There’s a little more than a week left before signing day and Utah State football staff will be burning through its calling plan minutes, jetting around the country and tying up as many loose ends as it can.
Those of you following the recruiting are probably pretty exciting to see which of the nearly 25 verbal commitments will follow through and sign on Feb. 3. But if you’ve paid attention, you might have noticed a glaring empty spot on the recruiting lists at a high-profile position — running back.
Utah State is loaded at running back right now with junior-to-be Robert Turbin set to resume his assault on the Aggie records books next fall. Michael Smith, Derrvin Speight and Kerwin Williams are also in the mix and capable of having solid seasons if called on.
But coaches like to keep things deep at certain positions to ensure continuity.
Yet, there has been very little chatter or news about USU coach Gary Andersen targeting a running back for the future.
That may change, soon, though.
A source at USU has told the Deseret News a high school running back from Fullerton, Calif., is getting some late interest as schools around the country try to fill out their final offers.
Joseph Hill, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound back with speed and potential, has been targeted by USU as a potential Aggie, the source said.
A second-team all Orange County selection by the Orange County Register, Hill rushed for 1,736 yards and scored 31 touchdowns for the Fullerton High Indians. Yet, his recruiting interest hasn’t been off the charts — yet.
He was the ninth leading rusher in the county and the second leading scorer at more than 18 points per game.
Utah State has only a few scholarships left to give out, the source said. Andersen is on an east coast recruiting trip — firming up the commitment of Florida DB Nevin Lawson and possibly swinging through Georgia to talk with receiver Darqueze Dennard.
This weekend is huge for the Aggies. As the final weekend before signing day, Andersen, the source said, anticipate more than a dozen recruits showing up to visit Logan, tour the facilities and soak in the atmosphere of a USU basketball game.
Many of those will be recruits that have already pledged to sign with the Aggies the following Wednesday but Andersen is taking no risks and wants to keep courting these athletes until they are safely signed.
The source said Andersen will hold on to two or three scholarships to award after the dust settles from signing day. Some big-time program may have over-recruited and some of their verbals may not have an actual offer on Feb. 3. Those players, Andersen hopes, will consider Utah State as a place to play.
Andersen may also hold a scholarship for a junior college player at a key position such as defensive tackle.
One athlete the Aggies certainly covet is Hawaii lineback V.J. Fehoko. After visiting Utah last week, the four-star stud is said to be weighing his options and will commit near signing day.
USU is also still looking for a defensive lineman or two as well as another cornerback if the right player becomes available.