The Aggies inked 18 high school players to go along with five junior college transfers and two major college transfers.
"It is an ongoing process to move away from relying on junior college players," Dennehy said. "We would like to reach a point where we are relying almost solely on high school kids, but that if there is an immediate need, that we can go to the junior colleges to fulfill those needs."
The seven college signees are all expected to play significant roles on next fall's team according to Dennehy. Kicker Justin Hamblin, a transfer from Utah, should challenge Ben Chaet for the team's kicking and/or punting chores, while Elliot Tupea, a transfer from San Jose State and Victor Eti from West Valley Junior College will challenge for spots on the offensive line.
Tyrone McKinney, a 5-7 running back, will provide a change of pace according to Dennehy with his quickness. The coach also expects big things from wide receivers Raymond Hicks and Barry Tolli.
"We had some immediate needs after losing Kevin Curtis and Gary Coleman, which were real big concerns of ours," Dennehy said. "We feel like we have some good kids in the program, but that we needed a little bit more age there and we feel good about Raymond Hicks and Barry Tolli. We think they are going to be very good football players for us."
The Aggies signed 15 offensive players, including seven offensive linemen. Those seven players average 296.4 pounds with four players tipping the scales at better than 300 pounds.
USU also signed nine defensive players with an emphasis in the secondary as nine defensive backs inked their names Wednesday.
"We kind of went away with what our initial thinking was as far as our needs on defense," Dennehy explained. "We got some midyear kids in Amos Fiefia and Jared Westbroek, some guys that had been announced with previous classes, who are now eligible. They are defensive linemen. We felt like we needed a little bit more help in the secondary immediately depth-wise. We feel like some of these young kids might have a chance to help us fairly quick, particularly Vaughn Mansfield. We will take a look at Kevin Robinson and Antonio Taylor. We decided to go a little heavier in the secondary and then take the best guy we could find beyond that, whether it be a linebacker or a defensive lineman. "
One lineman who has the head coach excited is Brent Pollock, a 6-2, 312-pound tackle from El Camino Junior College.
"Brent Pollock has a chance to be a really fine defensive lineman," Dennehy said. "Just watching him on film, he is a guy that is very physical and moves around really well. We don't have a lot of his body types and changing from a 4-3 configuration defensively to a 3-4, we didn't have a lot of noseguard types in our program. We felt like he is the one guy that will make a difference in our defense."
The player that really has people excited is Long Beach Poly quarterback Leon Jackson III. The 6-2, 185-pounder quarterbacked a team that was ranked second in the nation.
"Leon is about as smooth a quarterback and as polished a kid coming out of high school that I have seen in a long time," Dennehy said. "He is not quite developed physically as much as you would like. He is only a buck 85, but he has got nice height and runs really well, but the thing I like is his feet in the pocket. He has great drop and he is very efficient and has great throwing mechanics. His touchdown to interception ratio (35 touchdowns to seven interceptions last year) tells us he doesn't force things. He makes good decisions and is a very bright kid. He is a little more athletic than a lot of guys you see. They say he runs 4.5. I don't know, but if he runs 4.6 I will be the happiest guy on campus. You love those guys who have that escapability because of his athletic ability, yet he is a guy that looks to throw the ball instead of tucking it and running it, which I like."
2003 Utah State Football Signees February 5, 2003
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Exp. Hometown (High School/Last School) Scott Barrett DE 6-5 225 HS Hurricane, Utah (Hurricane HS) Jimmy Bohm TE 6-3 245 HS Palm Desert, Calif. (Palm Desert HS) Andy Carlsen DB 6-0 195 HS Coalville, Utah (North Summit HS) Casey Crookston OL 6-5 300 HS Smithfield, Utah (Sky View HS) James Dawson DE 6-1 240 HS San Leandro, Calif. (San Leandro HS) *Victor Eti OL 6-3 320 JC San Jose, Calif. (Overfelt HS/West Valley JC) Will Fausel TE 6-2 225 HS Shingle Springs, Calif. (Ponderosa HS) Eddie Gilmore DB 5-9 180 HS Claremont, Calif. (Claremont HS) *Justin Hamblin PK 5-10 165 TR Clearfield, Utah (Clearfield HS/Utah) *Raymond Hicks WR 5-10 190 JC Kansas City, Kan. (Sumner Academy/Coffeyville JC) Leon Jackson III QB 6-2 185 HS Long Beach, Calif. (Long Beach Poly HS) Steve Jacson II OL 6-1 280 HS Fontana, Calif. (Kaiser HS) Vaughn Mansfield DB 6-3 190 HS Washington, D.C. (Woodson HS/Hargrave Military Academy) Tamarkus McElvane WR 6-2 180 HS Oakland, Calif. (McClymonds HS) *Tyrone McKinney RB 5-7 180 JC Long Beach, Calif. (Jordan HS/L.A. Harbor JC) Tony Pennyman WR 5-10 180 HS Hayward, Calif. (Hayward HS) Brent Pollock DT 6-2 312 JC Rolling Hills Estate, Calif. (Peninsula HS/El Camino JC) Matt Reese OL 6-7 315 HS Bakersfield, Calif. (Centennial HS) Kevin Robinson DB 6-1 180 HS Fresno, Calif. (Hoover HS) Mitch Rudder OL 6-3 260 HS Nampa, Idaho (Skyview HS) Antonio Taylor DB 6-1 190 HS Pomona, Calif. (Ganesha HS) Jake Thompson OL 6-5 280 HS Redlands, Calif. (Redlands HS) *Barry Tolli WR 6-1 205 JC Newbury Park, Calif. (Newbury Park HS/Moorpark JC) Elliot Tupea OL 6-3 320 TR West Valley, Utah (Hunter HS/San Jose State) Rick Young DB 6-1 196 HS Post Falls, Idaho (Post Falls HS)* - Winter signees who are already on campus. HS - High School; JC - Junior College; TR - Major College Transfer
Jimmy Bohm Boam (rhymes with foam)
Victor Eti Eh-tee
Will Fausel fOW-zul
Steve Jacson II Jason
Tamarkus McElvane Mack-ul-vane
Brent Pollock Paul-ick
Barry Tolli Toe-lee
Elliot Tupea Two-Pay-Uh
2003 Utah State Football Signees Breakdown
By Class High School 18 Junior College 5 College Transfers 2Signee Bios
By State (according to high school) California 16 Utah 5 Idaho 2 Kansas 1 Washington D.C. 1
By State (according to last school) California 17 Utah 4 Idaho 2 Kansas 1 Virginia 1
By Position Offense 15 Quarterbacks 1 Running Backs 1 Wide Receivers 4 Tight Ends 2 Linemen 7 Defense 9 Linemen 3 Linebackers 0 Defensive Backs 6 Special Teams 1 Placekickers 1
Average Weight of Offensive Linemen - 296.4 (four 300+ pounders) Average Weight of Defensive Linemen - 259.0 (one 300+ pounders)
Players Who Are Named After Their Fathers - 7 Raymond Hicks Leon Jackson III Steven Jacson II Tyrone McKinney Tony Pennyman Barry Tolli Rick Young
By Projected Major Education 6 Business 5 Undecided 4 Journalism 3 Criminal Justice 3 Biochemistry 2 Engineering 2 Bus. Info. Sys. 1 Sociology 1 Social Work 1 (some players listed more than one major)
Scott Barrett DE, 6-5, 225, HS, Hurricane, Utah (Hurricane HS)
Was a first-team all-state selection by both the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune... Also earned all-region honors... Played one season at Hurricane High School... Recorded 22 sacks and 36 total tackles for loss... Played his junior season at Northridge High School in Layton, Utah... Also played basketball... Born May 20, 1985 in Miami, Fla... Son of Chris and Sandy Barrett... Has one brother and three sisters... Undecided on his major... Hobbies include lifting weights, sports and outdoor activities.
Jimmy Bohm TE, 6-3, 245, HS, Palm Desert, Calif. (Palm Desert HS)
Last name is pronounced Boam and rhymes with foam... A first-team all-conference selection as well as an all-CIF pick... Was named his team's MVP his senior year... Played just one season of high school football... Had 32 receptions as a tight end with six touchdowns... Also played linebacker and had more than 100 tackles, three interceptions, including a return for a touchdown, three fumble recoveries and seven tackles for loss... Also lettered in basketball and baseball and was a second-team all-league basketball player as a junior... Born Feb. 22, 1985 in Skokie, Ill... Son of Steven and Martha Bohm... Has one brother and one sister... His brother played water polo at USC... Plans to major in business administration and obtain his master's degree... Hobbies include playing basketball and baseball, spending time with friends and watching movies.
Andy Carlsen DB, 6-0, 195, HS, Coalville, Utah (North Summit HS)
A two-time first-team all-state selection and a three-time all-region pick... Finished his career as the state of Utah's all-time rushing leader with 4,967 yards... As a senior he rushed for 1,972 yards and a state-leading 24 touchdowns... Also played linebacker and strong safety and recorded five interceptions his senior year... Also played basketball, baseball and was on the track team... Was an all-state baseball player as a junior, playing third base and pitching... Won the state 100-meter title as a junior... Born August 1, 1984 in Idaho Falls, Idaho... Son of Steve and Grace Carlsen and Kristy Carlsen... Has four brothers and one sister... Brother played baseball at Salt Lake Community College, while his father played football at BYU... Undecided on his major... Will go on an LDS Church Mission... Hobbies include playing basketball, baseball and running track, while also spending time with friends.
Casey Crookston OL, 6-5, 300, HS, Smithfield, Utah (Sky View HS)
Earned first-team all-valley and second-team all-region honors as a senior... Was a two-year starter on the offensive line, playing guard as a junior and tackle as a senior... Competed in the shot put in track as well... Born May 24, 1985 in Salt Lake City, Utah... Son of Kevin and Vera Crookston... Has one brother... Plans to major in business or education and would like to teach and coach football... Hobbies include most sports, hunting, hiking and camping.
James Dawson DE, 6-1, 240, HS, San Leandro, Calif. (San Leandro HS)
A first-team all-league selection as a senior... Recorded 68 tackles his senior year... Set a school record with 15 sacks and added another 10 tackles for loss... Scored two touchdowns on fumble returns of 62 and 60 yards. Was a three-year starter on the offensive line as well... Also played basketball... Born June 9, 1985 in Chicago, Ill... Son of Areta Boyd... Is an only child... Father played baseball at LSU... Plans to major in business or journalism... Would like to start his own business after college... Hobbies include sports, shopping and spending time with friends.
*Victor Eti OL, 6-3, 320, JC, San Jose, Calif. (Overfelt HS/West Valley JC)
Last name is pronounced Eh-tee... Was named a first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore while playing offensive guard... Also earned all-California honors... Spent his freshman season as an offensive tackle... Earned his team's offensive lineman of the year honor and was a team captain his sophomore season... Also earned All-America scholar-athlete recognition... Owned a 3.4 grade point average in junior college... Was a four-time first-team all-league selection in high school... Was named the league's top sophomore... Earned first-team all-section honors as a senior and honorable mention all-section accolades as a junior... Was a two-time scholar-athlete... Born Dec. 21, 1979 in Long Beach, Calif... Son of Tinifau and Anna Eti... Has three sisters and three brothers... Married to Aina and has a son Vico... Plans to major in sociology and would like to get his master's degree as well.
Will Fausel TE, 6-2, 225, HS, Shingle Springs, Calif. (Ponderosa HS)
Last name is pronounced fOW-zul... Was a first-team all-league selection as a senior and was a second-team pick his junior year... Earned all-city honorable mention and was his team's MVP as a senior... Played tight end as well as defensive end and linebacker... Caught 29 passes for 495 yards and four touchdowns... Also had 50 tackles, seven sacks and one interception on defense... Played basketball as well in high school... Born Feb. 5, 1985 in Sacramento, Calif... Son of David and DeAnna Fausel... Has one brother and one sister... Plans to major in law enforcement and become a police officer... Hobbies include fishing and hunting.
Eddie Gilmore DB, 5-9, 180, HS, Claremont, Calif. (Claremont HS)
Earned all-league, all-valley, all-southern section and all-CIF honors as a senior... Played cornerback and wide receiver for two years... Team was 10-3 and lost in the section semifinals... Born Jan. 22, 1985 in Pasadena, Calif.... Son of Delores Cameron... Has two sisters... Plans to major in criminal justice and would like to become a police officer... Hobbies include fishing, paint ball and basketball.
*Justin Hamblin PK, 5-10, 165, TR, Clearfield, Utah (Clearfield HS/Utah)
Signed in December of 2002... Will be a freshman after originally signing with Utah and then going on an LDS Church Mission to Venezuela... Was the all-state kicker in 1998 and was the 1999 Utah State High School All-Star Game Offensive MVP... In the all-star game he connected on field goals of 50, 47 and 23 yards while adding three extra points... Connected on 33 of 36 extra point attempts and 61 percent of his kickoffs were touchbacks his senior year... Also played soccer and was his team's leading scorer in 1999... Born July 30, 1981 in Clearfield, Utah... Son of Claire and Karen Hamblin... Has two younger brothers... Plans to major in business information systems... Likes to fish and hunt.
*Raymond Hicks WR, 5-10, 190, JC, Kansas City, Kan. (Sumner Academy/Coffeyville JC)
Signed in December of 2002... Earned second-team all-conference honors as a wide receiver in a run-oriented offense in junior college... Caught 18 passes for 204 yards as a sophomore... Also rushed 27 times for 223 yards and four touchdowns... In the team's bowl game he also played cornerback... Was a third-team all-conference wide receiver as a freshman.... Was a three-year starter in high school, earning all-state honors three times... Also played cornerback in high school... Born March 11, 1983 in Kansas City, Kan... Son of Raymond and Levearn Hicks... Has one brother... Plans to major in engineering... Likes to listen to music, read and spend time with friends.
Leon Jackson III QB, 6-2, 185, HS, Long Beach, Calif. (Long Beach Poly HS)
Was a first-team all-CIF selection as well as the league most valuable player as a senior... Was nominated for All-America consideration as well... Threw for 3,000 yards with 35 touchdowns and just seven interceptions... Team was ranked second in the country... Played two years at Long Beach Poly after spending the previous two years at Beverley Hills High School... Was recruited by several Pac-10 schools... Also played baseball in high school... Born August 14, 1985 in Los Angeles, Calif... Son of Leon and Pamela Jackson... Has one sister... Would like to major in business or broadcast journalism... Wants to get a master's degree and then go into business or broadcast journalism... Hobbies include watching television, snow boarding, hiking, biking and skateboards.
Steve Jacson II OL, 6-1, 280, HS, Fontana, Calif. (Kaiser HS)
Last name is pronounced Jason... Was a two-time all-league selection... As a senior he earned all-county, all-area, all-valley, all-CIF and all-state honors... Team won the division championships his senior year... Born June 1, 1985 in Logan, Utah where he lived for four years... Son of Steven and Elizabeth Jacson... Father played football at USU and was a second-team all-Pacific Coast Athletic Association offensive lineman in the early 1980s... Has one sister... Plans to major in criminal justice and would like to attend law school and become an attorney... Main hobby is fishing.
Vaughn Mansfield DB, 6-3, 190, HS, Washington, D.C. (Woodson HS/Hargrave Military Academy)
Comes to Utah State after spending the last year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va... Was his team's special teams player of the year after blocking six punts and three field goal attempts... Also had one interception... Also attended Milford Military Academy in 2001 and played free safety... Recorded 13 interceptions there... Was a second-team all-conference and team defensive MVP at Woodson High School in Washington, D.C. in 2000... Played football four seasons and played quarterback as well as free safety... Served as a team captain and had the team's highest grade point average... Was recruited by Auburn and Pittsburgh out of high school... Born Feb. 13, 1982 in Washington, D.C... Son of Aaron Mansfield and Valerie Neal... Has one brother... Plans to major in journalism and would like to enter sports broadcasting... Hobbies include spending time with friends and playing video games.
Tamarkus McElvane WR, 6-2, 180, HS, Oakland, Calif. (McClymonds HS)
Last name is pronounced Mack-ul-vane... A second-team all-city selection as a senior... Had 32 receptions on the year... Also played free safety... Also played basketball... Born July 17, 1985... Son of Marcia Colbert... Has two brothers and one sister... Would like to major in engineering or architecture... Hobbies include art, making and writing music, tumbling, and swimming.
*Tyrone McKinney RB, 5-7, 180, JC, Long Beach, Calif. (Jordan HS/L.A. Harbor JC)
Saw limited playing time as a sophomore in junior college while nursing a high ankle sprain... Rushed 99 times for 587 yards and two touchdowns... Had seven receptions for 95 yards and another score... Also returned eight kickoffs for 195 yards... In the team's bowl game he rushed 18 times for 87 yards... Saw limited time as a freshman while playing behind an all-state tailback... Was a two-year starter in high school... Earned second-team all-CIF honors as a junior and as a senior... Missed four games his senior year due to injury, but still rushed for 564 yards... As a junior he was his team's most valuable player, while earning most improved and the hardest hitter award... Played both running back and cornerback... Born Sept. 5, 1983 in Compton, Calif... Son of Tyrone McKinney and Gloria Moore... Plans to major in social work... Likes to play basketball, watch NASCAR and go to the beach.
Tony Pennyman WR, 5-10, 180, HS, Hayward, Calif. (Hayward HS)
Was a unanimous first-team all-league selection as a wide receiver his junior season... Earned first team all-league honors his senior year as a defensive back, while earning second-team honors as a wide receiver... As a senior he had 28 receptions for 778 yards and 10 touchdowns... Also had nine interceptions his final year... In his junior season he had 41 catches for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns... Recorded seven interceptions... Blocked 15 punts in his career and set a league record with five interceptions in one game... Also played baseball and ran track and was named the top sprinter in his school... Born April 7, 1985 in Oakland, Calif... Son of LaSharonda Guilford and Antonio Pennyman... Has four brothers and four sisters... Plans to major in biochemistry... Likes to spend time with his family and friends.
Brent Pollock DT, 6-2, 312, JC, Rolling Hills Estate, Calif. (Peninsula HS/El Camino JC)
A two-time honorable mention All-America selection... Had more than 70 tackles in junior college... Was an all-state, all-CIF and two-time all-area selection in high school... Earned league most valuable player honors his senior year... Was named his school's athlete of the year as well... Also played offensive guard in high school... Wrestled in high school and won a CIF Championship... Born March 30, 1981 in Torrance, Calif... Son of Steve and Collette Pollock... Has two brothers and one sister... Father was an all-WAC selection in baseball at BYU... Undecided on his major at USU... Likes to lift weights and wrestle.
Matt Reese OL, 6-7, 315, HS, Bakersfield, Calif. (Centennial HS)
Earned all-league and all-state honors in both his junior and senior year... Was all-area as a junior as well as an Underclass All-American... Played in an all-star game against players from the state of Florida... Was a four-year starter at right tackle... Also wrestled and competed in the shot put and discus in track... Born April 28, 1985 in Bakersfield, Calif... Son of David (deceased) and Linda Reese... Has one sister... Plans to major in biochemistry... Hobbies include hunting and fishing.
Kevin Robinson DB, 6-1, 180, HS Fresno, Calif. (Hoover HS)
A two-time first-team all-league selection as a defensive back... Earned all-valley honors as a senior as well... Was an honorable mention all-league pick as a sophomore... Recorded four interceptions as a senior... As a wide receiver he had 69 catches for 1,214 yards and 14 touchdowns... Also competed in basketball and track and reached the state finals in the triple jump... Born Dec. 19, 1984 in Fresno, Calif... Son of Bruce and Marci Robinson... Has one brother and one sister... His brother John Rushing played football at Washington State and is the secondary coach at Utah State... Plans to major in education and become a teacher... Likes to play video games.
Mitch Rudder OL, 6-3, 260, HS, Nampa, Idaho (Skyview HS)
Earned first-team all-state honors as a junior and as a senior after earning second-team all-state accolades as a sophomore... Was also a three-time all-conference pick... Served as a team captain his senior year... Played at tackle, but could play anywhere on the line at USU... Competed in track in the shot put and discus, while also playing basketball... Served as the student body president his senior year of high school... Born May 1, 1985 in Page, Ariz... Son of Ted and Beckie Rudder... Has four brothers and two sisters... His uncle played football at North Carolina... Plans to go on an LDS Church Mission... Would like to major in business or education when he returns... Would like to teach and coach football... Hobbies include track, basketball and lifting weights.
Antonio Taylor DB, 6-1, 190, HS, Pomona, Calif. (Ganesha HS)
Earned first-team all-league honors on both offense and defense as a wide receiver and running back and defensive back... Named his team's most valuable player his senior year... Recorded more than 60 tackles, while also rushing for 910 yards and registering 321 receiving yards... Competed in basketball and track as well... Born August 22, 1985 in Pomona, Calif... Son of Greg and Linda Taylor... Has four brothers and five sisters... One brother played football at San Diego State and one that played at the junior college level... His sister plays high school basketball... Would like to coach and teach after graduation... Likes to play basketball.
Jake Thompson OL, 6-5, 280, HS, Redlands, Calif. (Redlands HS)
Earn all-county, all-area and all-league honors in both his junior and senior seasons... Was named the outstanding offensive lineman on his team as well as serving as a team captain... As a defensive end he had 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks in just three games on that side of the ball... Competed in track in the shot put and discus... Born May 18, 1985 in Redlands, Calif... Son of Paul and Corinth Thompson... Has two brothers, including one who plays defensive end at California... Would like to major in education and become a teacher.
*Barry Tolli WR, 6-1,205, JC, Newbury Park, Calif. (Newbury Park HS/Moorpark JC)
Signed in December of 2002... Caught 39 passes for 750 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore in junior college... Earned offensive player of the game honors in the Potato Bowl as he had four receptions for 186 yards and three touchdowns in that game... Started his JC career as a quarterback, but was moved to wide receiver midway through his freshman year... Also competed in track in junior college and was seventh in the state in the 200 meters... Was a high school quarterback, but went onto play professional baseball for four years before enrolling at Moorpark Junior College... Was drafted by Detroit and played in their system from 1998-2000 at the single A level before spending one year in Anaheim's system in 2001... Attended Pine View High School in St. George through his junior year where he was an all-state baseball player his junior year, while also earning all-league honors as a football quarterback... Moved to Newbury Park High School in California for his senior year, but didn't play football... Graduated high school in 1998... Born August 17, 1979 in El Paso, Texas... Son of Barry and Erin Tolli... Father played college football at Pierce Junior College and football at Cal Poly... Has one sister... Plans to major in secondary education with an emphasis in history... Would like to coach after graduation... Likes movies, fishing, coaching baseball and running track.
Elliot Tupea OL, 6-3, 320, TR, West Valley, Utah (Hunter HS/San Jose State)
Last name is pronounced Too-Pay-Uh... Spent last spring at San Jose State before deciding to transfer... Was a two-time all-conference selection at Dixie State (Utah) Junior College... Played tackle as a freshman and guard as a sophomore... In high school he was a two-time all-state and all-region selection... Also competed in the shot put and discus in track... Born Sept. 26, 1982 in Fort Lewis, Wash... Son of Itula and Francella Tupea... Has three brothers and one sister... Brother Ronald is a starter on the USU football team, while brother Kenneth played at Dixie State.
Rick Young DB, 6-1, 196, HS, Post Falls, Idaho (Post Falls HS)
A two-time all-state selection in high school... As a senior he recorded 88 tackles... Also played running back... Competed in track in the long jump, and several relay teams... Born Nov. 20, 1984 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho... Son of Rich and Gayle Young... Has two sisters... Undecided on his major at Utah State... Hobbies include lifting weights, playing guitar and spending time with friends.