Wednesday marked the first day of college football’s spring signing period, but for UNLV it was mostly a cursory event. There were no new additions to the 2021 class, and the three signees that have joined the team since the early period are all college transfers.
That means there were no recruiting stars to count, no class rankings to project and no prep studs to hype.
But what the day lacked in excitement it may have made up for in substance.
One of the more important issues facing UNLV in 2021 is the wave of transfers who have exited the program since the end of last season. The team is losing starters on both sides of the ball, so replacing them with players who are capable of contributing immediately has to be a priority for second-year head coach Marcus Arroyo.
Arroyo believes the incoming 2021 class is positioned to do just that.
UNLV is losing two starting-caliber receivers, as Tyleek Collins and Randal Grimes have both entered the transfer portal. Arroyo touted Jordan Jakes, a 6-foot-5 receiver who is transferring in after one season at Indiana, as someone who can step in at that position and produce big plays for the next four years.
“[Jakes is] a tall, long wide receiver,” Arroyo said. “Good high point skills. Good ball skills overall…Has the ability to get open and create separation. That’s pretty nice for a guy with his length. Matchup issue who can play inside, play outside. He does have some really good burst.”
UNLV is also saying goodbye to perhaps its best offensive lineman, as senior Justice Oluwaseun has put his name in the transfer portal. Oluwaseun was a three-year starter for the scarlet and gray, and due to the COVID-19 year he will still have two seasons of eligibility remaining wherever he lands.
Incoming offensive lineman Brandon Logan, a 6-foot-6, 270 pounder, played one juco season at Cerritos College and will have four years of eligibility for UNLV. Like the rest of the incoming transfers he is already enrolled and on campus, giving him the kind of head start that no one got last year due to the pandemic.
Though Logan possesses more of a “high-school body type,” according to Arroyo, he is already in the process of putting on weight and could emerge as a contributor in 2021.
Arroyo believes in Logan’s long-term potential.
“He’s already put on 10 pounds in the first week getting here,” Arroyo said. “He moves really well in pass protection. Athletic. Great size and growth potential on him; the strength will come.”
The third signee, running back Jayvaun Wilson, is not coming in a position of need, necessarily, but his size and speed combination should help take some of the pressure off incumbent ball-carriers Charles Williams and Courtney Reese.
Wilson initially signed with Oregon (where Arroyo was offensive coordinator) out of high school as a 3-star athlete in the Class of 2019. He redshirted his first year, then got buried on the depth chart and didn’t see the field in 2020.
Still, Arroyo is familiar with Wilson’s skill set.
“He was a top-25 athlete in the country coming out of high school,” Arroyo said. “Obviously I’ve got a background with him. He knows the system well. He was really in a long line [at Oregon] with some great backs, so we’re fortunate to have him for an extended stay here and get a chance to develop him as a back in our system. He has deceiving, sneaky speed for a guy that big.”
There are other holes on the UNLV roster, of course. Defensive tackle Jalen Graves, who started Week 1, is also in the transfer portal, and the defensive backfield was a mess for most of the season. And that’s without touching on the quarterback situation, where UNLV is desperate for anyone to take the reins.
But Arroyo still has a handful of open scholarships to fill, and he thinks he can work the transfer market this offseason to the point where the portal ends up helping UNLV more than it hurts.
“The transfer portal is a byproduct of the extra year of eligibility this year,” Arroyo said. “If you’re not on top of it, I think it can be something that may be a disadvantage, but I think if you’re on top of it you can gain some weapons.”