Ryan Harper Talks About SJSU Pledge

The San Jose State football team picked up another commitment from the big recruiting weekend of Jan. 3. Safety Ryan Harper of Phoenix College went home to discuss thing with his family, then made his pledge to SJSU. He spoke on Thursday about what made him want to be a Spartan.

Many a sports fan would love to have the sort of conundrum that faces Ryan Harper of Phoenix College - chase the dream of playing pro baseball or playing at the highest level of college football. At first baseball won out, but recently football began to creep back into the mind of the multi-sport star, and he decided to take advantage of a scholarship offer from San Jose State. After visiting SJSU last weekend he made the full commitment to football, and to San Jose State.

"I committed on (Wednesday) morning," Harper said. "Coach (Gary) Bernardi, who is the coach recruiting me, came over and I talked about it with my parents, and decided it was something I wanted to go with so I verbaled."

A two-sport star out of Greenway High School in Phoenix, Harper already had a close relationship with Bernardi - the veteran coach was at UNLV and recruited Harper during that time, and even offered him a scholarship to play for the Rebels.

"I chose baseball at that time so I told him 'no'" he said. "Then I later regretted it, so here I am now."

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Harper won't need to sit out as he is a junior college transfer, and will have three years of eligibility. He said the Spartans staff is recruiting him at safety, but he'll also get the opportunity to contribute on special teams.

"They're going to give me a chance to punt," Harper said. "I've done some of that in junior college and they liked that. I ran a lot of successful fake punts."

While baseball is not entirely out of the question in the future for Harper, he said the staff isn't planning on allowing him to play two sports at SJSU.

Harper is not a stranger to the Bay Area, either. He said he'll look at San Jose State as sort of a second home.

"I have a lot of family ties in the area and I know a lot of people there," he said. "We used to go there when I was a kid so it's not a strange place to me."

A common theme among recruits this year has been the improvement of the San Jose State football team. After going 1-12 in 2010, the Spartans improved to 5-7 in 2011, and it could have been even better. Harper took notice and it factored in his decision.

"They did a lot better this season than last," he said. "And they lost a lot of close games that they could have won, and a lot of those guys are coming back next season."

Harper said he wasn't yet sure whether he'll enroll in January or wait until summer.

Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You are welcome to contact Don with any questions or suggestions at publisher@insidesparta.net.

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