San Jose State Team Report
New San Jose State coach Ron Caragher had some big shoes to fill with his first recruiting class. Caragher needed replacements for defensive end Travis Johnson, defensive lineman David Tuitupou, tight end Ryan Otten and offensive lineman David Quessenberry, senior standouts who led the Spartans to an 11-2 record and a Military Bowl victory over Bowling Green in 2012.
None of those players will be easily replaced, but Caragher procured Signing Day commitments from several recruits who will try to fill the void as the Spartans move from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West in 2013. Caragher put a premium on tight ends, offensive linemen and defensive linemen with this recruiting class and stayed true to his mission, adding players at those positions with 13 of his 20 signings.
“My philosophy is set the tone in the trenches,” Caragher told the San Jose Mercury News. “I want a physical football team.”
The newcomers include eight defensive linemen, four offensive linemen and one tight end. The Spartans added offensive linemen such as A.J. Samataua (6-3, 295), Keoni Taylor (6-3, 280) and Deano Moates (6-5, 250). The additions on the defensive line include San Jose City College transfer Adrian Blake (6-3, 255), Santa Rosa Junior College transfer Garrett Guanella and six high school seniors.
Ryan Ena, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end, could play right away after earning all-state honors at Palomar College, where he caught 43 passes for 570 yards and six touchdowns last season. Ena, who originally committed to Idaho coming out of high school, is an impressive athlete who played wide receiver, defensive line, safety and linebacker in high school. He also played basketball.
Two of the most intriguing recruits are Tyler Winston, a wide receiver from Antelope High School in Antelope, Calif., and Brandon Monroe, a running back/safety from Del Oro High School in Loomis, Calif. Despite these signings, Scout rated San Jose State’s recruiting class 118th out of 123 Football Bowl Subdivisions schools, largely because the Spartans lost a number of prospects when former coach Mike MacIntyre left for Colorado.
Darell Garretson, a prized quarterback recruit from Chandler, Ariz., made a verbal commitment to San Jose State last summer, but he chose to sign with Utah State after MacIntyre bolted. Running back/defensive back Ryan Severson, linebacker Kenneth Olugbode and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie all followed MacIntyre to Colorado.
Top Of The Class
WR Tyler Winston (Antelope, Calif., High)—At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Winston is a talented receiver who possesses a good combination of size and speed. He had 57 receptions for 876 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior last season. He reportedly received offers from Boise State, Nevada and UNLV, among others.
RB/S Brandon Monroe (Del Oro High School, Loomis, Calif.)—Monroe rushed for 3,456 yards and 42 touchdowns in three seasons at Del Oro, gaining 1,662 yards as a junior and 1,545 yards as a senior. He will be evaluated at running back and safety, but San Jose State coach Ron Caragher said Monroe is “likely to see action earlier” on defense.
TE Ryan Ena (Palomar College, Oceanside, Calif.)—Ena, a former Idaho signee, was an all-state JC tight end after making 43 catches for 570 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. The Spartans hope he will help offset the loss of Ryan Otten, the school’s all-time leading receiver among tight ends.
• New San Jose State coach Ron Caragher recently finalized his coaching staff for 2013. Caragher’s offensive coordinator is former Washington assistant Jimmie Dougherty. Kenwick Thompson, who previously coached at San Jose State from 2001-06, will return as defensive coordinator after spending the past six seasons at Cal.
• There are two holdovers from former head coach Mike MacIntyre’s coaching staff. Fred Guidici will be back as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach. Terry Malley will return as recruiting coordinator and will coach tight ends after coaching wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks over the past five seasons.
Practice priorities: The offensive and defensive fronts will be a big focal point when spring practice begins. The Spartans have to replace All-Western Athletic Conference tackle David Quessenberry, who provided pass protection and opened running lanes for senior RB De’Leon Eskridge, who is also graduating. Defensively, the Spartans have even more work to do. They are switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 under new coach Ron Caragher, and it won’t be easy to fill the void left by WAC career sack leader Travis Johnson and fellow defensive end David Tuitupou.
Quote To Note: “You don’t want to build a roster on junior college players, but I think you can address certain needs.”—San Jose State coach Ron Caragher, to the San Jose Mercury News.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Key Losses: DE Travis Johnson, TE Ryan Otten, OL David Quessenberry, RB De’Leon Eskridge, DL David Tuitupou.
Players To Watch In 2013:
• QB David Fales will return following a brilliant debut season at San Jose State. Fales passed for 4,193 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2012. If he duplicates those numbers this season as a senior, he will shatter the school records of 7,548 yards and 56 touchdowns, both of which were set by players who spent four years in the program.
• WR Noel Grigsby will be back for his senior season after a record-setting junior campaign. Grigsby already holds school records for career receptions and career receiving yards. He caught 82 passes for 1,307 yards last season, becoming the second player in school history to catch 70 or more passes in two different seasons and the fourth with 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
• WR Chandler Jones has established himself as another potent weapon in the San Jose State passing game. He led the team with 11 touchdown catches in 2012 and finished his junior season second all-time at San Jose State with 169 career receptions.
• K Austin Lopez looks to build on a sensational freshman season in which he made 17-of-17 field goal attempts and finished with 107 points, a school freshman record and the most points ever scored by a San Jose State kicker.
• DE Travis Johnson participated in the 88th annual East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Johnson graduates as the San Jose State and Western Athletic Conference career leader with 32 sacks.
• Senior RB Ina Liaina and senior DBs James Orth and Ronnie Yell were chosen to participate in the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game, which was held Jan. 11 at Kino Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. Orth was a three-year starter at safety for San Jose State who finished with eight career interceptions. Yell had 41 tackles and nine pass break-ups in 2012. Liaina was a fullback and special-teams standout.