The team announced the signings of 20 players Wednesday morning, including a few highly recruited players in the West.
Hill said in terms of signing players that were No. 1 for each position on his staff’s lists, it’s the best recruiting year he’s had.
“You never quite know exactly how they pan out,” Hill added. “But on paper, this looks like a really strong class.”
Wide receiver Devon Cooley, from Los Angeles, is the highest ranked player by recruiting services in the signing class. He has a three-star composite rating from 247Sports. The St. John Bosco High product decommitted from UCLA in December and was sought by several other Pac 12 teams.
He will join former high school teammate and receiver AJ Allen at Weber State, another three-star recruit who was once committed to Colorado and had an offer from Illinois.
“I think we’ve got some really good players that could play in the Pac 12,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said. “Cooley has the ability to be something very special. If he comes in, is focused and in shape, he’s a guy that can come in and probably help us right away ... (Allen’s) the same thing. Both those guys have big-time ability.”
Of the 20 players, nine are from the state of Utah, including defensive linemen Jordan Strate of Davis High and Easton Payne of Bear River.
“(Strate) is very explosive. He’s fast. He makes a lot of big plays. He was one of those players that all of the coaches up in this area knew about and had to scheme against,” Hill said.
“(Payne) is a big kid. He’s going to be a monster. I think his best football is still in his future. I think he’s going to become a great player.”
Hill said his team’s biggest needs to address in recruiting were offensive line and receiver.
“Other than that, it was only player at each position that we were really focused on to help us this year,” Hill said. “I’m super excited about this class and the potential of what they can become.”
Two junior college transfers will be making their way to Ogden and help with those positions. Junior offensive lineman Chris Faaumu signed from Cerritos Junior College, providing depth to the Wildcat front line.
Tight end Jacob Whitmer of Chaffey College also signed and may step right in to fill the void left by All-American Andrew Vollert.
“I think he’s athletic like Andrew and he has the same kind of ball skills,” Hill said of Whitmer. “Andrew loved football and he would get in there and compete, and that’s one thing I’m hoping out of Whitmer; that he’ll come in here and do the same thing.”
Four to five of the 20 players are expected to serve two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and won’t join the team until they return. Those are expected to include quarterback Bronson Barron of American Fork and receiver Colby Samuels of Lehi.
Hill also addresssed the team’s quarterback situation, given the graduation of Stefan Cantwell, during the Wildcat Club signing day event at Stewart Stadium on Wednesday evening. He named Boise State transfer Rathen Ricedorff, who will be a senior, along with returning sophomore Braden Miles and redshirt freshman Kaden Jenks as those likely to compete for the job.
|2018 WSU SIGNING CLASS|
|Junior College Players|
|Chris Faaumu||OL||Federal Way, WA/Cerritos JC|
|Jacob Whitmer||TE||Moreno Valley, CA/Chaffey College|
|High School Players|
|Beau Tu’ua||LB||Provo, UT/Timpview HS|
|Bronson Barron||QB||American Fork, UT/AFHS|
|Easton Payne||DE||Garland, UT/Bear River HS|
|Colby Samuels||WR||Lehi, UT/Skyridge HS|
|Alex Dangtuw||DB||Puyallup, WA/Lakes HS|
|Kylan Weisser||QB||Scottsdale, AZ/Notre Dame Prep HS|
|Trevor Szilagyi||DT||Highlands Ranch, CO/Valor Christian HS|
|Andrew Dean||DL||Smithfield, UT/Sky View HS|
|Jordan Strate||DL||Kaysville, UT/Davis HS|
|Kris Jackson||RB||Mesa, AZ/Mesa HS|
|Josh Amasio||WR||West Valley City, UT/Cyprus HS|
|Marque Collins||CB||Sacramento, CA/Consumnes Oaks HS|
|George Barrera||OL||Boise, ID/Borah HS|
|Naseme Colvin||LB||Richmond, CA/Skyline HS|
|A.J. Allen||WR||Cerritos, CA/Buena Park HS|
|Jacob Bosco||LB||Provo, UT/Timpview HS|
|Devon Cooley||WR||Los Angeles, CA/St. John Bosco HS|
|Jaxson Giddings||DE||Kanab, UT/Kanab HS|