Following a crazy final week of June that saw the San Diego State land eight verbal commitments, the Aztecs kept the excitement going with four more commitments in the month of July. The trend in June was local stars and out-of-state burners.
July’s trend was length, athleticism, and Sin City aces.
San Diego State has had a pipeline of talent from Las Vegas since OC Jeff Horton came to the Aztecs, headlined by NCAA All-Time leading rusher, Donnel Pumphrey.
Continuing the trend in 2017 is Liberty HS defense back Allan Mwata. Following former teammate and 2017 enrollee Ethan Dedeaux, Mwata looks to continue the tradition of Aztec stars from Sin City. The 5’11” 180 lb prospect is versatile in the secondary and looks comfortable wherever he lines up. Liberty HS received its first ever HS national ranking after Mwata lead the defense with 11 tackles against national power Westlake HS (Texas).
Nevada Preps ranks Mwata as the #5 defensive player in the state this season and finished 2016 as an All-State honorable mention. Mwata, who was originally committed to BYU, backed off his pledge to the cougars soon after he received the scholarship offer to SDSU. The three star recruit also holds offers from UNLV, Florida Atlantic and Northern Arizona. The Aztecs have also offered Mwata’s teammate, QB Kenyon Oblad.
Ever since Aztec WR Coach, and former Las Vegas high school coach, Hunkie Cooper joined the coaching staff, there has been an emphasis on recruiting tall WR’s that can spread the field vertically in the passing game.
Las Vegas’ Elijah Kothe fits that mold perfectly for the Aztecs. Kothe, who also plays basketball for Faith Lutheran HS, uses his 6’4″ 195 lb frame to box out defenders and come down with 50/50 balls. A big play threat and huge target, Kothe is a quarterback’s best friend.
Kothe is surprisingly athletic for his size, and has an impressive highlight reel of diving catches and broken tackles. When facing Bishop Gormon HS, the nation’s top high school program, Kothe went off for five receptions and 120 yards, proving he can compete with the country’s top talent. The three-star prospect committed to the Aztecs over ten other offers, including PAC 12, service academy and Ivy League schools.
The Aztecs already landed a commitment from the top offensive player from the state of New Mexico, Jordan Byrd.
This month, they added Keshawn Banks, the state’s top defensive prospect. Banks has a tremendous get off and constantly blows up plays in the backfield before they even get started. The 6’4″ 260 lb prospect does not only rely on his size to out match his opponent, but has a great quiver of moves and techniques.
With a very solid frame and room to grow, Banks has the opportunity to play defensive end or bulk up and play defensive tackle for the Aztecs. With a lot of experience graduating from the Aztec defensive line this year, don’t count our Banks to compete early for playing time. Banks chose the Aztecs over offers from Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico and New Mexico State.
Following an unofficial visit to the Mesa, Las Vegas TE Daniel Bellinger decided he had seen all he needed to see, and decided to commit to the Aztecs.
The three-sport athlete impressed the coaching staff and received an offer earlier this summer, along with offers from UNLV and the Naval Academy. At 6’5″ 220 lbs, Bellinger is an imposing force for his Palo Verde HS squad. A tenacious run blocker, Bellinger doesn’t have the best opportunity to showcase his pass catching ability in his team’s style of offense.
From the film he does have, it is clear that Bellinger has soft hands and can translate his basketball ability to the field to go up and get tough catches. Well rounded and versatile, Bellinger reminds me of pre-season 1st Team All-MWC TE David Wells. Bellinger has a great frame and should be able to add solid weight under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach, Adam Hall. Expect to see a lot of Bellinger in the Aztec offense in the future.