The Utah State Aggies return a bevy of top 10 players from their Mountain West Championship team from a season ago. With Logan Bonner leading this Blake Anderson-led team yet again, the Aggies will certainly bring back some fireworks to a field near you. Who else returns to Logan for a potential repeat as MWC Champions? Let’s count down their top 10 returning players.
For each Mountain West team’s top returning players: Air Force | Boise State | Colorado State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Nevada | New Mexico | San Diego State | San Jose State | UNLV | Utah State | Wyoming
Top 10 returning players at Utah State
As the countdown to the regular season continues, as does our top 10 returning players series. We’re counting down all the top 10 players returning to action on every team — we’ll deal with transfers later — from Air Force to Wyoming, from Miami to Hawaii, and all in between. Here are the top returning players at Utah State.
10) Andre Grayson, CB
Sliding into a starting role in 2022, Andre Grayson will hope to build on a great season in 2021 and a 2019 season where he started seven games. Grayson isn’t the biggest defensive back at 5’8″, but he makes up for that with speed, quicks, and the ability to time the football in coverage nearly perfectly. He’s tenacious and provides plus-run defense on the edge, constantly using his leverage to penetrate lanes or force ball carriers back inside when tasked with doing so.
9) Quazzel White, G
A dominant force from his right guard spot, Quazzel White excelled in both facets a season ago. With a bevy of pass-protection requirements in front of him, White proved he could handle a ridiculous amount of snaps in his first season at Utah State. Another year in the program will only pay dividends as he’s surely picked the system up more so than even last season’s dominant at-times performance.
8) Chandler Dolphin, C
Setting the tone for the zone-rushing attack at Utah State was Chandler Dolphin in 2021. He’s back to do the same in 2022, as he’s also a relatively dominant pass protector. Dolphin is a mover in space and presents a challenge with his ability to anchor from the middle.
7) Hunter Reynolds, S
Coming downhill this fall is Hunter Reynolds yet again for the Aggies. Reynolds recorded a whopping 83 tackles last year, finishing second on the team. However, some of those situations were must-make tackles after running backs broke free or wide receivers parted the secondary. Reynolds makes a bevy of plays from his free safety spot and is a valuable addition in this youthful secondary after transferring in from Michigan.
6) AJ Vongphachanh, LB
With a ton of tackles to replace from graduated members on the defense, well over 100 tackles are certainly not out of the question for AJ Vongphachanh in 2022. He the team’s second-leading returner in tackles (55) despite finishing fifth last season. His sideline-to-sideline ability is never questioned and should be counted on this fall.
5) Alfred Edwards, OT
Keeping Logan Bonner clean from pressure is no easy task, not when you’re asked to block as many snaps as Alfred Edwards was a season ago. Yet, he rarely was beaten and showed a great ability to recover if he was. Edwards is a massive man on the left at 6’7″ and 320 pounds but moves much lighter on his feet laterally and with his back step. It’s rare to hear his name called, but that’s how sound he is alongside Bonner’s blindside.
4) Patrick Joyner Jr., EDGE
Returning to Utah State and pairing to make one half of perhaps the top edge-rushing duo in the conference is Patrick Joyner Jr. Like his edge-rushing mate below, Joyner transferred in from a Power Five school and looked the part in 2021. Joyner recorded 7.5 tackles for loss as well as 3.5 sacks a season ago as a stand-up pass rusher off the edge. He owns a great first step off the ball and knows how to utilize his angles to best defeat the blocker in front of him. His motor will pay dividends as the season wears on in 2022.
3) Byron Vaughns, EDGE
The other part of the terrific edge-rushing duo returning to Logan is Byron Vaughns. With four sacks to his credit a season ago, Vaughns leads the team’s returning players with his 10.5 total tackles for loss in 2021. He’s a dominant pass rusher but pushes his blocker into the intended rushing lane in run defense. A Texas transfer, Vaughns is massive and strong but has plenty of bend and length to be considered one of the top breakout candidates in 2022.
2) Calvin Tyler Jr., RB
Interestingly enough, a running back somehow found his way to star in this system. That’s just how good Calvin Tyler Jr. is. A threat between the tackles, Tyler is a master of creating on his own, breaking tackles, evading would-be tacklers, and sometimes bowling past them with his terrific contact balance. Tyler is a magician in the open field and a difficult player to contend with as an opposing defensive coordinator.
1) Logan Bonner, QB
It’s a fun time to be an Aggies fan with Logan Bonner at quarterback. The Arkansas State QB transferred in with coach Anderson and dominated in his first season as his team’s lone starter. After splitting reps with Layne Hatcher during his time at Arkansas State, Bonner threw for 3,628 passing yards and 36 touchdowns en route to a Mountain West title.
Bonner runs the offensive system perfectly and should eclipse 10,000 career passing yards this season. He can hit every level of the field with a great mix of accuracy and power. Bonner and Anderson together again for one more season is great for college football.
Honorable mention players returning to Utah State in 2022
- Michael Anyanwu, CB
- Jacob South, OT
- Justin McGriff, WR
- Kyle Van Leeuwen, WR
- Hale Motu’apuaka, DT
- Ajani Carter, S