This year I am excited to watch fall camp. There are some very specific things that I will be looking for to see how the Aggies will look this year.
#1 Strong Safety:
Replacing a 4th round draft pick is always difficult. This year replacing Mo will be extra hard because he was big part of last year identity. He was a hybrid blitzing LB/SS. There is not a perfect replacement for that on the current roster. If the past is a clue we will see the best 11 on Defense and the best 4-6 Defensive backs depending on the situation. Frankie Sutera stepped in to replace Alexander when he went down with injury last year. If that was any indication then he will get a chance to play a lot. The other option is to change the scheme and play Devin Centers or another Defensive back. 2 years ago we played the majority of the snaps with 1 safety, McKade Brady. The key word to the Aggie defense is "Multiple" so anything is possible.
#2 Center Position
Again losing a Four Year starter in Tyler Larsen is tough. Austin Stephens by some logic is the younger more talented option to Joe Summers who is a Senior. Right now I think this battle is wide open and could absolutely go either way. I do think either will be solid and the offensive line can be better this year than last.
#3 Corner Backs
Really all the Corner Backs this year will be new. Rashard Stewart has been in the program and has the most experience going into his senior year. Daniel Gray is on top of the other depth chart. He is a Tennessee transfer and played well in Spring. There is always a need for 4 or 5 Corners though to rotate in and be able to play. There are 3 or 4 that will be new transfers this year. Tyler Floyd, Deshane Hines, Bryant Hayes and LaRon Bennett will be JC transfers that will be thrown into that competition along with Marwin Evans and Devin Centers.
#4 Returning from Injury
We will all be watching Joe Hill and Chuckie Keeton to see how they look. Those two players will no doubt play a big role this year. Two dynamic players that Utah State would love to have at 100%.
#5 Questionable Decisions
Will Ronald Butler and Jo Jo Natson be practicing as usual? If there were significant suspensions then that would change how they practice and also how the coaches prepare the back ups. We may not be able to tell the first play of practice but it will become evident.
#6 4th LineBacker
It is pretty nice to have 3 great starters at linebacker. When you have 2 Vigils and a Fackrell at linebacker that makes you feel pretty confident about the Defense. Alex Huerta was a beast in practice last year and has the chance to add to an impressive list of walk-ons that became great linebackers at USU. L.T. Filiaga is a transfer from University of Utah that will have 2 years in the program after graduating early. From what I have heard he is faster and ready to prove people wrong. That fourth LB is going to come off the field more when the Aggies change up the Defense and add an extra Defensive Back.
#7 Defensive Line Depth
The defensive line on paper looks very deap this year. With the addition of a late qualifier they would have another impact guy, we will see. Defensive line is a position where the Aggies have been able to plug in new JC transfers and even Freshman and add them to the returners and do well. Those newcomers like Edmund Faimalo, John Taylor and Siua Taufa have the chance to do that.
#8 2014 Signees
I got to know a lot of these guys and I am excited about their potential. I think the most likely contributors will be Marcus Mosely, Justen Hervey and LaJuan Hunt. Hunt and Hervey could battle for the backup RB spot and Moseley will be needed on Special Teams and TE.
#9 Not on Roster?
There are some guys that are not on the roster or that are not officially eligible yet that could make an impact this year. There are also a couple JC guys that are waiting for certain things to happen before they can play. One guy in particular that is on the roster but they are waiting for JC classes to get resolved.
The number one goal of camp or offseason is always stay healthy. There have been small injuries this offseason but overall I think the Aggies are going into this season more healthy than ever.
With the addition of Brian Phillips, I am very excited to bring the best camp coverage to Aggie fans. Between he and I we will be watching every practice and scrimmage and will be updating the site daily with analysis and reports. Some of these updates will be for subscribers only so make sure to become a subscriber now for Access to all the best content on the Scout.com network.