Welcome to the ninth post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #9 team in our rankings, San Jose State.
The Spartans followed up their surprisingly sneaky recruiting class of 2018 with another one in this cycle. They stockpiled some talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and were able to add some highly-talented recruits that other teams over looked. Also, they did good work towards accomplishing their goal of “shielding the bay”, as the vast majority of their recruits come from in-state California. To hear more about their class, look below for additional info.
- 20 players signed
- 13 offensive, 6 defensive, 1 special teams
- 9 listed at 3-stars by one of the major recruiting sites.
- Breakdown by state: 15 California, 1 Arizona, 1 South Carolina, 1 Washington, 1 Illinois, 1 American Samoa
- 116th in the 247 Composite Rankings
QB Alex Trujillo
- Alex Trujillo is a great get at quarterback for the Spartans. He’s a traditional pocket-passer with a strong and accurate arm. Trujillo has good footwork in the pocket, goes through his progressions rapidly and has a quick release. He has nice touch on his deep throws and doesn’t look rattled when facing pressure. Alex has the look of a multi-year starter in his future and it’s just a matter of when that will take place.
- Listed at 6’, 175 Ibs., Trujillo looks best as a decisive, quick release QB. He looks to scan well and be a great option QB with touch and long range accuracy. Spartan-land can reference NFL great and former Spartan, Jeff Garcia, as an early potential comparison.
QB Natano Woods
- Natano Woods is another really nice pickup at quarterback in this class. He has a huge arm and is pretty consistent at throwing downfield while on the run. Woods seems especially skilled at knowing where receivers are going to be while scrambling and is able to deliver accurate throws hitting them in stride. He seems most comfortable in a spread offense from the shotgun, as indicated by his highlight film. Natano also looks like he would have no issue commanding an offense as a starter for much of his college career, so expect a good battle between these two.
- Woods is the contrast to Trujillo’s quickness, as he’s a much bigger QB with a natural power arm who can throw well over the top. Woods somewhat reminds me of QB Montel Aaron, who I hear from the grapevine will not be coming back to the Spartans.
RB Adi Anderson
- Adi Anderson is a great running back pick up for San Jose State. His tape shows him as a disciplined runner who has big-play capability. Anderson is at his best following his blockers to the sidelines and breaking free for a long run, where he can use his speed. He also is adept at running between the tackles and finding a way through even the smallest of holes. Adi is skilled enough to get carries next season, but it is unknown at this time if he will or not.
- Anderson is quick back with a compact running style at 5’11, 195 lbs. Along with 4.5, 40 speed, his cuts and change of direction look natural and effortless. He’s both patient and decisive hitting the hole or waiting behind his blockers.
WR Isaiah Holiness
- Isaiah Holiness is a versatile offensive weapon who is listed as a wide receiver, but play a few different spots on offense. Holiness is especially skilled as a slot receiver, which highlights his speed and allows him to get the ball quickly and make a move. As a runner, he can make defenders miss with a sharp cut and turn up-field in a hurry. Isaiah and his skill set will allows the Spartans to really be diverse in the playbook, but the question is if that will happen next season or the one after that.
WR Malikhi Miller
- Malikhi Miller is a tall athletic receiver who will fit in well on the outside of the SJSU offense. He runs deep routes well and tracks the ball well to get underneath it and catch it in stride and catches the ball well at the apex. Miller’s height and long arms will be a nightmare for defensive backs as even when they play solid coverage he can still catch a pass. He will also be especially effective in the red zone, where he should be a main target and potential touchdown machine. Malikhi could see the field next year but figures to play a prominent role in their offense.
WR Jamar Simpson
- Jamar Simpson is another potentially dynamic receiver coming in. He has great game speed and moves with ease on the field. Simpson seems to fit best in the slot and beats his man with a quick move or sometimes simple making a cut to change directions. He has a nice catch radius and once he gets a step on defenders, it’s pretty much a given he won’t be caught. Jamar could see the field as early as next fall but even if he redshirts, he’ll be a contributor for years to come.
TE Dominic Mazotti
- Dominic Mazotti was primarily a quarterback in high school but will shift over to tight end for San Jose State. Getting an athlete with QB experience can prove invaluable, as they have great leadership skills and can see the feel in an advanced way. Mazotti is a phenomenal runner, getting his long strides going in a hurry and putting tons of distance between himself and defenders. He also has good size, making him a big target who is difficult to bring down with just one defender. Dominic may need time to adjust to a new position and refine his technique as he learns the ins and outs of tight end, but his future looks bright there.
- Mazotti can be one of the most versatile players on the roster and as a tight-end, someone who can get lots of yards after the catch. As an overall offensive weapon with dual threat QB abilities, Mazotti should be a player to help expand and enhance the offensive scheme.
TE Jackson Canaan
- Jackson Canaan is another player being moved to tight end in college, having been a linebacker and running back in high school. He is a nice athlete who moves well with the ball in his hands through traffic and is difficult to bring down with just one player. Canaan got some experience blocking as a running back so he has a foundation there to set himself up well for the future. He has very sneaky speed and if he can catch the ball in stride, the big play potential is there. Like Mazotti above, Jackson will need some time to adjust to a new position but has the skill set to make an impact there once he’s ready to go.
- Canaan is similar to Mazotti in terms of being another versatile athlete with noteworthy LB & RB experience. Along with Mazotti, he’s a reason why the TE unit will be formidable and offer some interesting combinations.
JUCO TE Derrick Deese Jr
- Derrick Deese Jr is being brought in from the JUCO level to contribute right away. He is a true stretch the field type of tight end who has the potential to put up big receiving numbers. Deese lined up as both a tight end and wide receiver at his junior college and can create lots of matchup issues with his size and speed combination. He is a fluid route runner and will be at his best as a red zone target or going up the middle of the field for big gains. Derrick should come in to a starting or major role on day one and don’t be surprised if he become a big part of their offense.
- As mentioned with Mazotti and Canaan, Deese has NFL lineage from his 49er father Deese Sr. Deese Jr. has great hands and great apex catching ability. He looks like an obvious redzone threat.
OL Jelani Newman
- Jelani Newman brings nice size and potential to the offensive line in this class. He looks great in the interior of the line where he can make good use of his run-blocking skills. Newman gets good leverage on his blocks and uses his lower body to push back defenders with ease. He is mobile enough to get out in front of running backs as a lead blocker to negate linebackers and open up holes for big plays. Jelani will likely redshirt next season but his future looks bright as a Spartan.
OL Justin Scrempos
- Justin Scrempos is a huge pick up for the Spartans, both figuratively and literally. He does a great job staying low for his size, which helps him capitalize on his using his strength when going up against defenders. Scrempos has the ability to be a game-changer in the run game, opening up huge holes and negating pass rushers. In pass-protection, does a nice job moving backwards while remaining light on his feet. Justin looks like a good fit at right tackle and it’s easy to see him becoming an anchor on the o-line.
OL Quinn Oseland
- Quinn Oseland comes over from Minnesota as a grad transfer. His high school tape shows him as being comfortable at a tackle position. Oseland can move well laterally, has good footwork, and appears light on his feet. He is delivers menacing hits and looks especially skills in pass protection. Quinn will bring a lot of experience to the Spartans and should be plugged in to the starting lineup right away.
JUCO OL Scott Breslin
- Scott Breslin is a junior college player who can also compete for playing time right away. He played a lot of left tackle at his JUCO and likely will do the same at SJSU. Breslin has a sound technique in pass protection, with good football and staying balanced in his movements, not letting defenders push him around. He can also be a difference maker in the run game, opening up big holes for running backs to explode through. Scott is another play who should be penciled in as a starter and if nothing else will provide immediate depth.
JUCO DL Lando Grey
- Lando Grey is being brought in to solidify the depth on the defensive line for the Spartans. He generates a good interior pass rush by simply overpowering blockers with his strength. Grey moves quick off the edge and gets in the backfield with little difficulty. He appears equally skilled in stopping both the run and the pass on defense, which helps him he can stay on the field in either role. Lando should be able to come in and contribute right away.
LB Jordan Cobbs
- Jordan Cobbs is a nice athlete coming in for the Spartans. In a word, he is disruptive, and seems to live in the backfield. Cobbs flies past defenders and lays physical hits on runner backs and quarterbacks alike. He is at his best near or at the line of scrimmage making plays but his speed suggests he can do well in coverage a bit downfield as well. It’s easy to see Jordan seeing the field next year, but regardless he has a bright future at the college level.
JUCO LB Cameron Hanson
- Cameron Hanson comes in to provide immediate depth for the Spartans as a junior college transfer. He brings experience and grit to the middle of the defense and he shuts down the run and short passing game. Hanson reads plays well and takes good angles to the ball to maximize his effectiveness. He flies to the ball and can even make a play when the pass goes to someone else and he has to come across field. Cameron will be at least on the two deep next year and be a constant contributor.
DB BJ Johnson
- BJ Johnson is perhaps the crown jewel in this class. He played both ways in high school and made a big impact at each position. Johnson is long and athletic, covering a lot of ground in the backfield and fast enough to track down any receivers for the tackle. He is a physical tackler and can succeed both in the box and in coverage downfield. BJ will play right away for the Spartans and be a difference maker on the field before too long.
DB Stan Livingstone Jr
- Stan Livingstone Jr is a nice athlete in the backfield. He combines physical tackling skills with the potential to be a ballhawk. Livingstone tracks the all really well and gets himself in great position to make a play. He covers a lot of ground and looks at his best as a rangy free safety type. Stan is already on campus working to carve a role out for himself and he might pull it off for next season.
JUCO CB Chad Mac Earle
- Chad Mac Earle comes over from junior college and brings the presence of a skilled coverage corner. He stays tight in press coverage and is able to shield off receivers on the sidelines to make plays on the ball. Earle reads routes well and also knows when to identify a run play and jump in to support the run. He plays and hits physical as a defensive back and reacts and adjusts well to plays. Chad should be able to step in and be a shut down corner back immediately.
P Alex Galland
- Alex Galland comes in as a grad transfer to shore up the special teams. Though these are his high school highlights, they could still tell us a bit. Galland has a straight on kicking style that generates lots of hang time. He also gets good distance, consistently downing punts that go 50 or more yards in the air. Alex could be valuable for the Spartans next season and really help them flip the field and take some pressure off the defense.
Team Writer Thoughts:
Mike: BJ Johnson, Dominick Mazotti, Justin Scrempos
Vic: Mazotti (TE), Oseland (OL)
Talented enough to play right away:
Mike: Johnson, Mazotti, Livingstone, Miller
Vic: Livingstone (DB), Johnson (WR)
Mike: Adi Anderson
Vic: Alex Trujillo (QB)
Mike: Secondary, Wide Receiver
Vic: Tight-ends and OLs
As rough as the past two years have been on the field for San Jose State, they are making up for it on the recruiting trail. They turned in back-to-back subtly good classes, filled with players who can see the field right away. This will allow younger guys to get experience and develop and the hope is that it pays dividends for them over the next year or two. Of course it remains to be seen if the Spartans can start adding wins to their seasons, but they are doing what they can by building the right way in recruiting.
The Spartan’s “Shield the Bay” mantra should continue to offer under-the-radar gems and diamond-in-the-roughs, especially in California. In fact, there’s much more two and three star kids out there to be found, if the Spartans can continue to invest in the scouting department. With decent recruiting classes under head coach Brent Brennan’s term so far, all eyes are on he and his staff to corral their talent and produce adequate signs-of-life for the program this season.
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