SDSU’s Class of 2022 early signing day nets 13 new Aztecs

Credit: NBC Sports

Wednesday was the start of the three-day early signing period for the Class of 2022 recruits to sign their National Letters of Intent (NLI) to officially accept scholarship offers for college football.

The San Diego State Aztecs came into the week with 17 high school seniors verbally committed to play at the school.

After one recruit flipped his commitment to Colorado State on Tuesday, 16 remained. By the end of Wednesday, 13 of the 16 signed NLIs to San Diego State. 

Below is a breakdown of the 13 players by position, including exclusive quotes from some of the players. 

Quarterback

Kyle Crum

High School: Norco (Norco, CA)

Size: 6’3, 190

Rating/ranking: 2-star (Rivals)

Offers: 1 

Twitter @AztecFB

EVT Paul Garrison’s article on Crum provides a great glimpse into Crum’s potential. Crum was named league MVP as a team captain this season, throwing for 2,599 yards and 22 TDs (7 INTs) and rushing for 448 yards and eight TDs. SDSU was Crum’s first and only offer, which is surprising since he was clearly the offensive threat for the 13th best high school team in the state of California

Why did you choose SDSU?

“The coaches seemed super genuine and interested in getting me ready to play as soon as possible. The location is perfect, being far enough away to be on my own but close enough to come home and see my family. The fact that they were the first ones to really believe in me and offer me meant a lot.”

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

“For fans that haven’t seen me play, I would describe myself as a gamer who will do whatever it takes for my team to be successful. I can stay in the pocket and throw the ball on time, but I can also escape the pocket and scramble to make some big plays.”

 

Liu Aumavae

High School: Timpview (Provo, UT)

Size: 6’3, 195

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports), 2-star (Rivals)

Offers: 2 including BYU

Twitter @AztecFB

Aumavae is a pro-style quarterback (his father is a professional QB trainer) who intends on enrolling at SDSU in early 2022 and participate in Spring Camp. Aumavae threw for 2,971 yards and 28 touchdowns en route to a league title in his senior season.  His father, a Nike Elite 11 regional and finals coach, learned the craft studying under Super Bowl champion Fresno State great Trent Dilfer. If Aumavae fulfills his potential on the Mesa, Bulldogs’ fans will have one of their own to thank for it. 

Why did you choose SDSU?

“They showed that they wanted me the most. That was a big thing for me. I wanted to go somewhere I was wanted and to a place where I would be taken care of and they’d have my best interest. I know that their end goal is to win, but I also know that SDSU will look out for me. That’s a big credit to coach Sevai’i Eselu. He always contacted me when he could and made sure that I came to San Diego State.”

 

Running Back

Sheldon Canley, Jr.

Twitter @AztecFB

High School: Lompoc (Lompoc, CA)

Size: 5’10, 175

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports), 2-star (Rivals)

Offers: 6 including Pac-12 (WSU)

Canley is an explosive back (100m dash league winner) who was voted as Channel League MVP this season as a team captain. Canley rushed for 2,893 yards in his high school career on 9.4 yards per carry, adding 36 catches for 468 yards for a combined 53 touchdowns. He profiles similar to Donnel Pumphrey as a small back, who is a tough runner with great speed to take the ball the distance. 

 

Wide Receiver

Jacoby Kelly

High School: Loyola (Los Angeles, CA)

Size: 6’3, 195

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports and Rivals)

Offers: 12 including Pac-12 (ASU), Big-12 (Kansas), and Big-10 (Nebraska)

Twitter @AztecFB

Kelly is a big, talented receiver who also played basketball and track in high school, running an 11.61 100m sprint. Kelly was a two-time first team all-league selection in football the past two seasons. With a unique skill set of good size, strength, and speed, it is not surprising Kelly could have signed an NLI with a Power 5 school.  

Why did you choose SDSU?

“The coaching staff and environment of the school. My first time on campus was on my official visit last summer, and it was amazing. I loved the tour, and being able to see the facilities and what the city itself has to offer made me fall in love even more. My relationship with Coach Cooper was vital to my commitment, as the talks he had with me and my family were always great and informed me on how much they wanted me as a player. But even outside of the football talks, Coop is an even better man, and I know he can help me grow both on and off the field.”

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

“A guy who is willing to go above and beyond what it takes to win and will give you nothing but the highest effort. I am definitely one of the most versatile receivers, if not the most, in my class who can help an offense prosper in both the run game and pass game. If you need me to get a first down catch, I can do it. If you need a key block for a touchdown, you can count on me. I’m a jack of all trades but a master of none. Off the field, I’m a good kid, and I respect everyone. But as soon as I get into my zone on that field, I become a different monster.”

 

Tight End

Logan Tanner

High School: St. Pius X (Houston, TX)

Size: 6’3, 225

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports and Rivals)

Offers: 22 including Pac-12 (Utah), Big-12 (Baylor), and AAC (Houston)

Twitter @AztecFB

Tanner is a special combination of speed and size in the same mold as previous Aztec tight ends Kahale Warring and Daniel Bellinger. Tanner put up 1200 receiving yards and 14 TDs in his final two seasons of high school. Coveted by Power 5 schools across the country, Tanner is one of the high-profile recruits in the Class of 2022. 

Why did you choose SDSU?

“Simply from the direction the program is going. Just by watching this season, you can see that. Also, Coach Hoke and his staff really made an impression on my family and I from just how close they are and how much it felt like family when I visited. Not to mention the plan they have for me in their offense.”

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

“A dynamic player who could line up on the line or the backfield or even out at wideout. I could be the secret weapon that defenses don’t see coming and guarantee the 1st down and the catch. I could also pick up some good yac.”

 

Offensive Line

Drew Azzopardi

High School: Junipero Serra (San Mateo, CA)

Size: 6’5, 315

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports), 2-star (Rivals)

Offers: 7 including Pac-12 (Arizona)

Twitter @AztecFB

Azzopardi is a huge right tackle, who uses his massive strength to push edge defenders backward in the run game, but is able to pull and block downfield in space. He was a team captain and All-West Catholic Athletic League selection leading his team to the CIF state championship game. Still relatively new to the position, Azzopardi has as high a ceiling as any lineman on the West Coast. 

Why did you choose SDSU?

“The relationships that I built with the coaching and recruiting staff, the academics of the school, the consistent level of success of the football program, and the awesome city of San Diego. The fact that we’re getting a brand new stadium certainly didn’t hurt.”

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

“I play right tackle on a very good Junipero Serra Padre team. I love to run block and get out and pull on screens and smash linebackers and defensive backs. I just started playing OL last year, so I am still learning. What is important to me is practicing and playing hard every day with my brothers and, of course, winning.”

 

Laakea Kapoi

Twitter @AztecFB

High School: Saint Louis (Honolulu, HI)

Size: 6’5, 317

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports and Rivals)

Offers: 19 including BYU, Pac-12 (WSU, Arizona, ASU, OSU, Colorado, California), ACC (Syracuse), Big-10 (Michigan, Indiana)

Kapoi is the third highest-rated recruit in his class from Hawaii and uses his big body to mow down defenders in the run and pass game. He was an honorable-mention all-league selection and also competed in the shot put and discus on the track and field team.

 

Rambo Mageo

High School: Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, CA)

Size: 6’5, 305

Rating/ranking: 2-star (Rivals)

Twitter @AztecFB

Offers: 1

Mageo anchored one of the best offensive lines in the state on their way to winning the state championship last week. Though the hometown hero did not generate much buzz in recruiting circles, he is a terrific player, who with weight training and tutelage from Mike Goff, should have a bright future ahead of him. 

Why did you choose SDSU?  

“Because of what they had to offer me. They showed me what it would be like to be an Aztec, and I think that I would fit in perfectly.” 

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

“The Aztecs will be getting 110% of me as a student-athlete. I can’t wait to start the next chapter of my journey.”

 

Defensive Line

Ryan Henderson

Twitter @AztecFB

High School: Canyon Springs (North Las Vegas, NV)

Size: 6’3, 240

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports), 2-star (Rivals)

Offers: 6 including Pac-12 (Arizona)

Henderson is a big, strong lineman who was a first team all-state selection and named his team’s defensive MVP this season. Lining up at different positions along the defensive line, Henderson shows a great burst, uses his hands well, and shows good play recognition. He has multiple pass-rushing moves already, with everything building off his effort and high motor. 

 

Linebacker

Trey White

High School: Eastlake (Chula Vista, CA)

Size: 6’1, 215

Rating/ranking: 2-star (Rivals)

Twitter @AztecFB

Offers: 5 including Pac-12 (Arizona)

White shows great explosiveness with the ability to rush inside or outside. He collected 64 tackles with 13 sacks and 19 quarterback hurries in his senior season, and a first team all-league selection. White played standing up and with his hand in the ground for the Titans. Where he profiles as an Aztec will likely be determined by his growth over the next couple of years. No matter where he lines up, he will hunt QBs for the Red and Black. 

Why did you choose SDSU?

How the program is currently doing plus the bright future the program has with many great coaches on the staff. Plus, it was close to home, so my friends and family could support me in the new stadium.”

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

A hard worker who wants to win and see everyone else around me win.”

 

Defensive Back

Max Garrison

High School: St. Francis (La Canada Flintridge, CA)

Size: 5’10, 185

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports and Rivals)

Twitter @AztecFB

Offers: 10 including Pac-12 (WSU, ASU) and Big-12 (Kansas, Texas)

Garrison is a versatile athlete who played running back and safety in high school and will play safety at SDSU. Garrison, a team captain, was a two-time league offensive player of the year and earned all-league honors on both sides of the ball the past two seasons. 

Why did you choose SDSU?

“I felt like it was the best fit for me as a player and more so as a person. I think that the coaching staff was a big reason why I decided to commit. Coach Kyle Hoke was a big part of that.”

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

“A gritty player who is very versatile and loves to compete and loves the game of football and will always put the team first.”

 

Chris Johnson

Twitter @AztecFB

High School: Eleanor Roosevelt (Corona, CA)

Size: 6’0, 175

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports and Rivals)

Offers: 6 including ACC (Boston College) and Big-10 (Northwestern) 

Johnson is a slender and lanky defender who fits the mold of the Aztec boundary cornerback position. Johnson earned first team all-league honors as a senior, totaling 62 tackles, three interceptions, 18 pass deflections, and three blocked kicks. He is versatile as well, also playing offense and catching six touchdowns, and also returning kickoffs and punts.

 

Eric Butler II

High School: Centennial (Corona, CA)

Size: 6’1, 175

Rating/ranking: 3-star (247sports), 2-star (Rivals)

Offers: 7 including Big-12 (Kansas) and Pac-12 (Washington)

Butler was named to SBLive’s 2021 All-State team for his exemplary performance this season, leading his team to the state semifinals. 

Twitter @AztecFB

Why did you choose SDSU?

“Because of the family culture at the school between players, coaches, and alumni. Everyone I talked to on my visit was great, and I can see myself at SDSU for the next 3-5 years.”

What kind of player is SDSU getting?

“A hardworking player that wants to win and will always strive to be the best.”


Preliminary thoughts on the early signing class: 

The strength of the signings today comes in two positional units: offensive line and secondary. Getting three big, bruising offensive lineman who can continue the Aztec dominance in the run game moving forward is a huge boost for the future, especially taking into account the talented class that just finished their freshman year on the Mesa. Additionally, the secondary added three extremely talented, skilled, and intelligent players who should give defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix lots of versatility in his 3-3-5 defense. 

The glaring weakness of the signings today is on the defensive front. Only one true defensive lineman and one edge rusher were signed today. However, the second wave of signings in February and potential new finds in the transfer portal over the next two months should address that.

(Visited 2,352 times, 1 visits today)
Andre Haghverdian on Email
Andre Haghverdian
Avid sports fan and historian of basketball, baseball, football and soccer. UC San Diego and San Diego State alumni living in America's Finest City. Diverse team following across multiple sports leagues, but Aztecs come first in college athletics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | CoverNews by AF themes.