks as part of 13.0 tackles for loss… Forced two fumbles and recovered one fumble… Had a season-high nine tackles against Cajon HS… Recorded a season-high 2.0 tackles for loss four times… Also played basketball at Eleanor Roosevelt HS... Last name is pronounced Kotch.
WADE MEACHAM --- OL • 6-6 • 260 • FR • HS • Layton, Utah (Layton HS)
Earned Utah Class 5A Region 1 honorable mention honors at defensive tackle as a prep senior at Layton (Utah) High School as he recorded 33 total tackles, which included 5.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks... Averaged 6.0 knockdowns per game as an offensive tackle... Also wrestled at Layton HS... An honor student and three-time Student of the Term recipient at Layton HS, along with being nominated for academic all-state twice... Originally signed with Utah State in February of 2015... Last name is pronounced Me-chum.
HALE MOTU'APUAKA --- DE • 6-2 • 290 • FR • HS • Honolulu, Hawaii (Punahou HS)
Tabbed the No. 9-rated prospect in Hawaii for the 2018 class per the 247Sports rankings… Helped lead Punahou High School in Hololulu to a 5-3 record, including winning a season-high four straight games, as a senior… The Buffanblu recorded one shutout on the season, recording three turnovers and four sacks while limiting Kamehameha HS to just 148 yards of total offense, in a 21-0 win over the Warriors… Prior to his high school days, he was a six-time world fireknife champion in the junior division... Name is pronounced Huh-lay Mow-too--uh-poo-uh-kuh.
TIM PATRICK JR. --- WR • 6-0 • 180 • FR • HS • San Diego, Calif. (Morse HS)
Played multiple positions at Morse High School in San Diego, Calif…. In 12 games as a senior, rushed 90 times for 963 yards (10.7 ypc/80.3 ypg)… Rushed for over 100 yards four times, including a season-high 179 yards on a season-high 15 carries (11.9 ypc) in a 31-15 win against Mira Mesa HS… Scored a season-high three rushing touchdowns three times as a senior, as part of his 13 rushing touchdowns… Had a season-long rush of 70 yards in a 55-0 win against Hoover HS… Caught six passes for 105 yards (17.5 ypc/8.8 ypg) and two touchdowns… Had season highs of four catches for 71 yards in a 59-24 win against Mission Bay HS… Returned one kickoff during the year for an 87-yard touchdown against Central HS... Went 4-of-4 passing for 53 yards (13.3 ypp)… Defensively, recorded four solo tackles during the season.
ANDREW PEASLEY --- QB • 6-3 • 180 • FR • HS • La Grande, Ore. (La Grande HS)
A two-time Greater Oregon League (GOL) Offensive Player of the Year and a four-year letterman at quarterback at La Grande (Ore.) High School… Was a three-year starter at quarterback and four-year starter overall… Despite being injured for part of his senior season, helped the Tigers advance to the Class 4A quarterfinals… Amassed 4,318 yards passing and 45 touchdowns, to go along with 931 yards rushing and 23 more scores, during his sophomore and junior seasons… Led La Grande HS to at least a share of the GOL title from 2014-16, including winning the program’s first outright championship in a decade in 2015… Also played basketball and baseball at La Grande HS, earning conference player of the year accolades in basketball, while winning a state title in baseball as a junior.
JACOB SOUTH --- OL • 6-6 • 275 • FR • HS • Anacortes, Wash. (Anacortes HS)
Earned Washington Class 2A Northwest Conference first-team honors following his senior season at Anacortes (Wash.) High School… Helped pave the way for seven different rushers to accumulate 1,353 yards on 307 carries (4.4 ypc) during the season… Blocked for a quarterback that passed for more than 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns, completing more than 63 percent of his passes… Earned Northwest Conference first-team accolades following his junior season after helping pave the way for six different teammates to rush for 1,048 yards on 292 carries (3.5 ypc), as well as block for a quarterback that passed for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns… Played on both the offensive and defensive lines for Anacortes HS… Also played basketball and baseball for the Seahawks, earning Northwest Conference second-team honors following his junior season on the hardwood.
DARWIN THOMPSON --- RB • 5-9 • 195 • JR • JC • Jenks, Okla. (Jenks HS/Northeastern Oklahoma A&M)
Earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) second-team All-America honors at running back following his sophomore season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Okla… Also garnered Southwest Junior College Football Conference Offensive MVP honors this past season as he helped lead the Norsemen to a conference championship in 2017 as he rushed for 1,391 yards and eight touchdowns on 185 carries (7.5 ypc/115.9 ypg), to go along with 13 receptions for 150 yards and another score... Rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries (5.9 ypc), to go along with three receptions for 72 yards (24.0 ypc), against Independence CC in the inaugural Midwest Bowl as Northeastern Oklahoma A&M entered the game ranked No. 4 in the nation… Overall, he had seven 100-yard rushing games during his sophomore season, including a career-high 232 yards on 20 carries (11.6 ypc) against Coffeyville CC, which included a career-long 66-yard touchdown... Gained 169 yards on 14 carries (12.1 ypc) and scored a career-high three touchdowns against New Mexico Military Institute... Added 153 yards on 15 carries (10.2 ypc) and one touchdown against Cisco JC, had 140 yards on 14 carries (10.0 ypc) against Kilgore JC, had 128 yards on 20 carries (6.4 ypc) against Blinn JC, and rushed for 101 yards on 13 carries against Navarro JC... Earned Southwest Junior College Football Conference second-team honors as a freshman at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M as he rushed for 1,029 yards and nine touchdowns on 150 carries (6.86 ypc/102.9 ypg) to go along with nine catches for 119 yards... During his freshman season, he posted seven 100-yard rushing games including a season-best 158 yards on 18 carries (8.8 ypc) and one touchdown against Coffeyville CC... Scored a season-best two touchdowns in three different games during the year, including against New Mexico Military Institute as he gained 111 yards on nine carries (12.3 ypc) and 101 yards on just six carries (16.8 ypc) against Arkansas Baptist... Is the second-leading rusher in Northeastern Oklahoma A&M history with 2,420 yards and 17 touchdowns on 336 attempts (7.2 ypc).
Earned honorable mention all-metro honors from the Tulsa World at running back as a prep senior at Jenks (Okla.) High School as he rushed for 900 yards... Helped the Trojans capture the Class 6A-I state championship with a 21-14 victory over Union HS as he had 13 carries for 144 yards, including a 51-yarder in the second quarter that set up his team’s go-ahead touchdown.
CREW WAKLEY --- ATH • 6-2 • 190 • FR • HS • Sandy, Utah (Jordan HS)
Earned Utah Class 5A first-team all-state honors from the Deseret News at quarterback as a prep senior at Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah... Was also named the Region 7 MVP by the Deseret News as he played in 12 games and completed 58.1 percent (191-of-329) of his passes for 2,998 yards (249.8 ypg) and 22 touchdowns to eight interceptions… Threw for a season-high 436 yards on 23-of-47 passing against Alta HS… Eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark in three games as a senior… Threw for a season-high five touchdowns against Pleasant Grove HS… Threw at least one touchdown in each of the final seven games of the season… Also rushed 177 times for 1,407 yards (7.9 ypc/117.3 ypg) for another 22 touchdowns to lead the 5A classification in rushing touchdowns, while ranking second in rushing yards… Rushed for over 100 yards in eight games, including a season-high 238 yards against Alta HS… Rushed for a season-high four touchdowns in two games… Earned Utah Class 5A first-team all-state honors from the Deseret News and second-team all-state honors from the Salt Lake Tribune as a junior as he played in 11 games and completed 61.6 percent (180-of-292) of his passes for 3,507 yards to go along with 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions… Threw for a career-high 491 yards against Taylorsville HS, one of his three games over 400 yards passing… Threw for a career-high seven touchdowns twice, and had at least one touchdown toss in 10 of his 11 games… Also rushed 195 times for 1,420 yards (7.3 ypc/129.1 ypg) for 22 touchdowns… Eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in seven games, including a career-high 260 yards and five touchdowns in a 33-31 win against Brighton HS… Also played basketball for Jordan HS... Last name is pronounced Wake-lee.
DJ WILLIAMS --- DB • 5-10 • 185 • JR • JC • Symrna, Tenn. (Huntingdon HS/Independence CC)
Earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) first-team All-America honors at defensive back following his sophomore season at Independence (Kan.) Community College... Also earned first-team all-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) honors this past season as he played in all 11 games for the Pirates and finished the season fourth on the team in total tackles with 56, averaging 5.1 per game… Also had 2.0 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss during the year, to go along with three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble... Had a season-high nine tackles in a 30-20 Midwest Classic Bowl win against Northwestern Oklahoma A&M, the program's first-ever bowl victory… Independence CC finished the season with a 9-2 record and a No. 5 national ranking... Spent two seasons at the University of Chattanooga, where he redshirted the 2015 season before playing in 13 games in 2016, tallying eight tackles.
Earned Tennessee Class 1A Region 6 all-state honors at cornerback as a prep senior at Huntingdon High School in Symrna, Tenn... Was also named team MVP his senior season and was the defensive MVP as a junior… Tallied 16 interceptions through his career… Also saw time on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams as he finished his senior season with 949 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns… Overall, was a three-time all-district honoree... Also played basketball and ran track at Huntingdon HS.
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