Fresno State went through practice No. 6 in fall football camp on Thursday with a new running back joining the program – former Central High star Jevon Bigelow, who left Wyoming after his freshman season and became the latest San Joaquin Valley product to find his way home.
Bigelow played in 10 games for the Cowboys last season and rushed 69 times for 292 yards and two touchdowns. He had four plays for 11 yards when the Bulldogs beat Wyoming 27-3 in October at Bulldog Stadium.
Fresno State has some depth at running back even without Jordan Mims, who is taking a redshirt this season due to a foot injury suffered late last year.
The Bulldogs have leading rusher Ronnie Rivers returning along with Romello Harris and Saevion Johnson. Zion Echols, who started his college career at Cal, is an intriguing piece. Freshman Peyton Dixon is having a solid fall camp.
“He’s doing well,” coach Jeff Tedford said of Dixon, who rushed for a state-record 3,143 yards and 45 touchdowns as a senior at Bishop Manogue-Reno “Each day, you see him do more and more, but it seems like he knows the speed of the game and feels very comfortable out here.”
Bigelow has to go through the NCAA acclimatization period before he can fully dress out for practice. And he would have to apply for a transfer waiver from the NCAA to play this season.
But this season or next, Bigelow will be a solid addition. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds he is a bigger back, something the Bulldogs lack with Josh Hokit now on the other side of the line of scrimmage playing as a middle linebacker.
As a senior at Central, Bigelow rushed for 1,535 yards with 16 touchdowns, the Grizzlies going 12-2 and winning the school’s first Central Section championship.
Bigelow was not available to speak with the media – under Fresno State rules, players are not made available until after they have played in a game.
Quarterback Marcus McMaryion, who stopped by practice on Thursday, transferred to Fresno State after starting his career at Oregon State and the Bulldogs this season have several homegrown transfers on the roster including Harris (Tulare Union, Washington State), wideout Derrion Grim (Stockton, Nebraska), defensive end Leevel Tatum III (Edison, UNLV), defensive tackle Kurtis Brown (Bakersfield, Arizona), linebacker David Tate Jr. (Edison, UNLV), linebacker Jacob Hollins (Central, Illinois) and defensive tackle Ricky McCoy (Roosevelt, Washington).
Bulldog Stadiuim has new turf
The new turf installed at Bulldog Stadium is complete and the home team won’t waste any time testing it out. If cleared, Tedrord said they would do some work on it on Friday in a helmets-only practice leading into their first fall camp scrimmage on Saturday.
Fresno State kept the look of the field intact with a large Bulldog logo at midfield and the checkerboard pattern in the end zones.
“It’s nice to have it,” Tedford said. “We needed it. (The old field) was getting worn. It was old and so for the safety of the players and all that kind of stuff …
“Looking at it from a distance, it looks like, nice and bright colors and things like that. Hopefully, it plays well. Of the fields I looked at, it seemed like it played really well, so I’m anxious to see how it plays.”
New receivers continue to impress
The Bulldogs’ incoming class of receivers – JC transfer Keric Wheatfall and freshmen Jamal Glaspie, Josh Kelly and Jalen Cropper – continue to impress, making plays in 7-on-7 and in team periods.
Cropper on the first day of camp made a play in a one-on-one period that still stands out – a quick move that left the defensive back twisted up and on the ground.
The Bulldogs clearly didn’t have many misses at the top of their recruiting board at those positions, and not just because of the work they do on the practice field.
“They’re awesome to work with,” receivers coach Kirby Moore said. “They’re hungry in the meeting room, hungry on the field. All of those guys love football, and that’s the most important thing. They love working and they all want to compete at a high level.
“They’re asking questions. They want to know the big picture. They don’t want to just know what the ‘X’ has on a play, they want to know what the ‘H’ has, they want to know what the ‘Z’ has. They want to know, ‘Hey, how is the quarterback reading this progression? Do I have a little more time on the backside?’ All that stuff is awesome. They’re all asking a ton of questions. When meeting time is over, they want to stay extra and they want to ask more questions or they’ll stay and do more on the field.”