Welcome to the ninth 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 Jose State.
San Jose State:
The Spartans looked to repeat their magical 2020 season. It did not go according to plan in the 2021 season. SJSU played well, but their offense had taken a step back due to missing their top wide receivers from the previous season. It was still good but not as dynamic. Midway through the season, their quarterback when out with a long-term injury, and then the offense was no longer good. San Jose State’s defense was able to hold up their end of the bargain for the most part but was on the field too much, thanks to the inept offense.
Through the ups and downs of the season, it did not seem to put a dent in their recruiting efforts. SJSU has done what they have always done on the recruiting trail under Coach Brennan; secure a good but not great class with a few players who passed up “bigger” offers to play for the Spartans. Keep reading to hear about this 2022 version.
The Road So Far:
When Coach Brennan took over at San Jose State, one of his biggest recruiting goals was to mine for high school talent locally, in California, and specifically, the Bay area. They were able to do that once again, with all but two transfers coming from California. Their class currently has seventeen players signed, made up of eleven high school players, one junior college player, and five transfers. Most of the players are slated for offense (13), with a few signed as defensive players (4).
Offensively, two quarterbacks signed, with Tyler Voss being seen as the signal-caller of the future and Hawaii transfer Chevan Cordeiro being brought in to replace Nick Starkel next season. Running back was a big priority, as SJSU signed three players to this position. Jakob Galloway leads the charge and is built to play right away, but don’t sleep on Cam McWright or Viliami Teu either. Wide receiver got an injection of talent after lacking it last season. Talented high school athlete Kejuan Bullard possesses nice size and will be able to develop at his own pace thanks to the addition of two transfers at the position. Justin Lockhart and Elijah Cooks, both from Nevada, are entering the fold and are expected to make a difference immediately. When healthy, Cooks is one of the best receivers in the conference but has battled injuries the past two seasons. The offense is rounded out with three linemen. Jake Steele, Denaris DeRosa, and Uluakinofo Taliauli all could stand to add some weight but project well and fit the mold of a Spartan OL recruit. The two OL transfers, Bryce Petersen and James McNorton should step into roles right away.
Over on defense, junior college defensive lineman Noah Lavulo brings size and experience to a unit that could use some depth. Linebacker is the position of focus and the area with the most talent on this side of the ball. Justin Eklund is a very skilled linebacker, and he could see some snaps sooner rather than later. He’s flanked by two other talents, Justin Stearns and Damonie Perkins. All three players bring prototypical size to the position in addition to their talent.
Number who signed in December: 17
Number who will enroll early: 2
247 Composite Rankings:
- Overall: 75th
- Recruiting: 92nd
- Transfer: 10th
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: DB, DL, TE
San Jose State did most of their work on offense, and it is safe to assume they are mostly finished on that side of the ball. However, the defense is a different story and will likely be their area of focus until February. They don’t have any unsigned verbal commitments, so any new additions may be players who were off the radar previously.
Again, the offense is in pretty good shape. They will probably look to add a tight end to their ranks, especially to replace their multi-year starter at that spot. The most significant areas of need are defensive back and defensive line. The secondary has no signees at this point in time and has been hit with a bit of attrition over the past year. It would not be surprising to see three players taken at this unit, with at least one being of the transfer variety.
Similarly, some focus should be put on the defensive line. While the position is probably in good shape for next season, depth needs to be developed, and that process can only start by bringing players into the program. While they can afford to recruit mainly high school players for the d-line, never say never with the transfer portal.
The Spartans showed they are not afraid to be aggressive when pursuing players in the transfer portal and will probably continue that approach as they move forward. Some core players from the 2020 championship team remain, and San Jose State could opt to use the portal to plug some holes in hopes of making another run. For now, they are recruiting with great balance thus far and now need to finish the job.
Coming next: UNLV