We have reached the final week of recruiting and it looks as if Fresno State is sitting at 22 recruits for the time being. While we lost out on Duncan that does not take away from the talent that the rest of this class may be able to provide. Last year the Bulldogs lacked in speed far more than any other area on the field. In 2007 the Bulldogs will possess far more speed than they did in 2006. Sharrod Davis, Terrence Dennis, Ryan Mathews, and Devon Wylie all run 4.5 40's or less. Fresno State seems to have addressed the one area they truly needed help in. At the same time players such as Wylie look to have that playmaking ability that the Bulldogs have sorely missed over the past season. Adam Jennings was far more important to this team than many of us realized as the kick return game was non-existant in 2006. As I have said before I have nothing against Chastin West who is a good player for the Dogs, but he is not a kick returner. Hopefully Clifton Smith can figure out that he is not the star he thinks he is right now and will work much harder than he has in the past. If a healthy and fit Clifton Smith is joined by Devon Wylie with respect to the kick return game opposing teams are going to have to decide whether they want to take a chance by kicking to one of these two men or instead kick the ball out of bounds (option 2 might be best if these two are healthy and ready to go).
As usual we picked up two more offensive line recruits. Aside Running Back (where we landed the nations leading rusher) Offensive Line seems to be one area where there is very little to worry about year after year. We have a strong offensive lineman corp returning and I would venture to say that both Lonyae Miller and Anthony Harding are going to benefit for the blocking that our line tends to have. Both of these RB's have speed that we have not seen since Wendell Mathis. At QB we have Matt Faulkner who is likely to move right into the third string spot but will more than likely redshirt his Freshman season and put on size to better equip him for the college game. If you watch Faulkner's videos you will notice many aspects of his game that has to make you think he has a chance to be a great QB one day: Faulkner throws the ball well over the middle. He also sits back and waits for his receivers to run their routes. For a young man he looks to be poised and patient, two aspects of QB that are very hard to teach. Faulkner if he can learn the playbook will one day start at Fresno State, and it may be sooner than we may think.
Overall I know the rankings have Boise ahead of us by about five spots when it comes to Rivals.com. I also know that Scout.com has them about fifteen spots ahead of the Bulldogs. However, Boise has 25 commits while the Bulldogs still have 2-3 more that they can land. The difference between the two schools with respect to recruiting is much closer than you might think. Boise went to a BCS game and the Bulldogs are still right there with them with respect to recruiting, that has to tell you something about the perception of this football program. Fresno State is a known school today and many players realize that we will go into battle over the next two seasons with schools such as Texas A&M, Kansas State (2), Oregon, UCLA, and Wisconsin, Not to mention the Dogs will take on both Boise and Hawaii with both being a top 25 program. If you are looking to attend a mid-major school that can make some noise on the national picture there really are only two choices anymore: Fresno State and Boise State (ok I forgot TCU and BYU). The 2007 recruiting class for the Dogs will go down as one with more potential than any other recruting class in Bulldogs history. All we can do is hope that these players turn our dreams into a reality on the football field.
Note: I realize that the Boise recruit at QB is four stars but he is in a system in Washington just as Colt Brennan is in Hawaii. I am not saying he does not have talent, four stars have plenty of talent. However, do not judge our QB recruits and Boise's until they step on the field and begin to perform. Four stars means nothing if you can't perform on the college football field, just ask Ricky Miller and James Paulk.