OGDEN — As is common at the FCS football level, Weber State's early signing class of 2021 included just five players, including a pair of transfer students.
But one incoming freshman may take the place of three wide receivers in a normal year.
Corner Canyon wide receiver Noah Kjar, the state's career leader in receptions and three-time state champion who ranks second all-time in receiving yards for a season and career, was one of three incoming freshman signed by seventh-year coach Jay Hill on Wednesday.
Kjar, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound wide out from Draper who is the son of Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar, had 285 career receptions for 4,935 yards and 50 touchdowns in four seasons with the Chargers. He's the second-most prolific wide out in state history, according to the Utah High School Activities Association record book, and has the most yards and touchdowns of anyone not included Orem graduate Puka Nacua, who caught 260 passes for a state-record 5,226 yards and 58 touchdowns in four seasons before signing with Washington in 2018.
"I'm excited," Kjar told KSL.com on Wednesday after signing alongside a handful of Corner Canyon teammates, including USC's Jaxson Dart. "Weber's a great fit for me."
TD Corner Canyon: Jaxson Dart ➡️ Noah Kjar pic.twitter.com/TxkScqucOT— KSL.com Sports (@KSLcomSports) November 20, 2020
Beaver offensive lineman Jake Eichorn, a 6-foot-7, 265-pound Class 2A state MVP, and Westlake linebacker Brayden Perry, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound first-team all-state selection from Westlake, add to the class that was significantly affected by the recruiting restrictions fo the global pandemic.
"It was a really unique way to recruit this year but I really like the players we have signed," Hill said. "We only had a few openings but I really believe that we filled those openings with some really outstanding players and we'll be ready to go this spring."
The Wildcats, who open the six-game 2021 spring season Feb. 27 as the Big Sky's No. 1 preseason projection, also added LJ Anderson, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back from Oakland, California by way of Laney Junior College, and Azusa Pacific transfer Josh Olave, a 6-0, 190-pound senior cornerback.
SUU adds a dozen
Southern Utah added 12 new additions on the first day of the early signing period, including half a class on the defensive line and tight end spots.
The group is headlined by Tafao Amataga, a 6-foot-1, 265-pound defensive tackle from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, where he compiled 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks as a junior in 2019 en route to all-Southern Nevada honorable mention honors.
Like much of the country, Las Vegas canceled the fall football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Tafao will be one of the strongest freshmen we have ever brought in," SUU coach Demario Warren said. "He is another great addition to our defensive line and another commitment to becoming a more physical football team. He will be another great productive player from the city of Las Vegas. His burst and strength will give him the opportunity to compete at this level early in his career."
In addition to quarterback Jackson Berry from Prosper, Texas, Warren also got Orem wide receiver Devon Sa-Chisolm and Davis' David Spjut, who had 1,444 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior for the Darts.
"David is a big-time addition to our wide receiver corps," Warren said of Spujt, who also had 690 yards on kick return and 397 yards on punt returns, including three touchdowns. "We have a ton of success with guys that possession his skill set at the slot position and he will add to that legacy after he serves a mission. He is competitive, mature and student of the game."
Trailblazers add pair of locals
Dixie State added two local players ahead of its first season as a Division I program, including former Kearns standout Isaiah Afatasi.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound running back ran for 1,378 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons with the Cougars, including 772 yards and 12 scores as a junior in 2018-19. Afatasi signed with Utah State in December of 2019, then re-upped with the Aggies in August before heading to St. George.
The Trailblazers also added Snow Canyon product Isaac Lees, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive tackle who had 64 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a senior in 2020 for the 12-2 Warriors.
"Despite the very difficult year for most, our Trailblazer football team is very optimistic for the future," Dixie State coach Paul Peterson said. "With these mid-year signees and the student-athletes we will sign in February, we are bolstering a team where most everyone is returning.
"It is unfortunate that there are not more spaces available for this very talented 2021 class," Peterson added. "We have been very selective due to the number of available scholarships but the ones we are signing are fantastic. The future is bright here and we are continuing to rise."