The prevalent theme during Wednesday’s press conference in which Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter introduced his 2013 signing class: competition, competition, competition.
Entering DeRuyter’s second year at the helm, Fresno State added 28 players in total – with 24 of them faxing their National Letters of Intent to play for the Bulldogs on Wednesday.
Four players – quarterback Brian Burrell (Bakersfield College), offensive lineman Patrick Kim (Mount San Antonio College), defensive back Rodney Mathews (Citrus College) and offensive lineman Josh Tremblay (American River College) signed their letters early and are enrolled in classes for the spring semester.
Fresno State will have four players — Burell, signee Zack Greenlee, Myles Carr and Marcus Mcdade — competing for the backup quarterback position next season. There are currently no plans to redshirt anyone, DeRuyter said.
“We wanted Brian to come in because we didn’t feel very good about a No. 2 quarterback going into spring ball,” DeRuyter said.
“We’re always going to be about competition. We’re going to have four guys in here to compete for the quarterback position,” he added. “Zack was aware of that, and I don’t think he’s going to shy away from the competition. I know Brian’s not.”
The offensive and defensive lines were among the most heavily recruited positions, with a total of 11 signees.
Fresno State also emphasized on acquiring junior college transfers — a rarity under former coach Pat Hill. The Bulldogs signed 11 junior college players to next season’s team.
Fresno State’s signing class of 24 was its largest since its 25-man signing class in 2007 – and much bigger than the 15 players DeRuyter signed last year in his first season at Fresno State.
“A year ago, I was putting a staff together. We didn’t have relationships with a lot of the high school coaches and with the prospects,” DeRuyter said. “We were trying to sell a product, but you had a brand-new staff and brand-new systems that young men frankly hadn’t seen and didn’t know what they were going to be.
“Having a full year to evaluate and establish relationships with coaches and players I think just gave a much better chance to have a much bigger class because you had those relationships.”
Here are Wednesday’s signees:
- QB Zack Greenlee (Lincoln High-Stockton). DeRuyter says: “Zack’s one of our kind of guys. He’s a Valley guy, plays with a chip on his shoulder, knows how to win. He’s a guy that on his own went and competed for a spot in the Elite 11… He’s a guy that had a late run from some schools of BCS conferences coming after him, and still, after taking trips to other places, decided this is the place where he wanted to come and be our next leader of Bulldog football.”
- RB Dontel James (Summit High-Fontana). DeRuyter says: “He’s a guy that’s a little under the radar. Very thick 6-foot, 210-pound guy. Transferred midseason to Summit High School and averaged 11 yards per carry. He’s a man.”
- WR Delvon Hardaway (Dorsey High-Los Angeles). DeRuyter says: “He got on our radar screen a little late. But when we started watching the tape on him, we knew he was somebody we’d be very excited about.”
- WR Da’Mari Scott (Cathedral High-Los Angeles). DeRuyter says: “Very physical receiver. He’s going to have the physical tools to come in and compete for a spot right away.”
- WR Darrell Fuery (Serra High-Gardena). DeRuyter says: “Another guy with outstanding track speed.”
- WR Devonn Brown (Riverside City College). DeRuyter says: “A really top-end speed guy. He’s going to be able to vertically stretch the field for us. He’s not a very big guy, but a guy that is extremely explosive. We expect him to come in and compete right away at slot receiver.”
- OL David Patterson (Woodbridge High-Irvine). DeRuyter says: “Another long prospect that could play either tackle or inside for us.”
- OL Kolby Drew (Palomar College). DeRuyter says: “Kolby is a 6’5, 290-pound former defensive end. Very long wingspan. He’s going to come in as a tackle and be able to really fight for a position in the two-deep.”
- OL Sean Rubalcava (Cerritos College). DeRuyter says: “A highly recruited guy. Very thick. His high school pedigree is very good as well … is a guy that knows how to win.”
- OL Elijah Cox (Ironwood High-Glendale, Ariz.). DeRuyter says: “He’s an all-state wrestler out of Arizona. Great leverage player. We think he can play either the inside or the outside position. Like his mental toughness.”
- TE Jerin McClendon (Phoenix College). DeRuyter says: “That’s not a typo – he is 6’8 and 274 pounds. Very similar as to where Marcel Jensen was a year ago. Kind of a raw prospect, but can knock people off the ball. He gives us an opportunity to play some two-tight-end formations.”
- DL Ioane Sagapolu (Fresno City College). DeRuyter says: “I really like Ioane as a nose guard for us. He’s a 300-pounder. Great motor. Great balance and power. What he’s going to do is this spring, we’re going to take Tyeler Davison and play defenseive end for us at times. He really gives us flexibility in the development for our guys.”
- DL Ryan Steele (Kingsburg High).
- DL Jaylen Ruiz (Memorial High). DeRuyter says of Steele and Ruiz: “They’re guys that can get to 300 pounds. Extremely athetic and they play with good motors.”
- DE Claudell Louis (College of the Sequoias). DeRuyter says: “A long, athletic guy … we expect him physically to be able to come in right away and play.”
- DE/TE Nahan Madsen (Eureka High).
- OLB Robert Stanley (Bishop Gorman High-Las Vegas). DeRuyter says: “Big-time upside. He’s a very long, athletic outside linebacker. He’s played against next-level talent.”
- LB Stephen Van Hook (Citrus Hill High). DeRuyter says: “Both (Van Hook and Stanley) give us a presence, a pass-rushing threat, an athleticism that allows them to drop in to the flat and run with receivers, which is what we need in this package.”
- LB Jeff Camilli (Ponderosa High). DeRuyter says: “Highly recruited young man. Had some late interest from some Pac-12 schools that we had to fend off down the stretch. He’s been a guy that’s been extremely excited to come here. Because of his physical size he’ll be able to compete right away.”
- DB Treshon Broughton (Vista Murrieta High). DeRuyter says: “He’s somebody that’s used to winning.”
- DB Tray Hall (Riverside City College).
- S Justin Holmes (Edison High). DeRuyter says: “We noticed him in our camp last year. Very physical player. Very explosive. A lot of interceptions, a lot of tackles on the season.”
- S Randon Knotts (LBJ High in Austin, Texas). DeRuyter says: “Tremendous athleticism. … You look at the productivity of guys like Phillip (Thomas) and Derron (Smith), I think he’s going to be another one because of his dimensions.”
- K Colin McGuire (Westwood High-Austin, Texas). DeRuyter says: “Might be the most important guy … He’s got a big-time leg. He’s really going to give coach (Pete) Germano and myself a reason to sleep a little bit better on Friday nights before games.”