With a week before National Signing Day, it appeared that San Jose State was content with having their only quarterback in the 2016 class being a junior college transfer in Sam Allen. That was until their top high school target, Montel Aaron, announced he was opening his recruitment in the final week.
Though Aaron had committed to Temple on Oct. 3 of 2015, San Jose State never broke off communications with the prospect for good. The Spartans maintained a relationship with Aaron through the whole process and it paid off on Feb. 3 with a signature from the three-star QB.
“They had done a really good job staying consistent throughout my whole recruiting,” Aaron said. “Even when I was committed I would talk to them every now and then and they would tell me they were still very interested in me.
“After I decommitted, I just took a step back in my recruiting and looked at all my options, what I had seen so far, where I’ve been, who I feel comfortable around, the coaching staffs and then just made my decision from there.”
Aaron reopened his recruitment in the final stretch and a mad dash ensued. Hawaii Head Coach Nick Rolovich, who had Aaron as his top target at Nevada previously, offered him a scholarship and made a big push to bring him to the islands. UC Davis also offered him to bring his total to eight, including UNLV.
“I took my official visit to San Jose State the last weekend that was possible,” Aaron said. “I really liked it and it seemed like a better fit for me academic wise and football wise, seeing that Temple had just signed another quarterback that would have been my same year when I came in. It seemed like a better fit, closer to home. Everything like that. After I talked with my family, we agreed that was the best fit for me.”
When Aaron visited on Jan. 29, he was accompanied by his high school teammate - three-star offensive lineman Jaelen Lewis. While Aaron’s relationship with Temple appeared to sour in the eleventh hour, Lewis had a similar situation arise. He had been committed to Washington State since November. Soon after the visit, both were decided on being Spartans.
“Honestly, it wasn’t anything like (a package deal),” Aaron said. “We have grown up together since we were really little and we wanted the best for each other. It was just that the way our recruiting had gone towards the end just wasn’t what we had discussed with our individual coaching staffs which was what made us do what we did and look for a better place football wise, especially playing time wise I would say.
“It’s always nice to play with a friend throughout the years and into college, but it wasn’t a deciding factor for either of us. But I’m super excited.”
San Jose State recently lost its recruiting coordinator Donte Williams to Arizona who was known to land last-minute stars, but Andrew Rolin was promoted to recruiting coordinator after he fittingly led the recruitment on both Aaron and Lewis and earned their commitments 24 hours before National Signing Day.
“Our relationship is great,” Aaron said of Rolin. “He’s a great coach and to take that even farther, he’s a greater guy. He was trying to get me into the program, but building a relationship with him over the past months was great.”
On the field, SJSU will be getting a 6-foot-4, 190-pound athlete who comes from a pro-style offense. Aaron still holds the versatile attributes that SJSU Offensive Coordinator Al Borges appears to value - the ability to run if needed and extend the playbook.
“I would say that I do a good job of carrying out broken plays and making plays that weren’t always supposed to be the plays that were made,” Aaron said. “I would say that I have a fairly strong arm and I’m very used to throwing on the run.”