After an unexpected and disappointing 2021 season, the culture of the Spartans continued to shine through in their early signing period.
Eight months out, the 2022 season is already much highly anticipated to say the least.
A brief on the 2021 season
The areas that cursed the Spartans were a high rate of turnovers, penalties and dropped passes.
A bit deeper look could source back to the seven-week injury loss of star quarterback Nick Starkel, a receiving corp that took a while to ramp up, a weakened offensive line and even a very tough early travel schedule that would wear on anyone, especially a student-athlete.
None to be an excuse, of course, for the final 5-7 record, especially after a magical 2020 season – just even more to look forward to.
In Sparta, like probably no other year under Brent Brennan’s program, it’s pure excitement and even higher expectations.
Leading that buzz from the transfer portal is former and proven Hawaii quarterback, Chevan Cordeiro, with two seasons of eligibility.
In 36 games, the Hawaiian native amassed 6,167 passing yards, 45 TD passes (22 INTs) and also showed his dual-threat capabilities with 1,083 rushing yards and 13 TD runs.
“We had a great weekend with Chevan’s family on their official visit,” said Brennan. “It was really awesome for them to want to be a part of all this.”
A surprise to many who follow Mountain West football, it wasn’t so much a surprise by observing Brennan’s program culture and Cordeiro (and the ‘Bows) over the years.
Cordeiro was originally recruited by former Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich for a run-and-shoot offense that veered to a much different offense under current Rainbow coach Todd Graham.
Now with two very capable dual-threat quarterbacks in Cordeiro and Nick Nash, OC Kevin McGiven will get more toys to conjure with.
“Kevin McGiven has been in his office for 10 days straight with the lights out watching game film. The guy needs to shave,” joked Brennan on the question of a new offense with both QBs. “Coach McGiven is pouring over film. He’s got 10 million formations and plays drawn up.”
“After we’re done here, I’m going to pull him out of his office.”
+16 more value recruits
QB: 6’3 Tyler Voss from Southern California’s Valencia High School is a formidable three-star recruit.
“We were so excited when he chose us,” said Brennan on Voss. “He comes from a great family - just incredible people; his mom, dad and brother.”
WRs: 6’4 Elijah Cooks and 6’2 Justin Lockhart are immediate plug-and-play receivers and contributors from the Nevada Wolf Pack who will help upgrade the Spartan receiving group.
Cooks coming off a season ending foot injury will count on the exceptional Spartan training staff.
Incoming freshman receiver Kejuan Bullard looks to be another multi-faceted athlete rounding out the early receiver signings.
RBs: 5’11 Jakob Galloway, 5’10 Villiami Teu and 6’1 Camdan McWright come off vaunted high school careers and expect to immediately ratchet up the backfield competition level.
Teu is also star Spartan defensive end Villiami Fehoko’s nephew and younger brother of former Spartan RB Romeo Teu.
OLs: Uluakinofo Taliauli, Denaris DeRosa, James McNorton, Bryce Peterson and Jake Steele will be entrusted to OL coach Josh Ogelsby in another high-pressure area to reinforce for the Spartans.
Along with Teu, Taliauli and DeRosa come from St. Francis High School in the South SF Bay area.
Defense: rounding out the California tour on the defensive side are three linebackers and defensive linemen – Justin Eklund, Damonie Perkins, Justin Stearns and Noah Lavulo, respectively.
More surprises expected?
“Our culture - our feel - the vibe of our program is a critical component to players choosing us,” said Brennan on recruiting expectations. “I think our current players also do an incredible job in the process.”
“The biggest thing is helping people that visit feel it.”
Through the winning and hard losses, Brennan has always kept the cultural foundation about the players overall experience and beyond. It’s the “beyond” that many fleeting and finicky critics and fans don’t truly understand.
“I tell recruits all the time when they’re out on visit – trust your gut,” said Brennan. “If it feels good, it’s probably right for you.”