The Fresno State Bulldogs had most of their recruiting done by the early national letter of intent signing period in December, adding 13 players at positions of need including two junior college tight ends, four wideouts and four defensive backs.
They added to that haul on Wednesday, the traditional signing day, again addressing depth and balance issues as coach Jeff Tedford and his staff continue to rework the roster. The Bulldogs signed two – running back Peyton Dixon from Bishop Manogue High in Reno and offensive lineman Alexx ‘Bula’ Schmidit from O’Dea High in Seattle.
Dixon gives the Bulldogs some needed balance in their running backs corps, which is getting top heavy with Josh Hokit going into his senior season and Ronnie Rivers, Jordan Mims, Romello Harris and Saevion Johnson going into junior seasons.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound back rushed for a state-record 3,143 yards and scored 45 touchdowns in his senior season at Bishop Manogue, and also had four receiving touchdowns. In his career he had 74 rushing touchdowns, third-most in Nevada high school history.
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“Extremely productive player as a senior, broke the state of Nevada rushing and touchdown record while leading his team to the state championship game,” Tedford said in a release. “Has home run speed, hoping to run a 10.6 100 meters this year in track and weighs 200 pounds. Awesome kid and family, can’t wait to work with him.”
Schmidt, 6-foot-1 and 290 pounds, was a two-way lineman at O’Dea, earning first-team all-league honors on offense and on defense and was the defensive lineman of the year. He was selected to play in the Polynesian Bowl, held annually during the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week.
“Bula has been on our radar since June of 2017 when we saw him compete at a camp down in Southern California,” Tedford said. “Ultimate competitor, has the natural intensity and tenacity we look for in offensive linemen. (He’s) another proven winner from a big-time high school in Washington that reached the state championship game in their division. Really excited to bring him into the fold.”
Director of player personnel: balancing act
The Bulldogs did not sign a running back or an offensive lineman in December, and the positions were target areas after the early signing period.
When Dixon arrives in the fall, he will be the only sophomore or freshman on scholarship in the Bulldogs’ running backs’ room.
With four senior starters leaving the offensive line in left tackle Christian Cronk, left guard Logan Hughes, center Markus Boyer and right guard Micah St. Andrew, Fresno State also needed to bolster that group.
With the addition of Schmidit the numbers in that group still are down and there are three seniors – Cody Pound, Nick Abbs and Nick Aibuedefe.
“Every class you’re just trying to balance out your numbers at every position,” said Spencer Harris, the Bulldogs’ director of player personnel. “Obviously, you address the positions of need, but we have a set number of scholarship guys that we want at every position, so every recruiting cycle you do what you can to replace what you lose and balance out the numbers, balance out the years.
“Let’s say we didn’t take a running back in this class. That means we have really three classes where we wouldn’t have had a running back because we played Mims and Rivers. We don’t have a sophomore or a freshman running back. Getting Peyton in there injects some youth and we’ll start to balance out those classes.”
Scholarships still available
Fresno State still has scholarships available, and a good track record with late additions. That list is highlighted by quarterback Marcus McMaryion, who in 2017 transferred into the program from Oregon State during fall camp and this season led the Bulldogs to a Mountain West Conference championship, Las Vegas Bowl victory over Arizona State and program-record 12 wins.
Defensive tackle Keiti Iakopo also was a fall camp addition, as was defensive end Kwami Jones. Center Tyrone Sampson, rated by one scouting service as a 4-star prospect, signed after signing day last year .
“We still have some room to work with,” Harris said. “We’ll see how it goes. We always like to keep one or two in our back pocket. You never know what’s going to happen or who is going to pop late. We’re always going to keep our eyes open for guys who can help us win football games.”
Fresno State 2019 recruiting class
WR Jalen Cropper (6-0, 160) Buchanan
WR Jamal Glaspie (6-1, 175) Culver City
WR Josh Kelly (6-1, 180) San Joaquin Memorial
WR Keric Wheatfall (6-1, 175) Cypress, Texas/Blinn College
RB Peyton Dixon (5-11, 200) Reno/Bishop Manogue
OL Alexx “Bula” Schmidt (6-1, 290) Auburn, Wash./O’Dea
TE Raymond Pauwels (6-4, 245) Litchfield Park, Ariz/Glendale College
TE Juan Rodriguez (6-2, 235) Portola/Butte College
LB Kyvin Carroll (5-11, 225) Bryant, Ark./Benton
LB Levelle Bailey (6-2, 205) Sacramento/Luther Burbank
LB Devonta Bridges (6-2, 230) Rialto/Carter
DB Randy Jordan (5-9, 160) Tulare Union
DB Myles Martin (5-9, 165) Murrieta/Vista Murrieta
DB Deven Jarvis (6-0, 190) West Covina/Bishop Amat
DB Reggie Strong (5-11, 195) Vallejo/Orange Lutheran