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Utah State Football: 2022 Aggies Season Preview and Prediction

Logan Bonner, Utah State Aggies

Logan Bonner and the Aggies are ranked No. 56 in Athlon Sports' Top 131 for the 2022 college football season

Utah State was one of the biggest surprises among Group of 5 teams in 2021. Behind new coach Blake Anderson, the Aggies finished 11-3, won the Mountain West for the first time in school history and capped the year by defeating Oregon State in the LA Bowl. Anderson has voids to fill at receiver and on defense, but the return of quarterback Logan Bonner and 12 other starters gives the Aggies a chance to repeat as conference champs in '22.

Related: Athlon Sports' College Football Top 25 for 2022

Previewing Utah State's Offense for 2022

The quarterback position at Utah State is loaded with talent. However, some receiving targets will need to emerge after the departure of a trio who combined for 206 catches, 3,328 yards and 31 TDs last season.

Logan Bonner, a transfer from Arkansas State, won the quarterback job and went on to set five single-season records at USU, passing for 3,628 yards and 36 TDs. He was the MVP of the MW Championship Game but hurt his knee early in the LA Bowl vs. Oregon State and missed spring ball. He should be ready for the opener.

Should Bonner not be ready, LA Bowl MVP Cooper Legas will be. The junior had seen very little time before getting his shot in the bowl, and he shined. He and Wyoming transfer Levi Williams, who started six games last season for the Cowboys, both had good springs.

Maryland transfer Brian Cobbs and Alabama transfer Xavier Williams were brought in along with juco transfer Terrell Vaughn to join veteran receivers Justin McGriff and Kyle Van Leeuwen. McGriff caught 35 passes with six TDs last season.

Running back Calvin Tyler Jr. rushed for 884 yards and will have five starters on the offensive line back to block for him, including Alfred Edwards and Quazzel White, who earned all-league honorable mention honors.

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Previewing Utah State's Defense for 2022

Defensive end Byron Vaughns, who was the MW Championship Game MVP, had another outstanding spring. He recorded 10.5 tackles for a loss and 4.0 sacks last year. He is joined up front by tackle Hale Motu'apuaka and Nevada transfer Daniel Grzesiak.

AJ Vongphachanh will anchor a less experienced corps of linebackers. He is the second-leading returning tackler with 55 stops, and he led the Aggies in tackles in the shortened 2020 season.

Hunter Reynolds is playing Striker, which is a linebacker/safety hybrid, and is the top tackler returning from last season (83). Ajani Carter, who picked off three passes last year as a safety, has moved to cornerback. Fellow cornerback Michael Anyanwu adds experience as a returning starter. Miami transfer Gurvan Hall Jr., will help in the secondary.

Related: Mountain West Predictions for 2022

Previewing Utah State's Specialists for 2022

Placekicker Connor Coles, who led the team in scoring with 112 points last season, is back, as is punter Stephen Kotsanlee. The Aggies will have to replace All-America kickoff returner Savon Scarver and also find a punt returner.

Final Analysis

After one of their worst seasons in decades, the Aggies bounced back to have arguably their best-ever campaign in 2021. USU won its first Mountain West championship, recorded its first victory against a ranked opponent in six years, won a bowl game, beat two Power 5 conference teams in the same season and finished ranked No. 24 in both polls.

For the first time in five years, USU will have the same offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators, adding stability. With key transfers joining an experienced team, the Aggies should once again contend for a league title.

National Ranking: 56

Podcast: Previewing and a Deep Dive + Predictions on the Group of 5 Conferences for 2022