Mountain West National Signing Day Review: West Division
By Joe Jenkins
A number of long-standing conference rivalries ended in the last few years, flushed during conference realignment for the sake of money.
Everyone should be thankful the Fresno State and San Diego State rivalry remains. Both had identical 9-4 records in 2012. Both heavily recruit the local high school talent in California. And both had solid recruiting classes that could help keep the Bulldogs and the Aztecs contending for the Mountain West title in the coming years.
Here’s a peek at how the West Division did on national signing day this year.
Note: Rankings for high school recruits varies from site to site. In an effort to keep all things even, the star caliber of recruits was taken from scout.com.
Breakdown: 28 commits: 5 3-star; 23 2-star
Top Signee: Zack Greenlee QB
Needed: DL, OL, WR
What It Means: Greenlee looks to be the most highly rated prospect of the Bulldogs' class, but his ability to make an impact early in his career is limited. After incumbent starter Derek Carr, Fresno has three other QB’s looking to become his heir apparent. Junior College transfer guard Josh Tremblay could play immediately as the Bulldogs must replace 3 starters on the offensive line from 2012.
Breakdown: 27 commits: 4 3-star; 22 2-star; 1 Unranked
Top Signee: Aaron Zwahlen QB
Needed: WR, LB, DL
What It Means: Norm Chow’s Warriors were abysmal on both sides of the ball in his first season with both total offense and defense unable to crack the top 100. Zwahlen, an ESPN 300 recruit, could be pressed into duty early. Fellow ESPN 300 member DT Kennedy Tulimasealii and ESPN JC 100 LB Tigi Hill could make the defense better immediately.
Breakdown: 18 commits: 2 3-stars; 16 2-stars
Top Signee: Alec Moreno ILB
Needed: OL, QB, RB
What It Means: Defense was a big issue for the Wolf Pack in 2012, ranking 102nd in the nation in points allowed. They responded by inking four defensive players as their top prospects. JUCO transfer Don Jackson will try to replace record breaking RB Stefphon Jefferson, who entered the NFL draft after his junior year.
Breakdown: 23 commits: 9 3-star; 14 2-star
Top Signee: Julius Wilson WR
Needed: DB, WR
What It Means: The Aztecs needed to replenish their WR and DB corps, so they signed 11 commits between the two areas. Wilson doesn’t rate high on some sites, but the Culver City, Calif., native chose the Aztecs over several Pac-12 offers. Keep an eye on him.
Breakdown: 19 commits: 1 3-star; 18 2-star
Top Signee: Thomas Tucker WR
Needed: DL, WR
What It Means: Give a hall pass to the Spartans if their 2013 haul doesn’t look all that spectacular. After losing head coach Mike MacIntyre to Colorado, San Jose was left with just nine commits going into signing day. Thankfully Tucker didn’t bolt to the Pac 12 with MacIntyre. He drew interest from Colorado as well.
Breakdown: 21 commits: 2 3-star; 18 2-star; 1 Unranked
Top Signee: David Moffitt OLB
Needed: DL, LB, WR
What It Means: Virtually everyone agrees on Moffitt’s athletic talent, but he’ll have to be bulkier than his 205 pounds if he wants to remain an OLB in the Mountain West. Wideout Torry McTyre originally committed to Cal, but wound up choosing the Rebels. He could blow the doors off Mountain West defenses. The burner has been clocked running a 10.6 in the 100m.