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 were a dark horse candidate to win the West division this year and early on, they appeared on pace to do just that. After a narrow FCS victory and a narrow SEC defeat, they reeled off three straight wins to arrive at 4-1 and in the driver’s seat. Then a close loss to Fresno State and a postponed game (following the death of a player) and San Jose State wasn’t able to find their first-half form after that. They finished the regular season 7-4 before a disappointing bowl game to end their year 7-5.
Through the ups and downs of the season, SJSU kept their foot on the gas with recruiting, continuing to sign the type of classes they have become known for under Coach Brennan. Keep reading to hear about this version.
The Road So Far:
Typically in the Coach Brennan era, San Jose State has not needed to look outside of California and while that was still their main focus, it seems like the staff branched out more in this class. In total, they signed 13 players, four on offense and nine of defense. Similar to last season, they opted for older players at a number of positions with three JUCO players and three transfers, meaning that seven signees were out of high school. As per usual, the majority of players come from California (7), but they also signed players out of Illinois, Nevada, and Hawaii.
Offensively, transfer running back Quali Conley figures to slot right into a big role immediately, but the other three signees figure to take some time to develop. Wide receiver Keynan Higgans is the class SJSU player who should end up playing about his recruiting ranking in college. Kamaehu Kaawalauole could play on both side of the ball but figures to be a tight end where his height can become a big factor. Luke Griskey has height and athleticism as well and now just needs add weight and adjust to the speed of the college game.
Over on defense, Vaka Hansen figures to be a solid player on the interior of the line in a few years, while Alexander Cobbs has the ideal size the Spartan’s like in their defensive ends. To replenish the big losses at the position, they are looking for JUCO player Tavarius Pitts to come in and play right away. Likewise for Noah McNeal-Franklin, another junior college signee, at the linebacker position. San Jose State really prioritized the defensive backs, brining in five players. Hunter Nowell comes from one of the best high school programs in the state of Califnornia, and the staff did a great job flipping Imari Conley from rival Fresno State right out of their own back yard. The experienced trio of Isiah Revis (JUCO), Jayvion Cole (transfer) and DJ Harvey (transfer) figure to provide a jolit to the position. Especially Harvey, who brings ACC experience with him.
Number who signed in December: 13
Number who will enroll early: 4
247 Composite Rankings (subject to change):
- Overall: 110th
- Recruiting: 110th
- Transfer: 80th
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: WR, OL, QB, OL, LB
San Jose State did more work on defense than offense so far in this class, so it would make sense if they focused more on offensive positions going forward. It would also not be surprising if they continued their focus on transfers or junior college players to reload since they are losing quite a few players from their core this year.
Looking at the positions of need, and wide receiver would figure to be near the top of the list. They are losing one or two of their top targets and it would make sense to have someone waiting in the wings. Likewise, it is a bit curious to see them only take one OL player so far, so stocking up on one or two more in some form is likely. Also, it would be a bit unusual if they did not take a quarterback in this class. Yes, their starter is scheduled to be back for another season and yes they took a true freshman last season. But things can change at the QB spot in a hurry thanks to the transfer portal, so it would be a good idea to take one before one is needed. Lastly, linebacker is another position there the Spartans will need to restock, probably with a transfer.
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. Replacing the core of their team from the last three years on both sides of the ball will be important, so this class will need to fill the gap in one way or another. Keep an eye on how they attempt to do it.
Coming next: UNLV