2021 players not returning: Brandon Bowling (Graduation; NFL Undrafted Free Agent Chicago Bears); Sean Carter (Graduation); Reece Jarvis (Retired); Jordan Nathan (Graduation); D’Andre Randolph (Transferred to New Mexico Military Institute); Savon Scarver (Graduation; NFL Undrafted Free Agent Chicago Bears); Deven Thompkins (NFL Undrafted Free Agent Tampa Bay Buccaneers); Derek Wright (NFL Undrafted Free Agent Carolina Panthers)
2022 post-spring ball attrition: Franky Jacobsen (Transfer Portal); Taylor Larsen (Transfer Portal); Tim Patrick (Transferred to Southern Utah)
Returning players: NyNy Davis, Quinton Hadnot, Ryder MacGillivray, Justin McGriff, Otto Tia, Kyle Van Leeuwen, Timm Van Leeuwen, Garrett Walchli
New Faces in 2022:
Brian Cobbs 6’2″ 210 (247 3*) – University of Maryland – (Transfer; 1 year to play 1)
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 25 receptions 341 yards 1 TD; 1 carry -4 yards; 4 tackles
2020 (Jr.) Stats: 13 receptions 188 yards 1 TD; 2 tackles
2019 (So.) Stats: 16 receptions 243 yards; 7 tackles 0.5 tackles-for-loss
2018 (Fr.) Stats: 3 receptions 50 yards; 5 carries 8 yards; 4 tackles
Original offers from: Buffalo, East Carolina, Kent St, Liberty, Marshall, Maryland, Navy, North Carolina St, Old Dominion, Temple, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Yale
Primary Recruiter: Kyle Cefalo
Josh Davis 6’1″ 185 (NR) – Carlsbad HS, CA – (Preferred Walk-on)
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 60 receptions 944 yards 10 TDs; 4 carries 47 yards; 31 tackles 1 INT 3 pass breakups
2020 (Jr.) Stats: 13 receptions 313 yards 4 TDs; 3 carries 32 yards
2019 (So.) Stats: 72 tackles 2.0 tackles-for-loss 2 INTS 4 pass breakups
Offers from: Davidson, San Diego, Southwest Minnesota St
Primary Recruiter: Anthony Tucker
Malachi Keels 6’2″ 190 (NR) – Orange Glen HS, CA
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 55 receptions 1,005 yards 12 TDs
2020 (Jr.) Stats: 44 receptions 868 yards 9 TDs
2019 (So.) Stats: 1 reception 12 yards
Offers from: Benedictine, Culver-Stockton, Misericordia, Northwest Missouri St
Primary Recruiter: Anthony Tucker, Ray Brown, JT May
Austin Okerwa 6’1″ 185 (247 2*) – Skyline HS, UT – (Preferred Walk-on)
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 48 receptions 1,011 yards 11 TDs; 11 carries 27 yards; 26 tackles 1.0 tackles-for-loss 4 INTs 2 pass breakups 2 forced fumbles 1 fumble recovery;
2020 (Jr.) Stats: Missed the season with an injury
2019 (So.) Stats: 29 receptions 622 yards 6 TDs; 1 tackle
Quentin Riley 6’1″ 185 (247 2*) – Meridian HS, ID – (Preferred Walk-on)
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 55 receptions 741 yards 7 TDs
Offers from: College of Idaho, Mount Union, Pacific University
Primary Recruiter: JT May
Kyrese Rowan 5’10” 175 (NR) – university of utah – (Transfer; Preferred Walk-on; 3 years to play 3)
2021 (So.) Stats: 1 tackle in 13 games
2020 (RsFr.) Stats: Saw action in 4 games
2019 (Fr.) Stats: Redshirted at the university of utah
Original offers from: None
Primary Recruiter: DJ Tialavea
Jalen Royals 6’0″ 190 (NR) – Georgia Military College, GA – (Transfer; 4 years to play 3)
2021 (Fr.) Stats: 7 receptions 92 yards 2 TDs
Offers from: Erksine, McPherson, Methodist, Point
Primary Recruiter: Anthony Tucker, Kyle Cefalo
Terrell Vaughn 5’10” 170 (NR) – Ventura CC, CA – (Transfer; 3 years to play 2)
2021 (So.) Stats: 58 receptions 736 yards 8 TDs; 5 kick returns 165 yards; 11 punt returns 139 yards 1 TD
2020 (Fr.) Stats: 91 receptions 979 12 TDs; 7 kick returns 149 yards
Offers from: Delaware St, Nevada, San Diego, Southeast Missouri St, UTEP
Primary Recruiter: Kyle Cefalo
Xavier “Ziggy” Williams 6’0″ 180 (247 4*) – University of Alabama – (Transfer; 2 years to play 2)
2021 (Jr.) Stats: Sat out the season with an injury
2020 (So.) Stats: 3 receptions 24 yards
2019 (RsFr.) Stats: Did not record any stats
2018 (Fr.) Stats: Redshirted at Alabama
Original Offers from: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Bowling Green, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida St, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa St, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Miami (FL), Michigan, Mississippi, Mississippi St, North Carolina St, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Penn St, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, South Florida, Syracuse, TCU, Temple, Tennessee, utah, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Wisconsin
Primary Recruiter: Kyle Cefalo, Anthony Tucker, Blake Anderson
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.)
Senior Justin McGriff returns for his second season as the starter at this position. As a junior in 2021, McGriff started in all 14 games and snagged 35 receptions for 414 yards and 6 touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2020, he started in all 6 games and pulled in 15 passes for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a redshirt freshman at ASA Miami College (FL) in 2019, he snagged 25 receptions for 360 yards and 8 touchdowns. He originally signed with the University of Nebraska out of high school and he spent his true freshman season of 2018 redshirting. McGriff is a solid route runner and he can use his height to get up and high point the football. He also uses his big body to shield opposing defenders away and make back-shoulder receptions. He has an impressive leaping ability, giving him an advantage on jump balls in the air. He is especially skilled in fades in the endzone. He is not afraid to get up into his defender and drive into his run blocks. With the graduation of several wide receivers following the 2022 season, McGriff will need to step up and become the voice of experience for the wide receiver position.
Joining the team in time for spring ball is junior transfer Xavier “Ziggy” Williams. Williams previously played at the University of Alabama and has at least two years of eligibility remaining. As a covid sophomore at Alabama in 2021, Williams missed the season with an injury. As a sophomore in 2020, he recorded 3 receptions for 24 yards. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he did not record any stats. As a true freshman in 2018, he spent the season redshirting. Williams has a lot of potential as a deep threat, in large part due to his ability to gain separation on his routes and his success at 50/50 balls. He appears to have the extra gear after making the catch and is a threat to score every time he gets in the open field. He has a set of safe hands that can make up for inaccurate throws and the kind of body control that makes adjusting to any type of pass easier. He is a balanced, savvy route runner with top field awareness, setting up and selling routes beautifully. He can also be a factor in the return game thanks to his vision to see holes and follow blocks.
Competing to make a move up the depth chart is true freshman Malachi Keels. As a senior at Orange Glen High (CA) in 2021, Keels hauled in 55 passes for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a junior in 2020, he snared 44 receptions for 868 yards and 9 touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2019, he recorded a reception for 12 yards. Keels is extremely athletic and has the potential to turn every catch into an explosive play due to his ability to run after the catch. He does a great job of high pointing the ball and can outleap defensive backs. He is shifty and fast with the ball after catching a pass. Once he is in the open field he often outruns other players with ease. He has the explosiveness to thrive in the Aggie offense.
Competing to enter the rotation is redshirt freshman preferred walk-on Timm Van Leeuwen. As a true freshman in 2021, Van Leeuwen sat out the season while redshirting. Van Leeuwen joined the Aggies late last summer after returning from an LDS Church mission. As a senior at local Logan High (UT) in 2018, Van Leeuwen snared 65 receptions for 876 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a junior at Timpview High (UT) in 2017, he logged 6 receptions for 132 yards. As a sophomore in 2016, he recorded 2 receptions for 5 yards. Van Leeuwen is the younger brother of former Aggie wide receivers, Travis and Zach and current Aggie wide out Kyle. Van Leeuwen is a tactitician with route running. He has just enough speed that he can take it to the house if he gets a chance. He does a good job of finding the ball in the air and adjusting his body to make the catch. He isn’t afraid to go across the middle and make the tough catch in traffic. His footwork is crafty enough to beat press coverage at the line of scrimmage.
Joining the Aggies this summer is true freshman preferred walk-on, Josh Davis. As a senior at Carlsbad High (CA) in 2021, Davis pulled down 60 receptions for 944 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also added 4 carries for 47 yards. As a junior in 2020 during a covid shortened season, he tallied 13 receptions for 313 yards and 4 touchdowns and added 3 carries for 32 yards. As a sophomore in 2019, he saw all his varsity time on the defensive side of the ball racking up 72 tackles, 2.0 tackles-for-loss, 2 interceptions, and 4 pass breakups. Davis runs a good route. He has a willingness to make catches all over the field. He is dangerous with the ball in his hands and he is a threat to pick up yards after the catch after every reception. He provides a big target for quarterbacks and he has a wide catch radius. His time as a defensive back will help him diagnose opposing defensive coverages.
Joining the team in time for spring ball is graduate senior Brian Cobbs. Cobbs previously played at the University of Maryland and will complete his collegiate eligibility following the 2022 season. As a senior at Maryland in 2021, he played in all 13 games with 2 starts and pulled in 25 receptions for 341 yards and a touchdown. As a junior in 2020, he logged 13 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown. As a sophomore in 2019, he caught 16 passes for 243 yards and even saw some emergency spot duty as a defensive back as the tallied 7 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss. As a true freshman in 2018, he recorded 3 receptions for 50 yards. Cobbs is a dynamic player and has plus speed on every play. He outruns defenders easily, thanks to his speed and prolific route-running. He is a threat to score every time he touches the ball because of his excellent vision on the field. He has superior speed and will resist being tackled fighting for every yard he can. He has the versatility to play outside and as a slot receiver. He has plenty of experience in a run-heavy offense. That experience paired with his size and strength should make him a valuable blocker in the run game.
Redshirt freshman Otto Tia made an impressive showing during spring ball. As a true freshman in 2021, Tia saw action in 2 games but did not record any stats and was able to maintain his redshirt status. He missed the 2020 season with a knee injury suffered during a high school all-star game. Once he sustained the injury the decision was made for him to grayshirt and join the team in January of 2021 so that he could participate in spring ball. As a senior in 2019 at Northridge High (UT), he snared 33 receptions for 560 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also added 13 carries for 23 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a junior in 2018, he logged 31 receptions for 623 yards and a touchdown. Tia is the type of player who is dangerous with the ball in space. He can be used in multiple ways; over the middle, on deep throws, and on jet sweeps. He excels at picking up yards after the catch and finds another gear after securing the ball. He has the exceptional size that allows him to go up and high point the football in the air. I think he is a good bet to become a key player for the Aggies at some point in his career.
Pressing for the backup spot will be redshirt sophomore, Quinton Hadnot. As a sophomore in 2021, Hadnot spent the season utilizing his redshirt year. As a true freshman in 2020, Hadnot saw action in 2 games and caught 1 pass for 2 yards. I have not been able to obtain a stat line for Quinton’s senior season of 2019 at Mission Hills High (CA). As a junior in 2018, he tallied 43 receptions for 496 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hadnot is a very athletic and accomplished two-way player. He has shifty feet and can take a short pass and turn it into a big gain by making several guys miss. He has good breakaway speed and he is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He is a physical player that isn’t afraid to mix it up in the run game. He also uses that physicality to create separation between himself and an opposing defensive back.
Adding depth to the position is redshirt freshman preferred walk-on Ryder MacGillivray. As a true freshman in 2021, MacGillivray spent the season redshirting. As a senior at Provo High (UT) in 2020, he pulled 48 receptions for 726 yards and 5 touchdowns. As a junior in 2019, he logged 24 receptions for 396 yards and 7 touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2018, he was credited with a reception for 12 yards. MacGillivray is a bully at wide receiver, he will go up, over, and through opposing defensive backs to make a catch. However, catching the ball isn’t good enough, he’ll also plow through an opposing defender for extra yardage as well. He is just fast enough to take it to the house when he finds the open field.
Joining the Aggies this summer is true freshman preferred walk-on Austin Okerwa. As a senior at Skyline High (UT) in 2021, Okerwa racked up 48 receptions for a whopping 1,011 yards, and 11 touchdowns. He also added 11 carries for 27 yards. As a junior in 2020, he missed the season with an injury. As a sophomore in 2019, he pulled in 29 receptions for 622 yards and 6 touchdowns. Austin is a tall, lengthy wide receiver. He has serious elusiveness and a smooth change of direction after catching the ball in traffic. He can also turn on the jets and beat defensive backs on deep routes thanks to his straight-line speed. His long strides make it easy for him to outrun defenders. He is especially dangerous in the short and intermediate passing game, turning short receptions into chunk yardage plays. Austin has big-play potential and should develop well at Utah State.
Adding depth to the position is true freshman preferred walk-on, Quentin Riley. As a senior at Meridian High (ID) in 2021, Riley hauled in 55 receptions for 741 yards and 7 touchdowns. Riley is an outside threat in every sense of the phrase. He caught deep ball after deep ball while at Meridian. He tracks the ball well in flight and can make adjustments accordingly while the ball is in the air. He has very dependable hands. He can catch the ball in traffic and under tight coverage.
Junior Kyle Van Leeuwen has been patiently waiting for his chance to show Aggie Nation what he can do. As a sophomore in 2021, Van Leeuwen saw action in all 14 games and caught 8 passes for 63 yards. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he saw action in one game but did not record any stats. As a true freshman in 2019, he returned from his LDS Church mission just in time to join the team for fall camp. He then spent the season as a redshirt. As a senior at Timpview High (UT) in 2016, Van Leeuwen had a solid season pulling in 42 receptions for 903 yards and an amazing 18 touchdowns. For his effort, he earned Class 4-A second-team all-state and first-team all-region honors. Van Leeuwen is the younger brother of former Aggie wide receivers, Travis and Zach. Van Leeuwen and older brother of current Aggie wide out Timm. Van Leeuwen can get in and out of breaks quickly. He possesses tremendous hands for a wide receiver and is a quarterback’s best friend. He is tough across the middle of the field and he is willing to do the dirty work that is required from a slot receiver. He has good speed and is a precise route runner. He has a bright future ahead of him in an Aggie uniform.
Competing hard to get on the field is junior transfer, Terrell Vaughn. Vaughn joined the Aggies in time for spring ball after spending the first two seasons of his career at Ventura Community College (CA). He has three years to complete his final two seasons of eligibility. As a sophomore in 2021, he pulled in 58 receptions for 736 yards and 8 touchdowns. As a true freshman in 2020, he had a standout season totaling 91 receptions for 979 and 12 touchdowns. Vaughn is a small and shifty receiver capable of turning short passes into huge gains. He picks up yards after the catch with little issue. He runs smooth routes and changes direction effortlessly, leaving defenders scrambling to catch up to him. He has high-end speed that makes him a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He is another one of those guys that I like to say can “make guys miss in a phone booth.” He is also a weapon in the return game where he is a big-time threat with the ball in his hands.
Adding depth to the position is sophomore preferred walk-on Garrett Walchli. As a redshirt freshman in 2021, Walchli did not see any action and spent the season as a member of the Aggies practice squad. As a true freshman in 2020, he spent the season redshirting. As a senior at Hermiston High (OR) in 2019, Walchli saw action at several spots offensively totaling 50 receptions for 645 yards and 8 touchdowns, 16 carries for 120 yards, and a touchdown, and completed 18 passes in 24 attempts for 170 yards and 2 interceptions. As a junior in 2018, he pulled in 17 receptions for 212 yards. Walchli has quick feet and a good burst of speed following the catch. He is good at making the first guy miss and getting upfield in a hurry. He is fearless going across the middle of the field. He is a very versatile player and that will help him succeed here at the next level.
F – RECEIVER (SLOT; 4 WR Sets)
Looking to earn playing time immediately is redshirt freshman Martavious “NyNy” Davis. As a true freshman in 2021, he spent the season redshirting. As a senior at Etowah High (AL) in 2020, Davis snagged 29 receptions for 291 yards and a touchdown. He also added 11 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. He missed his junior season of 2019 with an injury. As a sophomore in 2018, he logged 2 blocked punts. As a freshman in 2017, he recorded 8 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown. Davis is very dangerous out in the slot. Once the ball is in his hands, he displays shifty footwork and can get himself out into the open field where his speed and ability to make tacklers miss take over naturally. He excels in the short passing game, turning easy catches into explosive plays with his legs. He can also stretch the field on deep throws as he gets behind the secondary with little issue. He is one of those guys that I like to say can “make guys miss in a phone booth.” He is dangerous on the jet sweep and his good field vision enables him to find a seam and get upfield for positive yardage. Davis has the potential to be electric at Utah State during his career.
Competing to get on the field this fall is sophomore junior college transfer Jalen Royals. Royals was a late signing for the Aggies this summer after he began his collegiate career at Georgia Military College. He will have 4 years to complete his final 3 seasons of eligibility. As a true freshman at Georgia Military College (GA) in 2021, Royals played in a very run-heavy offense and he was only able to record 7 receptions for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. Royals was a surprise attendee at the Aggies summer prospect camp in early June where he was twice clocked at a blazing 4.32 40-yard dash. He has the rare ability to play in the slot and outside and with his speed, he is dangerous all over the field. His strong lower body makes tackling him a challenge for smaller defensive backs. At his JuCo he was used primarily out of the slot, running seam, and out routes. His superior speed and physical nature allow him to easily gain separation from opposing defenders.
Looking to make a move up the depth chart is preferred walk-on transfer sophomore, Kyrese Rowan. Rowan joined the Aggies this summer after beginning his collegiate career at the university of utah. He will have 3 years of eligibility remaining. As a sophomore at the university of utah in 2021, Rowan saw action in all 13 games, primarily on special teams, and was credited with 1 tackle. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he saw action in 4 games but did not record any stats. As a true freshman in 2019, he spent the season redshirting at the university of utah. Rowan is the son of Aggie Hall-of-Famer running back Emmett White. Rowan is a tremendous all-around athlete. He has quick feet and can get off the ball in a hurry. He is very tough for defensive backs to get a hand on at the line of scrimmage. After he makes a catch, he is very dynamic with the ball in his hands and can use a myriad of moves to gain yards after the catch. He can also be used as a jet sweep threat. He was also a standout defensive back in high school and that will serve him well in reading opposing defensive coverages.
PROJECTED 2022 PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
X – RECEIVER (LEFT)
10 Justin McGriff (6-6, 215, Sr., 2L, 3*)
3 Xavier “Ziggy” Williams (6-0, 180, Jr., TR, 4*)
18 Malachi Keels (6-2, 190, Fr., HS, NR)
20 Timm Van Leeuwen (6-2, 170, RsFr., RS, NR) OR
21 Josh Davis (6-1, 185, Fr., HS, NR)
Z – RECEIVER (RIGHT)
8 Brian Cobbs (6-2, 205, GR-Sr., TR, 3*)
15 Otto Tia (6-4, 220, RsFr., RS, 3*)
13 Quinton Hadnot (6-0, 185, RsSo., RS, 3*)
84 Ryder MacGillivray (6-1, 180, RsFr., RS, NR)
19 Austin Okerwa (6-1, 185, Fr., HS, 2*) OR
25 Quentin Riley (6-1, 185, Fr., HS, 2*)
H – RECEIVER (SLOT)
9 Kyle Van Leeuwen (5-9, 175, Jr., 1L, 2*)
0 Terrell Vaughn (5-7, 170, Jr., JC, NR)
88 Garrett Walchli (5-8, 160, RsSo., RS, NR)
F – RECEIVER (SLOT; 4 WR Sets)
6 Martavious “NyNy” Davis (5-8, 155, RsFr., RS, 3*)
17 Jalen Royals (6-0, 190, So., JC, NR)
26 Kyrese Rowan (5-10, 175, Jr., TR, NR)
Coming Up On Monday: Center
Great pick up with Kyrese Rowan, 6’0” 185 lbs. WR/Slot from Utah. Local kid from Roy High. Has 3 years to play.
Walked in and put up some of the top numbers in the weight room when team just tested.
Should be able to come in and have an impact this season.
Thanks for the info about Kyrese “Ground Game”! He looks like he will be a solid addition to the Utah State receiving corps. Plus, it’s awesome to get the son of Hall-of-Famer Emmett White in Aggie blue and white where he belongs!!