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:
There was a lot of hype surrounding San Diego State entering its 2022 season. For starters, it was the team’s 100th season of playing football. Also, it was the first year in the brand-new Snapdragon Stadium. Plus, they played in the championship game last year. The Aztec’s year got off to a rocky start, dropping two PAC-12 games (SDSU has a good track record against beating PAC-12 teams), and it set the tone for the year as they kept hovering around .500. They went on a three-game winning streak in the easiest part of their schedule, but dropped the season finale and then their bowl game to finish an underwhelming 7-6.
Even though Coach Hoke’s year on the field took a step back, he kept up the momentum he has been building when it comes to recruiting. For the second straight year, they have signed a very good class. Read why below.
The Road So Far:
San Diego State signed 18 players during the December signing period. Eight play on offense, while ten players are coming to play defense. As usual, most of the signees come from the home state of California, but they dipped into Texas and Hawaii as well. Also, the class contains one transfer and three players from junior college, with the other fifteen coming from high school.
Starting with the offense, they signed a quarterback with tons of potential in Javance Tupouata-Johnson. He is joined by a trio of wide receivers, the talented high schoolers Tyson Berry and Baylin Brooks complimented by transfer player Raphael Williams Jr. SDSU put a huge emphasis on the offensive line, and the results paid off. Jonah Rodriguez is one of the top OL players in the west and Ryan Silver is very good as well. That duo is joined Briley Barron, who comes with college-ready size, and junior college player Kyle Stanback, who comes with college-ready experience.
Jumping over to the defense, San Diego State loaded up on pass rushers, and talented ones at that. Sinn Brennan has great size and Brady Nassar is one of the best pass-rushers entering the conference. They are joined by two JUCO players, Talib Salahuddin and Tupu Alualo, who both should step into roles next year. Over at linebacker, Caleb Otlewski should man an outside spot while Chris Fewell looks best suited in the middle. As usual, the Aztecs recruited well in the secondary. Marcus Ratcliffe looks like a future star at safety and Jelani McLaughllin and Jordan Napier appear to have great ability. Also, Samuel Dunnell has rare size for someone in the secondary.
Number who signed in December: 18
Number who will enroll early: 4
247 Composite Rankings:
- Overall: 119th
- Recruiting: 119th
- Transfer: 109th
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: RB, DT, LB
San Diego State did some tremendous work in the class of 2023, but some work still remains. They currently have one of the best classes in the Mountain West and can solidify that in the weeks that remain.
There are a few positions that the Aztecs can add to between now and February. For starters, it’s odd to see SDSU without a running back signee. While they brought in three last class, it still would not be surprising to see them go after another one in this class. Also, finding another player to slot into the interior of the defensive line would make sense. Finally, the team may decide they want to add another linebacker, if the right one happens to come along.
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, as they did last year. Adding transfers will also help them if they aim to reload and have a record that resembles 2021 instead of 2022.
Coming next: San Jose State