As 2007 bids adieu to a player commonly referred to as Batman it also welcomes in Fresno State's version of the flash. Anyone who has watched the recruiting videos of Devon Wylie knows exactly why Wylie would be called the Flash . If you have not had the opportunity to see the elusiveness of Wylie take a few minutes out of your day and access youtube.com to watch his high school video highlights. In 2006 Fresno State more often than not struggled with field position as the Bulldogs outstanding kick returner Adam Jennings moved on to the NFL. While at Fresno State Jennings was one of the most electrifying players ever to step in Bulldog stadium. Jennings played with no fear and had no desire to fair catch anything kicked to him. Jennings had the uncanny ability to run backwards ten yards and turn the mess he created into a fifty yard gain. Losing Paul Pinegar turned out to be a big blow to the Fresno State offense. However, losing Adam Jennings may have been the dagger to the heart for the offense of Fresno State.
The parallels between Devon Wylie and Adam Jennings are remarkable. They both attended the same high school. Both men possess the same body size and speed. Both men play the same position and provide a chance at scoring everytime the ball is in their hands. Devon Wylie stands at 5'9", Jennings stands at 5'10. Wylie runs a 4.35-4.4 forty time, Jennings runs a 4.3. Wylie weighs 175 pounds, Jennings weighs in at 170. The biggest difference Between these two players is their skin color, something that should not make one bit of a difference in today's world. Wylie was recruited by both Wyoming and Oregon State but decided his home would be here in Fresno. He has been told that he has the opportunity to make a difference for this team right from the start, something Pat Hill does not allow often with Freshman. Wylie however possesses a speed and quickness that is hard to ignore.
In 2006 Fresno State often started from their own 20 yard line. Trevor Shamblee and Chastin West were featured as kick returners for the Bulldogs. While neither were particularly fast Jennings departure left Fresno State with a void at kick/punt returner. When the opposing offense did not kick the ball into the end zone it would rarely be returned to the 20 yard line forcing the Bulldogs to go at least 60 yards to attempt a field goal. In 2005 many remember Jennings' returns in the USC game as what helped the Bulldogs put up such an amazing fight. Twice jennings fielded the ball inside his ten only to return it to USC territory. Jennings constantly gave Fresno State great field position making it that much easier for the Bulldogs to get in the end zone. Regardless of how good your offense is, scoring from 40 yards out is much easier than scoring from 80 yards out. Wylie will have the opportunity to give the Bulldogs a returner who once again can make a difference on the field of play. Expect Wylie to be on the field in September against Sac State for the first kickoff of the year. While 2006 offered little to be excited about, 2007 is bringing much more excitement not only with the new recruits but with this Bulldogs team as a whole. Devon Wylie will have a chance to make a difference for this Fresno State Football team and most would be foolish to think he won't accomplish just that in his time here in Fresno.
Note: Tomorrow is signing day and I hope some of you can make it out to World Sports with us at 3pm. We will be checking out the videos of our new recruits and talking Bulldog football with 1550 sports radio. Tomorrow's blog will discuss the difference Sharrod Davis and Chris Carter can make on the Bulldogs defense.