Despite coming off its first losing season under coach Tim DeRuyter as well as competing in a changing college football landscape that includes cost-of-attendance benefits, Fresno State appears to be on the verge of signing perhaps its most talented class in DeRuyter’s tenure.
Fresno State is expected to sign 10 three-star recruits (out of a five-star scale) today on National Signing Day, according to the rankings of recruiting service scout.com.
That’s more than the number of three-star recruits Fresno State signed in the past two recruiting classes combined (nine).
Rivals.com, another major recruiting website, has rated eight players who’ve orally committed to Fresno State as three-star recruits.
“If all the guys who’ve told us they’re coming, sign and come here, I think this’ll be our best class,” said DeRuyter, who under NCAA rules is prohibited from speaking specifically about prospect recruits until they’ve signed.
Still, DeRuyter couldn’t hold in his excitement while generally talking about the collection of talent in a class headlined by three-star quarterback Chason Virgil, who enrolled at Fresno State this spring semester from West Mesquite High in Texas.
DeRuyter said he expects to sign 16 to 20 players. The Bulldogs also will save a few scholarships to potentially offer to recruits who are still in the process of gaining their academic eligibility or who could provide positional depth as Fresno State heads into spring camp on March 2.
This will be DeRuyter’s fourth recruiting class at Fresno State, his third however with a full year to recruit.
The Bulldogs went 20-6 and won back-to-back Mountain West titles during DeRuyter’s first two seasons before finishing 6-8 this past season.
DeRuyter, who was the Texas A&M defensive coordinator prior to coming to Fresno State, had his staff once again work Texas for recruits along with Southern California, the Las Vegas area and the central San Joaquin Valley.
“Our reputation in the state of Texas,” DeRuyter said, “is probably better than it is locally. It’s the way it is in a lot of places. The people who really know you inside and out, they know the good and maybe the bad. If a kid sees you on Friday (on an ESPN telecast), if you look good, then your image is good.”
Still, one of Fresno State’s top recruits from this class who might be able to provide immediate help is local: A.J. Greeley from Edison High. The three-star recruit ranks as the 15th-best cornerback in the West, according to Scout.com.
“If they sign A.J. Greeley, that’s a remarkable get for Fresno State,” said Brandon Huffman, director of recruiting for Scout.com. “Talent-wise, he’s a big deal. And to finally land a highly regarded kid from Edison straight out of high school — and not a kickback after he signed somewhere else initially then transferred later to Fresno — that could be big for Fresno State.
“A.J. has the athleticism and skill. He’s a player who (orally) committed to Fresno State early on. But Pac-12 schools have been on him lately. We’ll see where he ends up. Kids all over the country make commitments like reservations. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll end up going to that school. But it makes sure they have at least a place to go if something better doesn’t come around.”