Mountain West Football: Key Newcomers Atop Each Week 5 Depth Chart
Nine Mountain West teams will play in Week 5. We identify new names atop each depth chart who could be important.
Which unfamiliar names are worth following?
Utah State — Poukesi Vakauta, DT
The Aggies defensive line has been hammered by injuries in the first month of the season, most notably with season-ending injuries to both Phillip Paea and Seni Tuiaki, which will only put more pressure on those left standing like veteran Hale Motu’apuaka and Vakauta, who have battled the bug themselves through recent weeks. Vakauta has only started one game so far and played no more than 13 snaps, but he could be pushed to do more starting with the BYU contest without much proven depth left behind him.
San Diego State — Aaron Greene, TE
Greene has started the last two games for the Aztecs but, for lack of a better term, has underwhelmed so far in 2022. He’s played between 16 and 34 snaps in each of the team’s four contests to date, but still has zero receptions and has struggled as a blocker with a PFF grade of 50.3 in run blocking. That could be problematic against a Boise State that might be beaten up a bit but still possesses plenty of talent to embrace a rock fight.
Boise State — Taylen Green, QB
Following the dismissal of offensive coordinator Tim Plough and the subsequent transfer portal departure of Hank Bachmeier, Green is now officially the man on the spot at a crucial juncture for the Broncos. He hasn’t seen the field since coming on in relief of Bachmeier against Oregon State back in Week 1, so while he’ll obviously bring a different skill set to bear as the new QB1, San Diego State just got finished making life difficult for a similar quarterback in Week 4, Toledo’s Dequan Finn, so the chess match will be fascinating to watch.
New Mexico — A.J. Haulcy, LOBO
With the recent news that veteran safety Tavian Combs will miss the rest of 2022 with a torn ACL, Haulcy is now the man on the spot at the ever-important LOBO position in Rocky Long’s defensive backfield. We already know the true freshman can be a playmaker, best evidenced by the fumble he forced for a touchback two weeks ago against UTEP, and he’s currently the second-highest overall graded safety in the Mountain West, according to Pro Football Focus, at 82.8. Big things could lie ahead for Haulcy in a key conference matchup against UNLV this Saturday.
UNLV — Nick Williams, WR
One of the major differences in this year’s Rebels offense is quality depth behind Kyle Williams at wide receiver and, coincidentally, no one is better proof of that than one of the other Williamses on the UNLV roster. A super senior transfer from Division II CSU-Pueblo, Nick Williams stepped up when starter Jeff Weimer was knocked out of commission in last Saturday’s game against Utah State and finished the day with three catches for 53 yards.
Though he has just seven catches to his name so far in 2022, three of them have gone for 20 or more yards. That kind of explosiveness could come in handy as the Rebels look to solve a seasoned New Mexico secondary that won’t be scared to play close in coverage.