Returning Starters – Offense: 9 Defense: 6
Preview: Despite having an overwhelming numbers of injuries in 2014 the Aggies were still able to navigate their way to 10 wins including a 21-6 bowl win coming against UTEP. Utah State hasn’t dropped off at all since former head coach Gary Anderson left as the team has picked up 19 wins in their two seasons under Matt Wells. With 15 starters back in the fold a run at the Mountain West title could be in the cards for the Aggies.
Utah State is almost like the Ohio State version of mid-major schools at the QB position given their wealth of talent under center. The Aggies return both QBs Chuckie Keeton and Kent Myers who’ve both proven themselves to be quality starters at the D1 level, along with the addition of Oregon transfer QB Damion Hobbs. It’s amazing the position is this stacked even after Darrell Garretson decided to leave the team. At this point veteran Chuckie Keeton has the inside track to win the job. Whoever wins the starting job will work behind an O-line that returns 4 starters along with some solid recruits which add depth to the strong unit. There’s less excitement at the other skill positions with the RB position likely being taken by a committee approach along with just 2 of the top 4 receivers coming back from 2014.
Utah State was strong on the defensive side of the ball in 2014 and with a number of guys working their way back from injuries this unit will likely be just as good, if not better, in 2015. The D-line is the one area of concern with just 1 starter back. This unit will be led by veteran Jordan Nielsen. The LB position was decimated by injuries in 2014, but now this group is loaded with depth and experience heading into 2015. The secondary returns 2 starters and this unit will be led by the likes of Davis, Gray, and Centers.
Prediction: It’s pretty remarkable what the Aggies were able to do last season given the number of injuries they overcame to get to 10 wins. With many injured players returning to action the Aggies now have quality depth throughout the team to add to what was a strong recruiting class. The only concern is the team will have new coordinators on both sides of the ball, but this veteran team should be able to work through the changes. Look for the Aggies to be better in 2015 and to perhaps even threaten to upset Utah and Washington on the road early in the season.
Projected Record: 9-3 (8-0)