Blake Anderson adds former Aggies Lapuaho and Tialavea to coaching staff, defines Keeton’s role on staff

Former USU football players DJ Tialavea (left) and Chuckie Keeton (right) join the Utah State football coaching staff.

LOGAN – New Utah State Aggie head football coach Blake Anderson is adding some familiar names to his coaching staff. During his introductory press conference on Dec. 14th Anderson already announced that former USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton would be on his staff, but did not define what Keeton’s role would be. On Monday, Anderson announced that Keeton would coach running backs at USU. Anderson also named former Aggie tight end DJ Tialavea as his new tight ends coach, and former USU lineman Al Lapuaho as the defensive line coach. Both are Utah natives.

Keeton spent the previous two seasons in Lubbock, Texas under Matt Wells at Texas Tech University as an offensive graduate assistant. Before that, he spent one season (2018) as an offensive graduate assistant at USU. Keeton was also an offensive quality control assistant in 2016 and an offensive graduate assistant in 2017 at Oregon State University under Gary Andersen.

I’m extremely grateful to be able to return to my alma mater and help lead Aggie football back to national prominence,” said Keeton in an official release. “I’m even more privileged to be able to coach a position group with such tremendous historical success. I’m excited to get to work with the players and other coaches!”

As a player, Keeton was part of the USU football team from 2011-2015, finishing with more than 10 school records, including ranking first with 62 career touchdown passes.

“You couldn’t ask for a better ambassador of Aggie Football than Chuckie Keeton,” said Anderson. “He understands our culture as well as anyone and has invested a great deal into this program as both a player and coach. Chuckie will bring great energy and knowledge to the offensive side of the football and his familiarity with the state of Texas, from a recruiting standpoint, is an added bonus to the future success of our program.”

Tialavea is elevated to a position coach after spending last season at USU as an offensive graduate assistant coaching the tight ends. As a player, Tialavea was a four-year letterwinner (2010-13) and three-year captain for Utah State along the defensive line and at tight end, helping the Aggies to three straight bowl games and the 2012 Western Athletic Conference title. He was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2014, but also spent time with the Buffalo Bills before being signed to Atlanta’s practice squad in 2015. He also spent time with the Chicago Bears for the 2017 season.

Tialavea is a native of West Jordan.

Lapuaho will be entering his fourth season with USU after spending this past season as a strength and conditioning graduate assistant. Previously, he was a defensive graduate assistant working with the defensive line for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Before returning to Logan, Lapuaho spent two seasons (2016-17) at Oregon State under Gary Andersen as a defensive graduate assistant, working specifically with the defensive line.

Lapuaho started all 26 games during his two year career with the Aggies, finishing with 66 total tackles, which included 4.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss. He earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as a senior as he led all USU defensive linemen with 35 tackles, which included 3.0 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss, while adding four quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.

Lapuaho is a native of West Valley.

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