Fresno State is set at quarterback this coming season with the return of Marcus McMaryion, but the Bulldogs solidified the position group into the future when they received an oral commitment from Hunter Raquet from Monterey Peninsula College.
Raquet (6-foot-4, 193 pounds) will play this season with the Lobos and is expected to enroll at Fresno State in January 2019, in time to compete in spring practices when Jorge Reyna will be a senior and incoming recruits Steven Comstock and Ben Wooldridge will likely be redshirt freshmen.
Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford and the Bulldogs staff cannot comment on recruits until a national letter of intent is signed and validated, under NCAA rules. But Raquet, almost a year away from landing on campus, said Friday he is looking forward to working with Tedford and offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer.
“I’m super excited. I’m pumped right now,” Raquet said. “What really got me was the team, the turnaround, from 1-11 to 10-4. That’s amazing. It was NCAA history. The turnaround in only one year, that just told me how far we can go. That really proved what these guys do in the offseason, how hard they practice, all that.
“And Coach Tedford was a really big part of the decision. I know what he does with quarterbacks.”
Raquet as a freshman at Monterey Peninsula completed 161 of 278 passes (57.9 percent) for 2,492 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He averaged 9.0 yards per pass play with a passing efficiency rating of 154.8, ranking eighth in the state.
That was his first season in a passing offense – at San Benito High in Hollister, he ran a triple-option. But the skill set is there and will be sharper with another season at Monterey Peninsula working with coach Mike Rasmussen, who was on the Fresno State staff from 1981 to ’83 and tutored a quarterback named Jeff Tedford.
“We’ve had six Division I quarterbacks here since 2001 and Hunter probably has the most tools of anybody I’ve ever coached,” Rasmussen said. “He’s 6-4 and he can run, has a great arm. Nobody out-works him. His video stands up. He has a lot of growth ahead of him, even in our season ahead. He still has to get better, still has to keep working, which he does.
“But it all goes back to all the right things – a great foundation, really a good fit and Hunter is just an outstanding young man.”
Reading coverages and footwork in the pocket are two points of emphasis, but Raquet made quick and decisive strides in his first season in the Lobos’ offense. After three games he had thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns (four), but over his last eight games he had 19 touchdown passes and five interceptions.
That run started with a 51-27 victory at Gavilan College when Raquet hit 8 of 11 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns, hitting 72.7 percent of his throws and averaging 20.9 yards per attempt.
“It was challenging at first,” Raquet said. “Me and another friend, we were in there day and night studying the plays, studying what was going on. I had a slow start, but when it was going it was going and I loved it.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada