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2019 Recruiting Breakdown: Fresno State

Bulldogs land a huge headliner recruit and sprinkle in talent elsewhere.

NCAA Football: Mountain West Championship-Fresno State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the fourth post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #4 team in our rankings, Fresno State.

Fresno State has been the best team in the conference during the two year period of the Tedford era. As dominant as they have been on the field, it hasn’t quite translated to the recruiting trail to the same degree. That’s not to say the Bulldogs aren’t bringing in talent in their class, but rather not to the same extent. Tedford and his staff identified the positions they wanted to restock in their 2018 and 2019 classes. Development over recruiting rankings have been a hallmark of Tedford’s coaching through the years, especially when he had to compete against USC for recruits.

The Skinny:

  • 15 recruits signed
  • 8 offensive, 7 defensive
  • 1 player was listed as 4-stars by at least one recruiting site,
  • 13 others listed at 3-stars by one of the major recruiting sites.
  • Breakdown by state: 12 California, 1 Arizona, 1 Arkansas, 1 Nevada, 1 Texas, 1 Washington
  • 100th in the 247 Composite Rankings

The Players:

RB Peyton Dixon

  • Fresno State was picky with running back recruits and they like what they have in Peyton Dixon. He’s a speedy runner who reaches his top speed quickly and is able to blow past players at every level of the defense. Dixon isn’t afraid to burst through the line for the hard-fought yards but he also has the vision to bounce outside to get into the open field where he really excels. Also, he can line up wide as a receiver and catches the ball well, which is important in today’s game. Peyton should have no trouble becoming a feature back at the next level.

WR Jalen Cropper

  • Jalen Cropper is another player with the talent to play and make an impact right away. He is at his best getting the ball in space and using his quickness and athleticism to make plays, whether that is done on offense or in the return game. Cropper can be used in a variety of ways on offense; his film shows elite effectiveness in the screen game, as a running back, as well as the intermediate and deep passing game. Jalen will be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses over the next three to four seasons.

WR Jamal Glaspie

  • Jamal Glaspie is an explosive athlete who can impact a game as both a wide receiver and a returner (he played defensive back as well in high school). He is a true deep threat who tracks the ball well in the air and has a nice catch radius. Glaspie is most dangerous after the catch with the ball in his hands where he can make use of his speed, change of direction and elusiveness. Jamal is certainly talented enough to find a role next year but may also benefit from a redshirt.

WR Josh Kelly

  • Josh Kelly continues the trend for Fresno State of nabbing big wide receivers in this class. He’s another potential deep threat who uses his size well along the sidelines and has a big catch radius. Kelly seems to do very well make a move to one side and then cutting back and turning to the other, which allows him to gain a step on the defender and be open for the play. After the catch, he turns up field right away and is shifty when making players miss in traffic. Kelly will have a crowded competition but will have a role in the group moving forward.

JUCO WR Keric Wheatfall

  • Keric Wheatfall is one of three JUCO players expected to come in and provide a boost on the offensive end. To say he is a dynamic wide receiver is an understatement. The first thing to notice about Wheatfall on film is how he beats his man on a move right at the line of scrimmage and then just out runs them down the field to make a big play. His speed is clearly his biggest asset but he has solid hands and positions himself well to catch the ball in stride. Keric will make a lot of big plays for Fresno State during his time there and should be penciled into the starting lineup right away.

JUCO TE Juan Rodriguez

  • Juan Rodriguez is one of the two top junior college tight end recruits the Bulldogs were able to secure. He’s quite the athlete and a physical, aggressive blocker on the line. However, he’s at his best as a receiver. Rodriguez can line up on the line or in the backfield, which makes his routes unpredictable. He is a nice weapon on short drag or crossing routes and moves well enough to run up the seam for bigger plays. Juan should be in for red-zone plays where he can make an impact as a blocker or receiver.

JUCO TE Raymond Pauwels

  • Raymond Pauwels is the other half of the incoming JUCO tight end duo. He has great size and is a polished and precise route runner. Pauwels primarily lines up on the line and makes his living in the intermediate route game, both over the middle and darting out to the sidelines. His film indicates he understands how to get open as a safety value and he’s hard to bring down once he makes a catch over the middle. Raymond should be a big factor in the Bulldog passing game next season.

OL Alexx Schmidt

  • The Bulldogs weren’t taking many lineman in this class, but they made it count in Alexx Schmidt. Although he was a late pickup in this class, he is a talented player who doesn’t give up halfway through a play Schmidt repeatedly seeks out multiple people on a play to deliver a block on and he moves well even with good size. He’s at his best blocking on the move for run plays and can play all over the line. Alexx may be best suited as a guard who pulls and is the main blocker in the run game.

LB Levelle Bailey

  • Levelle Bailey is an athletic ballhawk on defense. Playing more of a safety position in high school will only benefit him as a linebacker, which is where he will play for the Bulldogs. Bailey already has experience in coverage, mainly zone, and reads plays well. He already has the size of a linebacker and has the physical tackling ability of one as well. Levelle may likely need a year or so of a transition to what being a college linebacker entails so a redshirt may suit him well, but it won’t be long until he’s on the field.

LB Devonta Bridges

  • Devonta Bridges looks like he has the package of the new-look, highly sought after modern day linebackers. He is a swiss-army knife type of player who can make a difference in the run game, blitz off the side, and drop back into coverage. No matter what role he is taking on a given play, Bridges plays fast, plays hard, and plays tough. He flies around the field covering a lot of ground in both coverage and run support. Devo should be a solid starting SAM or WILL linebacker for years to come.

LB Kyvin Carroll

  • If Bridges is the LB who makes an impact flying around the field, Kyvin Carroll will compliment him well as the linebacker who plays at and behind the line of scrimmage. He shuts down the opposition’s run game on his highlight film, using his instincts to read the play and get a step or two on blockers. Carroll is quick enough to run past players on blitzes, getting to the quarterback with little problem. While it may take him awhile to get on the field, once he does he will be a solid contributor.

CB Myles Martin

  • Myles Martin should be able to make an impact on multiple fronts. The early part of his tape highlights his return ability, where his shiftiness and speed make him hard to tackle in the open field when he is running full force. Martin can also make an impact on defense; he appears to be comfortable in press coverage and it allows him to make plays on the ball. He is a capable tackler and doesn’t give up on plays, often coming from the other side of the field to make a play. Myles won’t have an easy life defending MWC receivers, but he looks up to the challenge.

DB Randy Jordan

  • Randy Jordan is a really nice athlete that Fresno State was able to pick up. He played on all three aspects of the game in high school, but will be a defensive back in college, where he should develop into a playmaker in the secondary. Jordan is excellent at making plays on the ball, using his hands to break up passes and his length to match receivers stride for stride. He also looks dynamic in the return game, both punts and kicks, where he is able to simply blow past would-be tacklers with his blazing speed. Randy could be a good bet to see the field next season if he can continue to do these things at the next level.

DB Reggie Strong

  • Reggie Strong made an impact on both sides of the ball in high school, but will slide into the defensive secondary at Fresno State. The first thing that jumps out on tape is how low he stays in his crouch before the snap, while allows him to fully use his lower body and explode to make a play. Strong reads plays well and adjusts accordingly pre-snap, which ensures he is in good position as the play is developing to make a pass break up or deflection. His offensive film is nothing to scoff at, and his time as a running back clearly helped him develop his vision and ability to see the field, which is only help him as a DB. Reggie should have a successful career as a Bulldog.

DB Deven Jarvis

  • Deven Jarvis continues the trend of securing athletic players for their secondary who spent time on both sides of the ball in high school, and he may be the best of the bunch. He’s fast, he’s physical, he diagnoses plays well, and he plays until the whistle. Jarvis is adept in both man and zone coverage and seems to be especially skills at stepping into the passing lanes in the short zone to deflect or intercept a pass. He has no qualms about stepping up to help in the run game and that trait probably makes him well-suited to be a safety. Deven has a good chance to not only play for Fresno State next year but could see a descent sized role.

Quick Hits:

Headliner(s):

Mike: Cropper,

Matt: Cropper, Wheatfall

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Cropper, Jarvis, Dixon

Matt: Dixon, Bailey, Bridges

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Bailey

Matt: Warkentin, Carroll

Best unit:

Mike: Wide Receiver, Tight End

Matt: Wide Receiver, Tight End

Summary:

(provider by Matt, the team writer)

Fresno State addressed a lot of needs in this class, while still making sure that they blanketed the Valley and kept top players home. It was well known that receiver would be a big area of need, with 7 leaving the roster after 2018. By landing the top recruit in the Valley in Jalen Cropper, they have that elite talent for the future. They did need an immediate JuCo receiver though, and Keric Wheatfall looks to be that spot. There is still room for one more in the spring, depending on RaJae Johnson, but the receiving corps will be a thin on experience in 2019. It is always good to pick up a running back, and they may have found a gem in Peyton Dixon. He shredded Nevada state records, and has the mix of speed and power that the Dogs are looking for. And with 1 senior and 4 juniors on the depth chart, he’ll have the time to mature and grow.

On the defensive end, replacing losses across the LB corps and secondary was vital, and boy did the Bulldogs deliver. Devonta Bridges, Levelle Bailey, and Kyvin Carroll look to fill the spots left by Jeff Allison, James Bailey (no relation), and George Helmuth. They also picked up 4 defensive backs, including fighting off a late push by Boise State to land Deven Jarvis. Bridges is definitely the star of this group, and he could be a player that pushes for playing time as a freshman, similar to Isiah Johnson in 2018.

They only picked up one line player, 3* O-Line Alexx Schmidt, but those areas had a lot of players come in during the last two classes. So they are built up with good depth, but I’m guessing the coaching staff is holding back a scholarship or two for a grad transfer or sleeper recruit.

Previous: Boise State, Colorado State, Nevada

Next Tuesday: Utah State