Winning pedigree on display in UNLV football’s early signing day class

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UNLV football head coach Marcus Arroyo watches his team warm-up prior to its game at New Mexico. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

Marcus Arroyo was excited to bring up a special stat about UNLV football’s 10 member, class of 2022 recruiting class on early signing day. 

All 10 players had a combined record of 85-22 with their teams this past season. As Arroyo and his staff looked through players at the high school and junior college level, and in the transfer portal, signing championship-level, impact players was a top priority through the recruiting process. 

“There’s a bunch of guys who know and have been in locker rooms and on teams who know how to win,” Arroyo said. “There is a culture about that.”

“There’s a trait about that when you come from winning programs and you go to national championships or you go to state championships or you go deep into the playoffs and get used to that there’s a certain amount of innate, wanting, willing and understanding that then gets carried on to wherever you go.”

Four of the recruits are entering UNLV with state championship experience under their belts. Outside linebacker Fisher Camac led Highland High School in Arizona to a state title this year. And inside linebacker Fred Thompkins just won a junior college championship with City College of San Francisco. 

Despite UNLV’s recent struggles on the field, members from Arroyo’s first two recruiting classes have made immediate impacts. Wide receiver Kyle Williams won the 2020 Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors, and quarterback Cameron Friel picked up the honors this season. 

Throughout the recruiting process, Arroyo and his staff have taken advantage of its recent track record to show recruits that they can be given an opportunity to succeed. 

“We’ve recruited and developed back-to-back conference freshman of the year, which I think played into the staff, into the recruiting and played into the kind of edge in the movement we’re making here right now in our program,” Arroyo said.

One player from the class that stands out as a possible candidate to give UNLV its third winner in a row is Liberty High School quarterback Jayden Maiava. The 6-foot-4 Hawaiian committed to UNLV last spring and is the highest-rated high school quarterback in UNLV history, according to 247Sports. 

Arroyo praised Maiava’s elite arm strength, quick feet, accuracy in short and long situations, and mental makeup. And even compared him to Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert with his arm talent and size. 

“He has that talent, there’s no doubt about it,” Arroyo said of the three-star quarterback. “He’s as talented as I’ve seen in a while. We’ll find out what he’s like in the classroom when we get down to the grind, but there’s just a few players I’ve seen throw like that and one of them is prepping for a Thursday night NFL game.”

Maiava will be an early enrollee to UNLV, which will give him an opportunity to practice with the team in the spring and compete for the starting quarterback job. In total, five members will enroll at UNLV in January and allow them to take part in spring practice on March 29. 

For the first time in the Marcus Arroyo era, UNLV had the chance to show off the Fertitta Football Complex and Allegiant Stadium to recruits. Much of recruiting was done virtually last year and the 2020 class had to go through the lockdown shortly after they committed to UNLV. 

The Rebels got the chance to host their own camp at their new practice facility, which featured some of the recruits who were offered scholarships at camp. And show recruits what a UNLV football gameday experience is like in a fan-filled Allegiant Stadium. 

In total, UNLV signed six defensive players and four offensive players. Four of the Rebels’ signees are linebackers, which will be an area of focus for the Rebels after Jacoby Windmond transferred to Michigan State and Farrell Hester entered the transfer portal. 

Arroyo said there are still about 15-20 spots that will be filled on the Feb. 2 signing day. With the changing landscape of college football, caused by the transfer portal and immediate eligibility, Arroyo knows that recurring will go all the way up to the start of the season. 

“You’ve got to be flexible and you have to be proactive and thinking forward,” Arroyo said. “So you’re seeing some of the ways that we recruited, some things you’ve seen, some of the way that the rest of the country is recruiting and I’m excited about the way our staff is adjusted to those changes in the landscape.”

Full Signing Class:

Fisher Camac, outside linebacker, 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, (Highland HS, Gilbert, AZ)

Anthony Costanzo, defensive back, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, (Palmer Ridge HS, Monument, CO)

Darius Johnson, defensive lineman, 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, (Garden City Community College)

Jayden Maiava, quarterback, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, (Liberty HS, Las Vegas, NV)

Randy Masters, wide receiver, 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, (Yates HS, Houston, TX)

Noah McKinney, offensive lineman, 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, (Coronado HS, Las Vegas, NV)

Tanner Salisberry, inside linebacker, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, (San Ramon Valley HS, Danville, CA)

Isaiah Sayles, outside linebacker, 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, (Missouri State)

Fred Thompkins, inside linebacker, 6-foot, 235 pounds, (City College of San Francisco)

Jeff Weimer, wide receiver, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, (City College of San Francisco)

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