By Sandeep Chandok:
National Signing Day is in the books and San Jose State made a big splash in a small amount of time.
Head coach Brent Brennan, along with his staff, was able to recruit 23 prospective student-athletes in just two and a half weeks time.
Brennan had nothing but positive things to say about his incoming recruits at the press conference yesterday afternoon.
“We feel like we have added a great group of young men that’s gonna help us take a step in the direction we want to go in as a program,” Brennan said.
The 23-man class is highlighted by two quarterbacks, three defensive linemen, four defensive backs and five linebackers as well as handful of other offensive players.
Despite Brennan having been an offensive coordinator at Oregon State, defense was a heavy topic of discussion at the presser. SJSU’s secondary has been the strength of its defense over the past few seasons. According to ESPN, the Spartans ranked 18th in passing yards allowed in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) in 2016, ranked second in 2015 and first in 2014, as well. This is likely why Brennan retained cornerback coach Will Harris for his staff.
SJSU’s rush defense however has been on the opposite end of the spectrum, having ranked 122nd in rushing yards allowed per game in 2016. Brennan is aware of this defensive weak point in his team.
“[You] can’t win football games if you can’t stop the run,” Brennan said. “That was a huge emphasis for us.”
Of SJSU’s 12 defensive recruits, five are from junior colleges. This is important to Brennan because junior college players already have some experience at the college level and are ready to play immediately.
“We knew we needed guys that could hold up at the front, make plays in space and sack the quarterback,” Brennan said. “We feel like we did that.”
Aside from defense, the Spartans signed two California quarterbacks in Terrell Carter of San Diego and Ryan Johnson of Hanford, Calif. and now have a total of six quarterbacks on their roster.
Although, it is too early to determine who the starter will be as Spring Training has yet to begin and freshman Josh Love only started one game last season.
Two SJSU football alums, David Fales, a quarterback, and Tyler Ervin, a running back, are currently in the NFL and were two prominent offensive players for the Spartans in their time here.
“I hope there’s 20 of those guys on this roster,” Brennan said referring to Fales and Ervin.
All but two of the 23 recruits are from California including a few from the Bay Area. Brennan, who was born in Redwood City, explained the importance of having Bay Area players on his team.
“Recruiting those kids gives you a chance to get some people excited,” Brennan said. “It’s always more fun to watch a hometown kid do his thing.”
Brennan concluded the press conference by acknowledging four of his recruits in the room, Justin Parcells, Brando Phillips, Jake Colman and Jamal Scott, who are excited for the opportunity to play for their new head coach.
“I feel like I’m more involved in this program,” Scott said. “I can’t wait to get to work for him.”