The tornado engulfing the new San Jose State University coaching staff during a recruiting whirlwind resulted in 23 young men signing a National Letter-of-Intent to enroll at the university and become members of the football program. Head coach Brent Brennan made the announcement.
"The goal was to put together the best recruiting class we could in 2.5 weeks. We feel like we did that. It was a great effort from the staff, assistant coaches and player personnel side of it led by Korey Geist. It was a great job of evaluating in a short time frame and then hitting the road hard, hustling all over the state of California and a little bit in Arizona. California will always be our focal point, especially the Bay Area," says Brennan.
"We also wanted to touch the people in the Bay Area, programs we know that will impact us in the future."
This year's class has a winning theme about it. Seven players (RB Jerrell Alberty, QB Terrell Carter, QB Ryan Johnson, LB Justin Parcells, LB Jamal Scott, WR Tré Walker, WR Tre White) played on a community college or high school team that won a California state championship in 2015 or 2016.
There was an emphasis in the defensive line, linebacker and quarterback positions. Five linebacker prospects and two quarterback hopefuls are part of the Spartans' signing class. Three wide receivers, three offensive linemen, a tight end and a running back comprise the rest of the players on offense. Three linemen and four defensive backs round the newcomers on defense.
"There definitely was an emphasis on players that can play in the defensive front -- D-Line, defensive ends and linebackers. We signed some good players in the (defensive secondary). So we feel great about that. There's real quality there."
With junior college All-American Justin Parcells (Fullerton College, SO), first-team all-state honoree Jamal Scott (Fullerton College, JR) and Brando Phillips (Butte College, JR) enrolled for the spring semester, the Spartans added Tysyn Parker (Serra HS of Gardena, FR) and Rico Tolefree (DeAnza HS of El Sobrante, Calif., FR) to their linebacker corps.
Sinjun Astani (Loyola HS of Los Angeles), Jamaar Hardy (Deer Valley HS of Antioch, Calif.) and Christian Johnson (Wheatland HS) will begin their college football careers as freshman defensive line candidates.
Incoming freshmen Johnny Balderas (Liberty HS of Bakersfield, FR) and Tre White (De La Salle HS, FR) and community college transfers Brandon Ezell (Cerritos College, JR) and John Toussaint (Merced College, JR) are four defensive backs heading to San Jose State for the 2017 season. Balderas was the 2016 Bakersfield Californian Player of the Year. White was the #23-rated cornerback in California by Scout.com. Ezell and Toussaint were first-team all-conference selections at their respective community colleges a year ago.
On offense, San Jose State's incoming eight players at ball-handling positions of quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and running back account for 109 touchdown passes, 9,547 rushing yards and 118 TDs, and 57 touchdown receptions.
A wide-open competition for quarterback this spring will get two more candidates this fall with freshmen Terrell Carter (Madison HS of San Diego) and Ryan Johnson (Hanford HS) joining the battle in the fall. Carter passed for 4,629 yards and 55 touchdowns and Johnson, 4,955 yards and 54 scores, leading their respective schools to a California state high school championship.
"The quarterback position is the most important position in all of sports. We want to have as much talent there as possible so that they can compete and raise the level of play," Brennan said about San Jose State signing two quarterback prospects for the second consecutive year.
Running backs Jerrell Alberty (McClymonds HS of Oakland) and Tyler Nevens (Los Altos HS of Hacienda Heights, Calif.) carried the ball often for big yardage plays and touchdowns. Alberty rushed for 3,771 yards and 42 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons. Nevens had 712 carries for 5,776 yards and 76 of his 81 total touchdowns in three seasons.
Tight end Jackson Parks (Chaminade HS of West Hills, Calif, FR) and wide receivers Antwaun Ayres (Northview High of Covina, Calif., FR), Austin Liles (Orange Lutheran HS, FR) and Tré Walker (Narbonne of Los Angeles, FR) all averaged better than 16.0 yards a pass reception. Walker had 20 touchdown catches in three seasons; Ayres, 28 in two.
"All of them have the ability to change a game with one touch. In those positions, we're looking for productivity, playmaking ability and guys we can project from a speed and quickness perspective to the Mountain West.
Community college All-American offensive lineman Jake Colman (Ventura College, JR) is enrolled at San Jose State. Freshmen Jesse Chamberlain (Burroughs HS of Burbank) and Tyler Stevens (Hamilton HS of Chandler, Ariz.) will join Colman in the fall as offensive line candidates.
Season tickets for the team's 2017 home schedule against Cal Poly Poly, USF (South Florida), Fresno State, San Diego State, Utah State and Wyoming are available at sjsuspartans.com.
|Jerrell Alberty||RB||5-11||200||FR||Oakland, Calif./McClymonds HS|
|Sinjun Astani||DE||6-4||255||FR||Malibu, Calif./Loyola HS|
|Antwaun Ayres||WR||6-0||180||FR||West Covina, Calif./Northview HS|
|Johnny Balderas||DB||6-1||175||FR||Shafter, Calif./Liberty HS|
|Terrell Carter||QB||6-2||185||FR||San Diego, Calif./Madison HS|
|Jesse Chamberlain||OL||6-3||280||FR||Burbank, Calif./Burroughs HS|
|Jake Colman||OL||6-3||310||JR||Ventura, Calif/Ventura College|
|Brandon Ezell||DB||6-0||190||JR||Los Alamitos, Calif./Cerritos College|
|Jamaar Hardy||DL||6-3||260||FR||Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley HS|
|Christian Johnson||DE||6-6||260||FR||Olivehurst, Calif./Wheatland HS|
|Ryan Johnson||QB||6-4||190||FR||Hanford, Calif./Hanford HS|
|Austin Liles||WR||6-3||190||FR||Anaheim, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS|
|Tyler Nevens||RB||5-11||185||FR||Hacienda Heights, Calif./Los Altos HS|
|Justin Parcells||LB||5-11||215||SO||Cypress, Calif./Fullerton College|
|Tysyn Parker||LB||6-1||215||FR||Gardena, Calif./Serra HS|
|Jackson Parks||TE||6-3||235||FR||Agoura Hills, Calif./Chaminade HS|
|Brando Phillips||LB||6-3||240||JR||Valencia, Calif./Butte College|
|Jamal Scott||LB||6-2||230||JR||Anaheim, Calif./Fullerton College|
|Tyler Stevens||OG||6-4||285||FR||Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton HS|
|Rico Tolefree||LB||6-1||223||FR||Richmond, Calif./DeAnza HS|
|John Toussaint||DB||6-0||190||JR||Miami, Fla./Merced College|
|Trè Walker||WR||5-11||160||FR||Inglewood, Calif./Narbonne HS|
|Tre White||DB||6-0||175||FR||Benicia, Calif./De La Salle HS|