Johnny Balderas has been committed to UNLV for over a month, but now a new Mountain West school has entered the Bakersfield, Calif., Liberty High defensive back’s picture: A school located north on Highway 99.
The local university Fresno State.
The Bulldogs became offer No. 2 for the tall 6-foot-2, 175-pound defender who not only became the top shutdown cornerback for the Patriots, but was also a receiving and return threat for a team that was eliminated in the semifinals of the CIF Central Section Division I playoffs in November.
“It makes me feel good knowing that a local school such as Fresno State is offering me because they know what type of talent they have in the Valley,” Balderas told Scout.
Ironically, the coach who extended the offer to him was new FS secondary coach J.D. Williams, who also helped pilfer him to Sin City.
“I'm most likely guessing they'd want me on the defensive side of the ball playing corner or safety,” Balderas said. “It was a specific conversation talking about the new coaching staff coming along and how the program will be changed.”
New head coach Jeff Tedford has made things clear during his first recruiting cycle at FS: He wants to put more of an emphasis on recruiting California talent. Of the 11 reported offers that Tedford and his new staff have dished out, nine of them were awarded to in-state talent, including Balderas.
UNLV fans shouldn’t panic just yet if they’re thinking he’s going to flip his decision. Balderas wants to be mindful of both offers.
“At this time, I'm still 100% committed to UNLV. But once I get a look at both schools and see how everything is and the way I feel, then I will make a decision later,” Balderas said. “I've gained a good relationship with UNLV coaches C.J. Cox (the new recruiting coordinator) and Coach (Ben) Cotton (graduate assistant). I've been told that the new defensive back coach will be a great guy also so I can't wait to meet him.”