Keeping players in California was a priority for Jeff Tedford when he was Cal’s football coach.
It worked out well for him then, and it appears he’s off to a good start at Fresno State.
Tedford will announce his first recruiting class with the Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Wednesday after letters of intent pour into the football offices in the morning on national signing day.
NCAA rules prohibit coaching staffs from commenting on any prospective recruit until letters of intent are received and confirmed by the university.
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The Bulldogs have plenty of holes to fill after going 1-11 last season. Tim DeRuyter was fired after eight games and Tedford, a former Bulldogs quarterback and assistant coach, was hired away from a job as a consultant at Washington.
His initial focus was to hire coaches, then hit the recruiting circuit hard. There were some de-commitments along the way, but Tedford and his staff have lined up a solid class, Scout.com national recruiting director Brandon Huffman said.
“I think him being at Washington for the months leading up to him taking the Fresno State job helped because he had an idea who many of these recruits were already,” Huffman said. “Then you add in hiring assistants who had already been recruiting so many of these players at their previous stops, and the relationships didn’t need to be built but were already sustained. I love what their class looks like so far.”
Early this week, Fresno State added four non-binding oral commitments, including wide receiver Aaron Mosby of Sanger High School. He said it was a “dream come true” to play for the Bulldogs.
The other newest commitments are defensive ends Damien DeGruy of West Jefferson-Harvey, La., and Talalemotu Mauga of Churchill County-Fallon, Nev., and Pacifica-Oxnard athlete Daniel Moraga, who committed Monday night.
As of Tuesday, Scout ranked Fresno State with the No. 71 overall recruiting class – third among Mountain West programs. Scout lists the Bulldogs with 13 players with three-star ratings.
One of Tedford’s biggest strengths at Cal was his ability to recruit in-state and he’s kept that approach at Fresno State.
“For Fresno State, they have a good fertile region surrounding them but also enough of a reputation in California where they can go into Southern California or go up to Northern California and draw from them, too,” Huffman said. “One of Tedford’s biggest strengths at Cal was his ability to recruit in-state and he’s kept that approach at Fresno State, which will certainly benefit them.”
Along the way to signing day, there can be some hiccups.
Case in point: Fullerton College tight end Christian Williams flipped from Fresno State to TCU. Fresno City College running back Nate Jones isn’t expected to sign until May.
Defensive back and four-star recruit Jaylon Johnson of Central High will make his decision on signing day. He’s weighing offers from Arizona State, Fresno State, Oklahoma and Utah. Three-star tight end Ben Moos of Pullman High will decide among Cal, Fresno State and Louisville.
Tedford made a promise to recruit in California, which isn’t a surprise to Ventura College coach Steve Mooshagian, who has known Tedford since when they were 15 years old.
“The program was built with junior college guys throughout the state and recruiting from Bakersfield to Sacramento, which he has done,” said Mooshagian, who has three players going to Fresno State – one midyear and two preferred walk-ons. “A lot of Southern California guys been really good for him and the Bay Area. Then you sign former players’ sons. … Everybody is wanting to help again, and that’s really a good thing.
When Tedford arrived at Fresno State, there were at least 52 players on scholarships and 28 didn’t reside in California.
Chuck Shidan, who just retired as Sanger High’s coach, said Bulldogs defensive backs coach J.D. Williams called him “right away” to tell him he would come by because getting central San Joaquin Valley players to commit is valuable.
“That was exciting and fun to see,” Shidan said. “Everyone loves high school football out here. When (former Fresno State coach Pat) Hill was here, he recruited Nikko Motta. It generates a lot of interest in the program.”
Fresno State 2017 football recruits
- OL Marc David Bien-Aimé, Montmorency College-Laval, Quebec
- TE Clayton Alexander, Clovis (preferred walk-on)
- QB Brent Bailey, Clovis North (preferred walk-on)
- CB Matthew Boateng, Arizona Western College (midyear transfer)
- LB Grant Bouma, Ventura College (preferred walk-on)
- OL Dontae Bull, Belmont Secondary-Victoria, British Columbia
- RB Brian Burt, Ventura College (preferred walk-on)
- OLB Richard Cage Jr., Roosevelt-Eastvale
- WR/DB Chris Coleman, Garces
- CB Sherman Coleman, Cisco College-Texas (midyear transfer)
- DE Damien DeGruy, West Jefferson-Harvey, La.
- DB Wylan Free, Lynwood
- WR Derrion Grim, San Joaquin Delta College
- TE Gunner Javernick, Ventura College (midyear transfer)
- WR Patrick Jeune, Morningside-Inglewood
- RB Nate Jones, Fresno City
- DE Talalemotu Mauga, Churchill County-Fallon, Nev.
- RB Jordan Mims, Menlo-Atherton
- ATH Daniel Moraga, Pacifica-Oxnard
- WR Aaron Mosby, Sanger
- LB Emeka Ndoh, De Anza College
- CB Darrius Outland, University-Irvine
- WR Namani Parker, American River College (preferred walk-on)
- DB Zane Pope, Moorpark High
- RB Ronnie Rivers, Freedom-Oakley
- QB Jorge Reyna, West Los Angeles College (midyear transfer)
- QB Mark Salazar, Rancho Bernardo-San Diego
- OL Zelan Tupuola, JSerra Catholic-San Juan Capistrano
- OL Clive Truschel, Clovis West
- OL Syrus Tuitele, Pleasant Valley-Chico
- OL Pesa Tupa, San Mateo College
- LB Mykal Walker, Azusa Pacific
- OG Quireo Woodley, Murrieta Valley (midyear transfer)