2021 Players not returning: Jaylen Bannerman (NFL Undrafted Free Agent New York Giants); Nick Heninger (NFL Undrafted Free Agent Tampa Bay Buccaneers); Mata Hola (Transfer Portal); Darius McFarland (Transfer Portal)
2022 post-spring ball attrition: Kaden Jolley (No Longer with the Team); Holden Tennant (Transfer Portal)
Returning Players: Patrick Joyner, Enoka Migao, Addison Trupp, Byron Vaughns
New Faces in 2022:
Paul Fitzgerald 6’3″ 230 (247 3*) – Thunder Ridge HS, ID
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 31 tackles 16.0 tackles-for-loss 7.5 sacks 1 pass break up 4 forced fumbles 2 punt blocks
2020 (Jr.) Stats: No Stats Available
2019 (So.) Stats: No Stats Available
Offers from: byu, Idaho St, Nevada,
Primary Recruiter: Ephraim Banda, Blake Anderson, Al Lapuaho
Daniel Grzesiak 6’1″ 245 (NR) – University of Nevada – (Transfer; 2 years to play 2)
2021 (Jr.) Stats: 19 tackles 6.5 tackles-for-loss 5.5 sacks 1 forced fumble 1 fumble recovery 2 QB hurries 1 pass breakup 1 blocked kick
2020 (So.) Stats: 16 tackles 3.0 tackles-for-loss 2.0 sacks
2019 (RsFr.) Stats: 7 tackles
2018 (Fr.) Stats: Redshirted at the University of Nevada
Original Offers from: Nevada
Offers from: Alabama-Birmingham, Colorado St, Incarnate Word, Western Kentucky
Primary Recruiter: Al Lapuaho
Thomas Turpin 6’4″ 240 (NR) – Bonneville HS, UT – (Preferred Walk-on)
2021 (Sr.) Stats: 33 tackles 9.0 tackles-for-loss 3.0 sacks 8 hurries 1 forced fumble
2020 (Jr.) Stats: 39 tackles 10.0 tackles-for-loss 6.0 sacks 11 QB hurries 1 forced fumble 1 fumble recovery
Offers from: La Verne
Primary Recruiter: Al Lapuaho, Chris Labidou, Alex Devine
John Ward 6’4″ 245 (247 3*) – UCLA – (Transfer; 3 years to play 3)
2021 (So.) Stats: Saw action in 1 game with no stats recorded
2020 (RsFr.) Stats: Did not see any action
2019 (Fr.) Stats: Redshirted at UCLA; played in 2 games with no stats recorded
Offers from: Kentucky Christian, Lincoln, New Mexico, Pikeville,
Original Offers from: Air Force, Arizona, Arizona St, Army, Boise St, California, Colorado, Colorado St, Dartmouth, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, San Diego St, utah, Utah State, Washington St, Wyoming, Yale
Primary Recruiter: Ephraim Banda, Alex Devine
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.)
LEFT DEFENSIVE END
I see senior Byron Vaughns getting the starting nod at this position. As a junior in 2021, Vaughns played in all 14 games with 5 starts and racked up 43 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, 6 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Vaughns joined the Aggies in time for spring ball of 2021 after transferring from the University of Texas. As a sophomore in 2020 at Texas, he did not record any stats. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he saw action in 10 and logged 14 tackles and 1 forced fumble. In 2018 as a true freshman, he spent the season redshirting at the University of Texas. What has initially jumped out on film to me is his ability to be a tenacious pass-rusher with a high motor. He is a premium athlete who even played wide receiver in high school to showcase his speed and play-making ability. He is physical on the line and gets by blockers with no problem. He was a menace all spring ball for the offensive line to contain. He hunts quarterbacks and running backs like they are food and he is starving.
Joining the Aggies this summer and looking to compete immediately is UCLA transfer junior, John Ward. Ward should have 3 years of eligibility remaining. As a sophomore at UCLA in 2021, Ward saw action in 1 game with no stats recorded. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he did not see any see action. As a true freshman in 2019, he played in 2 games at UCLA with no stats recorded, while still maintaining his redshirt status. Ward seems to be the epitome of the prototypical defensive end. He has excellent field vision which helps him carve out potential offensive plays. When he breaks through the line, he tends to lay the boom of opposing offensive players when he makes contact. He never gives up on a play. He is a hard hitter who finds a way to get across the field to make tackles. He is a very excitable player. He is fast, he is reactionary and he is violent.
Also working hard to get on the field is redshirt freshman Enoka Migao. As a true freshman in 2021, he sat out the season while redshirting. Migao also has a twin brother on the team, Elia is currently a redshirt freshman offensive lineman. As a senior at Chaparral High (CA) in 2020, he racked up 49 tackles, 16.0 tackles-for-loss, 7.0 sacks, 19 QB hurries, and 1 forced fumble in just five games. As a junior in 2019, he tallied 37 tackles, 7.0 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 1 pass breakup, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. As a sophomore in 2018, he recorded 11 tackles, 1.0 tackles-for-loss, and 1 QB hurry. Migao is perfect for the EDGE rush position and he relies on his finesse and speed. He is developing a lethal bull rush and will give opposing offenses fits for years. He has a muscular frame but also has great game speed to pair with it. He is at his best when he is tracking down opposing quarterbacks. He makes a concentrated effort to get a hand on the ball carrier to disrupt the play. He sheds his blocks easily and takes good angles to get into the backfield. He has lots of potential and will start to shine as he continues to develop.
Adding depth to the position is true freshman preferred walk-on, Tom Turpin. As a senior at Bonneville High (UT) in 2021, Turpin tallied 33 tackles, 9.0 tackles-for-loss, 3.0 sacks, 8 hurries, and 1 forced fumble. As a junior in 2020, he totaled 39 tackles, 10.0 tackles-for-loss, 6.0 sacks, 11 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. Turpin is ready to go from the moment the ball is snapped and will fight through every block to get to the ball and make a tackle. He is a sound tackler and stout in both stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. He stays low and uses his leverage to fight off double teams and his strength allows him to get into the backfield. He projects to be the type of player who does his job consistently and puts up bigger numbers than one would realize.
RIGHT DEFENSIVE END
Battling for the top spot at this position is University of Nevada transfer senior Daniel Gresziak. Gresziak joined the Aggies in time for spring practice and has two years of eligibility remaining. As a junior at Nevada in 2021, he began to come into his own as he played in 12 games and totaled 19 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 QB hurries, 1 pass breakup and 1 blocked kick. As a sophomore in 2020, he recorded 16 tackles, 3.0 tackles-for-loss, and 2.0 sacks. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he logged 7 tackles. As a true freshman in 2018, he redshirted at the University of Nevada. Grzesiak was primarily a backup over the past few seasons but was still able to create havoc in the backfield with tackles for loss and deflecting passes. He pushes off blocks to get to the quarterback or running back and regularly blows up plays before they can develop. He spends a lot of time in the backfield of opposing offenses. He explodes off the snap and plays with a high motor until the play is over.
Also battling for the top spot at this position is senior Patrick Joyner. As a junior in 2021, Joyner played in all 14 games with 8 starts and rolled up 29 tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks including recording a safety, and 1 pass breakup. Joyner joined the Aggies in time for spring ball of 2021 after transferring to Utah State from the University of Miami. As a sophomore at Miami in 2020, he saw action in 4 games and logged 1 tackle. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he missed the season with an injury and did not record any stats. As a true freshman in 2018, he saw action in 4 games while still maintaining his redshirt status and recorded 5 tackles and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Joyner is an energetic pass-rusher who doesn’t give up on plays. He displays a combination of strength and speed that allows him to attack the quarterback with little issue. He doesn’t over-pursue on a play and squares up well on his hits to prevent players from escaping. He is a fluid athlete with great lateral agility. Because of his explosive first step, he mostly tries to run around offensive tackles but shows proficiency with an inside swim move. He has good hand usage and shows awareness of ball carriers while engaging with blockers.
Looking to make an early impact is true freshman Paul Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald joined the Aggies in time for spring ball after graduating high school early to enroll at Utah State for the winter semester. As a senior at Thunder Ridge High (ID) in 2021, Fitzgerald totaled 31 tackles, 16.0 tackles-for-loss, 7.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 punt blocks. I was not able to obtain stats for his junior season of 2020 or his sophomore season of 2019. Fitzgerald is a high-motor player who can generate a consistent pass rush for his team. He has a variety of pass-rushing moves which enables him to get in the backfield quickly. He sheds blocks quickly and is a sure tackler when wrapping up the quarterback. At just 17 years old he already has the physique of a much older player and has all the physical tools to be an effective pass-rusher in college.
Working hard to make a move up the depth chart is junior Addison Trupp. As a sophomore in 2021, he saw action in 4 games and logged 4 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he did not see any action. As a true freshman in 2019, he was a late addition to the roster and he ended up redshirting the season. In an injury-shortened season as a senior at East High (UT) in 2018, Trupp logged 33 tackles, 12.5 tackles-for-loss, and a very solid 8.5 sacks. Trupp is the type of player that the Aggies historically have loved to bring in and develop. He is a blue-collar type of player that will make a name for himself after playing in one of the premier high school programs in the state of Utah. He is a smart player that does a good job of reading plays as they develop. He gets a good push upfield and rarely takes a play off. He has a good motor and pursues opposing ball carries until the play ends. As he transitions from high school linebacker to collegiate defensive end, he will continue to benefit from being in Paul Jackson’s FBS strength and conditioning program.
PROJECTED 2022 PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
LEFT DEFENSIVE END
11 Byron Vaughns (6-4, 225, Sr., 1L, 3*)
42 John Ward (6-4, 245, Jr., TR, 3*)
45 Enoka Migao (6-4, 245, RsFr., RS, 3*)
91 Thomas Turpin (6-3, 230, Fr., HS, NR)
RIGHT DEFENSIVE END
9 Daniel Grzesiak (6-1, 245, Sr., TR, NR)
0 Patrick Joyner (6-3, 245, Sr., 1L, 3*)
32 Paul Fitzgerald (6-3, 230, Fr., HS, 3*)
46 Addison Trupp (6-2, 230, Jr., SQ, NR)
Coming Up On Tuesday: Defensive Tackle