Full Q&A and Audio interview with Fresno State commit Alex Cruz

BarkBoard.com premium members can view our Q&A and full audio interview with Fresno State linebacker signee Alex Cruz here:

Could you summarize your recruitment process?

First off, I was kind of under recruited, I would say. My path wasn’t clear until about three weeks ago when they gave me a call. My choices were (junior colleges) in the Bay Area... Fresno State gave me a call and I couldn’t let the opportunity slip through my hands so I had to pull the trigger on it.

 

Why would you say your recruitment turned out that way?

I wouldn’t say under recruited, but I feel like I didn’t have enough exposure as I should have. Deandre Morgan, he’s a very gifted athlete at my school. He had a couple offers. I would see them coming in the halls and they would talk to both of us, but they would always tell me my grades were keeping me back - which was freshman to sophomore year. I felt like, in that aspect, some coaches didn’t believe I could do it. I had to prove myself and show what I’m made of to get it done.

 

What was your situation with your grades? 

I really didn’t realize that I would have the opportunity at college ball because I didn’t know if I was good enough or not. At the end of my junior year, I thought I think I can do it. I talked to the counselor and asked her what I could to. She said I should take summer school so I took two classes over summer to pick my grades up. I had a D in Spanish, which I’m retaking this year to pick up.

 

What is your height and weight?

6-2 235

 

So what was it like when Fresno State made the call?

I’ve had some communication with Coach Bert Watts… through DM on Twitter. It was really iffy because he said after the semester, that would tell if I would qualify or not. Communication was here and there. I just asked him, because the quarter is about to end at my school, so I shot him a DM. I said is there anything I can do to help my situation? He came back to me and told me ‘your transcripts and academics, everything checked out you just have to finish out strong’… I was really ecstatic when I got the call. I just got out of school on my way to work... and I was really excited. I couldn’t believe the opportunity finally came.

 

Did you commit before your visit?

I committed and signed the papers the following Thursday. I couldn’t let the opportunity slip through my hands. I have family in Fresno so I’ve seen some of the campus, but I’d never actually taken a tour. I took my tour on Monday and it was icing on the cake. They have a really good campus. What I’m trying to major in is criminology or kinesiology and that’s one of their top two majors. I think it’s a good fit for me and the campus is just beautiful.

The football facility, the field. I got a chance to step on the field… I could really see myself playing there and making an impact. Like I said, the Red Wave, they were telling me how everyone wears red. I could see myself on that field with all those fans. They have excellent facilities.

 

How would you describe your game on the field?

I’m a hard hitter, I’d like to say. I’d say I’m a sideline to sideline player on defense, wherever the ball is, I’m there. I’m a ball hawk. Playing middle linebacker for my team, I was kind of the heart of the defense, I’d say. Shoutout to all my teammates because they made it very easy on me, but I had a lot of responsibilities. I had to know what the D-Line was doing, what the coverage was for the corners and safeties. I had to make adjustments all the time so I felt I was a pretty good leader in that aspect. My team made it pretty easy for me because they blocked up and I was right there in the hole…

 

What started clicking for you after your junior year?

The end of my junior year we were at the (championship) for my league. I felt I had an excellent showcase of what I could do. It’s heartbreaking because we lost by a point… It gave me a new fire. I realized that next year was my chance if I really wanted it. I went in and did what I could and felt like I proved myself this year. Gladly Fresno State gave me this opportunity.

 

Has Fresno State indicated how they will use you?

They would like me at the Mike position. I believe they have three guys in that spot. Just like anything in life, you’ve got to earn it. I’m going to go into summer trying to take that spot and trying to make it mine. When I got to visit, the offensive coordinator… he said he was going to try to steal me and play me at some tight end, which I definitely would be interested in because I’m a three-way player - I also kick. I just love being on the field.

 

So you would feel comfortable at tight end if they call you for it? 

I would definitely jump at the opportunity. I love making an impact anywhere I can, whether its either at linebacker or tight end.

 

We’ve been told Fresno State plans to play multiple defenses next year, are you hearing the same?

I think it’s all about gameplan, it’s about what the opposing team’s offense runs…. You’ve got to adjust game by game and team by team to give yourself the best opportunity to get on the field. Anywhere on the field I can make an impact. Any opportunity I’m going to take and run, even if it’s me at Mike or as an outside blitzing linebacker, or tight end.

 

What defense did you play in high school?

4-2-5 nickel.

 

Anything else you’d like to mention?

I just want to give a shoutout to Coach Bert Watts for being interested in me since my junior year and seeing me as a Bulldog and keeping his eye on me until I had the qualifications. I want to also shoutout my team because without them I wouldn’t be too much. No one player makes a team.

 

Looking back on your experience, how do you feel now that you have landed with Fresno State?

It really didn’t hit me until I got to the campus… Once I got there I was really blessed and excited. For me to understand that I have this great opportunity ahead of me to play the game I love… There’s nothing more I can ask for, it’s a blessing is all I can really say.


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