Former Edison High standout Leevel Tatum III is coming home to play for the Fresno State football team.
Tatum asked for and was granted his release from UNLV in March. Per NCAA rules, Tatum will have to sit out this season.
He redshirted this past season, sitting out after the UCLA game Sept. 10.
The 6-foot-2, 248-pounder is the son of Leevel Tatum II, who played for the Bulldogs in 1982-84 and counted among his teammates current coach Jeff Tedford.
Never miss a local story.
Tatum III said he met with Tedford recently for an hour and came away impressed.
“An opportunity he’s giving me,” said Tatum, nephew of the late Jack Tatum, an All-Pro for the Oakland Raiders during an NFL career that stretched from 1971-80. “I was just listening to him as he speak and welcoming me in.
“It just made me see what they said about Coach Tedford is true. For me, to come back and play for Fresno State and my dad played there, that is big and huge. This is the right thing.”
As an Edison senior, Tatum finished with 104 tackles, including 13 sacks, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Bulldogs running back Josh Hokit took to Twitter on Friday night to welcome his new teammate. Tatum said that being from the central San Joaquin Valley, “I can set that stage, a Valley boy going to Fresno State, along with (defensive tackle) Jasad Haynes and Josh Hokit, and start helping to pull in more Valley kids.”
Tatum said Fresno State coaches have told him he’ll play defensive end. Needless to say, he said his dad is stoked.
“First thing he said,” Tatum recounted, “Coach (Jim) Sweeney and Pat Hill would be happy. Just me following those footsteps, and he also told me Bulldog Born, Bulldog Bred.”