Head football coach Jeff Tedford addressed the media last week about the 15 new additions to the Bulldog roster. National Signing Day had just wrapped up.
Tedford is walking away from this recruitment period happy with the process and results. Though he could not pinpoint just one aspect of the recruiting class that excited him most, he was happy the team was able to address its needs – especially on the defensive line.
Fresno State lost half of its starting defensive line and acquired four new defensive linemen to help remedy those losses.
“I thought we had the right guys targeted,” Tedford said. “Spencer Harris, our player personnel guy, did a great job at setting up camps. I think our staff did a great job at evaluating guys and then create relationships with them.”
Tedford added that he hopes all the recruits are ready to come in to fight for a starting position. He said he needs players that are “hungry” and can get behind the mindset of “unfinished business.”
That unfinished business, of course, is the Mountain West championship that the Bulldogs missed out on after losing to Boise State in the fall.
Fourteen of the 15 recruits were signed on Dec. 20 during the first-ever early signing period. The 15th and final signing was safety Shawn Dourseau. Dourseau, a Perris, California native, excites Tedford quite a bit. The two-star recruit had 13 interceptions for Citrus Hills High School.
“He’s a ball hawk. He really plays the ball well. He’s very physical, comes up and tackles really well, great feet,” Tedford said. “Strong competitor, comes from the background of a successful team, so he’s use to winning.”
Tedford called Dourseau a “complete player” and the addition will add depth to an already effective group of defensive backs that only allowed 6.3 yards-per-pass last season.
Citrus Hills also happens to be the alma mater of starting Fresno State safety Mike Bell.
Tedford is renowned for his work with college quarterbacks. His time as head coach at UC Berkeley from 2002-2012 saw him develop the arms and minds of Aaron Rodgers, of the Green Bay Packers and Kyle Boller, formerly of the Oakland Raiders.
So it was no surprise when the head coach was asked about the two quarterbacks he brought in with this recruiting class – Steven Comstock and Ben Woolridge.
Comstock, a three-star recruit, is a dual-threat quarterback – much like the ‘Dogs’ current starter Marcus McMaryion – while Woolridge, a two-star recruit, brings a pro-style dynamic to the team.
Tedford said Comstock’s wrestling background brings greater speed and strength, while Woolridge’s size allows him to stand in the pocket and throw over defenders.
Tedford said these quarterbacks bring more than strong arms and quick feet.
“A lot of leadership qualities about both of these guys, and both are really driven to be successful,” Tedford said.
Fourteen of the 15 recruits are California natives. Offensive lineman Nick Abbs is the exception. He is an Oregon native, but is transferring from Fresno City College.
Eight of the 14 California recruits are from the Valley, five being from Fresno and Clovis.
Tedford said targeting Valley and California recruits was a focal point for this recruitment period.
“A lot of these kids have grown up and have seen the excitement around Fresno State football, and they want to be a part of it. I’m really pleased with all of them,” Tedford said. “I’m excited. Their families are excited to have them close to home, so I think that’s a huge benefit for those guys.”
Tedford added that staying close to home not only benefits their time as students but also their prospective careers. He said it allows them to network and build connections in a place they are familiar with.
The additions of offensive lineman Clive Truschel and wide receiver Rodney Wright III bring Fresno State’s legacy player count to five.
Truschel’s father, Jeff Truschel, and Wright’s father, Rodney Wright II, played for Fresno State during different time periods. Jeff Truschel played for the Bulldogs in the 1980s, while Rodney Wright II played alongside David Carr and is the school’s second-leading receiver in yardage.
“Their dads had good careers here. It was no different from last year when Ronnie Rivers came. They want to come here and continue the family traditions,” Tedford said.
Tedford said their fathers’ support speaks volumes about Fresno State, because their support indicates that their experiences as Bulldogs were positive.