UNLV football adds Power 5 talent with transfer additions

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UNLV Football head coach Marcus Arroyo stands on the sidelines of Allegiant Stadium as the team warm-ups for a game during the 2021 season. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV football announced the addition of seven new transfers to the program on Feb. 2 as part of its 2022 recruiting class. 

All seven members of the class will be immediately eligible to play in the 2022 season. Six transfers are from four-year schools and one is from junior college. 

There are notable members of this signing class that come from Power 5 schools, which include Tennessee quarterback Harrison Bailey, Michigan State wide receiver Ricky White, and Florida State outside linebacker Jordan Eubanks. 

One of the headliners of the group is Bailey. The four-star high school prospect appeared in six games and made three starts as a freshman in 2020. But after a coaching change and only appearing in one game in 2021, Bailey entered the transfer portal. 

Bailey will enter a crowded quarterback room that includes Doug Brumfield, reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year Cameron Friel, and freshman Jayden Maiava. Head coach Marcus Arroyo was clear to Bailey and the other quarterbacks that the job is up for grabs. 

“I’m very transparent with the group,” Arroyo said. “Anyone we add to any of these rooms is coming in to compete for a job.”

Bailey has a connection with another member of the class, White. The two were high school teammates together and Arroyo acknowledged that their relationship was a factor in both deciding to come to UNLV.

“It’s not a hidden secret that those relationships from players when you recruit them carry weight,” Arroyo said. “Those guys have conversations that you’re not privy to, because of their relationship and their trust and their bond and their time together.”

Just like with Bailey, White enters a crowded wide receiver room that includes Kyle Williams, Zyell Griffin and Steve Jenkins. Arroyo said that White has already come in with the current receivers and has been accepted by the guys, calling White “a great addition at wide receiver room.”

Defensively, Eubanks will look to come in and add to an already young defensive line group for the Rebels. Arroyo sees similarities and potential with Eubanks, to some current players on the roster.  

“(Eubanks’) physicalness at the line of scrimmage, we feel he’ll grow into something very similar to what Brennan Scott’s doing for us on the edge with that size and growth potential so excited about,” Arroyo said. 

The only member of the class that is a “Super Senior,” and has just one year of eligibility is SMU transfer and offensive lineman Cobe Bryant. Arroyo anticipates Bryant to come in and immediately fill the holes the Rebels have at the tackle position with his maturity, experience, size and length. 

Arroyo knew that there are still holes that he needs to fill with the rest of the open spots he has for high school players or transfers, with tight ends, defensive linemen and cornerbacks being near the top of the list. 

But the biggest void he has to fill is the one left by the graduating Charles Williams. The school’s all-time leading rusher created a high standard in the running back room. Arroyo said he will not sign a running back because they need to fill that spot, but he is confident that someone who will meet their standards will be available soon. 

“We’re confident that there’s going to be an opportunity for us to add value to that room,” Arroyo said. “It’ll be coming soon or this next wave or summer so we’re staying open to that.” 

Another void Arroyo will have to fill is the opening left by offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas, who left the Rebels for Arizona State. Arroyo said that there is a lot of interest in the job and they need to find the right fit. 

When talking about the current wide receiver room, Arroyo said that he wants to be aggressive through the air. That he wants to be able to stretch the field, create more space on the field, and overall have more explosive plays. The next offensive coordinator could likely be someone who fits all those bills and is able to get the most out of a wide receiver group that has a lot of potential, along with helping find the right quarterback.

UNLV announced 10 members of the 2022 class on Dec. 15 as part of the early signing day, which included six high school players. UNLV will announce the remaining players that will fill its open spots at a later date. 

Arroyo anticipates that there will be another group of guys that will be announced to the program. He said given the ever changing landscape of college football and attrition that will come from winter and spring practices, the Rebels will have to be prepared to fill spots that open up unexpectedly. 

“There’s going to be a third wave, there’s going to be another wave of guys,” Arroyo said. “And I think that’s the world we’re living in right now and how this is working, and we’re prepared for that. We’re keeping a couple (of transfers) in our pocket.”

Arroyo said the program is currently in “phase one” of the offseason with weight lifting, yoga and mindset training underway for the players, while the coaches continue to evaluate the roster and culture of the program. “Phase two” starts near the end of February with the team getting back on the practice field for morning workouts.

Spring football will be the last phase of the off season, which is set to start on March 29. Arroyo said that the team will be working on possibly doing a scrimmage late in April at Allegiant Stadium for the fans and community, near the end of spring football. 

Nothing has been officially announced yet as Arroyo called the project a “moving target” since they will have to navigate the NFL Draft happening around that time. 

Here is the full list of the seven transfers that signed with the Rebels on Feb. 2: 

Harrison Bailey-QB, Tennessee

Cobe Bryant-OL, SMU

Jordan Eubanks-OLB, Florida State

Trenton Holloway-DB, City College of San Francisco

Senika McKie-WR, Erskine College

Preston Nichols-OL, Charleston Southern

Ricky White-WR, Michigan State

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