Imagine yourself making a decision you are 100% sure about. The decision is such a no brainer that you don't have to think twice about it. At first everything looks promising but as time passes you begin to notice that maybe you made a mistake. Eventually you realize that this decision you were so sure about turned out to be the exact opposite and somehow affects your future. Welcome to the world of recruiting. Every year Pat Hill and his staff must step out into the world and find new football players for the Fresno State Football Program. Sometimes Hill and his staff find diamonds in the rough that work out in a way the coaching staff could have never imagined. Other times four star recruits who look promising never truly develop. Over the past ten years Pat Hill has done a decent job of bringing in players that fit his under the radar mold. To better understand the inconsistencies of the recruiting world let's take a look at the past four years with respect to the recruits Pat Hill has brought in.
2004) 2004 was not one of Hill's stronger recruiting classes as all recruits were ranked as 2 stars. A total of 14 recruits committed to Fresno State. Unfortunately these recruits were not looked at as recruits who could come in and make any type of impact according to Scout.com. Remember a two star recruit is nice but they are looked at as recruits who may play one day but will not do much more than that. While the 2004 recruiting class did not look impressive when first viewed let's dive into this class a little bit more. Kenny Avon, Pierce Masse, Adam McDowell, Ryan McKinley, Jon Monga, Bear Pascoe, and Ryan Wendell all came from the 2004 class. While these men were all ranked 2 stars they have made a huge impact at Fresno State as each of these men play a majority of every game the Bulldogs take the field to play. Bear Pascoe may be one of our best receivers and the Linemen mentioned here led the Bulldogs to an average of less than one sack per game in 2006. Not to shabby for a bunch of underachieving two stars.
2005) The 2005 class (19 recruits total) was highlighted by four star James Paulk who we still have heard nothing from. Lawrence Hood was signed as a three star and has done nothing for Fresno State. Isaac Kinter and Joe Bernardi (both three stars) have contributed to the Bulldogs but not in a way that we will remember forever. On the other hand Seji Ajirotutu, Moses Harris, Marvin Haynes, Marlin Moore, and Chastin West are all two stars who have begun to show their promise for the Bulldogs. Many Bulldog fans feel much more comfortable with Harris and Haynes in the secondary than they did with Shirley and Mays (who was a four star recruit himself). Overall the 2005 class has not lived up to it's hype, but is coming on strong to say the least.
2006) Once again 19 recruits highlighted the 2006 recruiting class. A small group of these players were found on the field during the 2006 season. Anthony Harding and Lonyae Miller have shown their three star status to be right on. They give the Bulldogs a future with respect to the running game which is something the Bulldogs generally do well. A.J. Jefferson did a good job of covering as a true Freshman but spent most of his time on the kick return team. Look for Jefferson to warrant more playing time as his career progresses. the 2006 class has a long ways to go due to the fact that many of these players have not taken the field yet for the Dogs. Look for Lorne Bell to start next year as he has both the speed and ability to make a name for himself. Nico Herron and Damion Owens may also contribute on the defensive side of the ball. The 2006 class on paper looks outstanding but there is still much to be proved by this group of young men.
2007) 2007 has given us a total of 16 recruits all verbally to this point. It is possible that some of these young men may change their mind before signing day (February 7th). If the class remains in tact look for the three stars to make an impact right away. Sharrod Davis, Chris Carter, and Devan Cunningham all have the opportunity to make an impact as soon as they sign with the Bulldogs. Devon Wylie will have a chance to give us a kick return game we have long missed since Jennings left. Overall the 2007 class is looking to be one of the better ones the Bulldogs have ever brought in, or is it?
In the end recruiting is hit or miss. Yes our big three stars coming in look as promising as the any recruits the Dogs have ever signed. Remember though that players like Clifton Smith, Vincent Mays, and Ricky Miller were all supposed to shine in the Bulldogs system. Smith has been hurt virtually his entire Bulldog career, Mays never truly developed, and Miller was never heard of even though he came in as a four star recruit. Whether the 2007 season is successful or not will depend on the type of difference makers that Pat Hill can find. Even so if Hill brings in a handful of prized recruits the Dogs are still in a sense playing Russian Roulette as there is no way of knowing if these players are truly ready to play college football. I guess this is just another reason we all love college football so much: you never know what will happen next.