They had wrapped up a 10-win season, were nationally ranked and headed to a bowl game for the first time in six years. They also had a solid (comparatively speaking) recruiting class verbally committed thanks to the efforts of Coach Mike MacIntyre, whose success in San Jose could probably be defined by his ability to find uncovered talent, bring them to campus and make star players out of them. In the process, he was able to convince other highly regarded recruits to sign with San Jose State as well as bring in players from far outside of the Spartans’ footprint.
The only problem was that was MacIntyre himself was highly recruited, and once he bolted for Colorado, the recruiting class started to come apart, player by player. Incoming head coach Ron Caragher stopped some of the bleeding (likely with the help of holdover coach/recruiting coordinator Terry Malley) and held on to a good number of MacIntyre recruits.
Caragher has also intimated in interviews that some of MacIntyre’s recruits “weren’t a good fit” for him and his staff. That may be true at least defensively, as the Spartans will switch from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4. It could also be an excuse for the inability to keep some players committed to SJSU.
Nonetheless, we know MacIntyre’s interest in the prospects he recruited while in San Jose didn’t wane as he departed for Colorado. He managed to poach a few players previously committed to the Spartans, including local standout Kenneth Olugbode, an outside linebacker prospect from Bellarmine Prep in San Jose who was the Mercury News Player of the Year (in fairness, he has maintained that these players de-commited and contacted him first).
It’s a source of contention amongst SJSU fans. Once side says he has a right to continue recruiting the guys he planned to bring to SJSU, and those players have a right to follow the coach they committed to. At the same time, MacIntyre used SJSU funds to pursue these guys and now Colorado will reap the benefits.
Such is the world of college football.
2013 Signing Class
Adrian Blake, DL, Miami, 6-3, 255
Chris Gonzalez, DL, Los Angeles, 6-3, 260
Ryan Ena, TE, Oceanside, 6-5, 230
*Garrett Guanella, DE/LB, Santa Rosa, 6-5, 235
*Alvin Jelks, RB, Salinas, 6-1, 190
*Jeremiah Kolone, OL, Fallbrook, 6-3, 290
*Jared Leaf, LB, Martinez, 6-2, 235
Travis Miller, DT, Simi Valley, 6-4, 295
Deano Motes, OL, Gilberty, Ariz., 6-5, 250
Brandon Monroe, ATH. Loomis, 6-1, 195
Michael Okoroike, DL, Antelope, 6-3, 235
A.J. Samataua, OL, Fair Oaks, 6-3, 320
*Jourdan Soares, WR, Gilroy, 6-1, 155
Keenan Sykes, DL, Fontana, 6-3, 250
Michael Tate, WR, Federal Way, Wash., 6-1, 170
Keoni Taylor, OL, Bakersfield, 6-3, 280
Thomas Tucker, ATH, Long Beach, 5-10, 175
Nate Velichko, DL/OL, Foster City, 6-7, 275
Tyler Winston, WR, Antelope, 6-2, 185
* – enrolled at San Jose State for the 2013 spring semester
Right off the bat, it appears that Caragher has at least one thing in common with MacIntyre when it comes to recruiting: they both can’t have enough big men. Both coaches also like to redshirt their linemen and allow them to mature into starters down the road. With at least 12 of 20 announced signees poised to play line on either side of the ball, the Spartans definitely beefed up on the interior. The fact that most are in the 6’3-plus, 260-plus pound range is a good sign that the days of SJSU settling for sub-6-foot rolly-pollies on the offensive line are over.
The star of the class, at least according to most recruiting sites, would be Tyler Winston. Rated by most services as a three-star safety, he passed on offers from conference rivals Boise State, Fresno St and Nevada (as well as several Pac-12 schools) to join the Spartans. The fact that he’s listed as a wideout leads me to believe that Brandon Monroe of powerhouse program Del Oro HS in Loomis is projecting to be a safety himself. Monroe, for whatever reason, wasn’t getting a lot of love from recruiting sites like Rivals and Scout, but I’ll take his recognition as the Sac Bee Player of the Year and a first team All-State running back from CalHiSports any day.
Caragher and his staff also appear to be trying to fill some major voids left by departing seniors through the juco ranks. Running back Alvin Jelks, who is a first-team all state JC player, could be De’ Leon Eskridge’s replacement in the backfield. Former Idaho signee Ryan Ena has great size and could be the immediate fill-in for Ryan Otten and Peter Tuitupou at tight end. Garrett Guanella, the all-region transfer from Santa Rosa JC, probably has the biggest shoes to fill in regards to the void left by sackmaster Travis Johnson, but with the Spartans switching to the 3-4 he’ll likely do it standing on the outside rather than from a defensive end spot.
Overall, it’s not a glamorous recruiting class by any stretch. It won’t be rated high by any recruiting service, but of course the classes that took SJSU to a top 25 ranking weren’t either. Then again, Boise State is never ranked in the top 25 on signing day. The Spartans managed to fill in some holes, and add to already solid depth at several key positions, signing athletes that could play in multiple spots. As of now they failed to land a quarterback (former verbal commit Darrell Garretson switched over to Utah St) but with all four QBs from last year’s squad returning they are settled there for one more year.
If this class were coming in to play for MacIntyre, I would have no doubt as to its quality because he and his staff had a way of maximizing everyone’s potential. So really, when we look back a few years from now and try to size up the true quality of these recruits, we’ll also be sizing up the new coaching staff.