Welcome to the eighth piece in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. The aim of these articles is to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured, in order of where they fall in their current MWCConnection ranking. Today looks at San Jose State.
San Jose State:
8th in MWConnection Recruiting Rankings.
It has to get worse before it gets better right? If anything, that likely sums up the season for the Spartans as it was a very rough year. The losses start right from the get-go in the opener against FCS-level UC Davis. Then it was two big losses to PAC-12 teams, though those were expected. Two nail-biting losses to Hawaii and SDSU were sandwiched between a double-digit loss to Colorado State and an embarrassing blowout to Army. However, after those seven straight losses, their lone win versus UNLV arrived. Unfortunately, there were four more games after that, all against bowl-eligible teams, and thus resulted in losses.
The Spartans base offense is a 3 WR set with a TE and RB. The slot receiver is usually a bit undersized but makes up for it with shiftiness and speed. The outside wideouts often have a bit more size, with at least one being more of a deep threat. The tight end most likely will have to be balanced in pass-catching as well as blocking in the run game.
Defensively, they run a 3-4. The DL is key here, as there is lots of size across the board. The NT (310+ range) plays the right on the ball and the goal is someone who is disruptive enough to need multiple blockers. Each end usually plays the 3 and 5 (280-300 range) techniques, so think of them are more DTs in a 4-3 scheme. The OLBs are more speed orientated plays skilled at rushing the passer while the ILBs are responsible mainly for stopping the run game.
The Road So Far:
For as little as the Spartans may have done on the field the past two seasons, they are have made a few splashes on the recruiting trail. They were able to secure signings from fourteen players on December 19th, with an unbalanced ten on the offensive end, which means four came in to play defense. The #ShieldTheBay philosophy was in full force, as all except one of the commits came from the state of California. The lone exception hails from Arizona and powerhouse program Saguaro HS.
Starting with the quarterback, the Spartans got a good one in Alex Trujillo, who immediately becomes their QB of the future. He should form a solid tandem with running back Adi Anderson down the line. However, it’s the wide receiver group that really stands out here. Malikhi Miller will bring the height and Jamar Simpson will bring the speed, while Isaiah Holiness appears to be some combination of both. JUCO Tight end Derrick Deese will get involved in the offense too, likely the red-zone, with his 6’4 frame. The offensive line signees have a nice balance for the present and the future. Grad-transfer Quinn Oseland and junior college Scott Breslin figure to step into roles right away, while Jelani Newman and Justin Scrempos may need some time to develop. Although Scrempos already possesses the size (6’8, 342 lbs!) to play at the college level.
Onto the defensive side of things, there are two linebackers and two defensive backs currently in the fold. At linebacker, Cameron Hanson is a solid pickup from the junior college ranks and should compete for time at an inside spot next season. He is joined by another inside backer in Jordan Cobbs. Bringing in Hanson will give Cobbs time to develop and learn the system. The two defensive backs, though both high school players, could compete for playing time sooner rather than later. Stan Livingstone will be on campus next semester to get a head start and brings size to the cornerback spot. Then, BJ Johnson may end being the star of this class and most certainly figures to play next year. It’s easy to see him playing a safety spot with his size (6’3) and athleticism.
Number who signed in December: 14
Number who will enroll early: 2
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: DL, LB, DB
First things first for San Jose State coming out of the dead period. Like every other MWC team who has verbal commits who did not sign in December, they need to seal the deal with their two unsigned commits. DT William Vehikite would like great as a nose tackle and LB Jackson Canaan can slide into one of the outside spots. Securing these two players would go a long way towards solidifying the class for the Spartans.
Outside of those two recruits, another defensive lineman or two may not be a bad idea. Another defensive back may also look good in this class. The January recruiting period may allow them to identify recruits who are highly projectable but need a few years to develop. Or, in the case of DL, a player who has the skills but needs time to put on weight.
Since the Spartans secured the bulk of their class and some talent at key positions, they can now focus on finding some intriguing final pieces to the 2019 recruiting puzzle. There are quite a few players who can come in and play right away or else soon and expect any new commits (not counting the two verbals) to go to players who need time to develop to the college game.
Coming tomorrow: Air Force