The sprint to the recruiting finish line begins tomorrow.
The recruiting dead period comes to a close on Thursday, meaning the Fresno State coaching staff can reopen many lines of communication with their recruiting targets including in-home visits and official on-campus visits.
The staff’s travels will begin right at home, Tedford said.
“Our main focus is going to be to make sure that we saturate the Valley and do our best to keep all the Valley kids close to home,” Tedford said. “We are going to be really making an emphasis on that - Getting out to to those schools and cultivating those relationships whether they have prospects or whether they don’t. I think it’s really important that they understand the communication lines are open and they have a place they can come and talk ball and the kids throughout the Valley understand what Fresno State’s all about and they have a passion for Fresno State.”
The staff won’t have long before the recruiting action arrives on their home turf. Tedford said that he is expecting about 15 recruits and their families to be on campus for visits this weekend. A growing list of confirmed prospects is available on the BarkBoard.com premium board. Fresno State will then have two more weekends to try to wow recruits before National Signing Day arrives.
Given the time crunch of a coaching change, Fresno State is monumentally further ahead of where the Bulldogs stood in 2012 when Tim DeRuyter was hired. DeRuyter was hired about a month later in the process and he also served as an interim head coach for Texas A&M’s bowl game. In 2012, Fresno State finished with only 15 signees, a third of which never played for the Bulldogs.
Currently Fresno State has 15 scholarship commitments, five of which were mid-year signings who will be using open and unused scholarships from last year’s class. Fresno State’s coaching staff is left with 15 open scholarships to use in these last three weeks, but they will be doing their due diligence before offering any individual recruit.
“We spent this week at the beginning of last week going over our philosophy,” Tedford said. “We came up with Dog Wire Dudes, guys that are wired the way we want them to be wired - guys that are leaders, good guys off the field, guys that are hard workers, guys that are tough, good character kids, do good in the classroom - all those types of things. We have to do our research with those guys to make sure they are the right fit for Fresno State.”
Some of the expected top recruiting aces on Tedford's new staff include former Bulldogs J.D. Williams (Defensive Backs), Jamie Christian (Running Backs / Special Teams) and Scott Thompson (Tight Ends), as well as Defensive Line Coach Tony Tuioti who served as Jim Harbaugh's Director of Player Personnel at Michigan this past season.
The end of the dead period on Thursday nearly coincides with the two-month mark from the time of Tedford’s initial hiring. Since then, Fresno State’s new staff has parted ways with seven of the previous staff’s 11 commits and added on 11 new scholarship commits of their own.
The top additions by Tedford's staff include three-star recruits Jorge Reyna - a junior college quarterback, three-star junior college cornerback Matthew Boateng, three-star junior college receiver Derrion Grim and three-star high school running back Ronnie Rivers.
Despite largely starting over, Fresno State’s national recruiting ranking by Scout.com has improved from 96 to 88. The Bulldogs currently stand in sixth place among their Mountain West peers. Based on current projections, Fresno State could finish as high as fourth in the conference. Boise State, Colorado State and San Diego State currently lead the pack.
Fresno State should also see the most immediate boost from its class with nine junior college commits (eight on scholarship). No other program in the MW has more than five.
Stay tuned to BarkBoard.com for the latest recruiting reports and interviews. Also, exclusive to BarkBoard.com Premium Members is the BarkBoard’s Fresno State 2017 Recruiting Hot Board which lists and ranks the Bulldogs’ top prospects with regular updates.