It might not have gotten rave reviews from the national recruiting experts but UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said he was very happy with the 16 members that made up his 2014 recruiting class on Wednesday.
“It’s not high in numbers but it’s high in quality,” Hauck said of the group that includes six junior college transfers and 10 defensive players.
Five of the signees are defensive linemen, including junior college tackles Tui Maloata (6-3, 260) from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., and Billy Tanuvasa (6-2, 290) from Santa Ana (Calif.) JC, and end Najee Johnson (6-5, 220) of Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC.
“Our top three defensive tackles (Tyler Gaston, Alex Klorman, Mark Garrick) are out the door as seniors,” Hauck said. “We felt the need to go to the junior college ranks to supplemental that. We expect these guys to come in and have an immediate impact.”
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The other junior college signees included quarterback Blake Decker (6-2, 205) of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, a mid-year enrollee who will compete for the starting job in spring practice, linebacker Elexious Perkins II (6-0, 210) of San Bernardino Valley College and safety Blake Richmond (6-3, 190) of Santa Rosa JC.
The Rebels also convinced four local products to stay home: Palo Verde defensive lineman Mike Hughes (6-3, 295), Desert Pines defensive back Tim Hough (6-0, 175), Silverado tight end Austin Hunt (6-6, 235) and Green Valley placekicker Conor Perkins (5-8, 160).
Perkins, expected to step in for another former Green Valley product, Nolan Kohorst, informed Hauck recently that he plans to take a two-year church mission before starting his college career. Hauck said the Rebels will recruit another kicker to assume Kohorst’s duties in the fall. Hunt also will take a mission before enrolling.
The other new Rebels are defensive back Chazz Eldridge (6-2, 185) of Chino Hills (Calif.) HS, who originally verbally committed to Arizona, cornerback Dominique Fenstermacher (5-10, 175) of Mountain Pointe HS in Phoenix, which knocked off Bishop Gorman at Fertitta Field last season, offensive lineman Phillip Haynes (6-4, 270) of Dallas Skyline, offensive lineman Gavin Peterson (6-3, 275) of Seven Lakes HS in Katy, Tex., defensive lineman Joseph Salazar (6-4, 230) of Atascocita HS in Houston and quarterback Kevin Thomson (6-2, 190) of Riverside HS in Auburn, Wash.
Recruiting services weren’t exactly overwhelmed by UNLV’s class. Rivals.com rated the Rebels No. 117, last among Mountain West schools, while Scout.com had them No. 120, just above Wyoming. 247sports.com ranked UNLV No. 128.
The Rebels open spring practice on March 3. To hear more about what Hauck has to say about his class, check out the VIDEO above.