Fresno State football made a big splash in the central San Joaquin Valley on Friday night, with four players making public pledges to play next season for the Bulldogs.
Sunnyside High linebacker Sherwin King Jr. and cornerback Deshawn Ruffin, Clovis West wide receiver Ricardo Arias and Oakdale defensive lineman Matt Kjeldgaard all took to Twitter to make their announcements.
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The Fresno State staff is not allowed by NCAA rule to comment on prospective student-athletes until national letters of intent are signed and validated.
Verbal commitments are nonbinding. The players can make it official on National Signing Day, which this year includes an early period for football beginning Dec. 20 and the regular period beginning Feb. 7.
Brandon Huffman, national director of college football recruiting for Scout.com, said he felt the Bulldogs had a “pretty good week.”
“Getting those kids, getting kids that are nearby, is on board with what I think (coach Jeff Tedford) really wanted to focus on,” Huffman said.
King Jr. and Ruffin took unofficial visits to Fresno State on Thursday – they also had discussed about playing together in college.
“We’ve been talking about it for a minute,” King Jr. said. “But ever since our sophomore year, we’ve just always wanted to play college ball with each other and since Fresno State offered both of us, we just took it.”
He feels more of the same is coming for the Bulldogs.
“The more I looked into the school and the new coaching staff that came in it was hard for me not to commit to Fresno State,” Ruffin said. “I was thinking something special is coming up soon and I want to be a part of it.”
Arias, who is transferring to Clovis West from McLane, is excited to play for his hometown school and remembers “being a young kid just watching the older guys play before you.”
“It’s just always a dream just to play football for my hometown,” he said.
Huffman came away impressed with Kjeldgaard at a UCLA camp in June.
“I especially like him,” he said. “San Jose State offered him that night and he got the offer from Fresno State I believe the next night. But I like him. He stood out, first of all because he’s a big red-head kid, and he just has great motor. He’s quick off the ball. He’s strong.
“We’re bumping him up to 3-stars in our post-summer update because that was the first time I had seen him. His film was solid, but getting to see him in person, just seeing how big he is, how well he moved and how light on his feet he is … he reminds me of a Pat Hill-type of recruit, just that gritty, gutty type of player who isn’t afraid to get dirty and just embodies that blue-collar mentality.”
Fresno State 2018 commitments
Players who have made verbal pledges to the Fresno State football team for recruiting Class of 2018:
Shamar Whestone, Upland
Steven Comstock, Northview-Covina
Emoryie Edwards, Tulare
Ben Wooldridge, Foothill
John McCartan, Santa Margarita
Sherwin King Jr., Sunnyside
Deshawn Ruffin, Sunnyside
Ricardo Arias, Clovis West
Matt Kjeldgaard, Oakdale