December 23, 2011

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every Friday ASR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to edwardflewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Fisher7: Since several of the better football prospects have very recently chosen to commit elsewhere do you have a feeling for which of the uncommited the Aztecs are likely to pursue now and which ones might commit? Can we assume there are a number that are under the radar and not on any lists?

San Diego State has a short list of guys no doubt that it wants, and we'll elaborate on that a little more in an article in the next few days. But that list includes names such as Eduardo Middleton, Robert Lewis, Devian Shelton and Nico Siragusa. As SDSU loses some of those guys off that list, such as wide receiver Alex Jackson to Washington State earlier this week, it will indeed go after some of the "under-the-radar" guys.

For example, now that Jackson is off the board, receivers such as Jake Maulhardt and Ross Stribling suddenly come more and more into the picture. The same will happen if Middleton or Siragusa picks another school. Linemen such as Corey Whitaker could step up as a new target. That's the thing with all this recruiting stuff; it's always changing. SDSU hats should go off to Aztec recruiting coordinator Tony White. His job has to be a fairly unenviable one.


Matt: If Ronnie Hillman leaves early do you see Walter Kazee stepping in as the feature back or do you think we'll see a RB by committee?

While I think Kazee can be a feature back, I think SDSU will still use a committee approach next season if Hillman leaves strictly because of the depth it has there. You all know about Adam Muema by now, and Kazee certainly has all the tools to be a 1,200-yard back. But the guys you don't get to see at practice that look like complete studs are Chase Price (who was recently named Scout Team Player of the Year by SDSU), Dwayne Garrett, De'Saan Hardwick and even Brandon Wright, who showed really good things over the summer when he was getting carries. Plus, you have a true freshman in Alex Howard coming in who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns over in Arizona.

It's funny in a way, and I know I've said this before, but when Brady Hoke first came here, he tried everything he could to grab a starting running back, even letting Anthony Miller and a 170-pound (soaking wet with rocks in his pockets) true freshman Kazee get the starts here. Now SDSU could pick a running back name out of a hat from this roster and it couldn't go wrong. If that's not a sign of the changes here on Montezuma Mesa, I don't know what is.


Nebraztecs: Helix had a great team this year with a lot of talent. Are we after any of these kids?

You would be shocked at how often I get this question. I guess the only way I can compare it would be to the NFL scouting good NCAA teams. Boise State went 50-3 in Kellen Moore's career there, and he might not even get drafted into the NFL. Guys such as Eric Crouch and Jason White won Heisman Trophies recently and they didn't even get a run in the league.

Over at Helix, they have a few kids who are Division I prospects including OL Victor Bowen, QB Brandon Lewis, RB Darrion Hancock and CB Jimmy Pruitt, among others on that squad. But they have their flaws. Lewis is very small for a quarterback, some question Pruitt and Hancock's speed and Bowen's size is a bit concerning.

For 2013, though, Kendal Keys could be a guy on SDSU's radar. His brother, Kenny Keys, is a UNLV safety, and I've heard Kendal is freakishly athletic like Kenny. We'll see how it all ends up, but I'm not sure the Highlanders will pour kids into Division I next season despite their ridiculous year.


Krish: What's the background story behind Vaness Harris? Was he a walk-on? Don't see him in any of the recruiting classes. He appears to have a ton of talent. Looking to him to really step up his game next year to help replace Miles Burris.

EDIT: AztecSportsReport.com has learned Harris, who was a two-star 2009 safety / linebacker from Los Angeles, was actually one of the last players in that '09 class to snag a scholarship from SDSU. Despite not being listed on SDSU's signing day roster, he's been on scholarship since 2009. ASR regrets the error.

As for him playing next year, it would not surprise me if he was one of the three starting linebackers on opening day. I've covered two Dallas Cowboys' training camps and preseasons, and he is one of the biggest non-linemen I've ever seen on a football field, period. Trying to block him is clearly tough, and he played extremely well this year. I've also heard rumblings that he just had surgery to repair an injury (didn't sound serious), but that tells me he was playing hurt for most of the year as well. Tough guy with a high motor with clear heart. Sounds like a Rocky Long kind of starter, huh?


Rick: When will our non-rated recruits get their stars? Steve: Six of the 16 new Aztec recruits are yet to be rated. Which ones are most likely to be rated three star, and now that the season's over, when will that process begin?

Decided to combine these two questions. The final ratings will come out after all these all-star games finish up and before signing day. So within the next few weeks, you should see the stars start coming out.

Now SDSU has a bunch of commits and recruits scheduled to play this weekend at an all-star game in Fresno. If they perform well there, don't be surprised to see some of their ratings increase. All-star games, camps and film are where a huge part of Rivals.com ratings come from, so if you can perform well there, you have a good shot at snagging ratings.

As for the unrated SDSU recruits, I'm not too sure what their rankings will end up being. But I would assume Kendrick Mathis, Alex Barrett and maybe Eric Judge should be fairly close to locking up at least three-star ratings. We'll find out here in a few weeks.


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