Four thoughts on SDSU’s Early Signing Day

Credit: Garrison/EVT

SDSU football added 13 new Aztecs to the program Wednesday on the first day of the Early Signing Period, with an eye toward signing a few more over the next two days.

In his opening remarks about this year’s class, head coach Brady Hoke spoke about the positive impact the opening of Snapdragon Stadium in September had in attracting players to the program. While the impact of SDSU’s new home is substantial this season, expect it to have an even more significant influence on the roster in future years.

Much is made of the Name Image and Likeness (NIL) bidding wars throughout college football, but the effect NIL will have on the balance of power is still a projection since it is still in its infancy. A more known commodity is how larger recruiting budgets and the recruiting personnel schools can hire as result pay dividends for filling the roster with top athletes. When the full economic potential of Snapdragon Stadium is realized, expect to see even more improvements in the level of recruit SDSU attracts.

“We’ve been able to add a couple of guys to the staff within the Player Personnel Department or Recruiting Department, which has really helped out,” Hoke explained. “They’ve done a really, really good job, so from that perspective (the new stadium) helps. The next thing for us is to continue to concentrate in that area so we can get ahead a little bit.”

Highest Ceiling in the Class

Picking a player in a recruiting class with the most potential is difficult. An educated guess would be tight end, Logan Tanner. Given SDSU’s history of offensive ineptness at the QB position, there is some risk in choosing any skill position player other than a running back. On the other hand, even in the leanest years, the Aztecs have produced excellent tight ends, and Tanner looks to be one of the next in line.

Tanner is enrolling early and will be in the mix to take some of the snaps vacated by Daniel Bellinger’s departure. From a pure talent standpoint, the tight end room might be the deepest position on the team. There will be fierce competition between Jay Rudolph, Aaron Greene, Gus McGee, JP Murphy, and Cameron Harpole. Like Tanner, most of those players turned down offers from big-time schools – Murphy de-committed from USC to become an Aztec. Whichever tight end is able to emerge from this group as the best at the position will be playing on Sundays.

“That’s a big group for us,” Hoke said. “It’s a big group when you look at 12 (two TE sets) or 13 (three TE) or 11 personnel (one TE). (Tanner) is a guy that can do both when you talk about being on the line of scrimmage as a Y and blocking or being off in the U-back or H-Back, whatever you want to call it. I think that’s huge, and I think he’s very athletic.”

Mike Goff’s First Offensive Line Class

Credit: Garrison/EVT

Drew Azzopardi, La’akea Kapoi, and Rambo Mageo are the first offensive lineman Mike Goff has brought in as a coach of the Aztecs. There is a theme in each of their games, and it reflects their position group. All three are nasty. SDSU hopes Mageo turns into an LT and Azzopardi stays as an RT or possibly slides inside to guard. Kapoi does a lot well and has the athleticism to play anywhere on the line. Wednesday’s signings offered the first glimpse of the personality Goff likes in his players and how he will make his mark on the program going forward.

“Both of them have their own styles,” Hoke explained when asked to compare Goff with his predecessor. “They both have had different experiences from a playing standpoint and a coaching standpoint. Mike (Goff) has done a tremendous job. When Mike Schmidt left, we knew we’d miss him, but we had a great replacement with Mike Goff, and our guys have responded very well to him, and I really like how they have gone to the fundamentals of teaching how to play the position.”

Who is next?

Hassan Mahasin had a signing day event at his school, so he looks to be on his way to the Mesa. Josh Hunter, a talented DB from Mater Dei (Santa Ana), who, if he were five inches taller, would be a five-star recruit based on his production, has been a long-time Aztec commitment. Jordan Morris was injured in June and might not sign with this class. Cathedral Catholic RB Lucky Sutton will announce his commitment tomorrow with the Aztecs, the favorite to land his services.

“We’d like to take three defensive linemen, one more linebacker, one more safety, and one more corner,” Hoke said when asked what SDSU is looking to accomplish with the rest of the class on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, they are possibly looking to bring in a quarterback transfer. How all that unfolds over the coming months is still to be determined, but if they bring in a new QB, they would like to do it soon.

“It depends what’s out there,” Hoke replied when asked if they are looking to bring in a transfer QB. “We can all get really excited about the transfer portal. We have to do a good job of finding someone who fits our style, who fits our program. I think that’s really important. We have to get guys here early in the spring, be here during winter conditioning. If I’m the quarterback, I’ve got to have the respect of the rest of the guys on the football team, and I’ve got to earn that respect by how I indoctrinate myself to the football team. The best way to do it is to kick ass when you’re in that winter conditioning program.”

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Paul Garrison
My earliest sport's memory involve tailgating at the Murph, running down the circular exit ramps, and seeing the Padres, Chargers and Aztecs play. As a second generation Aztec, I am passionate about all things SDSU. Other interests include raising my four children, being a great husband and teaching high school.
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