Coach MacIntyre Excited About His 2012 Class
San Jose State head coach football Mike MacIntyre appeared absolutely ecstatic on the evening of February 1st, when addressing a group of approximately 200 Spartan fans at the Marriot Hotel in downtown San Jose. The event, put on by the San Jose State Quarterback Club, was in celebration of National Letter-of-Intent Day; the day that high school football prospects could finally sign and fax their commitment letters, officially binding them to the college of their choice. "Today's like Christmas" said MacIntyre. "I didn't sleep a wink last night". MacIntyre had good reason to be so giddy. He and his staff pulled together one of the best recruiting classes for the program in recent memory, and managed to have all 20 of the their verbal commitments sign on the dotted line, despite a lot of interest from other schools trying to lure them away in the 11th hour. The 2012 San Jose State football class is ranked No. 2 in the Western Athletic Conference, slightly behind top rated Idaho, and for the first time is rated higher than Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii, three schools that are leaving the WAC for the Mountain West Conference at the end of the current school term.
Of the twenty recruits that San Jose State signed, 18 of them are high school players and 2 are from the junior college ranks. Gone are the days when San Jose State would need to sign 7 or 8 junior college players, just to stay somewhat competitive. MacIntyre and his staff are now able to compete and win the recruiting battles over schools that previously would leave SJSU in the dust. "The perception of San Jose State is changing" said MacIntyre. Many of the prospects that signed chose San Jose State despite having offers from Fresno State, Colorado State, San Diego State, Boise State, and even PAC-12 schools Washington State, Utah, and Arizona State. For the most part, San Jose State focused their efforts on those players that had previously attended the camps that the staff had put on throughout California. 16 of the 18 high school players that signed had previously attended a San Jose State run camp.
Five of the players that signed played their high school football at schools located near San Jose State; including linebackers Brad Kuh (Bellarmine) and Eugene Taylor (Oak Grove). Another freshman linebacker, Lemaki Musika, played at Milpitas High School in 2010, and is already enrolled at San Jose State for the Spring 2012 semester.
3-star rated Christian Tago, from Highland High School in Palmdale, Calif. was a standout defensive player and is projected as a linebacker for the Spartans, but he will also be given an opportunity to try his hand at quarterback, which was a factor in his selecting San Jose State over San Diego State.
Six of the players signed are from outside the state of California; an unusually high number for San Jose State. This is a new trend under Mike MacIntyre, and is an indication that the program is rapidly getting healthier financially. Under previous head coach, Dick Tomey, the school recruited 98% of the players from within California. Four players are from the state of Arizona, including offensive lineman Evan Sarver from Basha High School in Chandler. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Sarver chose San Jose State over both Fresno State and Arizona State. Additionally, two players hail from the state of Texas; running back Jalynn McCain of Sugar Land, and place-kicker Austin Lopez from Trinity High School in Euless.
Look for those players listed as tight ends, linebackers, and defensive backs to be more likely to see playing time as true freshmen this coming season. MacIntyre prefers and plans to redshirt the interior lineman.
Player that fills the biggest need in 2012?
QB David Fales – Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, Calif.
It was believed that quarterback would not be an area of concern for the Spartans in 2012. Michigan transfer Tate Forcier, who redshirted at San Jose State in 2011, was thought by many to be the heir apparent to take over the starting role from senior Matt Faulkner. Due to academic and family concerns, Forcier left the school after the fall semester and won't return. That left San Jose State with only three quarterbacks on the roster and only one (junior Dasman Stewart) with any significant playing time. Fales, who originally signed with Nevada out of Palma High in Salinas, Calif. back in 2009, will bring much needed depth and competition, as well as experience playing in the pistol formation. While at MPC, last season, the 6-foot-3 / 225-pound Fales threw for 2,517 yards, 25 TD's and 10 INT's and completed 64.7% of his passes. He could very well be the starter when the Spartans kick0ff the season at Stanford.
Freshman that could have an immediate impact?
RB Jalynn McCain – George Bush High School, Sugar Land, Texas .The 5-foot-10, 220-pound McCain has already been told to expect playing time as a true freshman this fall. He appears strong enough already, and with a reported 4.4 40 yard time, he certainly has the speed. While at Bush High School, McCain averaged 5.3 yards per carry (1,258 yards in 236 carries). McCain held offers from at least six FBS level schools, including defending WAC champion Louisiana Tech. Coach MacIntyre was so concerned that McCain might be lured away from his verbal commitment to SJSU, that he sent Spartans' defensive line coach and former Dallas Cowboy Jim Jeffcoat to visit McCain in Texas at the last minute, in order to help close the deal, after learning McCain was a life-long Cowboys fan.
Player that could have the biggest long term impact?
OL Fernando Villanueva – Independence High School, San Jose, Calif. - The 6-foot-6, 285 pound Villanueva was recently named the 15th best player in the Bay Area in the San Jose Mercury News Cream Of the Crop list, as well as the Mount Hamilton League Offensive Lineman of the Year. A change in the Washington State head coaching position allowed Villanueva to de-commit from the Cougars, and switch to San Jose State. He also turned down offers from the University of Utah and Colorado State. Concerns about his academic standing probably kept him from receiving offers from the top end PAC-12 schools. With that, expect him to redshirt this coming season in order to concentrate on academics. Long term, he could either become a dominant offensive lineman for the Spartans, or, if he maintains a more lean physic, he could move to the defensive side and play end.
Under the radar player that will surprise?
TE Billy Freeman – Red Mountain High School, Mesa, Arizona - Despite his hailing from Mesa, Arizona, San Jose State discovered the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Freeman thanks to the a connection between his high school coach, Ron Wizneiwski, and the Spartans' offensive line coach Gary Bernardi. One word to describe Freeman is "dominant". Freeman possesses great athleticism, and appears to be a man playing against boys in his highlight video. He initially played quarterback for Red Mountain, but switched to tight end, which may be the reason why he wasn't as highly recruited as he probably should have been.. Freeman reportedly receive a late offer from Boise State, but stuck with his commitment to San Jose State. Both Montana and Northern Colorado also offered. Look for Freeman to play as a true freshman, at a variety of positions, including tight end, linebacker, H-Back, and even long snapper.
Complete List of 2012 Signees
Austin Lopez PK (6-1 / 165) Trinity HS - Euless, TX
Evan Sarver OT (6-5 / 265) Basha HS - Chandler, AZ
Jimmy Pruitt CB (6-1 / 190) Helix HS - La Mesa, CA
Jordan Thiel TE (6-4.5 / 215) Simi Valley HS - Simi Valley, CA
Niko Kitrell TE/FB (6-3 / 240) Sahuaro HS - Tuscon, AZ
David Fales QB (6-3 / 225) Monterey Peninsula College – Monterey, CA
Fernando Villanueva OT/DE (6-7 / 285) Independence HS - San Jose, CA
Jalynn McCain RB (5-10/ 215 George Bush HS - Sugar Land, TX
Eugene Taylor OLB (6-3 / 215) Oak Grove HS - San Jose, CA
Billy Freeman TE (6-3 / 240) Red Mountain HS - Mesa, AZ
Brad Kuh OLB (6-2 / 220) Bellarmine College Prep - San Jose, CA
Addison Gillam MLB (6-3 / 220) Foothill HS - Palo Cedro, CA
Ryan Harper S (6-2 / 195) Phoenix College - Phoenix, AZ
Travis Talianko S (6-1 / 190) St. Francis HS - La Canada, CA
Christian Tago QB/LB (6-0 / 218) Highland HS - Palmdale, CA
Jeremiah Kolone OG (6-3 / 295) Fallbrook HS - Fallbrook, CA
Miles Milner CB (5-11 / 170) Mission Hills HS - San Marcos, CA
Oscar Barron OG (6-4 /268) Buena Park HS – Buena Park, CA
Lemaki Musika LB (6-1 / 245) Milpitas HS – Milpitas, CA
Kyle Hart C (6-3 / 240) Burroughs HS - Ridgecrest, CA
Note: According to his coach at Diablo Valley College, safety Eric Finefeuiaki (6-foot-1, 210-pounds) faxed his letter-of-intent to San Jose State on Tuesday, February 2nd. San Jose State has yet to confirm that information at press time.
Mike Morgan is an Associate Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Mike with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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