Mountain West Football: Eight Junior College Transfers Who Could Shape The 2022 Season
There are new faces across the Mountain West who emerged from the junior college ranks and could influence the race to the top this fall.
Unfamiliar names could join the big time.
The 2022 Mountain West football season is nearly upon us at this point, fall camps are at or near their conclusion, and live action will get underway next week. There’s a sense of who the stars are across the conference that will drive most of the competition and conversation throughout the next several months, and how transfers from elsewhere across the FBS landscape will impact the race to the top.
What about their junior college counterparts, though? In recent years, we’ve seen players like Tristan Nichols, Derek Wright, Joey Noble, and Keric Wheatfall have played key roles on their respective teams after coming into the conference without a great deal of attention. With the 2022 juco recruits now taking part in on-field activities, here’s a look at a handful of players who could play major roles in the season to come.
Jeffrey Weimer, WR, UNLV
Much of the Rebels’ progress in 2022 will depend on their offense taking a step forward, but with Charles Williams gone it won’t revolve so much around just one star this fall and will demand whoever starts at quarterback to make more plays.
Enter Weimer, who helped the City College of San Francisco win the California junior college title last year as its lead pass catcher with 77 catches for 1,268 yards and 17 touchdowns. Given that he’s already received praise in fall camp for his work ethic, he could be the much-needed complement to Kyle Williams that will make the UNLV passing game that much more dangerous.
D’Andre Greeley, DB, Colorado State
Another product of the CCSF football program, Greeley played just as big as role as Weimer in the team’s run to the title… if not bigger. After all, the last of his ten interceptions came with less than two minutes left in the championship contest against Riverside and stymied a scoring threat in the red zone. If he plays a major role in replacing the likes of Rashad Ajayi and Marshaun Cameron, don’t be surprised.
Cortez Hogans, DL, Boise State
The Broncos will look for more out of their pass rush than they got in 2021, and Hogans could be part of that rebound. He spent 2021 at Utah’s Snow College after three years at Northern Illinois and thrived, registering 26 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, and three sacks, so he could be a key component in a defense already facing high expectations.
Noah Kema, LB, Hawaii
The Warriors are building their defense very nearly from scratch, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for athletes like Kema to step into big roles. Like Hogans, Kema spent 2021 at Snow College; unlike Hogans, Kema was named by Rivals as a 2021 preseason first-team juco All-American and played a key role in the Badgers’ run to the NJCAA national championship game the year before that with 79 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and six pass breakups.
Terrell Vaughn, WR, Utah State
The Aggies need to replace multiple pass catchers from their championship team a year ago and Vaughn might just be the Brandon Bowling analogue they want. In his time at Ventura Junior College in southern California, he had 149 catches, a program record, and 1,715 yards with 20 touchdowns. At 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, he could potentially thrive in the slot or, better yet, develop into the next Deven Thompkins under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Anthony Tucker.
Evan Svoboda, QB, Wyoming
The Cowboys have a type at quarterback, huh? Svoboda certainly looks the part as he’s listed on the Wyoming roster at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, and the tape suggests he has tantalizing arm strength, but patience may be a virtue. He spent 2021 with Hogans and Kema at Snow College, but he was a backup last year. That Craig Bohl and his coaching staff saw something they liked, however, bears watching.
Noah Lavulo, DL, San Jose State
Lavulo might be flying most under the radar among this group, but would it be a surprise if he fit right in among one of the Spartans’ biggest strengths? At the nearby College of San Mateo, he picked up 61 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, and two forced fumbles across the 2019 and 2021 seasons. There won’t be much pressure for him to take on too much with Viliami Fehoko and Cade Hall leading the way, but youbdont have to squint to envision him thriving in a rotation role like Tre Smith did a year ago.
Sherod White, RB, New Mexico
The Lobos might consider multiple options for replacing Aaron Dumas in the backfield, but White should be among the options who get a long look. At California’s Mt. San Jacinto College last season, the 5-foot-9, 195 pound Menifee native averaged an astounding 7.3 yards on 138 carries, posting 1,001 rushing yards in all. He also chipped in to the passing game, as well, with 37 catches for 483 yards, and totaled 20 touchdowns, meaning that he could provide a do-it-all skill set that’s been missing among New Mexico’s running backs for some time.