Sergeant Stacy Bey is the perfect first commit for SDSU’s Class of 2024

Photos from twitter @bey_stacy

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Photos credit Twitter @bey_stacy

Lost in the factors that make up a recruiting class is the importance of the first commitment in a particular year. The athlete who makes the opening pledge to a program turns into a de facto leader of the entire group by virtue of announcing the decision before anyone else.

The rest of the school’s recruits will walk into a culture with norms the first few prospects created. If they are welcoming, prioritize communication, and are skilled at developing relationships, the team’s chemistry will be boosted for years to come.

That original player also can become a lead recruiter. He opens doors to the university by inviting others in his circle to join him. Passively, he impacts the depth of the overall class because every potential recruit researches the quality of the players already committed.

For SDSU football’s Class of 2024, Rancho Cucamonga High School star Stacy Bey is the perfect first-commit.

Photos credit Twitter @bey_stacy

“The coaches call me ‘The Sergeant’ trying to get other recruits and soldiers to join with us,” Bey told EVT on an upcoming episode of The SDSU Football Podcast. “So I’ll tell you (it’s) a big deal. I’ll try to get other players to join us. I know we’re going to be that first class in the Pac-12. So I’m trying to get as much players and the best players in our area and in this class to come to San Diego State to start something up big.”

Every program wants that initial commitment to fill the role Bey describes, but there is something special about the Inland Empire (IE) athlete that allows him to be the perfect person for the task. Bey is a monster on the gridiron. His play at Bishop Amat High in 2022 forced his name onto the opposition’s game plan and into every film session. In IE football circles, he is a player.

Bey’s extensive offers from across the country, likewise, give him credibility. He turned down scholarships from Florida State, Louisville, Washington, Colorado, and others to become an Aztec. When he recruits other elite athletes, he is asking them to do the same. To build something special with Bey in San Diego, they must forgo great opportunities elsewhere.

In early March, when Bey made his decision public, he was quoted by 247 Sports talking about the visits he planned to take to Oklahoma, Georgia, and others. It gave the impression that Bey was a soft commit. To be the recruiting leader, one has to be all-in. Despite the quote, Bey is locked into SDSU.

“I’m a hard commitment, as of right now, to the Aztecs,” Bey said. “I haven’t taken any visits. I know before I said I was planning to take them, but I haven’t been planning any visits. I’ve just been locked in with Aztecs.”

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Looking at his tape, it is easy to see why Bey is such a coveted player. He is a new-age linebacker that counters spread offenses perfectly. Tackling in space and with limited numbers is what defenses are forced to do every game. Bey is a sideline-to-sideline player. He runs well enough to help on bubble screens on the outside. He arrives at the ball carrier with violent intentions and is able to exploit one of the weaknesses of spread attacks.

Stacy Bey at spring practice with his new team Rancho Cucamonga. He transferred to be closer to home. (Photos from Twitter @bey_stacy)

The hybrid wide receivers that catch screens and short passes are not as secure with the ball as running backs. Spread offenses expose these playmakers to big hits from the side. If a linebacker or safety can get the right hit, they can dislodge the pigskin. Bey is a walking forced fumble and should create a fair share of them during his time on the Mesa.

“(SDSU) like(s) how I can play multiple positions,” Bey explained. “When I go there, I’m going to be playing inside backer or outside backer, like a hybrid type of linebacker. I can go out of the box. I can play nickel. I can cover. That’s what they like about me, and that’s what stands out about my film too.”

With the defense stretched out, spread offenses win the numbers game when running the football. Defenders must beat a blocker and still be able to make the tackle. Bey has two tools already that should translate to the next level.

He is very aggressive and uses his speed to get past would-be blockers and into the backfield before running backs have many options of where to take the carry. Bey also plays running back himself and has good vision for that position. He uses that innate skill to see the best path to the ball on defense. Bey intends to enroll early at SDSU to get a head start on his college career.

“They call me an athlete,” Bey said. “I play both ways of the ball. I play running back and linebacker. On the running backside, since I’m big, people will expect me not to have vision and not be fast. But I’m the total opposite. I can make you miss in the open field. And then on the defensive side, playing inside backer as fast as I am, I get past linemen, and linemen can’t really block me, so I think that’s what separates my game from other players.”

Bey’s recruiting spiel is straightforward. He is able to talk about the relationship he has built with SDSU CB’s coach Demetrius Sumler, who is the program’s lead recruiter for the area, the campus’ proximity to the IE, the school’s academic standing, and the opportunity to play in the Pac-12.

“One of my good friends, his name is Jordan Napier, he’s actually committed to San Diego State,” Bey said on why he chose the Aztecs. “Coach Sumler was talking to him about me, but after that, coach Sumler hit me up every day. I built a great relationship with Coach Sumler. Now, I have a great relationship with Coach Mattix and Coach Hoke now that I committed. And then when I went to go visit, it was just close to home. My family can go watch me play. It was beautiful out there. It was good. They have good education. So, it was just like the right move.”

Foster Slaughter (left), SDSU Safety Jelani McLaughlin (center), and Stacy Bey (right). (Photos from Twitter @coachtroop3)

The Sergeant’s exploits as a lead recruiter have already paid dividends. Since Bey’s pledge, the program has received four other commitments. Three of them are from the IE with connections to Bey.

Rahim Wright is an athletic DB and Bey’s new teammate at Rancho Cucamonga. They have played seven-on-seven against each other since they were young. Terrell Cooks is a WR/RB that plays at Sierra Canyon in the same league as Bey. Sierra Canyon and Bishop Amat met twice last year, with each team winning a game. S Foster Slaughter is Bey’s cousin. He told 247 Sports he was not thinking about SDSU until Bey committed there.

The Sergeant is not finished.

“Oh, there’s a lot of players,” Bey said when asked if there are other players on his recruiting radar. “There’s another IE player I’m trying to get, Dylan Gresham. I’m trying to get him. I’m trying to get Sire Gaines from Orange Vista. I’m trying to get Dylan Riley from Rancho Verde, a great running back.”

The IE has been a fertile recruiting area with the men’s basketball program as well. Lamont Butler gave Bey an assist in his recruiting effort because athletes from the IE know and support each other. When Butler hit the buzzer-beating shot against FAU in the Final Four, everyone in his home area, including Bey, was watching.

Photos from Twitter @bey_stacy

On the basketball court, players from the IE are known as hardnosed and hard-working players who value the game itself more than the spotlight it provides. Football players from the area are the same way, and they fit the culture at SDSU.

Bey’s decision to relish his part in building the Class of 2024 comes at a great time. With the expected move to the Pac-12, there will be a transition period for the program. If SDSU is going to keep the values that it was built upon, it will need athletes forged in places like the IE to lead the way.

History has shown that the first verbal commit does not always end up enrolling at the school. However, it has also shown how special the partnership can be. The athlete that pledges first can literally build a program.

Due to his personality, prowess on the field, and the time SDSU finds itself in, Sergeant Stacy Bey is the perfect first commit for SDSU’s Class of 2024.

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