In the midst of the San Jose State football team’s AutoNation Cure Bowl preparations, the Spatans also wrapped up a huge week on the recruiting front just days ago.
InsideTheSpartans confirms that two letters of intent were submitted by two mid-year junior college transfers - quarterback Sam Allen of Victor Valley College and defensive end Chibu Onyeukwu of Contra Costa College.
Allen committed to San Jose State following an official visit to SJSU on the weekend of Dec. 4. Currently the only quarterback in the Spartans’ 2016 class, Allen spent only one semester in the junior college ranks. He will transfer to San Jose State and compete in the spring with four years to play three seasons.
“I’m a throw-first guy, but if I have to I can extend plays and the last thing I want to do is take off running,” Allen told InsideTheSpartans last week about himself. “I’m very mobile and I can run if I have to, but I can stay in the pocket. Coach Borges told me he wants a quarterback who ‘runs for yards, but throws for miles.’ So that’s the quarterback I want to be.”
A good relationship with the coaching staff, especially SJSU Offensive Coordinator Al Borges, along with a good official visit were the main factors in Allen’s commitment, he said.
Allen had interest from Nevada, Eastern Michigan and received a late push from Hawaii’s new staff, but a week after his commitment he stayed firm with San Jose State. He signed his letter of intent Thursday night.
Onyeakwu, meanwhile, took his official visit on the weekend of Dec. 11. He had narrowed his decision down to Fresno State and San Jose State. He visited the Bulldogs on Dec. 4 before visiting SJSU. At the conclusion of his SJSU visit on Sunday, he announced his commitment to the Spartans. Along with Fresno State, he held offers from Iowa State, San Diego State and Toledo.
On Wednesday, the first day of the signing period, Onyeakwu sent in his letter of intent to San Jose State.
Onyeakwu and Allen were just the conclusion to a wave of San Jose State commits over the past week. Five others picked San Jose State after officially visiting the campus over the Dec. 11 weekend.
San Jose State earned the commitment of two other junior college recruits who will sign in February and join the team for fall camp - twin brothers Suliasi and Sitiveni Tamaivena, outside linebackers of Mt. San Antonio College.
The twin brothers weren’t recruited out of high school and spent two years playing rugby before trying junior college football. They quickly made themselves noticed by college coaches with aggressive pass rushing abilities, logging a combined 28.5 sacks in two seasons together.
Suliasi ranks as one of the elite junior college prospects in the nation by Scout’s Top 100 JC rankings.
“We’re really known for our pressure, we get a lot of pressure,” Suliasi said of the brothers’ strength in a premium article. “San Jose State, they have the No. 1 pass defense, so all they need is some pressure and that’s what me and (Sitiveni) are good at. We thought if they can hang on to the receivers for a while, that’s more time for us to get to the quarterback.”
San Jose State also added the commitments of three San Jose State recruits last weekend - Keoni Stallworth (three-star safety at Cosumnes Oak), Deonte Perry (three-star running back of Canoga Park) and Dante Abono (unranked lineman of Alhambra).
Stallworth may be the Spartans’ top defensive back in the 2016 class as the second three-star defensive back to commit to the Spartans.
“They have a phenomenal coaching staff,” Stallworth said of his choice for SJSU in a premium article. “I went on an official visit and it was like a family-type atmosphere and I felt comfortable there.”
Stallworth visited on the weekend of Dec. 4. He plans to major in San Jose State’s engineering department. He chose the Spartans over Fresno State and San Diego State primarily, along with offers from Air Force, Army, Navy, New Mexico, San Diego, UC Davis and Wyoming.
Running back Deonte Perry also visited on Dec. 11. The visit to SJSU sealed his decision to the Spartans over MW foes Fresno State, Nevada, Utah State and Wyoming. Perry is the second running back in the 2016 class and the higher ranked of the two.
The third high school commit came from a rare, under-the-radar recruit. Dante Abono, offensive tackle / defensive end recruit of Alhambra High School announced his commitment to SJSU on social media. Abono had not yet been rated by Scout.com.
“Over the summer, I started getting into the recruiting process,” Abono said. “I went to some camps to get my name out there. (San Jose State Defensive Line) Coach (James) Jones, he heard about me and he was talking to me. I got some attention at a Stanford camp, I had to make a presence. I played both sides and I had nothing to lose. I did well and then started getting talked to by schools.”
Abono was offered by Hawaii toward the beginning of the season, then UC Davis. Just two days before a recent high school playoff game, he was offered by San Jose State and committed soon after. He played on both the offensive and defensive lines, but projects as a defensive end at the next level.
“When I was younger, offensive line was my thing," Abono said. "But when I got into high school, I started getting taller. I’m now 6-foot-6, pushing 6-foot-7. I haven’t really filled out much and now I’m long-limbed and really athletic. So that’s how I’m making my mark. I finished with 13 sacks on the season and I had a heck of a time on defense.”
Players that San Jose State pursued that recently committed elsewhere includes Long Beach Poly safety Deandre Pierce and defensive tackle Emmanuel Fesili - both to Boise State, and offensive tackle Liam Ryan of Damien HS to Washington State.
With seven more recruits pledged to San Jose State, there are 21 total commits for a class which currently ranks as one of the best in the Mountain West. The Spartan staff will narrow in on their targets for their remaining scholarships.
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SEE the Tamaivena twins commit to San Jose State Head Coach Ron Caragher: