Welcome to the fourth piece in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim 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:
4th in MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings.
A year ago, San Jose State was crawling to the finish line at the end of the season after their one win. This year, emotions are flying high with five wins and newly found hope after the 2019 season. They found a competitive formula of an efficient offense behind a talented and accurate quarterback, a few big-play wide receivers, and a defense that succeeded based on turnovers.
If the Spartans want to keep the good times going, they need to find and develop another quarterback with the graduation of Josh Love. Likewise, one of their top two receivers is departing as well, and some new blood could be used at offensive line for depth purposes. Over on the defense, most of their key players are departing or entering their seniors seasons, so replacing their production is essential if San Jose State wants to avoid the significant steps back after a successful senior-led campaign.
The Road So Far:
San Jose State continues to make significant strides on the recruiting trail. 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 all the way on the other side of the country in Florida.
Starting with the offense, the Spartans only secured three players during this signing period. They still added some talent though, with Shamar Garrett, the little scat-back who can be a valuable weapon and used in a variety of ways in their scheme. Tight end Sam Olson looks like a nice target in their passing game, and they’ve shown an ability to use TEs well in their offense. Lastly, junior college OL Lamar Barrett is a huge interior lineman who can plug into the lineup immediately.
Onto the defensive side of things, a ton of work was done on the recruiting trail. Grady Manley should develop into a nice athlete at end, while JUCO additions Noah Wright and Jay Kakiva should step on to the field right away, especially Kakiva. The linebacker trio of Elijah Wood, Elijah Lawson, and Dion Leonard bring a lot of size to the future of the position. Defensive back was a huge area of concentration in this class, as evidenced by seven players added to the program. Transfer Kenyon Reed and JC Malik Welch provide instant depth while Malik Greer and Chance Johnson can redshirt and develop. Teammates Zavion Reese and Jalen Bainer are the type of player the Spartans have had great success recruiting the past few seasons. The real talent at this unit is Jalen Apalit-Williams, who is a big talent and could play as a true freshman.
Number who signed in December: 16
Number who will enroll early: 3
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: QB, WR, OL
It’s a bit funny that San Jose State had the second-highest number of recruits signed in the Mountain West (excluding Air Force) during the December signing period, but yet they still have quite a bit of work to accomplish before the February signing period.
The defense is pretty well taken care of unless they want to add another high school defensive line recruit. However, it’s the offense that is looking pretty bare as things stand today. First and foremost, they will look to take a quarterback. Presumed started Nick Nash is a dual-threat type, so perhaps a pocket passer like outgoing Josh Love is the way to go. Next, of course, are weapons to throw to. The Spartans do an excellent job finding athletes at the skills positions like they did with the DBs and now need to identify and land at least two wide receivers to keep that trend going. Their system has done well with WRs who either possess great speed or great hands, which should be a selling point in recruiting. Finally, finding a few high school offensive lineman to tie things together. The Spartans have actually recruited OL players well in past years, and it would be a mild surprise if they didn’t continue to do so.
All in all, there is a lot to like in this class. There’s quite a bit of talent and a good balance of high school and junior college talent to bridge the gap with so many seniors leaving. The only issue is the majority of signees are on the defensive side of the ball. If SJSU can balance that out, expect them to stay up towards the top of the Mountain West in terms of team recruiting rankings.
Previous posts: Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada
Coming tomorrow: Air Force