2020 players not returning: Sage Hill (Left Team)
2021 post-spring ball attrition: Hunter Hill (Transfer Portal), Andy Koch (Medical Retirement)
Returning players: Alfred Edwards, Wade Meacham, Cole Motes, Jacob South
New Faces in 2021:
Evan Hall 6’5″ 300 (247 2*) – Sky View HS, UT
2020 (Sr.) Stats: 42 tackles 1.0 sack
2019 (Jr.) Stats: 34 tackles
2018 (So) Stats: 1 tackle
2017 (Fr.) Stats: No stats recorded
Offers from: Dixie St (PWO), Snow JC
Calvin Knapp 6’5″ 285 (NR) – Iowa Western CC, IA – (3 years to play 3)
2020 (So.) Stats: Started in 5 games at Iowa Western
2019 (RsFr.) Stats: 17 tackles 1.5 tackles-for-loss
2018 (Fr.) Stats: Redshirted at Southwest Minnesota State
Offers from: Abilene Christian, Eastern Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe, Missouri St, New Hampshire, North Alabama, North Dakota, Southeast Missouri St, Tennessee-Martin, Western Carolina, Western Illinois, Wofford
In regards to the NCAA mandated eligibility freeze from the 2020 season, what I’ve learned is that the players eligibility will continue to accrue. Once the player reaches his 4th or 5th season, depending on if the player uses a redshirt season, the player will have the option to return to school for a 5th or 6th season and continue playing one more season. The player will then move from being listed as a senior (Sr.) to a graduate senior (Gr-Sr.)
Senior Alfred Edwards will reprise his role as the starter at this position. As a junior in 2020, Edwards started in all 6 games. As a sophomore in 2019, he played in 12 of 13 games and started all 12 games while playing in 764 snaps and recording 7 knockdown blocks. He earned the starting job in 2018 as a redshirt freshman starting in 11 of the 12 games that he played in while racking up 662 snaps, grading out at 83%, and recording 10 knockdowns. He sat out the 2017 season while redshirting and was named the 2017 Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year. Edwards chose the Aggies after being verbally committed to Mountain West Conference foe Nevada at one time. As a high school senior in 2016 at Redlands High (CA), he garnered several awards including, California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division 5 All-Southern Section first-team honors as an offensive lineman, first-team All-Citrus Belt League honors, and all-area honors from the Press-Enterprise, along with being named his team’s Most Valuable Offensive Lineman. The coaching staff believes that Edwards has the tremendous length needed for an offensive tackle, and he has great feet and athleticism. He is a good pass protector and possesses a high football IQ. He stays in front of the opposing defensive players and is invaluable while protecting the quarterbacks’ “blindside”. He is also proving to be a road grader in the running game. He is a lead-by-example type of player and is an excellent leader on the field for the younger offensive linemen.
Junior Wade Meacham has very likely earned the opportunity to back up Edwards. As a sophomore in 2020, Meacham saw action in 4 of 6 games. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Meacham saw action in 1 game and played in 15 snaps. As a true freshman in 2018, he took 68 snaps while playing in the maximum 4 games and was still able to receive a redshirt season. As a senior at Layton High (UT) in 2014, Meacham averaged 6 knockdowns per game but actually earned Region 1 honorable mention honors at defensive tackle. He is an athletic offensive lineman that runs well out in space. The coaching staff believes he has the potential to be a very productive and long offensive lineman who will use his tremendous athletic ability to get after opposing defensive players. A huge plus is his ability to play both guard and tackle and that shows his tremendous versatility.
Working to make some noise is sophomore junior college transfer Calvin Knapp. Knapp joined the Aggies this summer after spending a year at Iowa Western Community College (IA). As a sophomore in 2020 at Iowa Western, during a COVID abbreviated spring season, he started in the 5 games that the Reivers played. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he played on the defensive line at Southwest Minnesota State and logged 17 tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. As a true freshman in 2018, he spent the season at Southwest Minnesota State redshirting. Knapp is very active with his feet. He displays good footwork and he is tough to beat with a speed rush approach. He has a strong upper body and it’s tough for an opposing defensive player to outmuscle him. He is mobile and quick enough that he can be used to pull across the entire line of scrimmage. What is most exciting about him is he is so raw and new to the offensive line position that he could be an impact player much sooner than later.
I believe that junior Jacob South will be the starter at this spot. As a sophomore in 2020, he started in the 4 games that he was available for. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he saw action in 10 of 13 games, starting in 3 and playing in 210 snaps, and recording 2 knockdown blocks. As a true freshman in 2018, he took 37 snaps and recorded 1 knockdown block while playing in 3 games and remaining eligible to receive a redshirt season. As a senior at Anacortes High (WA) in 2017, South earned a Class 2-A Northwest Conference first-team nod as an offensive lineman. South is a versatile player on the offensive line. He is a menacing blocker who routinely knocks defenders down or drives them back into the second level of the defense. What the coaching staff has found in him, is a very athletic kid that can play multiple positions along the offensive line. He is also a tough offensive lineman that possesses a high football IQ.
Looking to solidify his spot on the depth chart is sophomore Cole Motes. As a true freshman in 2020, he did not see any action. He joined the Aggies late last summer following his return from serving an LDS Church mission. As a senior at Thatcher High (AZ) in 2018, playing in a run-heavy offense, Motes pulled in 7 receptions for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, he tallied 38 tackles, 9.0 tackles-for-loss, 1.0 sack, and 1 interception. Motes is an extremely athletic big man. He has great hands and an impressive vertical leap. He has a good first step and is very rangy with his long wingspan. His mobility and speed are what will serve him best. He is relatively new to the offensive line position and his willingness to listen intently and apply what he is being taught is what is going to help him become a solid offensive lineman for the Aggies.
Adding depth to the position is true freshman preferred walk-on, Evan Hall. Hall joins the Aggies for the 2021 season after having a stellar career at Sky View High (UT). As a senior at Sky View in 2020, he started in every game on his way to back-to-back state championships and even showed some versatility playing on the defensive side of the ball as well and recording 42 tackles and 1.0 sacks. As a junior in 2019, he started in every game for the state champion Bobcats. As a sophomore in 2018, he started in every game. Evan is strong at the point of engagement. He does a good job of completing his blocking assignments whether it be kicking out an opponent to the sideline or blocking down on a defensive tackle. Once he successfully kicks an opponent out of the hole, he does a good job of moving on to the next level and engaging with a linebacker. Playing basketball as a dual-sport athlete has helped him develop good footwork which allows him to be a good pass blocker. Getting Cache Valley kids like Evan to stay home and play at Utah State is a must for the new coaching staff. Evan will have every opportunity to compete for a scholarship in the future.
PROJECTED 2021 PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
72 Alfred Edwards (6-7, 320, Sr., 3L, 3*)
79 Wade Meacham (6-5, 310, Jr., 1L, 3*)
77 Calvin Knapp (6-3, 275, So., JC, NR)
78 Jacob South (6-5, 290, Jr., 2L, 2*)
56 Cole Motes (6-5, 300, So., SQ, 3*)
00 Evan Hall (6-5, 295, Fr., HS, 2*)
Coming up on Thursday: Offensive Guard