Fresno State has addressed a tenuous situation with its quarterback depth with the addition of Washington transfer Jake Haener, who was admitted to school late Tuesday and on the practice field with the Bulldogs on Wednesday morning.
As a redshirt sophomore, Haener will sit out the 2019 season under NCAA transfer rules and have two years of eligibility remaining.
He gives the Bulldogs more depth and a more experienced arm in the quarterbacks room, both important for the program going forward.
Jorge Reyna, the Bulldogs’ starter, is a senior. In a 31-23 season opening loss at USC, he threw for 256 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and also led Fresno State with 88 rushing yards. The backups this season are Ben Wooldridge and Steven Comstock, both redshirt freshmen.
“For the future, yeah, after losing Jorge, our quarterbacks numbers, you always need to replenish,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “It was nice that he reached out to us and it’s nice to have him here.”
Fresno State also has a commitment in its 2020 recruiting class from Jaden Casey, a highly regarded prospect from Calabasas who holds scholarship offers from a number of Power Five conference programs including Alabama.
But with Reyna departing after this season, the Bulldogs in 2020 would have had only two redshirt sophomores with potentially limited or no playing time and a freshman.
Fresno State also has two freshman walk-ons this season in Blaze McKibbin and Nate Lamb, the former Tulare Union High quarterback.
Had Haener not become available, the Bulldogs likely would have had to land a junior college quarterback in their 2020 recruiting class or perhaps find a graduate transfer to add a fourth scholarship quarterback and some experience to the group.
They have only three quarterbacks on scholarship this season – Tedford through his coaching career most seasons has had five on the roster.
Haener beat out at Washington
Haener, who announced his intention to transfer Aug. 23 after losing a quarterback competition with Jacob Eason, was rated as a three-star prospect out of high school after passing for more than 8,400 yards and 90 touchdowns at Monte Vista-Danville.
He played in four games at Washington last season behind starter Jake Browning, completing 9 of 13 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown.
Haener was 7 of 7 for 110 yards with one touchdown in his Huskies debut against FCS North Dakota, but only 1 of 4 for 11 yards with a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown in a 12-10 loss at Cal.
He also played in a backup role against BYU and Oregon State.
Per Fresno State rules, Haener is not available to speak to the media until he has played in a game.
Tedford’s Huskies connection
Tedford was on the staff at Washington as an analyst when the Huskies recruited Haener.
“When I was there I watched a lot of his tape, we were recruiting quarterbacks at the time,” he said. “I got an opportunity to see him quite a bit and evaluate him then. I’m pretty familiar with what his background is and the capabilities that he has …
“He’s a very accurate passer, throws the ball really well. Tough kid, really sharp. He’s a student of the game, understands the game really well and now obviously coming from a place like Washington he has been around the speed of the game and so the transition won’t be a big deal there. Really, it’s about getting him familiar with our offense and terminology and going from there.”