San Diego State assistant head coach/running back coach Jeff Horton is building a pipeline from Las Vegas (Nev.) down the I-15 to Montezuma Mesa.
The Aztecs landed three prospects from the Sin City in the 2013 class.
First verbal commit of the class actually came from Nevada. It's Foothill 6-foot-3, 195-pound safety Tyler Morris.
"He's a very athletic guy," Jeff Horton said of Morris. "He's a football player, basketball player and baseball player. He'd probably get drafted in baseball but just wants to play football. I think anytime you can get a three-sport athlete it shows the type of athlete he is.
"When he focuses in on one area that will just enhance his ability to get better as a football player. He has a great frame, smart, runs well, athletic and we are excited about him."
Next of the bunch is Canyon Springs running back Donnel Pumphrey, the 2012-13 Gatorade Nevada Football Player of the Year. He chose the Aztecs over Colorado, Utah, Duke, Nevada, UNLV.
"He has unbelievable numbers," Horton said. "Not a big guy. He's a lot like Ronnie 5-foot-8, 5-foot-9, 165, 170 pounds, but he has that thing you can't coach and that's speed. He's a threat to go the distance anytime he gets the ball in his hands. He's a dangerous punt and kick returner.
"Obviously in the backfield, line up, put the ball in his hands and let him go do some things. I think he'll be a nice compliment. People who have seen us play know I like to play two, three guys."
Then there's Legacy DE/OLB Randy Ricks who will blow you way on the combination of his size and athleticism.
"Ricks is a big raw bone athlete," Horton expressed. "6-foot-4, 215-pound guy that has a ton of upside. Before it's all said and done he'll probably be a 240, 250-pound guy before he walks out of here. Once he gets proper nutrition and training."
But it doesn't stop there. Phoenix (Ariz.) College offensive guard Lenicio Noble also signed with SDSU. He originally went to Cheyenne HS in North Las Vegas.
"To me Las Vegas is in-state," Horton said. "It's closer there than it is to Sacramento or the Bay Area. It's a big city and there are a lot of players there. It's a good pipeline."
Horton's ties go throughout the state of Nevada since being an assistant coach for UNR back in 1985. He has over 14 years of college coaching experience in the state.
"DJ Pumphrey played for Hunky Cooper, who played for me at UNLV," Horton explained one of the many instances his Nevada ties has helped. "He's in the Arena League Hall of Fame so that obviously helps. You'd hope some of your former players help you get some more players if you treated them right.
"I think it's an expanding recruiting base in Las Vegas. The more guys we can get out of there, the better."
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