2021 players not returning: Devonta’e Henry-Cole (Graduation); Elelyon Noa (Transfer Portal)
2022 post-spring ball attrition: Gerald Hansen (Transfer Portal)
Returning players: John Gentry, Cooper Jones, Pailate Makakona, Calvin Tyler
New Faces in 2022:
Robert Briggs 5’6″ 175 (247 3*) – Bellville HS, TX
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 124 carries 1,381 yards 22 touchdowns; 21 receptions 562 yards 8 touchdowns; 9 tackles 1.0 tackles-for-loss 2 interceptions 2 touchdowns; 302 punt return yards 1 touchdown; 78 kick return yards.
2020 (Jr.) Stats: 66 carries 678 yards 11 TDs; 28 receptions 450 yards 6 TDs; 13 tackles 2 INTS 1 pass breakup; 9 kick returns 36.0 yard average
2019 (So.) Stats: 82 carries 840 yards 7 TDs; 18 receptions 298 yards 5 TDs; 35 tackles 4 INTs 6 pass breakups; 8 kick returns 21.4-yard average
2018 (Fr.) Stats: 46 carries 439 yards 3 TDs; 1 reception 47 yards 1 TD; 42 tackles 8 pass breakups; 8 kick returns 27.1-yard average
Offers from: Houston Baptist
Primary Recruiter: Chuckie Keeton
Bailee Davenport 6’0″ 200 (NR) – Kilgore CC, TX – (Transfer Preferred Walk-on; 4 years to play 3)
2021 (Fr.) Stats: 6 receptions 140 yards 2 TDs; 7 carries 30 yards
2020 (Fr.) Stats: 7 receptions 75 yards 1 TD; 36 carries 268 yards 1 TD
Jordan Wilmore 5’8″ 200 (247 4*) – RB – Fresno State University – (Transfer; 3 years to play 2)
2021 (Jr.) Stats: 14 carries 77 yards 1 TD; 2 receptions 15 yards
2020 (So.) Stats: 18 carries 54 yards
2019 (Fr.) Stats: 49 carries 209 yards 1 TD; 2 receptions 13 yards
Original offers from: Arizona St, Boise St, Cal Poly, Colorado, Colorado St, Fresno St, Iowa St, Montana St, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon St, San Diego St, San Jose St, UCLA, USC, utah, Washington St
Primary Recruiter: Anthony Tucker
In regards to the NCAA-mandated eligibility freeze from the 2020 season, what I’ve learned is the player’s 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.)
Graduate senior Calvin Tyler returns this season as the starter in 2022. As a senior in 2021, He played in 12 games with 11 starts and led the team with 196 carries for a team-leading 884 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also added 11 receptions for 50 yards. Tyler joined the Aggies for the 2021 season after beginning his career at Oregon State University. As a junior in 2020 for the Beavers, he appeared in 3 games and recorded 15 carries for 45 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also added 2 receptions for 9 yards. As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, he again appeared in 3 games and had 12 carries for 68 yards and 1 reception for 15 yards. As a sophomore in 2018, he sat out the season with an injury and redshirted. As a true freshman in 2017, he appeared in one game and logged 3 carries for 11 yards. He also added 9 kick returns for 182 yards. What I like best about Tyler is his initial burst and I think that’s the calling card of his game. He is thickly built, but not a huge player. The speed that he generates from his initial burst gets him through the line with the power to run through arm tackles and around the edge and down the sideline on stretch plays. He has long strides and hits his max burst from his first few steps, ensuring he is at top speed when he hits the hole. On counter plays, he’s quicker to plant a foot and cut through a seam faster than the defense can react to the play. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield lends to his potential role as that of a ‘utility player’ that can be motioned out of the backfield and line up as a slot receiver at times. Despite his smaller stature, he is still a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the football.
Junior John Gentry left spring ball in a dead heat for the number two back. As a sophomore in 2021, he saw action in all 14 games and received 66 carries for 235 yards, while adding 5 receptions for 33 yards. As a true freshman in 2020, he saw action in 5 games gaining 33 yards on 7 carries. He also added 1 reception for (-4) yards, completed 1 pass for 4 yards, and returned 5 kicks for 118 yards (23.6 avg.). Gentry played his high school football at North Shore High (TX), one of the top programs in the country. As a senior in 2019, Gentry earned first-team all-district honors as a wide receiver after pulling in 18 receptions and scoring 10 touchdowns. As a junior in 2018, he ran for over 900 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. Gentry was a jack of all trades type of player, playing multiple positions throughout his high school career and racking up 3,586 all-purpose yards and 48 touchdowns. The Aggies beat out several P5 schools for Gentry, including The University of Arkansas and the University of Tennesse of the SEC Conference and the university of utah from the PAC-12 Conference. Gentry was a track star who possesses breakaway speed. He is explosive out of the backfield, bursting through holes and reaching top speed quickly. He easily makes players miss and knows when to bounce to the outside. He has good hands and a receiving ability that is rare for a running back. He can be an asset in the passing game. The Aggies need Gentry to take a big step forward in 2022.
Junior transfer Jordan Wilmore joined the Aggies this summer and figures to fit into the running attack much sooner than later. Wilmore comes to Utah State after spending the 2021 season at Fresno State University. He has 3 years to complete his final 2 seasons of eligibility. As a junior at Fresno State in 2021, Wilmore saw action in 6 games and logged 14 carries for 77 yards and 1 touchdown, while adding 2 receptions for 15 yards. Wilmore began his collegiate career at the university of utah. As a sophomore at utah in 2020, he saw action in 2 games with 1 start and tallied 18 carries for 54 yards. As a true freshman in 2019, he saw action in 12 games and had a career-best 49 carries for 209 yards and 1 touchdown and added 2 receptions for 13 yards. Wilmore is a strong 200 pounds. He has a stocky build and has a powerful lower body. He has a reputation as a patient runner with burst. His excellent field vision to allows lanes to develop and he has the agility to turn up the field at perfect moments. He has good lateral quickness. He stays low as he runs through traffic and has the speed to run past linebackers. He is a durable ball carrier with the strength to handle a high workload.
Senior Pailate Makakona is neck-and-neck for the second spot on the depth chart. As a junior in 2021, he saw action in 11 games and recorded 42 carries for 101 yards, and added 1 reception for 10 yards. As a redshirt sophomore in 2020, he saw action in 6 games and gained 47 yards on 10 carries. He also caught 2 passes for 12 yards. Makakona spent the 2019 season at Utah State redshirting per NCAA transfer rules after beginning his collegiate career at Colorado Mesa University (CO). As a true freshman in 2018 at Colorado Mesa, Makakona carried the ball 119 times for 558 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also added 7 receptions for 34 yards. Makakona played his high school ball at Hunter High (UT) and as a senior in 2017, rushed for 1,250 yards and 12 touchdowns on 170 carries. He also showed a solid ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as he snagged 26 receptions for 353. He had a similarly impressive outing as a junior in 2016 as he carried the ball 168 times for 1,098 yards and 9 touchdowns. Makakona is a physical running back who is also blessed with quick feet and above-average lateral movement. He can find the hole and accelerate through the line of scrimmage immediately. He runs with power and can move the pile with his strong stature. He will break arm tackles with ease. He also adds value in the passing game, as he is a very good receiver out of the backfield.
True freshman Robert Briggs will enter fall camp with an opportunity to make some noise. Briggs was a jack of all trades throughout his high school career. As a senior at Bellville High (TX) in 2021, he racked up 124 carries for 1,381 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also snagged 21 receptions for 562 yards and 8 more touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, he took 2 interceptions for 2 touchdowns and also had a punt return for a touchdown. As a junior in 2020, he made the most of his 66 carries by rushing for 678 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 28 passes for 450 yards and 6 touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2019, he totaled 82 carries for 840 yards and 7 touchdowns. He added 18 receptions for 298 yards and another 5 touchdowns. Defensively, he also recorded 4 interceptions. As a freshman in 2018, he got his first taste of varsity action by recording 46 carries for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 1 reception for 47 yards and turned that catch into a touchdown. He also started on the defensive side of the ball as a cornerback. Briggs is a powerful compact runner who switches to another gear once he gets downfield and can run vertically. He is a patient runner who waits for plays to develop and shakes off tackles around the line of scrimmage. His forte is getting outside of the tackles and shaking free with slippery open-field moves. He is also able to add value in the passing game, thanks to his ability to line up as a receiver. That can add a new wrinkle to the offense making him more difficult to guard.
Senior preferred walk-on Cooper Jones had a BIG spring ball session and is hoping to make an impact in fall camp. As a junior in 2021, he saw action primarily on special teams in 8 games but did not record any stats. As a sophomore in 2020, he saw action in just one game and did not record any stats. As a true freshman at Butte Community College (CA) in 2019, he was primarily a return specialist, fielding 21 punt returns for 239 yards (11.4 avg) and 3 kick returns for 64 yards (21.3 avg.). As a senior in 2018 at Elko High (NV), he had 108 carries for 863 yards and 9 touchdowns, while also catching 15 passes for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns. He displayed his talent as a two-way player making 57 tackles and 4 interceptions, while also blocking 2 kicks. As a return man, he returned 10 kicks for 271 yards for an average of 27.1 yards per return and returned 8 punts for 144 yards for an average of 18.0 yards per return. He also returned one of those punts for a touchdown. Jones does a good job of catching a punt cleanly and not wasting much motion. If he needs to make the first defender miss, he can, and then he quickly finds a seam and explodes upfield. He also does a great job of catching the ball cleanly in traffic. He is a versatile player and because of his outstanding burst of speed, he could add value to the running attack if the opportunity arose.
Competing to make a move up the depth chart is sophomore preferred walk-on Bailee Davenport. Davenport joins the Aggies this summer from Kilgore Community College (TX). He has 4 years to complete his final 3 years of eligibility. As a covid-freshman at Kilgore CC in 2021, Davenport logged 7 carries for 30 yards and added 6 receptions for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a true freshman in 2020, he recorded 36 carries for 268 yards and a touchdown, while pulling in 7 receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. Davenport adds value as an all-purpose back with his ability not only to run the ball but to be a threat in the passing game as well. When he is split out at wide receiver he can make the tough catch over the middle. He is deceptively fast for a back his size and once he gets into the open field he is tough to catch. He makes quick decisions and hits the hole immediately. Being versatile may lead to Davenport seeing an opportunity to get see the field sooner than later.
PROJECTED 2022 PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
4 Calvin Tyler (5-8, 210, GR-Sr., 1L, 3*)
2 John Gentry (5-10, 195, Jr., 2L, 3*) OR
23 Jordan Wilmore (5-8, 200, Jr., TR, 4*) OR
29 Pailate Makakona (5-10, 210, Sr., 2L, NR)
22 Robert Briggs (5-6, 175, Fr., HS, 3*)
31 Cooper Jones (5-6, 160, Sr., 1L, NR)
24 Bailee Davenport (6-0, 200, So., JC, NR)
Coming Up On Thursday: Tight End