As we all recall the Fresno State Bulldogs defense in 2006 lacked many components needed to be successful. The most glaring need for Fresno State was that of speed. While players like McCauley ran relatively quick forty times he was forced to do far too much on his own which led to numerous breakdowns in coverage. If Fresno State can hold on to the recruits that are supposed to sign today the defense in the next two years will see a vast improvement with respect to both speed and talent. Fresno State had to address the issue of talent on the defensive side of the ball and it looks like they have done everything in their power to make this happen. With the addition of players such as Jermaine Thomas, Chris Carter, Tim Lang, and Sharrod Davis the Bulldogs defense should be much more athletic and that much faster in the end. Although he was not a recruit from the 2007 class Lorne Bell should be able to step in this upcoming season and make a name for himself as well.
Chris Carter will be a welcome addition to the Bulldogs LB corp. Although he is only 6'0" he runs relatively fast with a 4.8 40 time and will definitely put on ten to fifteen pounds before all is said and done. Carter attended Kaiser high school out of Fontana and was being recruited by the likes of Oregon State, Colorado State, Washington, and Nevada. To say this kid was desired by many schools would be an understatement. In 2005 Carte recorded 89 tackles and 11 sacks as a Junior. Carter's is one of the Bulldogs three star recruits and looks to have a chance to make a name for himself as soon as he arrives at Fresno State.
Sharrod Davis will come into Fresno State as a Junior looking to turn himself into an NFL prospect at corner. Fresno State has a knack for developing corners and Davis looks to be the next great one in line for the Bulldogs defense. Davis runs a 4.4 forty and stands at 6'0" weighing in at 180. In other words Davis is your prototypical corner. He has speed, he is not too heavy but definitely the right size to be able to run with just about anyone in the nation. Since Davis has two years of college football experience he will be expected to step in and start. Davis will also be expected to be a defensive leader on the field. Although this is his first season as a Bulldog Davis will be one of the more experienced corners on the field.
Jermaine Thomas looks to be another speedy secondary player that the Bulldogs have landed in their 2007 class. Thomas stands at 5'11 and runs a 4.5 forty while weighing 175 pounds. Thomas will more than likely put on size and eventually will make a large scale impact on the defensive side of the ball. At the same time Tim Lang may end up in the secondary as a corner or safety due to the fact that he is one of the better athletes the Dogs were able to find. Lang has speed and can play receiver, QB, and RB as well as defensive secondary. Look for Fresno State to try and turn Lang into a defensive player during his time as a Bulldog.
Lorne Bell is a 2006 class recruit who will play in 2007. Bell will shore up the defensive side of the ball and will be seen on the field with Davis, Harris, Haynes, and Jenkins. Bell may only stand at 5'10" but he is near 200 pounds and runs a 4.6 40 time. Bell will be in the defensive secondary for the Bulldogs and without a doubt will help to turn Fresno State into a defensive power once again. Bell sat out 2006 and will come into 2007 as a Freshman with plenty of talent. By the time his four seasons are up at Fresno State he will have a shot to become an NFL talent just as every secondary player at State seems to end up.
Overall Fresno State has addressed the need for speed with respect to their recruits. 2007 will be a year of change as the Bulldogs have realized the 2006 squad was not fast enough to compete with many of the teams they faced. The Bulldogs lacked the speed and overall talent in 2006, but 2007 and on will be much different. Pat Hill has put together a wonderful recruiting class and has once again made the future here at Fresno State something we all look forward to.
Note: Tomorrow I will cover both Devan Cunningham and Porter Hill, our Lineman that will make this team that much better in the years to come. By the way it looks like Pete Carroll and USC made a run at Ryan Mathews, good thing the kid wants to be a Bulldog isn't it.