Welcome to the sixth 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 Fresno State.
6th in MWCConnection Recruiting Rankings.
After two seasons of looking like one of, if not the best team in the Mountain West the past two seasons, it was though Fresno State would continue that in 2019. However, the wheels completely fell off this season for the Bulldogs. They lose their first two games against Power 5 teams before bouncing back with two wins, and it seemed like things were getting back on track. They continued alternating wins and losses and sat 4-4 at one point. It looked like Fresno State may pull themselves up and salvage the season, but it didn’t happen. They dropped their last four games, and their disappointing season finally came to a merciful end.
Part of the issue was the dominant Fresno State defense of the past two years was nowhere to be found. They could not seem to overcome the attrition of players graduating or leaving early. Outside of a player or two in the secondary and one of the best linebackers in the MWC, the defense was in need of a significant upgrade. On the other side of the ball, quarterback left something to be desired, and at times their offense was too one dimensional, although the running game was quite the force, especially in finding the endzone.
The Road So Far:
If anyone guessed that Fresno State would do the majority of their recruiting in their home state of California, they would be absolutely correct. Every single of their 12 players who signed last week come out of Cali. If fact, only one other verbal commit was outside the state, with the lone outlier being from Nevada.
Looking at the offense, there was some much-needed talent added in this class. QB Logan Fife looks like who could develop into a multi-year starter type of player. RB Malik Sherrod brings some potential star-power to the backfield, and slot-receiver type Mac Delana appears to have a future as a play-maker who can impact an offense in a variety of ways. The Bulldogs also added to the trenches, with big OL players Joseph Church and Julian Polendo to go along with talented tight end Matt Lowe.
The defense added to their ranks as well with five new players, especially in the secondary. Junior college DL Da’Marcus Johnson should be able to step in and help as soon as next season, while linebacker Tyler Mello is an intriguing talent. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact he makes in a few years. In the secondary, Kam Forest is a really nice talent and is joined by Dupree Williams and Kosi Agina.
Number who signed in December: 12
Number who will enroll early: 1
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: WR, DL, LB
This looks to be a class similar to the classes they’ve produced the past two years. Filled with some talent, but not in the upper ranks of the conference. There’s nothing wrong with that, but also nothing to suggest help will be coming immediately to reverse last year’s season. However, recruiting is still used to build towards the future, and that is what Fresno State is doing here.
They appear to have future building blocks at running back, offensive line, and defensive back. Going into January, they need to continue that at a few more positions. Wide receiver is a significant need in this class, and finding another pass-catcher to pair for Dalena and perhaps put on the outside would go a long way. It would also be expected they continue to add to their defense in this class, considering how much that side of the ball was lacking this year on the field. Linebacker and the defensive line could use injections of talent, and the Bulldogs may get lucky finding a project player or two who could develop over the next two to three years. If they can get a high-ceiling player or a talent who needs to add size before all is said and done, it would complete this class nicely.
Previous posts: Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada, San Jose State, Air Force
Coming tomorrow: San Diego State