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‘They love football’: Weber State football adds 13 more players to 2024 class on signing day

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Feb 7, 2024

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber State defensive linemen Brayden Wilson (94) and Easton Payne (53) look to the sideline against Central Washington on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, at Stewart Stadium in Ogden.

Weber State football added 13 more players to its 2024 class Wednesday on the first day of the regular signing period for high school seniors.

Those join 10 announced in December’s early signing period and a handful of walk-on players who will also be with the Wildcats next school year.

“This whole class, I’m really excited about how much they love football, how physical they play the game, and they just add to the culture here at Weber State,” WSU head coach Mickey Mental said. “The staff did a tremendous job recruiting.”

Among Wednesday’s additions are three Division I transfers: Akron quarterback Dijon Jennings, Utah tight end Noah Bennee, and Cornell offensive lineman Terrance Caldwell.

Jennings joins the quarterback room with three seasons left to play; the 5-foot-11 Ohio native was rostered with Akron for two seasons without seeing the field.

Sophomore Richie Muñoz, having started the final five games of the 2023 season, leads WSU’s QB group. Redshirt sophomore Tiger Adolpho has left the team, while graduate student Kylan Weisser, junior Creyton Cooper, and redshirt freshman Dylan Gutierrez are set to return.

Mental recruited Jennings out of high school in Ohio when coaching at Notre Dame College, which gave him a basis to recruit him again despite Jennings not having any game tape at Akron.

“Very similar game to Richie: quick release, gets the ball out, very efficient with the football, good understanding of the system,” Mental said. “I saw him play a lot in Ohio, knew his family … saw him at multiple camps, knew he could throw. So that checked boxes for me, just understanding who he is as a passer and as a person.

“He’ll add to talent, add culture to the room, and compete … and push the room to get better.”

In 11 games as a senior at Ohio’s Reynoldsburg High in 2021, Jennings threw for 2,254 yards and 25 touchdowns against five interceptions, completing 69.4% of his passes. He was rated a three-star prospect out of high school.

Of 10 high school freshman signed Wednesday, three are rated as three-star players by 247 Sports: Skyridge (Utah) receiver La’akea Kalama, Higley (Arizona) safety Donovan Aidoo, and Mililani (Hawaii) linebacker Aizik Mahuka.

Two local players will walk on with the Wildcats: Box Elder running back/linebacker Dax Sumko, and Weber High receiver/defensive back Braylon Parker.

Sumko rushed for 1,896 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, while also totaling 60 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception on defense. In the last two seasons, Parker caught 29 passes for 404 yards and five touchdowns, while adding 107 tackles and three interceptions on defense.

Those two join Northridge linebacker Zach Smith, who signed as a scholarship player in the early period two months ago, as Northern Utahns joining the roster.

A 14th player, receiver Trey Robinson of Lone Peak (Utah), signed to WSU and announced on social media he’ll join the team after a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Additionally, Utah Tech offensive lineman and California native Tyler Chen signed as a transfer in December, but after the first wave of announcements on the initial day of the early period.

Below are the 13 new signees and three returning missionaries joining WSU in 2024.


TE Noah Bennee: Bennee, 6-foot-4 from Olympus High, was at Utah for three seasons, playing on special teams in six games in 2023. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Mental: “We love his measurables, we love the way he moves. We think he’ll be a really good addition.”

OL Terrance Caldwell: The 6-foot-2 Caldwell started 17 games at center over the last two seasons at Cornell. The graduate transfer has two seasons left to play. Mental: “He’s played a lot of ball at the center position and gets us some experience on the O-line.”

DE Brogan De Asis: The 6-foot-3 edge rusher from Golden West College (California) recorded four sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2023. Mental: “Really good motor, can affect the pass game and the run game.”

QB Dijon Jennings: “Arm talent. Mature. Confident. Football guy!” tweeted WSU quarterbacks coach Zach Larson.


S Donovan Aidoo: The 6-foot-1 Arizona safety carried offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Iowa State, UNLV and Washington State. Mental: “Really good blend of speed and size … he’ll fit in well with what we’ve done here defensively. Takes angles well, gets to the ball with force.”

DE Jonathan Class: At 6-foot-3 from Mission Hills, California, Class racked up 43 tackles for loss, including 23 sacks, in 12 games as a senior. Mental: “He plays really, really hard … he gets to the quarterback.”

P Oscar Doyle: With Jack Burgess transferred to Texas Tech, Doyle steps in as the next Pro Kick Australia punter at WSU. Mental: “Very similar (to Burgess), very excited about him.”

DT Kevin Johnson: A 6-foot-5 tackle from Downey, California, Johnson had offers from Arizona and Oregon State. Mental: “Great frame, great upside, gets vertical movement. Powerful kid who will grow into his frame.”

WR La’akea Kalama: Also offered by Navy, the 5-foot-11 player from Hawaii by way of Skyridge High in Lehi caught 160 passes for 2,037 yards and 20 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Mental: “Great return ability. Has a knack for finding spaces in the passing game, strong-handed kid.”

OL Kasen Lea: A 6-foot-4 offensive lineman from Norman, Oklahoma. Mental: “Can move at a high level and we project him to be a really good player for years to come.”

LB Aizik Mahuka: The 6-foot-3 Hawaii native had offers from Arizona, Washington State, Utah State, Hawaii and Nevada. Mental: “Special, special football player with that size … the way he drops in coverage, attacks downhill in run support, it doesn’t get much better.”

LB Aidan O’Callaghan: At 6-foot-4, O’Callaghan played tight end, fullback and linebacker at Servite High in Anaheim, California. Mental: “Mostly tight end film, but he’s a big addition to our linebacker room … he has a lot of the traits coach (Matty) Ah You likes in our linebackers. Really good football player.”

S Khalil Stolden: The 6-foot safety from Arlington, Texas, also held an offer from Grambling State. Mental: “Can really move from sideline to sideline at the free safety position and can support the box with physicality.”


LB Daniel Asisi: The 6-foot-2 backer from Provo will join the team in the spring.

DL Zhigy Falevai: The 6-foot-3 defensive lineman from Rigby, Idaho, will join the team in the spring; he redshirted at WSU in 2021.

WR Noah Kjar: From 2017-20 at Corner Canyon High School, the 5-foot-11 Kjar caught 285 passes for 4,951 yards and 50 touchdowns. Mental: “He’s here right now, he looks fantastic … I think he’ll challenge guys and enhance the (receivers) room at a high level.”


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