Utah State Preview 2006 - Offense
Utah State Aggies
Preview 2006 - USU Aggie Offense
What you need to know ...
starters return to an attack that needs an identity after being
consistently average all of last year scoring between 21 and 24
points six times. The key is the ground game, which needs far
more production from the running backs. JUCO transfer Marcus
Cross has to star right away to keep QB Leon Jackson III from
having to run 136 times again. The offensive line is big and
promising, but it needs work with only two starters returning.
The receiving corps is the team's strength with Tony Pennyman
and Kevin Robinson two of the WAC's best targets and need to be
Passing: Leon Jackson
132-229, 1,547 yds, 8 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Ryan Bohm
92 carries, 340 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Tony Pennyman
63 catches, 741 yds, 5 TD
Star of the offense: Junior WR Kevin Robinson
Backup quarterback, sure-thing running back
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior RB
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Derek Hoke
Best pro prospect: Robinson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Robinson, 2) WR Tony
Pennyman, 3) QB Leon Jackson III
Strength of the offense: Receivers
Weakness of the offense:
Leon Jackson III is a tough veteran who's
good enough to carry the offense by himself at times. After a
year of starting experience, he should be able to use the
weapons around him a bit better and be more effective at keeping
the chains moving. Depth is an issue after strong backup Jerod
Walker was kicked off the team. That means Bryan Black has to be
ready at a moment's notice considering Jackson is a runner and
takes plenty of big shots. Unfortunately, Black is a good
emergency number three quarterback and not a strong number two,
so Jase McCormick needs to quickly develop.
The key to the unit: Leon Jackson III has to cut down
on his interceptions on the road and be more effective on third
Quarterback Rating: 4.5
- Leon Jackson III, Jr. - 132-229, 58%, 1,547 yds, 8 TD,
6 INT, 136 carries, 328 yds, 2.4 ypc, 1 TD.
He's the offense. Jackson has an accurate arm and great mobility
finishing second on the team in rushing with an 87-yard day
against Utah and a 74-yard outing against Idaho. He got hurt
late last season with a shoulder problem and the attack cranked
out more points, but he's the leader and the one who'll have to
come up with a big season if the Aggies are going to do more in
- Bryan Black, Sr.
A pure passing quarterback compared to the mobile Jackson, Black
takes over the number two role now that Jerod Walker is off the
team. He hasn't seen time over the last two seasons, but he has
a little bit of experience completing eight of 21 passes for 71
yards in 2003.
- Jase McCormick, RFr.
He signed in 2002 and then left to serve a church mission. Now
he'll battle for the number two job with a good mix of speed and
passing ability. He's a smart passer with a decent arm.
improvement will be welcome after a brutal 2005 season with the
top three running backs combining to net a mere 531 yards. The
addition of JUCO transfer Marcus Cross will be a big boost,
while sophomore Lynwood Johnson is a rising big back who should
see a little more work. Ryan Bohm led the team in rushing last
year as a freshman and will be a nice number three back to rely
on. Jimmy Bohm was a decent tight end who should be a bruising
The key to the unit: There have to be more big runs
and far more production. Marcus Cross has to be as good as
Running Back Rating: 4.5
- Marcus Cross, Jr.
The JUCO transfer has immediately taken over the starting duties
after rushing for 1,163 yards and 14 touchdowns for Garden City
Junior College last season. He's a speedy 210 pounds who's
always moving forward and always gaining positive yards. He'll
be a huge upgrade for the Aggie backfield.
- Fullback Jimmy Bohm, Jr. - 5 catches, 33 yds, 6.6 ypc
The 271-pound junior moves over from tight end to fullback to
give the backfield a true blocker. He has decent hands and will
be used a bit as a receiver, but he won't get any carries. His
main job will be to open holes.
- Lynwood Johnson, Soph. - 22 carries, 54 yds, 2.5
ypc, 1 TD, 6 catches, 56 yds, 9.3 ypc
Part fullback and part tailback, Johnson is a big runner who'll
combine with Marcus Cross to handle most of the duties. At 228
pounds, he can also line up in the backfield ahead of Cross and
be a key blocker. He's also a decent receiver.
- Ryan Bohm, Soph. - 92 caries, 340 yds, 3.7 ypc, 4 TD,
20 catches, 162 yds, 8.1 ypc
Technically listed as a fullback, the 207-pound sophomore is
more of a straight-line tailback. He led the team in rushing
with a mere 340 yards with a 94-yard outing at Alabama and a
79-yard performance to close things out at New Mexico State.
With good speed, he could end up seeing time at receiver after
finishing third on the team in catches.
The Aggies are more than set here with one of the WAC's
best 1-2 receiving punches in Tony Pennyman and Kevin Robinson.
They're both talented and experienced with the ability to do a
little bit of everything well. Having a duo like that will allow
promising young prospect Nnamdi Gwacham and Omar Sawyer find
their way into the mix. There's great depth with Terrell
Richards and Otis Nelson able to start if needed. Rob Myers has
the potential to be a dangerous receiving tight end.
The key to the unit: Get another great year out of
Kevin Robinson and Tony Pennyman while finding time to develop
Nnamdi Gwacham and Omar Sawyer.
Receiver Rating: 7
- Tony Pennyman, Sr. - 63 catches, 741 yds, 11.8 ypc, 5
Pennyman has been one of the team's top receivers over the last
two seasons with 116 career catches for 1,427 yards and seven
touchdowns. He has also been an All-America caliber kickoff
returner averaging 29.2 yards per return last season. He's a
steady, speed receiver who started off his season with ten
catches against UNLV and was consistent the rest of the way.
- Kevin Robinson, Jr. - 43 catches, 661 yds, 15.4 ypc, 8
Robinson is a good-sized, very fast threat as a receiver, kick
returner and punt returner with 87 career catches for 1,263
yards and 11 touchdowns, a 14.8-yard punt return average, and a
22.9-yard kickoff return average. He's more explosive than Tony
Pennyman, but not quite as steady at the inside Z position.
- Tight end Rob Myers, Soph.
The former wide receiver will try his hand at tight end after
bulking up to 236 pounds. He has the hands and the athleticism
to be a key target, but the question will be his blocking.
- Nnamdi Gwacham, RFr.
The 6-3, 204-pound Gwacham is a far bigger option than Tony
Pennyman at the outside X position. He's a phenomenal athlete
who has too much upside not to be on the field.
- Omar Sawyer, RFr.
Sawyer is a small, quick target at the inside Z position. He
needs to prove early on that he can handle taking shots across
the middle at only 5-9 and 166 pounds.
- Tarrell Richards, Sr. - 11 catches, 116 yds, 10.5 ypc
The former Oregon transfer hasn't quite exploded like expected
after destroying the scout team when he first arrived on campus.
He has good skills and enough experience to be a decent threat
on the outside.
- Tight end Will Fausel, Jr. - 4 catches, 32 yds
Mostly a blocker, the 258-pound junior will be used more in the
running game than Rob Myers. He has decent hands, but he's not
nearly the type of receiver who'll be a regular in the passing
The line has to replace three starters and needs to come
up with a starting five that can jell over the course of the season.
Malik Cin can play any spot and will settle in at left guard, and big
Pace Jorgensen needs to be a rock at right guard. The return of Justin
Schlimgen should be a boost at tackle, where Taylor Wallace and Derek
Hoke have to improve the team's pass protection. There's decent depth
and good size, and now there has to be far more production.
The key to the unit: Continuity. The young line has
to stay healthy and get better as the year goes on.
Offensive Line Rating: 4
- OT Derek Hoke, Soph.
The massive 6-9, 300-pound sophomore started in four games last year
before getting hurt. He can play either tackle spot and will open up the
year on the left side where he should grow into the team's best
all-around blocker. He's too big and strong not to be dominant in the
- OG Malik Cin, Sr.
He has been the team's starting center, right guard, and over the last
five games of last season, right tackle. Now the team's most versatile
lineman will have to battle to get the starting job on the left side
after missing spring ball hurt. At 305 pounds and with three years of
experience, he'll be too valuable to keep off the field.
- C Brent DeLadurantey, Sr.
Able to play guard or center, the 306 pound senior was used sparingly
last season after starting four game in 2004. The former JUCO transfer
will start out at center but will battle with smaller redshirt freshman
Brennan McFadden for the job.
- OG Pace Jorgensen, Jr.
Jorgensen has seen time at center but is a more natural guard. He's the
team's biggest lineman at 6-5 and 318 pounds and should take back his
job at right guard once he's 100%.
- OT Taylor Wallace, RFr.
The promising young prospect will likely take over the starting job on
the right side allowing Malik Cin to move to guard. He's athletic and
should grow into a good pass blocker.
- OT Justin Schlimgen, Sr.
Back after missing all of last year, the 299-pound senior will combine
with Taylor Wallace at right tackle. The Alaska native has nine games of
starting experience and will likely start somewhere on the line by the
start of the season.
- OG Ryan Tonnemacher, Soph.
He got plenty of work this spring with Malik Cin out. He has a little
bit of starting experience at left guard getting the nod against
Louisiana Tech and Hawaii last season and will see more work this year.
- OG Ryan Wilson, Sr.
The former tight end is only 256 pounds and
needs to use his athleticism at guard. He's not going to replace Pace
Jorgensen on the right side, but he has the talent to see plenty of