The Nevada Wolf Pack recently signed one of the nations top running backs Toa Taua to their already stacked 2018 recruiting class. Taua, a four-star recruit, picked Nevada over Iowa State, Utah State, New Mexico and many other schools.
The 5’10, 270-pound Taua also played linebacker and safety at Lompoc High School in California but will become a full-time tailback for Jay Norvell’s offense. Taua rushed for 4612 yards and 73 touchdowns throughout his high school tenure. Most recently, Taua played for Team Makai and coach Terry Donahue in the Polynesian Bowl. Taua rushed for two touchdowns in the game as Team Makai dominated Team Mauka in a 31-14 win.
For Nevada fans, the last name Taua may sound familiar because Taua’s brother, Vai, is currently Nevada’s Special Teams Coordinator. Vai Taua was also a running back for the Wolf Pack from 2007 to 2010.
Nevada also signed running back Devonte Lee in Dec. 2017. Lee is a two-star recruit from Oklahoma’s John Marshall High School. According to 247Sports, Lee rushed for over 6600 yards and 89 touchdowns on the school’s varsity team. Lee, made viral headlines in early January after his high school highlight reel was quoted on Twitter by NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The signings of Taua and Lee add more firepower to a Wolf Pack Offense that scored more than 40 points multiple times last season. It also makes for a congested Wolf Pack backfield as the two are expected to play behind Kelton Moore and Jaxson Kincaide. Kincaide was injured much of last season, so if he cannot stay healthy it may open up opportunities for the two incoming freshmen.
The Wolf Pack defense lacked Coach Norvell’s trademark Nevada Grit last season as they ranked 119th in total defense in the country, out of 129 teams.
On the same day Taua committed to Nevada, the Pack also got a commitment from junior college transfer Tristan Nichols. Nichols is a top-25 defensive tackle from Arizona and is expected to immediately help the Pack’s lackluster run defense. Nichols originally committed to Hawaii in the summer of 2017 but repealed his original commitment to join Nevada. Nichols also had interest from Oregon State and New Mexico.
Nevada’s pass defense was equally as disappointing as the rush defense last season. Nathaniel Vaughn is a transfer from California’s El Camino Junior College who committed to Nevada in July 2017. Vaughn along with signees Jaden Dedman, Josiah Bradley and Emany Johnson is expected to add depth to help with the replacement of Vosean Crumbie who announced he was leaving for the NFL Draft via Twitter.
One reason Jay Norvell was brought in as head coach of Nevada’s football program was because of his recruiting ability. With the no. 75 recruiting class in the nation and the second-ranked class in the Mountain West, Norvell seems to be off to a great start in his first full offseason recruiting period.