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2021 Recruiting Breakdown: San Jose State

A class to retool.

Mountain West Football Championship - Boise State v San Jose State Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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 have long been a sneaky recruiting program in the Mountain West. However, this year feels like a step back from that. They still managed to secure commitments from one or two players who are talented enough to be at PAC-12 schools. However, it is a bit surprising they didn’t secure more of these players after winning the MWC championship. Seniors who are returning and a small class may have accounted for this. All in all, there are enough intriguing players for San Jose State to retool in a year or two. See why below.

The Skinny:

  • 13 players signed
  • 10 high school players, 2 JUCO players, 1 Transfer
  • 9 offensive, 4 defensive
  • 10 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
  • Players with a composite rating over 85: 0
  • Players with a composite rating between 82-84: 5
  • Breakdown by state: 11 California, 1 Illinois, 1 Nevada
  • 120th in the 247 Composite Rankings

The Players:

QB Walker Eget

Walker is a pocket passing quarterback who appears to fit the SJSU offense well. He gets rid of the ball quickly and seems to process his reads instantly. Eget does well throwing on the run, displaying accuracy. although he is at his best when he takes an extra moment to step into his throws. He has a big arm and combines it with sound footwork in the pocket. Walker has the potential to be the Spartan’s future starting quarterback if his development continues pace.

JUCO RB Leonard Glass

Leonard come to San Jose State the way of the junior college route. He is a hard runner who finds the hole quickly and commits to it. In the open field, Glass displays more cuts and moves to make defenders miss and gain extra yards. He reaches top speed quickly and displays good vision by keeping his head up. Leonard should get into the running back mix immediately next season.

WR Branden Alvarez

Branden is a wide receiving coming to a team that schemes them well. He combines plus speed with smooth route running. Alvarez can change directions on double moves and short routes with ease while also hit top speed on deep routes to make him a versatile option in the passing game. He also displays great hands and vision in the open field. Branden looks like the prototypical college slot receiver and it’s easy to see him getting early snaps.

WR Assani Berkeley

Assani is an athletic two-sport athlete coming to San Jose State. He is extremely athletic and excels in the open field with the ball in his hands. Berkeley showcases his breakaway speed as a deep threat, on screens and sweeps, and in the return games. He relies on one quick cut that defenders can’t recover from. Assani may need some time to concentrate and develop on specific facets of the game rather than being a jack of all trades, but his potential is high.

JUCO WR Donald McKinney

Donald comes in from the junior college circuit. He is a smooth route-runner who possesses good hands and a knack for finding the endzone. McKenney displays sound footwork along the sideline and high points the ball well when receiving. He can also help out in the return game. Donald brings experience, skill, and the ability to play right away.

TE Fernando Carmona

Fernando is a big target at tight end. He can line up on the line or more as a traditional receiver and has long strides to get downfield quickly. Carmona knows how to use his size and wide catch radius in the endzone or in traffic. He isn’t easy to bring down and is an effective blocker as well. Fernando still seems relatively new to football and would benefit from a year or so to keep developing before finding a role on the field.

TE Nathan Aufata I’Tao Lewis

Nathan is another tight end coming to San Jose State who possesses great size. His speed jumps off his tape as he runs like a receiver and poses instant matchup issues for a defense. Lewis is a legit option as a deep-threat as well as a capable blocker in the open field. He has great hands and noticeably fights hard for extra yards after the catch. Nathan comes across fairly polished and could find his way onto the field early in his career.

OL Kai Peterson-Davison

Kai is being brought in to bolster the offensive line. He is explosive off the line of scrimmage and uses his lower and upper body in conjunction to maximize his strength. Peterson-Davison looks great in run-blocking and constantly wins his battles against defensive lineman, pushing them back and opening holes for runners. He finishes blocks and then immediately looks to help out his teammates. Kai may still need to develop but he appears to have a bright future ahead of him.

OL Ryan Stewart

Ryan is another Spartan o-line recruit. He moves very well laterally does a great job sticking on his blocks once he makes contact. Stewart squares up on nearly every block and his technique looks mature for the high school level. He has a great frame for a tackle and should be able to add more weight when he gets to college. Ryan played primarily tackle in high school and looks like he could stick there at the next level.

DE Marcel Sanders

Marcel is a two-way athlete who is coming in as a defensive end for SJSU. He doesn’t give up on plays and often runs ball-carriers down from the opposite side to make the tackle. Sanders utilizes a speed rush well against slower lineman and can often get to the QB untouched with one quick cut. He does a good job keeping his hands active when rushing and can often influence plays even without getting a sack. Marcel seems to fit with the Spartans look for in their defensive ends and although he will need to add weight, he has big potential.

Transfer LB Matthew Tago

Matthew comes over from Oregon State, and he was a highly sought after high school recruit on the west coast. He is a tremendous athlete who can impact the game in a variety of ways. With his long frame and mobility, Tago is a hard-hitter who can completely shut down the run game. He sheds blocks easily and puts himself in the proper position to make a play. Matthew should play right away next year and seems like a strong fit as a WILL linebacker.

LB Bryun Parham

Bryun is an outstanding get for the Spartans coming from Long Beach Poly. He is an athletic linebacker who flies to the ball with great speed and textbook tackling ability. Parham can do a bit of everything; run support, play-making ability, pass-coverage, and blitzing. He plays bigger than his size and lined up in multiple spots on the field. Bryun is talented enough to play right away and would be an intriguing SAM linebacker where he can showcase his versatility and play-making ability.

DB Kavon Baptiste

Kavon has great size for a defensive back, with the talent to go along with it. He uses his size to neutralize wide receivers and make a play on the ball. Baptiste can cover a lot of ground on the field with his long strides and closes well to the ball. He has a smooth backpedal and reads the quarterback well. Kavon has played safety or cornerback and although his size would be a huge advantage as CB, his roaming ability may profile best at safety.

Team Writer Thoughts

Vic: Though this recruiting class may not stand out by itself, it makes sense as a whole given the program progression and how/why SJSU assesses recruits between the ears.

Relatively speaking to how they might fit in, there’s good confidence any of these recruits' potentials can be unlocked based on the development track record of the program as well.

On a talent basis - a receiver like Branden Alvarez sticks out because he looks to have “Tre Walker-ish” acrobatics and a natural nose-for-the-game. Or a dual-athlete talent and receiver Assani Berkeley. Or a 6’4 David McKinney with 4.5 40-speed. Or even big tight-end Nathan Aufata I’Tao Lewis with clear wide receiver skills. It speaks to a team passing identity going with its strength.

On the defensive side, there looks to have potential plug-and-play guys like DE Marcel Sanders and LB Bryan Parham who each look to have speed and always-on motors.

Even the OLine recruits Kai Peterson and Ryan Stewart are interesting knowing how recent first-year offensive line coach Josh Oglesby successfully coached-up his crew last championship season.

Quick Hits:

Headliner(s):

Mike: Parham, Eget

Vic: Sanders (DE), Parham (LB)

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Parham, Eget, Lewis

Vic: Parham (LB), Alvarez (WR), Glass (RB)

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Berkeley, Sanders

Vic: McKinney (WR), Berkeley (WR)

Best unit:

Mike: Linebacker, Tight End

Vic: Wide Receivers, Linebackers

Summary:

San Jose State has a good deal of their production coming back next year. With players from their past two classes being ready to contribute, this class has more time to develop. There are enough players in this class who have the potential to develop and be part of the next wave for when the Spartans need it in two or three years. With that being said, it should be considered a failure if SJSU can’t capitalize on their successful season and secure a better recruiting class in 2022.

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