2022 Players not returning: Danny Gresziak (Transferred to Cincinnati), Patrick Joyner (Transferred to Kansas), Addison Trupp (Retired from Football), Tom Turpin (LDS Church Mission), Byron Vaughns (Transferred to Baylor)
2023 post-spring ball attrition: None
Returning Players: Paul Fitzgerald, Rock Gonzalez, Caden Jolley, Enoka Migao, John Ward
New Faces in 2023:
Zion Andreasen 6’4″ 230 (NR) – East HS, UT
2022 (Sr.) Stats: 63 tackles, 19.0 tackles-for-loss 15.0 sacks 1 pass breakup 1 fumble recovery
2021 (Jr.) Stats: 35 tackles
2020 (So.) Stats: 3 tackles
Offers from: Idaho, San Diego St
Primary Recruiter: Alex Devine, Ephraim Banda
Emerson Conlon 6’2″ 245 (NR) – Olympus HS, UT – (Preferred Walk-on; Returning Missionary)
2019 (Sr.) Stats: 76 tackles 37.5 tackles-for-loss 9.5 sacks 1 pass breakup
2018 (Jr.) Stats: 58 tackles 28.0 tackles-for-loss 8.0 sacks 2 pass breakups 1 forced fumble 1 fumble recovery
Preferred walk-on offers from: byu, Navy, Southern Utah
Tanner Jolley 6’3″ 225 (NR) – Fruita Monument HS, CO – (Preferred Walk-on; Returning Missionary)
2020 (Sr.) Stats: 44 tackles 9.0 tackles-for-loss 4.0 sacks 12 QB hurries 1 forced fumble 1 fumble recovery
2019 (Jr.) Stats: 43 tackles 8.0 tackles-for-loss 2.0 sacks 8 QB hurries 3 forced fumbles
2018 (So) Stats: 2 tackles
Offers from: Dixie St, Southern Utah
Cian Slone 6’3″ 222 (247 2*) – American River CC, CA – (3 years to play 3)
2022 (RsFr.) Stats: 81 tackles 21.5 tackles-for-loss 12.0 sacks 1 forced fumble
2021 (Fr.) Stats: Redshirted at American River
Offers from: Hawaii, Idaho St, Northern Colorado, Northwestern St, Portland St, Stephen F. Austin, Toledo, UC-Davis
Primary Recruiter: Alex Devine, Blake Anderson, Nick Paremski
Blaine Spires 6’2″ 240 (247 2*) – Bowling Green University – (2 years to play 2)
2022 (So.) Stats: 20 tackles 3.0 tackles-for-loss 1.0 sack
2021 (RsFr.) Stats: 35 tackles 5.0 tackles-for-loss 1.5 sacks 1 pass breakup 1 forced fumble 1 fumble recovery
2020 (RsFr.) Stats: 11 tackles 2.0 tackles-for-loss
2019 (Fr.) Stats: Redshirted at Bowling Green University
Offers from: Austin Peay, East Tennessee St, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois St, Jackson St, Southern Illinois, Mississippi Valley St
Primary Recruiter: Joe Cauthen
Regarding the NCAA-mandated eligibility freeze from the 2020 season, I’ve learned 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
Sophomore Enoka Migao left spring ball atop the depth chart at this spot and this is where he will begin fall camp. His twin brother Elia is an offensive lineman for the Aggies. As a redshirt freshman in 2022, Migao played in 7 games and logged 3 tackles. As a true freshman in 2021, he sat out the season while redshirting. 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.
Junior John Ward had a good spring ball session and will look to build on that once fall camp kicks off. As a sophomore in 2022, Ward fought off a nagging injury to play in 10 games and record 10 tackles, and 3.0 tackles-for-loss. Ward joined the Aggies last summer after beginning his collegiate career at UCLA. As a redshirt freshman in 2021, he 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 exciting player. He is fast, he is reactionary and he is violent.
Looking to build upon his first collegiate season is redshirt freshman Paul Fitzgerald. As a true freshman in 2022, Fitzgerald saw action in 2 games while maintaining his redshirt status but did not record any stats. 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 18 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.
Adding depth to the position is preferred walk-on redshirt junior Rock Gonzalez. As a junior last season, Gonzalez spent the 2022 season redshirting while participating on the Aggie practice squad. Gonzalez joined the Aggies last summer after beginning his collegiate career at Grossmont Community College (CA). As a sophomore in 2021, Gonzales played in 7 games and totaled 36 tackles, 9.0 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery. His 2020 season was canceled due to COVID. As a true freshman in 2019, he logged 26 tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, and 1.0 sack. Gonzalez is more of a traditional defensive end. He prefers to put his hand in the dirt rather than stand at the line of scrimmage. He hunts opposing ball carriers in the backfield. His play diagnosis is quite advanced. Although he begins a play from a three-point stance, speed is still a big part of his game. His long wing span keeps opposing offensive tackles from getting ahold of him and slowing down his pass rush.
Adding depth to the position is true freshman return missionary, Tanner Jolley. Jolley joined the Aggies for summer workouts upon returning from his LDS Church mission. Jolley chose to become an Aggie over offers from Utah Tech and Southern Utah. His older brother Kaden is a defensive end for the Aggies. As a senior at Fruita Monument High (CO) in 2020, he rolled up 44 tackles, 9.0 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks, 12 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. As a junior in 2019, he totaled 43 tackles, 8.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks, 8 QB hurries, and 3 forced fumbles. Jolley is very quick to react to the snap. He is a very fluid athlete. He relentlessly pursues opposing ball carriers until he makes contact. He is strong at the point of contact and he wraps up as he tackles. He is able to free himself from being blocked with good hand movement. His great, great grandfather, Ebenezer Kirkham, wrote The Scotsman.
RIGHT DEFENSIVE END
Junior college transfer junior Cian Slone left spring ball at the top spot of the depth chart. Slone began his collegiate career at American River Community College (CA) and has three years to complete his final two seasons of eligibility. Slone chose to become an Aggie over offers from Hawaii, Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Northwestern State, Portland State, Stephen F. Austin, Toledo, and UC-Davis. As a sophomore at American River Community College in 2022, Slone racked up 81 tackles, 21.5 tackles-for-loss, 12.0 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. For his outstanding effort, he was named the California Junior College Defensive Player of the Year. As a true freshman in 2021, he tallied 39 tackles, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, 0.5 sacks, and 1 pass breakup. Slone has a younger brother Teeg who has also joined the Aggies. Slone is quick off the edge, getting past tacklers with his speed and into the backfield to make a play. He is a textbook EDGE rush end. He tracks opposing ball carriers like they are his prey. He does an impressive job pushing past opposing offensive linemen and doesn’t give up on any play. One thing that stands out is that he never takes a play off, he is 100% all-go, all the time. Slone is a textbook tackler who puts his whole body into his hits and ball carriers rarely escape his grasp. He has received very favorable comparisons to former Aggie standout Nick Heninger.
Competing to earn a starting spot in the rotation is transfer junior Blaine Spires. Spires began his collegiate career at Bowling Green University and has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Spires chose to become an Aggie over offers from Austin Peay, East Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, and Southern Illinois. As a sophomore at Bowling Green in 2022, Spires played in all 12 games with 6 starts and logged 20 tackles, 3.0 tackles-for-loss, and 1.0 sack. As a redshirt freshman in 2021, he started all 11 games and totaled 35 tackles, 5.0 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he saw action in all 5 games logging 11 tackles and 2.0 tackles-for-loss. As a true freshman in 2019, he spent the season as a redshirt at Bowling Green University. One thing that Spires brings to the table is speed. He is an EDGE rush end in every sense of the phrase. He has an explosive first step and his initial goal is to blow past the opposing offensive tackle. He is in constant attack mode. He can find the ball carrier and put his helmet on him quickly. He has developed a strong rip move that allows him to get up, under, and past an opposing offensive lineman. He does a good job of flowing down the line of scrimmage and making a tackle on the opposite end. He does not seem to overrun the play. He is a good form tackler.
True freshman Zion Andreasen joined the team for spring ball after graduating high school early in order to enroll at Utah State in January. He chose to become an Aggie over offers from Idaho and San Diego State. As a senior at East High (UT) in 2022, Andreasen put up monster numbers racking up 63 tackles, 19.0 tackles-for-loss, 15.0 sacks, 1 pass breakup, and 1 fumble recovery. As a junior in 2021, he tallied 35 tackles. Andreasen has the ideal pass-rushing height and size to be an effective EDGE rush end in the Mountain West and has the talent to go with it as well. He has a constant motor and will chase the ball all over the field. He explodes out of his stance and knocks blockers off balance with timely hand placement and a solid bull rush to get to the backfield. He likes to put the hurt on opposing ball carriers by putting his whole body into his tackles.
Adding depth to the position is preferred walk-on sophomore, Kaden Jolley. Jolley spent his 2022 redshirt freshman season participating on the Aggie practice squad. As a true freshman in 2021, Jolley spent the season as a redshirt and participated on the Aggie practice squad. He joined the Aggies during the summer of 2021 after serving an LDS Church mission. His younger brother Tanner is a linebacker for the Aggies. As a senior at Fruita Monument High (CO) in 2018, Jolley amassed 83 tackles, 21.0 tackles-for-loss, 11.5 sacks, 11 QB hurries, and 2 fumble recoveries returning 1 for a touchdown, 1 forced fumble, and 1 blocked kick. As a junior in 2017, he racked up 60 tackles, 8.0 tackles-for-loss, 4.0 sacks, 8 QB hurries, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 blocked punts. As a sophomore in 2017, he tallied 23 tackles, 3 QB hurries, and 1 fumble recovery. As a freshman in 2016, he recorded 11 tackles, 1.0 tackles-for-loss, 1.0 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Jolley has a motor that never stops. He is constantly in motion tracking opposing ball carriers. He tackles with force and drives opposing offensive players to the turf. He is very active with his hands and can free himself from being blocked. He does a good job of diagnosing which direction the play is going and moving with the play until he can meet up with the ball carrier. His great, great grandfather, Ebenezer Kirkham, wrote The Scotsman.
Adding depth to the position is true freshman preferred walk-on Emerson Conlan. Conlan joined the Aggies for spring ball after serving an LDS Church mission. He chose to become an Aggie over a preferred walk-on offer from byu and scholarship offers from Navy and Southern Utah. As a senior at Olympus High (UT) in 2019, he racked up an astounding 76 tackles, 37.5 tackles-for-loss, 9.5 sacks, and 1 pass breakup. As a junior in 2018, he totaled 58 tackles, 28.0 tackles-for-loss, 8.0 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. Emerson is a multi-sport athlete that excels at everything that he participates in. He has experience all over the offensive and defensive line, as well as long snapping. He spent his senior season feasting on making plays in the opposing team’s backfield. He is a very physical player and thrives on being in the trenches. His wrestling background helps him understand leverage and how to beat opposing players that are bigger than him. He has a nose for the football and is very disruptive as a defensive player.
PROJECTED 2023 PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
LEFT DEFENSIVE END
45 Enoka Migao (6-4, 245, So., 1L, 3*)
42 John Ward (6-4, 245, Sr*., 1L, 3*)
32 Paul Fitzgerald (6-3, 230, RsFr., RS, 3*)
97 Rock Gonzalez (6-2, 250, RsJr., RS, NR)
00 Tanner Jolley (6-3, 225, Fr., HS, NR)
RIGHT DEFENSIVE END
93 Cian Slone (6-4, 220, So., JC, 2*)
00 Blaine Spires (6-2, 240, Jr., TR, 2*)
11 Zion Andreasen (6-4, 225, Fr., HS, NR)
43 Caden Jolley (6-1, 220, So., SQ, NR)
46 Emerson Conlon (6-2, 245, Fr., HS, NR)
Coming Up On Tuesday: Defensive Tackle