by Daniel Olsen | The highs have been high and the lows have been low for the last couple years with Jordan Love as the starting quarterback for USU. He replaced starter Kent Myers part way through the 2017 season and helped the Aggies scramble their way to a bowl eligible season. He then led one of the most prolific offenses in the 2018 season where the Aggies finished win 11 wins and averaged 47.5 points per game, which was the second best in the country. Only Oklahoma averaged more than them. In 2019 the Aggies struggled with a new coach and system but still found a way to win 7 games.
Now the Aggies face a big challenge as Jordan Love decided to forego his senior season and was drafted 26th overall by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the NFL Draft. Who will take the starting QB job in Logan? Let’s take a look at the candidates from the bottom to the top of the depth chart.
4. Josh Calvin: Josh is a redshirt freshman with a lot of talent out of the state of California. The fact that he is the fourth on the depth chart speaks volumes about USU’s quarterbacks. With a little experience on the scout team and some practice, he should start under center at some point in his career. Since Chuckie Keeton started as a true freshman Game 1 at Auburn, we haven’t really seen anyone at USU do the same since then. Josh would have to be a once-in-a-generation guy. Gary will ultimately pick the best guy for the job and Josh would really have to turn some heads to do that. Back when USU was in the Big West maybe Josh would be the number 1 guy as a freshman. For now, the jury is still out on whether his 2,010 passing yards in his senior year of high school will translate to college. He did complete just 53% of his passes as a senior but found ways to win. At six foot two he seems to have the intangibles. He runs when he has to as he rushed for 136 yards on 14 carries. We will see what happens with him in the future with Aggie football.
Lifetime Aggie fan Dennis Hendrickson sounded off on every quarterback on the depth chart. Of Calvin, he said “many coaches believe he’s the most talented prospect. Check bios/stats on UtahStateAggies.com football roster.”
You can catch the rest of his tweet here.
3. Andrew Peasley: In a nutshell, Andrew has more experience at quarterback than a lot of prospects. He was the starter for the last three years in La Grande high school in Oregon. He ran when he needed to but amassed plenty of passing yards as well for his hometown. He is third on our list because he has the quarterback DNA. He earned plenty of awards for his offensive prowess. He threw for over 4,000 yards in high school. He has also had some reps in a couple games as a redshirt freshman. As a sophomore he is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
2. Cooper Legas: Orem High has produced a lot of great athletes in football. The Tigers have won three straight titles. The first two were won by Cooper. While some of his teammates are heading to big schools like Oregon (hello, Noah Sewell) Legas has a year under his belt as a redshirt freshman. It feels like Cooper is great at everything he does. He has won six state titles including two in wrestling and two in throwing the javelin for track and field.
The biggest question is whether Legas can be a starting QB at the Division 1 level. Right now he looks like he can be a solid backup just like Henry Colombi was for Jordan Love before transferring to Texas Tech. While he has proven to be a very elite athlete in high school in so many sports, a lot of those were individual sports. The college game is more complex and Legas will have to be a team leader and make others better to have success as a whole. The reason he and none of the other quarterbacks are at the top of my list is none have been proven at the Division 1 level.
1. Jason Shelley: Coach Gary Andersen isn’t done picking athletes from The University of Utah where he was an assistant coach. Soon after picking up this quarterback he has also landed a recruit in Devontae Henry-Cole. Technically he had transferred from Utah to BYU in March but recently decided that he wanted to team up with his former Ute buddy up in Logan.
While Shelley raises a couple of concerns about his accuracy (58% career completion percentage) he has had the experience of playing in clutch moments for the Utes. Don’t forget how he helped his team finish against BYU after they overcame a 27-7 deficit in the second half. He has the clutch gene that sports fans rave about. It did help having a lot of NFL guys on the roster but if he can go to Utah State and run their system he will be great! He can be a dual threat like Chuckie Keeton was in Gary Andersen’s first stint with the Aggies.
It won’t hurt having a running back like his buddy Devontae Henry-Cole either. Think of the comparisons. Chuckie Keeton had a beast in Robert Turbin in the backfield. It might be a tall task to have that be the expectation but if Andersen can build a more stout defense like he had in his first stint with guys like Bobby Wagner then the Aggies will be in great shape. That might not happen overnight but fear not Aggie fans. Utah state looks a lot closer to 9 wins than 9 losses now.
If you want a sign look no further than his hometown of Frisco, Texas. That’s where the Aggies suffered one of their most embarrassing bowl losses ever to a Kent State team that had never won a bowl game in school history. The Aggies can only go up from here and it starts with the guy from Frisco. While Shelley’s height might be a bit of a concern at just under six feet, he has repeatedly said that he’s prepared his whole life to be a quarterback. He led a Utes team with an injured Zack Moss to three straight wins and a South Division championship. This included a close win over Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks, the blowout over Colorado and the comeback versus BYU.
Chuckie Keeton came out of Houston, Texas. Frisco might not be as big but if the past is any indication, the Aggies might have just struck gold again in the football gold mine of the Lone Star State. As good as Shelley is, he’s at his best when he plays BYU and after a disappointing loss to the Cougars last year, the Aggies need a leader like Shelley with the attitude that he doesn’t lose the big rivalry game to them. He will be looking for a spare wheel to put in his car and it isn’t a GoodYear tire. It’s an Old Wagon Wheel.