Rob PhenicieMadeline Leavitt

Staff Writer

This recruiting season started off different than most. The cycle normally starts in February, but head football coach Rob Phenicie didn’t have that option.

But last Wednesday, Phenicie announced his first signing class at ISU, which consisted of 23 players.

“The positions we filled were exactly what our focus was,” Phenicie said. “We didn’t stray from the plan, we didn’t rob Peter to pay Paul for any position, we had numbers we needed to fill, and that’s what we got done.”

With this recruiting season, Phenicie wanted to take control of Idaho by building a wall around the state to control it.

And that’s exactly what he did.

ISU was able to nab more players from Idaho than both Boise State and University of Idaho combined, while establishing a presence in the Salt Lake Valley by signing seven players from Utah.

Phenicie said that with Salt Lake being only a two hour drive and Boise only being a three hour drive, there’s a large population of players he wants to gain control of.

ISU signed nine offensive players and 14 defensive players. Four of these players were either transfers or junior college players.

Five offensive linemen were signed, which Phenicie said was needed for the team. One tight end, two wide receivers and one running back were also signed.

On the defensive end, three defensive backs were signed, as well as four linebackers and five defensive linemen.

“We want to get linemen and bigger guys from above the snowline,” Phenicie said.

We want to supplement with skill from southern California and outer areas.”

There were no quarterbacks in this recruiting class and Phenicie said that the Bengals are comfortable with the depth they have in that position.

In this recruitment class, there are a few players from states that are unusual for ISU, which include New Jersey, Illinois and Florida.

One commit, Alec Flanagan, chose ISU over Air Force, Navy and San Jose. Flanagan is a defensive back out of southern California.

Another commit, Spencer Tatafu, has committed to going on a mission and is deferring his enrollment.

“He had a lot of offers from the Big Sky Conference and when he told them he was going on a mission everyone pulled out, and we stuck with ours, and he committed to us,” Phenicie said. “A school in our conference came back and offered him, but he stuck with us.”

With 22 players from this recruiting class, there could still be three more names added to the list. Phenicie said he likes to have 85 players on the roster.

Phenicie doesn’t believe that the coaching changes influenced the recruiting process.

“These kids, they believed in our coaches and the messages we were sending and are fired up about it,” Phenicie said. “That’s the best thing. There are a lot of guys who want to be here. They aren’t settling for Idaho State, they want to be here, so it is going to be a lot of fun.”

2017-18 Idaho State Football Signing Class

Preston Holfeltz, OL, 6-4, 300, Sandy, Utah (Snow College)

Nikola Wadsworth, LB, 6-2, 230, Darien, Ill. (College of DuPage)

Jeff Harris, WR, 6-1, 170, American Fork, Utah (American Fork HS)

Owen Stewart, OL, 6-8, 310, Ogden, Utah (Fremont HS)

Ty Metcalfe, DB,  6-0, 180, Syracuse, Utah (Syracuse HS)

John Perko, OL, 6-4, 290,  Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga Prep)

Alec Flanagan, DB, 6-0, 190, Pomona, Calif. (Diamond Ranch HS)

Tavite Tonga, DL, 6-1, 250, West Valley City, Utah (Granger HS)

Jay Wadley, DL, 6-3, 260, Centerville, Utah (Viewmont HS)

Devin Dabich, DB, 6-0, 175, S, Pomona, Calif. (Diamond Ranch HS)

Terron Carey, OL, 6-0, 270, Miami, Florida (Miami Northwestern)

Terrance Jones, LB, 6-2, 225, Sparta, New Jersey (Pope John)

Hunter Smith, OL, 6-5, 270, Bothell, Wash. (Bothell HS)

Tu’u Afu, RB, 5-11, 215, Sandy, Utah (Alta HS)

Spencer Tatafu, DL, 6-1, 245, Portland, Ore. (Parkrose HS)

Garrett Crane, DL, 6-3, 225, Pocatello, Idaho (Highland HS)

Demonte Horton, WR, 6-3, 205, Nampa, Idaho (Skyview HS)

Michael Davis, TE, 6-4, 220, Nampa, Idaho (Columbia HS)

Jacob Pinkney, DL, 6-3, 220, Boise, Idaho (Timberline HS)

Sam Funkhouser, LB, 6-2, 198, Gooding, Idaho (Gooding HS)

Ruger Jennings, LB, 6-2, 180, Gooding, Idaho (Gooding HS)

Kainoa Fuiava, DL, 6-4, 295, Downey, Calif. (BYU)

Christian McFarland, DB, 6-0. 190 Sacramento, Calif. (Sacramento City College)

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