SUU Strategic Communications

SUU Football Welcomes 34 Thunderbirds on #SUUNSD17

February 01, 2017
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah – The Southern Utah University football program is excited to announce the incoming class of #SUUNLI17 and welcome them to the Thunderbird family.

The incoming Thunderbird class includes 29 freshmen and four transfers.

Aaron Zwahlen, QB, University of Hawaii

Zwahlen is joining the Thunderbirds from the University of Hawaii, where he signed in 2013. At the time he was the No. 10 QB prospect according to ESPN. He was second in the state of California in touchdowns behind Jake Browning, and is the record holder for touchdowns thrown in the first half. He also owns all major passing records at Downey High school.  

AJ Stanley, FS, Hart High School

Stanley holds Hart High School’s record for interceptions. He was also named to the All-CIF Defensive Team, as well as All-State, All-Area First Team and LA Daily News First Team.  

Alex Croyle, WR, Snow College

Croyle was a two-time WSFL First Team All-Conference wide receiver and led the WSFL Conference in receptions. He was also All-State in lacrosse.

Austin Leausa, OL, West Jordan High School

Leausa was named to the All-State Academic Team and was an All-State Honorable mention in Utah in 2016. He led West Jordan in pancake blocks with 71.

Braxton Jones, OL, Murray High School

Jones, a product of Murray High School, was Second Team All-Region in 2016 and an All-State Honorable Mention.

Bryan Beckon, WR, Catalina High School

Beckon started on both offense and defense for three seasons and helped lead him team to the 4A state title game. He was named First Team All-State at wide receiver and defensive back. He racked up 1,205 receiving yards, 51 catches, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions during his senior season. 

Bundy Sewell, DT, Desert Hills High School

Sewell earned First Team All-State, First Team All-Tribune and First Team All-Defense at Desert Hills High School. He was also named the Desert Hills Football Defensive MVP. 

Collin Larsen, OL, Jordan High School

Larsen comes to Southern Utah as a legacy name, following in the footsteps brother Zach Larsen, who started last season for the Thunderbirds and his other brother, Cody, who played for SUU and spent time on an NFL training camp roster. Collin Larsen was named First Team All-Region in 2016, with 25 tackles and 10 tackles for loss. He was also named his team’s offensive line MVP.

Darian Fernandez, DB, Santa Margarita High School

Fernandez will come to Southern Utah from Santa Margarita High School in California. During his career he totaled 78 tackles, 17 pass deflections and five interceptions.   

Darrion Alton, WR, Grand Junction High School

Alton is joining the Thunderbird family from Grand Junction, Colorado. First Team All-State and First Team All-Conference in 2016. Had two straight seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards to go along with his 41 career touchdowns.

Dillon Smith, ATH, Beaver High School

Smith is staying in Iron County to play college football, as the Beaver product has chosen Southern Utah. Smith was a three-year started, and was All-State two of those three seasons. He was named Deseret News MVP twice and named to the USA Today HS Sports All-USA team.

Donovan Faumui, LB, Timpview High School

Faumui, a product of Timpview, was named First Team All-Region and Second Team All-State following his senior year.

Dylan Tucker, OL, Layton High School

Tucker was a 5A Second Team All-State selection by the Salt Lake Tribune, and a 5A All-State Honorable Mention by the Deseret News. He was also named First Team All-Region. Tucker was also a state champion in wrestling twice.

Ethan Sutton, DE, Idaho Falls High School

Sutton earned the title of Second Team All-State, Second Team High County and First Team All-Area. He accounted for 12.5 sacks, 32 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles playing for Idaho Falls High school.  

Gavin Eyre, TE, Grantsville High School

Eyre was named First Team All-State by the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune coming out of Grantsville High School. First Team All-Region for 3A North. Accounted for 70 receptions, 1,115 yards and nine touchdowns.

Jordan Walker, LB, Silverado High School

Walker is joining the Thunderbirds from Silverado High School in Nevada, where he was named First Team All-Conference and earned an All-Academic Leadership Award. He was also a Blue and Grey All-American.

Josh Madsen, OL, Bear River High School

Madsen is a 6-foot-2 230 lb offensive lineman from Bear River. Following his senior season, Madsen was named to the 3AA Second Team.

Keone Tupuola, DE, Mountain Crest High School

Tupuola was a team captain of the squad at Mountain Crest High School, where he was named Second Team All-Region. He racked up 49 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Kobe Toa, OL, La Mirada High School

Toa, a native of California, is coming to SUU from La Mirada High School. He has been named First Team All-Whittier Daily News, First team Dream Team and was named Suburban League Offensive Line MVP.

Lelon Dillard, RB, Desert Vista High School

Dillard did a little bit of everything for Desert Valley High School. He was named 6A Defensive Player of the Year, as well as earning First Team All-Region status as a running back. He was also an All State defensive back and team MVP.  

Manny Berz, K, Citrus Hill High School

The Thunderbirds have landed a top notch kicker in Berz. Berz holds the California record for most field goals made in a high school career. He was named League MVP, Special Teams MVP, First Team All-State and was the winner of California’s Wendy’s High School Heisman.

Mario Williams, CB, Narbonne High School

Williams, a native of California, was a Second Team All-City selection at defensive back with 77 tackles, 31 pass deflections and a forced fumble.

Marquez Tucker, OL, Mesa Community College

Tucker is joining the Thunderbirds from Mesa Community College, where he helped the team reach the No. 5 spot in the country and a Valley of the Sun Bowl Championship.

Mike Sims, CB, Arbor View High School

Sims is from Arbor View High School in Nevada, where he earned the designation of First Team All-State and First Team All-League. He totaled seven interceptions, 81 tackles and 26 pass deflections in his high school career. He is also the brother of current Thunderbird football player Alex Sims.

Nick Colson, TE, University of Nevada

Colson is joining the Thunderbirds from Nevada. In high school, he was First Team All-Conference with 51 receptions, 1,026 all purpose yards and 10 touchdowns. Colson recently returned from a two-year LDS mission.

Quaid Murray, DL, Cedar High School

Murray is sticking to his roots as the Cedar City Native trades in his Cedar High jersey for a Southern Utah uniform. He was named First Team All-State by both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune with 77 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery during his career.

Ryan Johnson, RB, Chandler High School

Johnson joins the Thunderbirds from Arizona, as a product of Chandler High School. Johnson enters T-Bird territory as a 5-foot-9 170 lb running back.

Ryan Schoen, OL, Lone Peak High School

Coming to SUU from Lone Peak, Schoen was named First Team All-State in 5A, First Team All-Region and First Team by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Somtochukwu Achebo, ATH, Granger High School

Achebo, from Granger High School, had a very successful high school career both on and off the playing field. He was his team’s defensive MVP in 2016. He was also an All-Region basketball player and was MVP of Granger’s soccer team for three seasons. He was also the Student Body President of the high school.

Terrance Beasley, RB, St. John Bosco High School

Beasley is joining the T-Birds from St. John Bosco in California, where his team won the California High School State Championship. He had 27 touchdowns in his career and 1,431 rushing yards averaging eight yards per carry during his senior season.

Tielu Tiatia, LB, Hunter High School

Tiatia, from Hunter High School, was a Second Team All-Region performer and an All-State Honorable Mention. He was also a member of the All-Academic Team.

Wynton Lamar, ATH, Roy High School

Out of Roy High School, Lamar was the Region 1 Defensive MVP. He was All-State 5A as well as being named First Team by the Salt Lake Tribune and Second Team by the Deseret News. 

Zeivaun Ned, CB, Agassi Prep High School

Ned, from Agassi Prep in Nevada, was the MVP of his team his senior year. He was also an All-State and a two time All-american in wrestling and ran a 10.56 in the 100-meter dash as a three sport student athlete.

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