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2003 PREVIEW: Utah State Aggies

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Welcome to your new home Utah State. After toiling as an independent since 2000, the Aggies are now part of the Sun Belt Conference and hope to make an immediate impact. It could be a rocky first year in the league needing to replace almost all of the impact players from 2002, but the Aggies always seem to find ways to get the ball moving. Twelve starters and 44 lettermen return, but all of the key offensive components and linebacker Jesse Busta must be replaced. The 2002 Aggies lost a few heartbreakers, but also came six points away from going winless against Division-I teams. It's hard to see this team being much better with so much turnover.

Utah State Aggies
Team Information
Head coach: Mick Dennehy
4th year: 13-20
10th year overall: 62-45
Returning O Lettermen: 19
Returning D Lettermen: 25
Returning ST Lettermen: 0
Lettermen Lost: 20
Ten Best Utah State Players
1. TE Chris Cooley, Sr.
2. LB Robert Watts, Jr.
3. DE John Chick, Soph.
4. OG Trevor Hutton, Sr.
5. CB Mark Estell, Sr.
6. DE Justin Jackson, Sr.
7. OT Elliott Tupea, Jr.
8. WR Chris Stallworth, Sr.
9. LB Nate Putnam, Jr.
10. RB Richard Watson, Soph.
2003 Schedule
8/28 at Utah
9/6 at Nebraska
9/13 at Arizona St
9/27 UL Monroe
10/4 at New Mexico
10/11 Wyoming
10/18 at North Texas
10/25 Arkansas St
11/1 MTSU
11/8 at New Mex St
11/15 Troy State
11/22 at Idaho
You know things are tough when you went 4-7, and then have to go through a rebuilding year. Fewer programs have played more entertaining games over the last few seasons, but Utah State wouldn't mind a couple of defensive battles. Don't expect them anytime soon from this defense, but now the Aggies might not have the offense to pick up the slack. The Schedule: For a team that needs a little bit of time, it's in big trouble. Opening the season with three road games against Utah, Nebraska and Arizona State should ensure a tough start. The Sun Belt schedule isn't much better going on the road to face two of the best teams in the league, North Texas and New Mexico State. Best Offensive Player: Senior FB/TE Chris Cooley. He's an outstanding blocker known for burying defenders, but he's also great at catching the ball. He's the team's leading returning receiver making 31 grabs for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Robert Watts. It'll be a major upset if Watts doesn't lead the team in tackles. He's outstanding against the run with enough speed to handle receivers out of the backfield. Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Travis Cox. Cox has some huge shoes to fill. If he struggles, Utah State is in huge trouble with no one behind him to take over. The season will be a success if: Utah State wins four games. That might be asking an awful lot for a team with so many concerns. It'll take a couple of upsets to equal last year's success. Key game: Sept. 27 vs. UL Monroe. After getting blasted in its first three games, Utah State has a week off before starting the Sun Belt schedule. A home win of ULM would do wonders for a team that might be desperate for something positive. 2002 Fun Stats:
  • Rushing yards per game: Opponents 234.8 - Utah State 84.5
  • Third quarter scoring: Opponents 100 - Utah State 37
  • Total offense: Opponents 5182 yards - Utah State 4317
    2003 Recruiting Class
    Star of the Class
    Leon Jackson III QB 6-2 185 Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS Jimmy Bohm TE 6-3 245 Palm Desert, Calif./Palm Desert HS
    Andy Carlsen DB 6-0 195 Coalville, Utah/North Summit HS
    Casey Crookston OL 6-5 300 Smithfield, Utah/Sky View HS
    James Dawson DE 6-1 240 San Leandro, Calif./San Leandro HS
    Victor Eti OL 6-3 320 San Jose, Calif./West Valley CC
    Will Fausel TE 6-2 225 Shingle Springs, Calif./Ponderosa HS
    Eddie Gilmore DB 5-9 180 Claremont, Calif./Claremont HS
    Justin Hamblin PK 5-10 165 Clearfield, Utah/Utah
    Raymond Hicks WR 5-10 190 Kansas City, Kan./Coffeyville CC
    Steve Jacson II OL 6-1 280 Fontana, Calif./Kaiser HS
    Vaughn Mansfield DB 6-3 190 Washington, D.C./Hargrave Military Academy
    Tamarkus McElvane WR 6-2 180 Oakland, Calif./McClymonds HS
    Tyrone McKinney RB 5-7 180 Long Beach, Calif./Los Angeles Harbor CC
    Tony Pennyman WR 5-10 180 Hayward, Calif./Hayward HS
    *Brent Pollock DT 6-2 312 Rolling Hills Estate, Calif./El Camino CC
    Matt Reese OL 6-7 315 Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial HS
    Kevin Robinson DB 6-1 180 Fresno, Calif./Hoover HS
    Mitch Rudder OL 6-3 260 Nampa, Idaho/Skyview HS
    Antonio Taylor DB 6-1 190 Pomona, Calif./Ganesha HS
    Jake Thompson OL 6-5 280 Redlands, Calif./Redlands HS
    Barry Tolli WR 6-1 205 Newbury Park, Calif./Moorpark CC
    Elliot Tupea OL 6-3 320 West Valley, Utah/San Jose State
    Rick Young DB 6-1 196 Post Falls, Idaho/Post Falls HS
    *Potential Instant Impact Players
  • Tagged: Troy, North Texas, New Mexico State, Idaho, Utah State, Arizona State, Arkansas, San Jose State, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming

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