Utah State Aggies

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 09:  Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies watches his team warm up before their game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Utah State won 28-24.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Matt Wells makes tweaks, addition to Utah State staff

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A couple of tweaks to coaches already in the building as well as an addition from outside the program has given Matt Wells‘ Utah State a different look heading toward spring, the school announced Tuesday.

Passing-game coordinator and wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight has been promoted co-offensive coordinator of the Aggies. Bouknight, entering his eighth season at USU, will continue to coach receivers.

The other co-coordinator, Luke Wells, brother of the head coach, will continue to serve in that capacity, but will give up his job as tight ends coach. Instead, the co-OC will take over as quarterbacks coach from Josh Heupel, who left Logan last month to become the coordinator at Missouri.

“We are excited to announce Jovon and Luke as our co-offensive coordinators,” said Matt Wells in a statement. “They both have extensive experience in our offense and have been successful position coaches during their time at Utah State.

“As we move forward with our offense, I will be heavily involved in the game planning and will call the plays during games. We have time during spring ball to work through this and I am excited to work with Jovon and Luke in making our offense better.”

In addition to the shuffling on the offensive side, Wells made an addition on that side as Steve Farmer was introduced as USU’s line coach.  The past six seasons, Farmer served as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Louisiana-Monroe.

“We are excited to announce the hiring of Steve Farmer as part of our coaching staff,” said the head coach. “Steve has an extensive background in playing and coaching the offensive line, as well as success as an offensive coordinator. He fits very well into our scheme and has had experience in spread offenses and coordinating the run game. We welcome Steve, his wife Amy, and their two children to the Aggie family.”

Ray Lewis’ son commits to Utah State

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after the Ravens won 34-31 against the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Ray Lewis‘ son is going to The U……tah State University.

Though both father and son share a last name, a gene pool and a connection to major college football, they arrive as very different prospects. Rivals rates Rayshard Lewis, a wide receiver/cornerback out of Bishop Moore High School in Orlando, as a two-star prospect. ESPN reports Lewis chose Utah State over Appalachian State, Ball State, Florida Atlantic and Idaho, among others.

Lewis announced his commitment while on an official visit at Utah State.

Lewis joins an ever-growing group of makes-you-feel-old college football names. Michael Irvin‘s nephew, Tim Irvin, is a sophomore defensive back at Auburn and Randy Moss‘ son, Thaddeus Moss, committed to N.C. State earlier this week.

2016 early NFL draft entries fall just shy of ’14 record

2014 NFL Draft
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So close, yet so far.  Well, technically speaking it is.

With the deadline for early entry into the NFL draft in the rearview, the NFL announced Friday that 96 players “have been granted special eligibility for the 2016 NFL Draft” and will be eligible to be selected during the April 28-30 event in Chicago. While that’s significantly more than 74 draft-eligible sophomores and juniors who declared last year, it falls two shy of the record 98 who declared early for the 2014 draft.

For some perspective, the number of players combined who declared early for the 2007 (40) and 2008 (53) falls short of the number for this year alone.

Another 11 players with eligibility remaining “have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements” and are thus eligible for the draft as well. Those 11 are…

2016 NFL Draft I

Of the 96 deemed by the NFL as having special draft eligibility granted, 48 played defense and 46 were from the offensive side of the ball. There were also two kickers in this category — Southern Oregon’s Aldrick Ross and British Columbia’s Quinn van Gylswyk.

A total of 18 defensive ends and tackles are included, while the secondary, combining both cornerbacks and safeties, has 17. On the offensive side, 16 running backs are in the group, joined by 12 offensive linemen and 10 running backs. Just four draft-eligible quarterbacks cannonballed into the pool: Cal’s Jared Goff, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch.

The SEC, naturally, leads all conferences in NFL-designated special draft eligibility — The Shield differentiates this year between them and those who have eligibility remaining but earned degrees — with 25 players leaving early.  12 of the 14 teams in that conference have at least one player in the group, the lone exceptions being Kentucky and Missouri. Next up is the 15 of the Big Ten and Pac-12; the only other conference in double digits is the ACC (11).  The lone remaining Power Five conference, the Big 12, just missed with nine.

The most of any Group of Five league is the Mountain West’s four.  Two conferences, Conference USA and the Sun Belt, had no players granted special eligibility.

Individually, Ohio State saw seven players deemed to have met the NFL’s criteria for special eligibility, followed by UCLA with six and Clemson with five.  Below are the other individual schools with more than one player in this category:

4 — Notre Dame
3 — Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State, Ole Miss
2 — Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Cal, Indiana, LSU, Oklahoma, West Virginia

And, below this, are all of the 96 players with special eligibility for the NFL draft:

Bralon Addison, WR, Oregon
Dominique Alexander, LB, Oklahoma
Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Demarcus Ayers, WR, Houston
Peyton Barber, RB, Auburn
Vonn Bell, DB, Ohio State
Caleb Benenoch, OL, UCLA
Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
Dariusz Bladek, OG, Bethune-Cookman
Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
Beniquez Brown, LB, Mississippi State
Artie Burns, CB, Miami
Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Trenton Coles, DB, Duquesne
Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas
Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska
Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State
Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
Kamalei Correa, DL, Boise State
Su’a Cravens, LB, USC
Elijah Daniel, DT, Murray State
Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Thomas Duarte, WR, UCLA
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Jared Goff, QB, Cal
T.J. Green, S, Clemson
David Grinnage, TE, North Carolina State
Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
Jerald Hawkins, OL, LSU
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Willie Henry, DT, Michigan
Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State
Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Quinton Jefferson, DL, Maryland
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
Cayleb Jones, WR, Arizona
Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State
Jayron Kearse, DB, Clemson
Denver Kirkland, OT, Arkansas
Darius Latham, DL, Indiana
Kenny Lawler, WR, Cal
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers
Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State
Alex McCalister, DE, Florida
Brett McMakin, LB, Northern Iowa
Keanu Neal, S, Florida
Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Maryland
Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss
Marquez North, WR, Tennessee
Emmanuel Ogbah, DL, Oklahoma State
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Alex Redmond, OL, UCLA
Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida
Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU
Aldrick Rosas, K, Southern Oregon
Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma
Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State
Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia
Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida
Ron Thompson, DE, Syracuse
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Quinn van Gylswyk, K, British Columbia
Nick Vigil, LB, Utah State
Cleveland Wallace III, CB, San Jose State
Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington
Stephen Weatherly, LB, Vanderbilt
De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia
Scooby Wright III, LB, Arizona
Avery Young, OL, Auburn

Vandy assistant one of two tapped as Utah State’s co-DC

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 09:  Head coach Matt Wells of the Utah State Aggies watches his team warm up before their game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Utah State won 28-24.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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After losing its defensive coordinator to the Pac-12, Utah State looked, in part, to the SEC to fill the hole.

In a press release, Frank Maile and Kendrick Shaver were introduced as the new co-defensive coordinators on Matt Wells‘ USU coaching staff. The two-headed coaching duo replaces Kevin Clune, who officially left Logan a week ago today to become the defensive coordinator at Oregon State.

Maile’s name will likely ring a bell for Aggies fans as he played his football for USU before graduating from the school in 2007, and then spent five years in the Aggies football program — 2009-10 as a grad assistant, 2011-13 as defensive line coach.

Maile left USU following the 2013 season for Vanderbilt, where he spent the past two seasons as the Commodores’ defensive line coach.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Utah State and the opportunity to work with so many of the players and coaches I have in the past,” said Maile in his statement. “Utah State football has great momentum and I hope to continue leading the young men of the program to even greater achievements.”

Shaver is also a familiar face as he has spent the past five seasons as USU’s cornerbacks coach. He’s also held the title of passing-game coordinator the past two seasons.

Prior to joining the USU staff in 2007, he had never been an assistant at the FBS level.

“I’m excited to also announce the position of co-defensive coordinator to Kendrick Shaver,” said Wells. “It’s a reflection of his tremendous work in the secondary with our defensive backs, his knowledge of our system and his loyalty to this program.

“Kendrick and Frank will both do a great job together leading our young men on that side of the ball.”

Beavers makes hiring of DC Kevin Clune official

CORVALLIS, OR - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach Gary Andersen of the Oregon State Beavers reacts to a missed field goal by the Stanford Cardinal in the third quarter of the game at Reser Stadium on September 25, 2015 in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Oregon State officially has their new defensive boss in the fold, and he’s very familiar to the Beavers’ football boss.

As expected, Kevin Clune has been hired by Gary Andersen to be the Beavers’ defensive coordinator. In addition to the coordinating duties, Clune will also coach OSU’s inside linebackers.

Clune spent 2015 as Utah State’s coordinator and linebackers coach. That was his second stint with the Aggies, the first of which came in 2009-13 with Andersen as his USU boss the first four years. This will actually be the fourth time the two coaches have worked together at the same program.

Andersen and Clune first worked together in 2001 at Utah, where Clune was a graduate assistant working with the linebackers and running backs while Andersen coached special teams. Following the 2002 season Clune became Andersen’s defensive coordinator at Southern Utah, where he would spend two years.

“Coach Clune has been with me a number of years and I’m excited that he will once again be on my coaching staff,” Andersen said. “He is a proven recruiter, tactician, and shares our philosophy about developing and changing the lives of student-athletes.”

Clune replaces Kalani Sitake, who was named as the head coach at BYU in mid-December.