Tell us a bit about your recruitment and how your path was likely different as a late commit.
It was definitely a lot different. I was talking to a lot of schools, Pac-12 and Power-5 schools, along with the Mountain West. I’d been talking to them since my junior year so I thought offers were going to come a lot earlier. My junior year goes by and nothing happens, and I thought I had a great season. Our team went to state… We had a really, really good season. My senior season happens and I just blow up again, great film and great season. A lot of good things happened.
The wheels never really got rolling with the college offers, until maybe two weeks ago. Coach Brennan calls me up and says, “We’re going to offer you.” That was probably the highlight of my life. I worked so hard to get that. He’s awesome and I love what the San Jose State program is doing right now. The staff is bringing great energy and they’re really going to turn the program around. I’m just so happy they believe in me enough to give me a scholarship.
It sounds like you were really excited, did you commit on the spot?
I’m getting onto a plane going to Oregon to visit UofO, because I was talking to them really heavily. My final three schools were San Jose State, Utah and Oregon. I was getting onto the plane, I was physically on the plane when I got the call from Coach Brennan that they were going to offer me. I went through that trip and then I went back and visited one practice, a spring practice at San Jose State. I took about two weeks to think everything over. I had to put in every last details of what the pluses and minuses were for each school. I decided it was San Jose State.
Did Utah or Oregon offer or was it as a prefered walk-on?
Oregon picked me up really late so they were contemplating on it (offering). I know if I was a walk-on I’d have to deposit by May 1. I thought they were kind of taking a little too long and I didn’t feel optimistic about an offer coming. I said I love what they are doing at San Jose State so that’s where I’m going.
What sold you most on making the commitment?
Definitely the energy of practice. That was probably my number one thing I saw at spring practice. They bring it. Coach Brennan does a great job of getting all the players hyped and all the other coaches hyped to get better. Everybody pushes each other. That’s how winners are made.
How did San Jose State’s practice compare to others?
By far, the most energetic, the most excited to get out there. That was actually part of my plus when I was talking about it with my parents before I made my final decision. One of the big, big plusses for San Jose State was all the energy they had in practice. I said it was doubled to what Utah and Oregon had.
What do you think that could do for the program for other recruits in your shoes… Can energy compensate for other factors that Power-5 schools have over SJSU?
When I went to Oregon, I mean the facilities were better than pros. They had a Marcus Mariota Fitness Center and stuff like that, and Phil Knight just throws money there whenever he wants… Physically Utah and Oregon have nice facilities, but that’s not why you go there. I think other recruits have to know that. You’re not going to a school for the facilities. You’re going for your best fit. I really think my best fit is at San Jose State.
Which coaches did you talk to specifically?
I talked to Coach Carter a lot because they said they’re going to try me on the offensive side of the ball. Coach Guidici, the special teams coordinator, I’ve had a relationship with him before he even signed as the coach. And then obviously Coach Brennan… They are really great guys - honest and sincere. I can definitely say that. Coach Brennan, I was talking with him and I could definitely tell he cares about all his players. I was talking to him about a trip I was going on - I went to Tijuana to build houses. He was so interested in what I was saying and I think he truly wants the best for me even if I hadn’t chosen San Jose State.
What role does SJSU have planned for you on offense?
Right now, I’m kind of going as a Swiss Army Knife - multiple positions. They said they have a few needs on the offensive side of the ball, so they’re putting me at a fullback/h-back, at tailback, at tight end and slot receiver… That’s another reason I chose them. I actually think my natural position is fullback. I’m glad I get to play that in an offense like that.
With them bringing in a new offense, did they talk about how much they would utilize that fullback position? A lot of schools are kind of going away from that.
That’s also another reason I think my recruiting might have been overlooked, because I truly think I was overlooked. A lot of my tape on hudl is me playing fullback just blowing up defensive ends - I know a lot of schools, including Utah and Oregon, don’t use fullbacks anymore. They were looking at it like ‘we can’t use this kid.’ So they put me on the defensive (side) of the ball. I was our starting middle linebacker and I had 181 tackles on the year. They thought they could plug me in there. Because my film was half and half, I think my recruiting was overlooked.
What strengths make you stand out?
Definitely my football IQ, I think that’s definitely one of my most important traits. Last year I was I was calling audibles on the field on the defensive side. I’ve been watching football since I was two years old. My dad played college football at UMASS and he raised me as a football kid. I’ve been playing tackle football since I was six. That would be my No. 1. My No. 2 is definitely my physicality. I just like to hit people. I like to knock people’s teeth in. That’s the best part of the game for me. No. 3 is definitely my speed. I’ve been working like a dog to get my speed up since my sophomore year. At my size - my fastest ever laser time was a 4.68 and that was at 230 pounds. I definitely think that’s a big strength of mine.
What is your height and weight currently?
Location, I have to imagine that was a plus.
Definitely. Having my parents come to my home games was pretty big for me because they are so important to me. Having my parents there, my family, younger brother and younger sister all be able to come see me play - I think that’s awesome. That was a big contributor for me.
Were you born and raised in the San Jose area?
Born and raised. I was born at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City.
Are your family members SJSU supporters?
I’ve been to games when I was little because they were our local team. They were good. When Coach Mac was there, they ended in the Top 25. That’s when I was maybe 13 or 12. I would go to the games and always look up to those players. I think my parents and my family grew up San Jose State football fans as well. They weren’t our only team we supported. My dad lived in Alabama for a little bit so he was Roll Tide all the way. Through my childhood we’ve been Spartans fans.
What does it mean to you now that you’ll get to wear that very uniform this fall
I’m so excited. Not just because I’ve been a fan throughout almost all my life, but definitely because I’ve worked so hard to get to this spot. That’s what’s going to make it all worthwhile when I suit up, I put on the Spartan blue, and I get ready.
You mentioned throughout your junior and senior years you heard from several schools, could you list them?
Utah, Oregon, San Diego State, UNLV, Boise State, Air Force, Army, Cal, Cal Poly, Nevada, Wyoming… There were probably some others I didn’t mention.
When do you sign your LOI?
I sign it on the first day when I move in on June 10 and get in the dorm and start practicing with the team. That’s when I sign.
Any idea on what major you’re going to pursue?
Yeah, so I’m going to be majoring in entrepreneurship. My dad is actually a franchisee of Panera bread. He owns everything in the South Bay. When I graduate I think I’m going to partner up with him and work together until he retires and then take it over.
Any final thoughts?
I’m grateful for the Spartan coaches to believe in me enough to give me an offer. And I’m going to prove to all the schools that didn’t offer me that they made a big mistake… Spartan Up!