Fresno State has its next quarterback.
Mark Salazar of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego (Calif.) made his commitment to Fresno State to sign a letter of intent on National Signing Day and enroll for the 2017 season.
What’s there to know about Salazar?
“I’m going to win regardless,” was Salazar’s message. “I hate losing more than I like winning. Be ready because I’m coming and I’m going to show out for the ‘Dogs.”
Good news for a program coming off of one of the few losing seasons in the last two decades.
Salazar stands at 6-foot-3 and 185 lbs. He is athletic and prides himself on his football IQ and his even temper.
“My strengths are my reads and my progressions,” Salazar said. “I can out-think any defense there is regardless of their coverage and who they have. I can sense pressure with ease and keep my eyes downfield without worrying too much. I feel like I’m calm when it comes to games, I don’t get too excited. I’m level-headed and that helps the team keep cool. If I throw a pick, I’ll flush it and then come right back out. Short term memory is what you have to have as a quarterback.”
Fresno State is his only offer to date and he has flown under the radar of Scout’s ratings, but he has drawn varied interest from schools including Utah, Colorado State, Northern Colorado, Washington State, Utah State, Hawaii, San Diego State, Sacramento State.
So why Fresno State at this moment?
Salazar first met Offensive Coordinator Eric Kiesau at his high school. He then camped with the Bulldogs at Cathedral High School in San Diego. Fresno State offered him a scholarship on June 19. Three days later he visited the campus and committed.
“I like the community aspect of the school,” Salazar said. “Fresno doesn’t have a pro team. Literally everybody in that town is about Fresno State football. I love that feeling and the aspect of the college town feel. I had a chance to watch practice and I witnessed the level of competition between the players and the self-accountability they hold for each other. That stood out to me. That’s the environment I thrive in and want to be in. The campus itself is pretty beautiful."
“I also felt really comfortable with the coaches, but another thing that factored into it was how close it was to home. It’s a five and a half hour drive from where I’m located. It’s not too difficult for my family to get up there and watch the home games. My parents really liked the coaches as well… They are honest with you and will tell you the truth whether you like it or not. That’s the type of coaches I like.”
The quarterback was also satisfied by Fresno State’s academic offerings for his major of choice - business.
Fresno State’s quarterback position has gone unresolved since Derek Carr’s departure to the NFL. If the position is unsettled again a year from now, the team will have especially good news in Salazar’s arrival. He will come in with good background knowledge of how to run the offense.
“I think the offense there is perfect for me because I run that at my school,” Salazar said. “I think it will work perfectly because I know how to work within that type of system. I like the concepts. Watching Fresno State football the past few years, watching Derek Carr, I have noticed their style of play and I like it. Coach Kiesau wasn’t there, but I’m very confident in the type of offense they run and how they run it now. I think will be a lot of fun when I get a chance to run it. I think it’s a perfect fit.”
Committed recruits across the nation still have well over seven months to change their minds, but Salazar said he is solid to the 'Dogs. In the class of 2016, the Bulldogs did not have a QB committed until the final hours leading up to National Signing Day with Quentin Davis. This year, it looks like the Bulldogs are set far in advance.
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