Utah State Football: Offensive Preview

Utah State Football: Offensive Preview

Mountain West Football

Utah State Football: Offensive Preview

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Wide Receiver

This part of the offense has high potential, though it hasn’t been met yet. SRs Jordan Nathan and Savon Scarver have talent and speed to spare, but they need to step up for this offense to be truly dynamic.

Scarver is a verifiable star on special teams and he has shown flashes in the passing game. Unfortunately, he hasn’t consistently been a threat against opposing defenses, which is a huge shame. He boasts an impressive five kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career, which is good for ninth-best in NCAA history. As a receiver, his numbers are good but not great. He caught just 24 passes for 271 yards in 2019. I want to see more out of him this year and elevate the team rather than just keep it afloat.

Nathan has been a more consistent pass-catching threat than Scarver. Last year, he tallied up a reasonably strong 56 catches for 581 yards and one touchdown. This number was good for second-best on the team. His skills as a punt returner are undeniable, and he’s certainly capable of being the best receiver on the team. If he wants to cement his legacy in Aggie blue and score more wins, shouldering more of the pass-catching load is a must.

Backing up the senior stars will be JR Deven Thompkins and JUCO transfer Justin McGriff. Thompkins showed his speed often and nabbed 40 receptions for 536 yards and four TDs last season. He’s extremely dangerous in the open field but struggles a bit more in coverage due to his smaller size.

McGriff is expected to fill the void left by Siaosi Mariner with his tall frame. Coming from ASA College in Florida, he’ll be playing immediately to help the Ags out in possession battles against defensive backs.

Tight End

There are a handful of known quantities in this group. Though Caleb Repp is gone, SR Carson Terrell will be well-prepared to take on a leadership role. The number of catches Terrell gets has stayed as consistent as his size and athleticism. He’s a big match-up problem against most defensive players and he’s proven to be a reliable pass-catcher in his limited opportunities. More catches from him can only help this offense since he’s only averaged 11 per year.

Behind Terrell, I expect SR Travis Boman and SO Bryce Mortenson to see playing time. Neither player has a lot of stats, but both have Terrell’s size and both are well-prepared to block more and grab a few more receptions.

Offensive Line

After a shaky and inconsistent 2019, this year’s line is ready to take a large step forward. The Aggies have the good fortune of returning every starter from last year’s line. SR Demytrick Ali’ifua returns at center, and he’s one of only two seniors on the line. The rest are mostly sophomores and juniors. Experience is in higher supply than it was last year.

JR Alfred Edwards returns at left tackle and SO Andy Koch should be good to reclaim his old spot at right tackle after an unfortunate season-ending injury vs San Diego State in 2019. Both players are big and extremely physical, so their good health is a load of good news for a unit that needs to be more consistent in 2020.

Across the guard positions, we should be seeing SO Karter Shaw and SO Heneli Bloomfield taking the bulk of the snaps. Behind them, SO Jacob South and SO Wade Meacham should be seeing more time than last year. It’s not out of the realm of possibility at all some of the younger linemen could take over at guard, either. There’s a lot of good competition here and the unit’s chemistry should be visibly improved over last year, too.

It’s unknown at this time if SR Ty Shaw will be returning to the team. If he doesn’t make it back, it would be the only negative spot on an otherwise sterling position group. If he does return, it might cement this group’s status as the deepest on the team.

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