The man to the left in the picture (Dwayne Wright) will be the most important piece of the Bulldog puzzle to replace going into the 2007 season. Fresno State has already received ten recruits this offseason with many of them looking to help the Bulldogs as soon as their Freshman season. I stated we needed help with respect to speed and that is one area the Bulldogs seem to have upgraded immediately with the commitments of the following players:
Terrance Dennis - As a safety he had 115 tackles his junior season. From all accounts he is one of the hardest hitting high school safeties across the nation. He runs a 4.4-.5 40 meaning he has a mass amount of speed that will only help on defense. Dennis will have an opportunity to help the defense from the day he arrives at Fresno State.
Sharrod Davis - A corner who runs a 4.4 40 is never a bad facet to have on defense. Davis brings this amount of speed to the Bulldogs with JUCO experience. We know the secondary needed help and with the addition of Davis the Bulldogs secondary is going to be rather fast next season. If Haynes, Harris, Jefferson, and Jenkins all see playing time along with Davis it will be fun to watch this young group of players gel together throughout the 2007 season. Davis also stands at 6'0" so he will not be the most undersized corner out there.
Phillip Thomas - Thomas runs a 4.5 40 and is versatile on offense. He can either play RB, WR, or defense as a secondary player. He recorded 80 tackles and six sacks his junior year and will only get better with playing time.
Devon Wylie - Wylie comes in as a player that may remind us all of Adam Jennings. While he is not the tallest (Just as Jennings wasn't) he is fast and is a kick returner. Wylie may be able to provide us the advantage in the kick returning game we missed having this past season. He is a WR who has enormous athletic ability and as I stated before will help us immensely in the special teams facet of the game.
Matt Lindsey - Tall and athletic Lindsey will have to compete with the many Sophomore WR's on this team for playing time. However, Lindsey has very good body control and tends to put himself in great position to catch every ball thrown his way. He will be a great addition to the Bulldogs and may remind many of you of Keith Poole who chose Arizona State and ended up on the New Orleans Saints in the NFL.
Devan Cunningham - An enormous offensive lineman who is going to compete for a starting spot as soon as he arrives. He stands at 6'5" weighing in at 310 pounds. He is a strong physical football player and will be one of the better signees for the Bulldogs with respect to the 2007 recruiting class. Ranked as the #7 offensive lineman in the state of California and will only help the QB protection to become even stronger over the next few years.
Matt Faulkner/Nick Anderson - Faulkner is a tall QB out of Texas that will come into Fresno State hoping to make a name for himself. He has the size and ran a spread offense in high school meaning he knows how to throw the ball. In nine games he threw for 2300 yards and 20 td's during his senior season. He may be the next generation QB for the Bulldogs as the QB position should be wide open for competition heading into 2008.
Anderson comes into Fresno State as an unknown from El Dorado Hills. Very little is known about him as he had a shoulder strain his senior season and missed playing time. He committed in lieu of Sean Norton departing the program. He is a smart QB and may be the kind of QB that surprises everyone with his play during his time at Fresno State.
Bryson Hodges - Will have a tough time getting snaps this season as I would guess him to redshirt with such great depth at the running back position. Unless Hodges is move to another position he will not become a factor in the Fresno State offense until our two promising sophomores move on.
Austin Raphael - at 6'2" 215 pounds Raphael still somehow runs a 4.7 4o meaning he may be an asset to this team with some development. It is hard to find speed at the LB position and with a little more bulk Raphael may be able to break into the LB corp for Fresno State and contribute to the defense rather quickly.
Overall the Bulldogs offseason has gone well up to this point. We have plenty of time to land more recruits but I have to say I am rather pleased with those that have committed so far. The Bulldogs have many holes to fill and these players will only help to make 2007 a bit easier to transition into. Of course we need good QB play but I feel like the speed issue is being addressed well and we will see what happens with respect to the defensive line in the next two months of recruiting.