Idaho Vandals

Soon-to-be rivals Idaho, Idaho State get a boost with early signing period

Idaho coach Paul Petrino signed the Vandals’ first class of recruits who will only play at the FCS level since the early 1990s.
Idaho coach Paul Petrino signed the Vandals’ first class of recruits who will only play at the FCS level since the early 1990s. AP

The University of Idaho football team signed 12 players Wednesday on the first day of the early signing period.

“This is a great class for us,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “Our staff did a really good job of addressing our needs and finding great young men. We are excited for each of them to be part of our program.”

The class includes five offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, two defensive backs, one linebacker, one running back and one wide receiver. Six signees come from junior colleges and six from the prep ranks.

“We brought in a good mix of experienced guys who are ready to play at this level, as well as some high school guys who will compete right away,” Petrino said. “This class is another example that we will go wherever it takes to find the best Vandals, but it was also great to get Connor Whitney, who we think is the best player in Spokane.”

Idaho’s signing class represents six states: California, Louisiana, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington. The Vandals move into the Big Sky Conference in 2018, joining Idaho State.

Idaho signings

▪ DE/TE Aarron Boatright, 6-5, 241, East Mississippi CC (Manning, S.C.): He helped East Mississippi to the 2017 NJCAA National Championship and ranked second on the team with five sacks. He was named All-NJCAA Region 23 with 27 tackles, including 6.5 for loss.

▪ OL Bruce Burns, 6-3, 345, Laney College (San Leandro, Calif.): He was named a California Community College Athletic Association first-team All-American as a sophomore after paving the way for a rushing attack that averaged 260 yards per game.

▪ OL Matthew Faupusa, 6-3, 310, Los Alamitos High (Cypress, Calif.): He paved the way to a Sunset League championship for Los Alamitos on both the offensive and defensive lines.

▪ OL Logan Floyd, 6-4, 289, Kearns (Utah) High: He was named an honorable mention all-state selection and two-time all-region honoree after leading Kearns to a 9-2 record and state playoff appearance as a senior.

▪ OL Edwin Grande, 6-5, 291, Monterey Peninsula College (Oakland, Calif.): He helped Monterey Peninsula advance to the American Division Championship Bowl.

▪ WR Ariyon Huff, 5-8, 191, Yuba College (Sacramento, Calif.): He was an All-California Region II and All-Pacific 7 League selection as a sophomore after recording 67 catches for 805 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed for 79 yards and threw for a touchdown.

▪ LB James Jones, 6-1, 243, George Washington Carver College Academy (New Orleans, La.): He was first-team All-District 10-4A as a senior, helping Carver advance to the second round of the 4A LHSAA playoffs by averaging 6.6 tackles per game.

▪ CB Michael Noil, 5-8, 152, Madison High (Portland, Ore.): He was a first-team All-Portland Interscholastic League choice as an all-purpose player following his senior season at cornerback, wide receiver and kick returner. His brother, Wyror, is also a member of the Idaho football team.

▪ OL Brian Robinson, 6-4, 346, Laney College (Hayward, Calif.): He was chosen as an all-league offensive lineman as a sophomore after paving the way for a rushing attack that averaged 260 yards per game.

▪ DL Cameron Townsend, 6-1, 277, Moorpark College (West Hills, Calif.): He was a second-team all-league selection with 40 tackles, including a team-high three sacks among his seven tackles for loss.

▪ RB/CB Tyrese Walker, 5-6, 165, Madison Prep Academy (Baton Rouge, La.): He was named 2A Louisiana Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and second-team All-USA Louisiana by USA TODAY. He rushed for 2,462 yards and 40 touchdowns and led Madison Prep to the state championship game.

▪ S Connor Whitney, 6-3, 200, West Valley High (Spokane, Wash.): He led West Valley to a 12-1 record and berth in the 2A state semifinals as a senior in 2017. He was also named Great Northern League Defensive MVP as a junior.

Idaho State signings

▪ S Christian McFarland, 6-0, 190, Sacramento (Calif.) City College: He made the first-team All-Nor Cal Conference with 85 tackles, including 62 solo. He averaged 7.7 tackles per game.

▪ LB Sam Funkhouser, 6-2, 198, Gooding High: In just four games as a senior, he had 57 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two interceptions while earning second-team All-Idaho honors.

▪ OL Preston Holfeltz, 6-4, 300, Snow College (Sandy, Utah): He led Snow College to an 8-2 record and was an all-state selection for Jordan High.

▪ S Ruger Jennings, 6-2, 180, Gooding High: He was a first-team All-Idaho linebacker and was named the 2017 SCIC Defensive Player of the Year with 133 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and four sacks.

▪ OL John Perko, 6-4, 290, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.): He was a first-Team All-GSL selection after leading Gonzaga Prep to a 9-3 record.

▪ S Ty Metcalfe, 6-0, 180, Syracuse (Utah) High: He started three years at QB and holds school records for most starts, plus 11 of the program’s 13 passing records. He passed for more than 5,000 yards and 51 TDs while rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 13 TDs.