Just a few days before the official opening of the transfer portal, several Utah State football players, including recent First Team All-Mountain West selections Ike Larsen and Jalen Royals, took to social media to announce they will remain Aggies and look to build off the 6-6 regular season they just completed.
The “run it back” charge kicked off with linebacker Anthony Switzer, who teased the announcement that he would stay on Thursday before releasing a social media post confirming his return on Friday.
To Aggie Nation💙 pic.twitter.com/toz67HdmAg
— Anthony “BuckO” Switzer (@Switzer1k) December 1, 2023
Switzer had heavily hinted at this fact earlier on Nov. 25 when he said on social media: “We’re staying put and we’re going to build a great program.” Running back Rahsul Faison reposted that message with simply a “shout out” emoji as commentary, presumably echoing the sentiment of wanting to stay put.
A little under two hours after Switzer made his return official, Royals followed suit with an announcement of his own. Soon after, another Aggie running back, Davon Booth, joined the run-it-back party with a post of his own.
— Jalen Royals (@RoyalsJalen) December 1, 2023
I’m staying too y’all😂🌚🏾 pic.twitter.com/TGQBZE17Pj
— Davon Booth (@Vonn_6k) December 2, 2023
Perhaps no Aggie player’s decision about his future in a USU uniform was more anticipated than Ike Larsen’s. Earlier in the week he teased football fans with a post that could have been interpreted as a struggle he may have been having with what decision to make. But on Friday, like his other teammates, Larsen took to social media to also announce his intentions.
“I am calling out all of Aggie Nation,” Larsen said in his post. “It is time to double down and continue to build this program the right way!”
— Ike Larsen (@IkeLarsen19) December 2, 2023
It’s a sign of the current state of college football that these players had to announce that they’re not leaving the school they’re currently at (and still have another game to play for) but it’s certainly assuring to fans that these star players have plans to remain and not join the growing throngs of star players that transfer at the drop of a hat.
These five Aggies, the first but likely not the last, to announce a return are among the most important players on the team. Larsen and Switzer are second and third, respectively, in tackles on the team with Larsen leading the team in interceptions. Royals is just the fourth Aggie this century to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a season and is currently tied ,with one game to go, for the single-season record for receiving touchdowns (14). Then there’s the fact Booth and Faison are first and second in rushing yards, combining for 1,422 rushing yards (on 6.4 yards per carry) and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Utah State head coach Blake Anderson has previously talked about needing to retain talent and continue to build rather than constantly rebuilding from offseason attrition. This is a big step toward accomplishing that.