LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Barry Odom’s most challenging task with his first recruiting class as UNLV football coach is probably filling immediate needs.
It appears he’s done that, especially on defense, with several transfers announced as signing with the Rebels on Wednesday, the start of the traditional signing period for college football programs.
The Rebels have had issues on defense for several years, and Odom, 46, spent most of his college coaching career rebuilding, retooling and reviving defensive units.
Three names, all transfers, stick out from the most recent additions at UNLV — linebacker Zavier Carter, from Louisiana State, defensive back Jalen Frazier, from North Carolina State, and safety Jaxen Turner, a starter from Arizona. Each comes from a major program and appears to have the speed and overall ability that fits Odom’s style of an attacking defense.
“We are certainly excited about our first signing class at UNLV,” said Odom in a news release. “Our staff was able to address specific needs by position in order to build our program into a championship team.”
Placekicker Jose Pizano, who played for Odom at Missouri State, and center Jack Hasz, who helped anchor a strong running game at Buffalo, appear to fill immediate needs, too.
Pizano is poised to replace Daniel Gutierrez, the school’s all-time scoring leader. Hasz appears to be in line to replace Leif Fautanu. Gutierrez used up his eligibility. Fautanu, a three-year starter, will play at Arizona State next season.
Of the 18 who signed with the Rebels this week and the seven who committed during the early signing period, 12 are offensive players and 10 play defense (one other is listed as an athlete, with no specific position, and another is a special teams addition).
Here are the 18 players who either signed Wednesday, the first day of the traditional signing period, or already have joined the program (list includes hometown and/or school):
Austin Boyd, offensive line, 6 feet, 4 inches, 280 pounds, freshman, Lehi (Utah) High School; *Zavier Carter, LB, 6-4, 205, junior (transfer), Atlanta, Louisiana State; *Jacob De Jesus, WR, 5-7, 165, junior (transfer), Manteca, California, Modesto (California) Junior College; Bo Edmundson, QB, 6-2, 190, freshman, Lake Travis (Texas) High School; *Jett Elad, DB, 6-1, 205, junior (transfer), Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Garden City (Kansas) Community College; *Jalen Frazier, DB, 5-10, 185, senior (transfer), Charlotte, North Carolina, North Carolina State; *Jack Hasz, OL, 6-4, 295, senior (transfer), Omaha, Nebraska, Buffalo; DeAngelo Irvin Jr. , athlete, 5-9, 155, freshman, Midwest City (Oklahoma) High School; Rashawn Jackson, WR, 6-2,185, freshman, Venice (Los Angeles) High School; Cameren Jenkins, DB, 6-1, 175, freshman, Lewisville (Texas) High School; Darrien Jones, RB, 6-0, 195, freshman, Park Hill (Kansas City, Missouri) High School; Quentin Moten, DB, 6-0, 185, junior (transfer), Rancho Cucamonga, California, College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, California); *#Jose Pizano, placekicker, 5-7, 220, senior (transfer), Lehi, Utah, Missouri State; *Jalen St. John, OL, 6-5, 320, junior (transfer), St. Louis, Missouri, Arkansas; Jai’Den Thomas, RB, 5-10, 180, freshman, Westlake (Atlanta) High School; Corey Thompson Jr., WR, 6-1,185, freshman, Lincoln (San Diego) High School; *#Jaxen Turner, DB, 6-2, 210, senior (transfer), Moreno Valley, California, Arizona; Jackson Woodard, LB, 6-3, 230, junior (transfer), Little Rock, Arkansas, Arkansas.
Early signing (announced in Dec. 21)
*Blesyng Alualu-Tuiolemotu, LB, 6-2, 210, freshman, James Campbell (Kalihi, Hawaii) High School; Lucas Conti, DL, 6-5, 260, freshman, Centennial (Corona, California) High School; *Christian Earls, TE, 6-7, 225, sophomore (transfer), Chandler, Arizona, Kilgore (Texas) College; Matthew Greene, OL/DL, 6-5, 270, freshman, Arapahoe (Centennial, Colorado) High School; Ed Haynes, OL, 6-3, 265, freshman, Henderson, Liberty High School; Maxwell Peterson, DL, 6-4, 305, freshman, Rancho Cucamonga, California, Eleanor Roosevelt High School; *Charlie Williams, tight end, 6-4, 240, freshman, Aspen, Colorado, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida.
* enrolled at UNLV in January
# super senior in 2023