Welcome to the eighth piece of 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 this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at San Diego State.
San Diego State:
San Diego State had a great 2021 season. They beat a few PAC-12 teams, beat almost all of the Mountain West teams, and were ranked for most of the season. They did it all with their tried and true gameplan; running the ball a lot, playing stout defense, and having a game-changing special teams unit led by the best season from a punter ever doesn’t hurt either. SDSU won the West division but came up short in the title game against Utah State.
Their success carried on to the recruiting trail as well. Under Brady Hoke, the Aztecs have notably stepped up their game when it comes to recruiting. That was the case again this year. Read why below.
The Road So Far:
San Diego State signed 14 players during the December signing period. Nine play on offense, with the other four players coming to play defense. As usual, most of the signees come from the home state of California. However, their reach extended to other states such as Hawaii, Texas, Utah, Nevada, and Washington in this recruiting cycle.
As stated above, much of the focus thus far has been on the offensive side of the ball. They brought in two pocket passers with nice height and strong arms. To no one’s surprise, Running back appears to be the strength of the class. Lucky Sutton and Sheldon Canley could both be the top back in most other teams’ classes, and they may have one more player av this position come February. Jacoby Kelly is a tall, dynamic wide receiver who could make an impact in the passing game, and Logan Tanner will slot nicely into the tight end position. Along the offensive line, the trio of Drew Azzopardi, Rambo Mageo, and Laakea Kapoi all possess massive size and ability.
Jumping over to the defense, Ryan Henderson will bring nice size and athletics to the defensive line, and Trey White fits the bill at inside linebacker. The secondary is the position of focus so far, with three players being brought in for that group. Max Garrison is a big-time athlete who had some nice P5 offers. Eric Butler has great size and length, which SDSU covets in its defensive backs. Lastly, Chris Johnson appears to have all the makings of a great college cornerback.
Number who signed in December: 14
Number who will enroll early: 3
247 Composite Rankings:
- Overall: 69th
- Recruiting: 65th
- Transfer: N/A
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: LB, DL, WR
San Diego State is off to a solid start with their 2022 class, but some of the work still remains. For starters, they have two highly rated verbal commitments that still need to sign with the program. Doing that should be their top priority.
A few other positions could still use some reinforcements, especially with a few of the Aztec’s core players announcing they will not be returning to the team following their bowl game. Things appear to be pretty set on offense, although finding at least one other wide receiver would be to their benefit. Regardless, most of their remaining work should be done on the defensive side of the ball. Specifically, the front six, as they currently only have two signees at those spots. The defensive line could use some depth as they prepare for turnover at that position over the next year or so. Similarly, the program has consistently developed stellar linebackers over the years and needs to identify the next wave of recruits for those spots in their defense.
Many of these additions will probably come through the transfer portal. While San Diego State will, of course, continue to look for top high school talent, they may have better luck scanning the college ranks for the types of players they are looking for. Adding transfers will also help them if they want to reload and continue sitting in their position at or near the top of the conference.
Coming next: San Jose State