UNLV’s signing day is done. The Rebels got all 14 of the National Letter of Intents they expected to receive. The class now has 13 players coming out of high school and five coming from the junior college ranks.
The junior college transfers are likely to make immediate impacts. The only offensive player coming from the junior college ranks is Sid Acosta, who is likely to take over the starting job at center. The other four junior college players should help bolster a defense that ranked in the bottom 10 of the country in defensive efficiency last season.
This class also appears to be small. Tony Sanchez has talked at length about needing depth through his first two years, but 18 players isn’t a class that adds immediate depth. UNLV did redshirt 14 scholarship players that will increase the depth in 2017.
Signing Day isn’t over, but as of now UNLV is looking at having one of the lowest rated classes in the Mountain West. Scout ranks UNLV dead last, 247 has the Rebels with the 10th-best class and Rivals props the class up at eighth.
Take a look below at the newest Rebels.
High School Signees
TE Noah Bean
- 2 Stars | 6-foot-2 | 230 pounds
- Simi Valley, CA (Grace Bretheren)
- Twitter: @NoaahhTB
UNLV lost its best tight end in Andre Price to graduation. The leading receiver at tight end is Tim Holt who had 140 yards last season, so there is playing time to be had. If Bean can be a threat in the passing game, he could jump right into playing time at tight end.
“We brought in two tight-end types and Noah Bean is the traditional tight end. He was MVP of his high school all-star game. He has a long frame and is already over 230 pounds.”
LB Spencer Katoanga
- 6-foot-0 | 225 pounds
- Oceanside, CA (El Camino HS)
- Twitter: @Sesili11_
Katoanga played for Air Force’s prep school last season, but will still be able to play right away with four years of eligibility left. Linebacker has serious holes with Tau Lotulelei and Ryan McAleenan departing, but Sanchez has grabbed a few linebacker like Katoanga that could make an impact right away even if it isn’t a starting position.
DE Nate Neal
- 2 Stars | 6-foot-3 | 215 pounds
- Montclair, CA (Etiwanda HS)
- Twitter: @_NateNeal
UNLV’s leader in sacks, Jeremiah Valoaga, racked them up from the defensive end spot. Valoaga was dismissed with two games left in the season; Iggy Porchia graduates which leaves UNLV needing replacements on the defensive line. Neal will have a chance to break into a defense that has recorded just 27 sacks in 24 games under Tony Sanchez.
RB Tariq Hollandsworth
- 3 Stars | 5-foot-11 | 205 pounds
- Sacramento, CA (Sacramento HS)
- Twitter: @_theinfamous_
UNLV’s running back spot is loaded. Charles Williams and Lexington Thomas are back after combining to rush for over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns on over 5 yards per carry. But the Rebels do lose David Greene, the bruising short-yardage back that converted 11 of 16 third or fourth and short situations. Hollandsworth is a bigger runner than Williams and Thomas, so there is a potential role for Hollandsworth in year one.
Feels good to a Rebel ! https://t.co/zH5LXfR0uO
— Tariq Hollandsworth (@_theinfamous_) February 1, 2017
S Greg Francis
- 2 Stars | 6-foot-2 | 190 pounds
- Las Vegas, NV (Bishop Gorman)
- Twitter: @gmf_4
UNLV’s pass defense was tied for last in the Mountain West with five interceptions, and Torry McTyer, who snagged three, graduates. But the Rebels had the second lowest completion percentage against in the Mountain West and broke up the second most passes in the conference. The secondary was the most groan-inducing part of UNLV’s defense last year, but McTyer and Troy Hawthorne’s departures will be felt unless guys like Francis can step in and provide impact plays right away.
WR Jeremy Clark
- 6-foot-2 | 195 pounds
- La Mirada, CA (La Mirada HS)
- Twitter: @jeremyclark_
Assuming UNLV doesn’t lose five receivers to injury like they did in 2016, the position will be loaded. Devonte Boyd and Kendall Keys lead the way as one of the best duos in the conference. But last season’s injuries left Tony Sanchez desperate for depth at receiver. At the very least, Clark provides that.
OL Daniel Schoene
- 3 Stars | 6-foot-5 | 280 pounds
- Bakersfield, CA (Bakersfield HS)
- Twitter: @DsDrillers78
The Rebels best unit in 2016 was the offensive line and only player is departing in center Will Kreitler. With junior college transfer Sid Acosta expected to step into that position, the offensive line should be another strength in 2017. Schoene will be fighting through a crowded position.
Well I am officially a UNLV rebel. My National Letter of Intent was sent a couple moments ago and I couldn't be happier!! #rebelsup#orcas
— Daniel Schoene (@DsDrillers78) February 1, 2017
TE Jamaal Neal
- 2 Stars | 6-foot-0 | 230 pounds
- South Gate, CA (South Gate HS)
- Twitter: @MaaallyMaaal
Tight end is a position that could be up for grabs in 2017. Andrew Price, the Rebels only real receiving threat from the position last year is gone. So Tim Holt stands as the returner most likely to see an increased role, but Neal could grab some playing time right away at tight end.
LB Farrell Hester
- 3 Stars | 6-foot-0 | 240 pounds
- Las Vegas, NV (Bishop Gorman)
- Twitter: @hester_one
Hester steps into a positon of need for UNLV, as the Rebels will be replacing the top two tacklers on the team in linebackers Tau Lotulelei and Ryan McAleenan. It is hard to imagine UNLV’s defense stopping anyone last season without Lotulelei or McAleenan, so the shoes to fill at linebacker are as big as can be for a UNLV defense that ranked 116th in S&P+ last season.
QB Marckell Grayson
- 3 Stars | 6-foot-0 | 200 pounds
- Las Vegas, NV (Desert Pines HS)
- Twitter: @MarckellX
Grayson is a likely to redshirt in his first season at UNLV. He missed nearly every snap of his senior season due to an ACL injury. That injury combined with redshirt freshman Armani Rogers and seniors Johnny Stanton and Kurt Palandech on the roster make playing time hard to find for Rogers in year one. But UNLV has needed multiple quarterbacks in each of Sanchez’s two seasons, so eventually Grayson will have a chance to get on the field.
— DPHS Athletics (@dphs_athletics) February 1, 2017
OL Ashton Morgan
- 2 Stars | 6-foot-5 | 295 pounds
- Chico, CA (Pleasant Valley HS)
- Twitter: @AshtonJMorgan
UNLV’s offensive line returns nearly intact. Only center Will Kreitler leaves the starting unit that saw UNLV post the third highest yards per carry in the Mountain West while surrendering a conference low 10 sacks all season. On top of that UNLV had 16 offensive lineman on last year’s roster with Kreitler being the lone season. Morgan will be fighting through a crowded position in 2017.
WR Drew Tejchman
- 3 Stars | 6-foot-0 | 185 pounds
- Acworth, GA (North Cobb High School)
- Twitter: @drew_tejcham
Tejchman will join a loaded wide receiver group at UNLV. Devonte Boyd and Kendall Keys should be one of the top duos in the Mountain West. Injuries derailed the position last season, as the top five receivers suffered a season-ending injury. That led to cornerback Jericho Flowers flipping to the other side of the ball, as well as quarterback Dalton Sneed moving to wide out. At the very least Tejchman will provide some depth in the event of another season marred by injury.
OL Justice Oluwaseun
- 3 Stars | 6-foot-2 | 325 pounds
- Richmond, TX (Foster HS)
- Twitter: @jo151093
UNLV’s offensive line is loaded. Four starters return from one of the conference’s best lines in 2016. Plus the 2017 class is deep at the position, with at least three freshmen and a junior college transfer adding to the line. Last year the Rebels were fortunate to avoid injuries almost all season at offensive line. Should that not be the case in 2017, the depth should be there with guys like Oluwaseun.
Yes suh I’m excited to say I’m officially a rebel….blessed 🔴⚫️ https://t.co/QqxwF2cDD3
— Justice Oluwaseun (@jo151093) February 1, 2017
Junior College Signees
DL Bruce Hester
- 6-foot-1 | 280 pounds
- Mesa, AZ (Mesa Community College)
- Twitter: @B2Based
The top four players at the defensive tackle and nose tackle positions will return for UNLV in 2017 led by Mike Hughes 37 tackles and two sacks. So Hester will likely be thrown into a tough battle for playing time inside. But the Rebels defensive line hasn’t been a strength the past two years, so Hester could be a difference maker in next season.
These four junior college transfers have already signed their letter of intent with UNLV.
C Sid Acosta
- 6-foot-2 | 295 pounds
- Riverside, CA (Riverside Community College)
- Twitter: @ACOSTA1577
With the departure of Will Kreitler, UNLV needs a new center. It is the only position on the offensive line that loses a starter, and Acosta, as a junior college transfer, appears to be the top candidate to fill the spot. Kreitler leaves behind a big void, as Pro Football Focus rated him the best center outside of the power five conferences.
“Sid is a powerful athlete who played at a great high school and junior college program. We think his leadership and experience will allow him to push for a spot in what will already be a deep offensive line,” Tony Sanchez said.
LB Jacob Rominger
- 6-foot-3 | 225 pounds
- Overland Park, KS (Highland Community College)
- Twitter: @JacobRominger44
Linebacker is one of the biggest needs for UNLV after Tau Lotulelei (led team with 117 tackles) and Ryan McAleenan (third on the team with 89 tackles) finished their final season in the scarlet and gray. Rominger, a junior college transfer, could see immediate playing time trying to fill that void.
“Jacob is an explosive guy who had a great JC career there in Kansas. We are excited to add him to a talented group of returning linebackers.”
DE Roger Mann
- 6-foot-3 | 250 pounds
- San Marcos, CA (Palomar College)
- Twitter: @rgrmann
There will likely be lots of playing time available as UNLV lost its top two defensive ends in Jeremiah Valoaga and Iggy Porchia. Valoaga, despite being dismissed from the team late in the season, led the Rebels with four sacks. Mann could easily step in and win a starting job in the Rebel defense.
“Roger is a big, strong guy with good hands who we think can develop into a dynamic pass-rusher on this level.”
CB Demetrious Gibbs
- 6-foot-4 | 190 pounds
- Chula Vista, CA (Southwestern College)
UNLV will have a new cornerbacks coach in 2017, as Davis Lockwood comes to UNLV after recent stops at Arizona, West Virginia and Minnesota. The Rebels best cornerback in 2016 was Tory McTyer, who graduated. Darius Mouton and Tim Hough return, but last season’s defensive backs didn’t inspire any confidence. So Gibbs may be seeing immediate playing time.
“Demitrious is a long, athletic guy who will add much-needed depth to a young group back there. He can play multiple positions in the secondary.”