UNLV is positioned to become the class of the Mountain West
Photo: Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV doesn't have proud football tradition and it doesn't have recent success. But what they do have is more important going forward. Money, location, facilities and coaching.
Let's start with money and facilities. UNLV was able to build a state of the art football operations building in 2019. The Fertitta Football Complex was built for $34 million and can compete with any football operations building on the West Coast. They will also share a $1.9 billion stadium with the Las Vegas Raiders and have already attracted top notch OOC opponents to visit Sin City. Both Cal and Arizona State will play UNLV in Las Vegas in 2020. Future home schedules include UCLA, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, and BYU.
Marcus Arroyo, the Oregon Ducks star OC, was named the new UNLV Head Coach this past December. Arroyo helped lead the Ducks to a 12 win season in 2019 with an offense that averaged 35.4 points per game (16th nationally). Arroyo also managed to land an outstanding staff. Jordan Paopao will be the tight ends coach after developing 6 NFL tight ends at Washington. Peter Hansen was named DC after coaching Stanford linebackers for 6 years. Tre Watson will coach defensive backs after playing at Washington and being a graduate assistant at Oregon. These coaches have all proven they can recruit and develop at a high level.
The final key for the Rebels is their location in one of the most fun and glamorous cities in the United States... Las Vegas. What recruit wouldn't want to check out The Enterainment Capital of the World while also experiencing some of the best facilities in college football? The location is part of why so many excellent coaches reached out to UNLV about their head coaching vacancy and why the Pac-12 will be hosting their conference title game there in 2020.
Marcus Arroyo has already made an instant impact on the recruiting trail during his short time as the Rebels' coach. UNLV's 2020 recruiting class finished 2nd in the Mountain West according to the 247 Sports Composite Rankings and finished ahead of traditional G5 powers such as BYU, Houston and San Diego State. This was a jump from finishing 8th in the Mountain West in 2019 under Tony Sanchez.
Arroyo won't be able to turn UNLV into a perennial power overnight but given time to recruit a level of athlete that the Rebels have never seen before, the program should swiftly rise up the ranks and even be able to position themselves as a candidate for P5 expansion if the opportunity knocks. In the meantime, get used to seeing UNLV playing in bowl games and giving the rest of the Mountain West problems every Saturday.