Fresno State has landed its first football commitment for the class of 2017 – from the other side of the country.
Cody Watson, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound linebacker from Chaminade-Madonna High in Hollywood, Fla., has given an oral commitment to the Bulldogs and plans to stick with them all the way to signing day.
“I’ve always wanted to go to California for college,” Watson said. “A lot of opportunities out there and when Fresno offered I was like, ‘This is my shot.’ So I took it.”
Coaches per NCAA rules are not allowed to comment on prospective student-athletes until a national letter of intent has been signed and validated. Signing day for prep football players is Feb. 1.
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Watson said he still plans to visit Fresno State but added that meeting twice with new defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward was more than enough to commit to the Bulldogs.
“He told me some wise words,” Watson said. “The first time I saw him, he was like, ‘Man, I’ve never seen highlights like yours. You’re a baller.’ He told me he’ll be back out to spring practice.”
Ward did return to Florida to meet up with Watson and offered a scholarship.
“When he came back out, it was like showtime – I need to show him what I got,” Watson said. “I was looking at his background … guys he sent to the NFL and his winning record.”
Ward in his career has coached 16 defensive backs who went on to be drafted into the NFL and his defense at South Carolina ranked in the top 25 nationally in scoring and total defense in four out of his seven seasons.
Watson said Akron, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic and East Carolina have shown interest but he’s “100 percent solid” on his commitment to Fresno State.
“Feels good and especially to be the first one (to commit),” Watson said. “I’m looking to come in and win. Fresno is an awesome university and more people should know about Fresno, not only USC or UCLA.”
At Chaminade last fall, Watson finished with 102 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and forced three fumbles. He also set the school record for most tackles in a game (20) and made All-Broward County 5A-4A-3A-2A first-team defense.
Football 101 for women – The second “Ladies Night,” also known as Football 101, is scheduled for June 7 at Bulldog Stadium.
Participants get a behind-the-scenes look at Bulldogs football while getting some instruction from coaches and an opportunity to meet with student-athletes.
The event is hosted by Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter, wife Kara and the Bulldogs staff to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Central Valley breast cancer foundation.
Registration is $60. Drinks, appetizers, two tickets to Fresno State’s home opener against Sacramento State and a Nike visor are included. Space is limited to 150 people.
Youth camps – Fresno State is hosting a series of youth camps, beginning with the Elite Skills camp at 9 a.m. June 12 for players entering ninth to 12th grades. Cost is $90 per camper and $95 for walk up.
Other camps include:
▪ Specialist camp is also June 12 and is open to any in grades 6-12 in the fall of 2016. Registration is at 1:45 p.m. and cost is $150. The camp is designed to teach the fundamentals of kicking, punting and long snapping from former Fresno State kicker Kevin Goessling and his staff.
▪ Future Bulldogs camp for players entering kindergarten to eight grade will run June 20-21 and is $99 per camper. Registration will begin at 8 a.m.
▪ Team 7-on-7 passing camp “Battle in the Valley” will take place June 6, beginning at 9 a.m. Registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Duncan Athletic Complex and the cost is $300 per team. A high school coach has to register teams.
The Bulldogs will also be hosting satellite camps in southern and northern California.
Registration for the Elite Skills camps and future Bulldogs camp must be completed online.
Fall camp – Fresno State opens fall camp Aug. 5, in advance of its season opener at Nebraska on Sept. 3. The Bulldogs are coming off a 3-9 2015 season with 2-6 record in Mountain West play.
2016 FRESNO STATE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Home games in CAPS
Sept. 3: at Nebraska, (Big Ten Network), 5 p.m.
Sept. 10: SACRAMENTO STATE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Toledo, TBA
Sept. 24: TULSA, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 1: at Nevada-Las Vegas, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 8: at Nevada, TBA (ESPN network)
Oct. 14: SAN DIEGO STATE, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 22: at Utah State, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 28: AIR FORCE, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Nov. 5: at Colorado State, TBA
Nov. 12: BYE
Nov. 19: HAWAII, 4 p.m,
Nov. 26: SAN JOSE STATE, 12:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Dec. 3: Mountain West Championship, TBA