In last week’s edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly,” we looked back at the recruiting classes of the Mountain Division. Boise State was class of the division, but this week we will be looking back at the West Division. Plus, there is a surprise leader in the clubhouse.
What a phenomenal job by Marcus Arroyo and his staff. The Rebels did not sign one recruit in December and still managed to land some of the top recruits in the conference. This huge class of 27 commits is headlined by Brennon Scott who is considered by some to be the top recruit in the Mountain West. Scott should be an immediate force at the linebacker position. For a team that has struggled on defense, Arroyo addressed a lot of needs on that side of the ball. LeShaun Bell should also make an immediate impact on the defensive line; I think Bell will eventually become one of the top edge rushers in the Mountain West.
San Diego State
For what this class lacks in numbers, it makes up in talent. The Aztecs finished with one of the best classes in the conference. With that being said, I still think San Diego State has not reached its full potential in terms of recruiting. San Diego and Southern California are home to some of the best high school football in the United States. The Aztecs had the smoothest coaching transition in the Mountain West; Hoke is a former SDSU coach and was already on staff. Joey Wright is easily the headliner of this Aztec class. He is a big offensive lineman who should elevate the run game. Wright is one of the top recruits in the Mountain West and could make an immediate impact at a position that is difficult to do so.
San Jose State
The Spartans put together an okay class, but their reliance on grad and junior college transfers is concerning. San Jose State took steps in the right direction this year, but they were plagued by inconsistencies. The Spartans have plenty to replace in 2020, and it looks like this class could be a band aid. However, Brent Brennan and his staff have to recruit the high school level better. Northern California produces dozens of great football players every year, and the Spartans should be a able to land some of the second tier recruits that fall through the Power Five cracks. Fresno City College transfer Jay Kakiva should make an instant impact on a defensive line that struggled this past season.
I seriously considered putting the Bulldogs in the “Ugly” category. However, with the late coaching change and a small class, I decided I would give them the benefit of the doubt. With that being said, Fresno is near a talent rich area, and the Bulldogs should always be near the top of the Mountain West. But that hasn’t been the case for much of the past decade. Tedford may have brought Fresno State back to prominence with talent he inherited and a transfer quarterback, but did he leave his former squad in good shape? That is to be determined. Fresno State did have a strong class in the trenches with the additions of Joseph Church and Julian Polendo; both guys should be future starts on the offensive line.
Nevada’s recruiting took a noticeable dip this year. Like Boise State, it was clear that the Wolf Pack would have a hard time landing a big quarterback since they started a freshman this past season. But, from top to bottom, this class has to be a little disappointing for Jay Norvell and his staff. With an average of 80.44 on 247 Sports, the Wolf Pack barely finished ahead of the Rainbow Warriors. Speedy athletes Isaac Jernagin and Devin Gunter are the standouts of this class. Both have a chance to make an impact as true freshmen.
It is never easy to put together a strong recruiting class when you become the head coach in January, but Todd Graham and the new Rainbow Warriors staff have the lowest rated class in the Mountain West according to 247 Sports. Most people are taking a wait and see approach on how Todd Graham’s tenure in Hawaii plays out. Will he be able to build on the momentum that Nick Rolovich built the past two seasons? While this may not have been the class that Hawaii fans were hoping for, there is some optimism, as the new staff was able to get some recruits from the talent rich state of Texas. The Hawaii class is headlined by athlete Quin Bright out of Ceder Hill, Texas. Bright has the ability to be an elite slot receiver.
That’s it for this edition of “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Tune in next when I take a peek at Spring storylines.