Fresno State closed out National Signing Day in February with two additional scholarships to use - now the Bulldogs have one remaining after Concord (Calif.) linebacker Alex Cruz signed his letter of intent on Monday.
Cruz began to rise on the recruiting scene during his junior season, but many schools passed after taking a look at his academic transcripts. He put in extra work in the classroom last summer and throughout his senior year in an attempt to make it to an FBS program. Fresno State’s new linebackers coach Bert Watts kept a close eye on Cruz and the two sides became a match when Cruz’s most recent grades came in.
Cruz told BarkBoard.com, “I would see (college coaches) coming in the halls and they would talk to (teammate DeAndre Morgan and me), 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.
“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.”
The newest Bulldog pledge said he has family in the Central Valley, but hadn’t toured the campus until after he signed his paperwork.
“I took my tour on Monday and it was icing on the cake,” Cruz said. “They have a really good campus. What I’m trying to major in is criminology or kinesiology and that’s two of their top majors. I think it’s a good fit for me and the campus is just beautiful.
“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.”
Cruz was recruited as a middle linebacker, but he also doubles as a tight end. The 6-foot-2 and 235-pound athlete describes himself as a hard hitter with a strong nose for the ball.
Said Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford, “He’s a linebacker … that we feel really good about. It was nice that someone of that caliber did so much hard work that he could come back and get it done academically to put himself in a position to compete. We’re really excited about him.”
BarkBoard.com Premium Members can read and listen to our full interview with Cruz here: CLICK HERE