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Aztecs sign seven players to round out 2018 football recruiting class

02/07/2018, 11:00am PST
By Kirk Kenney

SAN DIEGO, November 24, 2017 | Aztecs players run onto the field before they play New Mexico at SDCC

After getting most of its 2018 football recruiting completed during the NCAA’s new early signing period in December, San Diego State signed seven players Wednesday on the traditional national letter of intent day.

SDSU head coach Rocky Long said depth rather than need would be the focus. SDSU did, however, sign a pair of junior defensive linemen who could provide immediate help if injuries deplete the Aztecs at the position.

The signings were announced on Wednesday morning, increasing the Aztecs’ 2018 signing class to 24 members (17 players signed in December).

Long said he has one additional scholarships available for a potential graduate senior transfer or junior college transfer.

“There is one scholarship out there for someone that might pop up in the next couple weeks or spring recruiting that would help our football team,” Long said. “There will be a lot of guys available, like every year, after everybody has their spring practice.

“There will be a lot of graduate students getting ready to play their fifth year and thought they were going to be a starter and they end up not being a starter and they start hunting a place to graduate transfer to. That’s also after our spring practice when we’ll know our team a lot better and where we might need a player or two.”

SDSU’s 2018 recruiting class was notable for the nine local players among those signed in December. That total increased to 11 local players on Wednesday, with the addition of Luq Barcoo (Castle Park), a junior defensive back from Grossmont College, and Joah Robinett (San Marcos), a junior defensive lineman who transferred back over the summer from Oregon State.

“Our coaches did a great job of recruiting the local players who we thought could play,” Long said. “That’s the highlight of this class.”

Robinett and Jalil Lecky, a junior defensive lineman from College of San Mateo, are the players who could provide immediate assistance up front on defense.

Five of the seven players signed Wednesday are from California. The out of state players are Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial High running back Zidane Thomas and Punahou (Hawaii) High offensive lineman Alama Uluave.

Thomas led Arizona running backs in 2017 with 2,123 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns. He averaged 10.3 yards a carry during the season.

The addition of Thomas gives the Aztecs two running backs in this class. He joins Jordan Byrd, who signed in December out of Manzano High in Albuquerque, N.M.

The recruits are divided almost evenly between offense and defense, with 11 on offense and 12 on defense (as well as one place-kicker/punter). Defensive backs and defensive linemen (five apiece) lead the way, followed by wide receivers (four).

SDSU’s 2018 Recruiting Class

The NCAA’s regular signing period began today. Here are players SDSU signed (or announced) today, followed by those announced during December’s early signing period:

February signings

NAME | SCHOOL | POS. | HT, WT | SIGNED

Luq Barcoo | Grossmont College/Castle Park HS | DB | 6-1, 170 | Feb. 7

Notable: Talented on both sides of the ball — at wide receiver and defensive back — although penciled in on defense at this point.

Denaylan Fuimaono | Carson HS | DB | 6-0, 190 | Dec. 20

Notable: Talented defender who got bigger and stronger while sitting out first half of season following transfer from Long Beach Cabrillo. Had 41 tackles and two interceptions the second half of the year.

Jalil Lecky | College of San Mateo | DL | 6-5, 215 | Feb. 7

Notable: One of two junior defensive linemen in the 2018 signing class. He had three sacks among his 21 tackles this past season. Prepped at Brentwood Heritage High.

Joah Robinett | Oregon State/San Marcos HS | DL | 6-8, 255 | Feb. 7

Notable: The sophomore stands above even the 6-7 big boys on the Aztecs offensive line. Transferred from Oregon State last summer and enrolled in the fall at Palomar College, where he trained and is earning his AA degree.

Kobe Smith | Gardena Junipero Serra HS | WR | 6-2, 175 | Feb. 7

Notable: Good length, which helped him to 56 catches for 830 yards and seven touchdowns.

Zidane Thomas | Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial HS | RB | 5-11, 210 | Feb. 7

Notable: He rushed for 4,011 yards and 44 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Performance in Centenntial’s 5A state championship win included a pair of 60-yard TD runs.

Alama Uluave | Punahou (Hawaii) HS | OL | 6-2, 315 | Dec. 20

Notable: The No. 7-rated prospect in Hawaii will join two of his former teammates — linebackers Ronley Lakalaka and Seyddrick Lakalaka — on the Aztecs roster. Also played basketball and baseball at Punahou as well as competing in track and field, where was a state champion in the shot put and discus.

December signings

NAME | SCHOOL | POS. | HT, WT | SIGNED

Andrew Alves | St. Augustine HS | LB | 6-2, 225 | Dec. 20

Notable: The next Calvin Munson? Alves is always around the ball. He led the Saints with 100 tackles.

Matt Araiza | Rancho Bernardo HS | K/P | 6-2, 185 | Dec. 20

Notable: Among the most prolific kickers in San Diego Section history, Araiza was a three-time section Kicker of the Year. He had a section-record record 37 career field goals, including a career-best 53 yarder this season. His 18 FGs in 2015 was a single-season record. Averaged 41.7 yards per punt.

Carson Baker | Helix HS | QB | 6-3, 190 | Dec. 20

Notable: Helped Highlanders to state championship game appearance, passing for 2,749 yards with 37 touchdowns and four interceptions. Added 330 yards and five touchdowns rushing.

Keshawn Banks | Rio Rancho (N.M.) HS | DE | 6-4, 260 | Dec. 20

Notable: Quick, disruptive force off the edge who has nine sacks this season. Also a basketball standout.

Cedarius Barfield | El Dorado (Texas) HS | DB | 5-11, 175 | Dec. 20

Notable: Passed for 5,670 yards, 59 TDs, rushed for 3,760, 58 TDs, but expected to play DB and be a playmaker there as well.

Daniel Bellinger | Las Vegas Palo Verde HS | TE | 6-6, 220 | Dec. 20

Notable: Fits the mold of SDSU’s current talented groups of tight ends. Athletic receiver (21 catches, 371 yards, 3 TDs this season) who benefits from basketball background. Potential to play defense a plus.

Josh Bornes | San Marcos HS | LB | 6-0, 220 | Dec. 20

Notable: Solid running back (785 yards, 13 TDs this season) with good hands, but Aztecs likely will be attracted to his toughness on defense. Brother Brandon Bornes was a running back at SDSU from 2004-07.

Jordan Byrd | Albuquerque (N.M.) Manzano HS | RB | 5-9, 166 | Dec. 20

Notable: Watching a small back like D.J. Pumphrey thrive at SDSU made an impression on him. Played quarterback this season, passing for 864 yards, 8 TDs while rushing for 938 yards and 15 TDs.

Billy Dunkle | Eastlake HS | OL | 6-5, 355 | Dec. 20

Notable: Titans lineman fits the mold of big, athletic lineman Aztecs are looking for to open holes for the team’s running game.

JR Justice | St. Augustine HS | WR/CB | 6-3, 200 | Dec. 20

Notable: Versatile athlete who had 46 catches last year for 932 yards, 12 TDs. He was posting similar numbers — 23 catches for 398 yards and 6 TDs through six games — before a midseason knee injury ended his season.

Elijah Kothe | Faith Lutheran (Nev.) HS | WR | 6-4, 185 | Dec. 20

Notable: Tall target had 23 receptions this season for 302 and 4 TDs before suffering an arm injury.

Nic McTear | Heritage (Texas) HS | TE | 6-5, 220 | Dec. 21

Notable: Size and athleticism to make an impact as a receiver or blocking for the run game. Basketball background should benefit him on the football field.

Allan Mwata | Liberty (Nev.) HS | DB | 6-0, 180 | Dec. 20

Notable: Plays safety now for the Patriots, but figures to move to cornerback. Has 6 INTs this season.

Daniel Okpoko | St. Joseph’s (Canada) HS | DL | 6-5, 235 | Dec. 20

Notable: Second Canadian player to join Aztecs. Freshman Ladji Bagayoko (Saint-Laurent, Quebec) came this season. Okpoko played on the Football Canada U18 National team.

Rashad Scott | Helix HS | DB | 6-1, 180 | Dec. 20

Notable: He was named the San Diego Section Defensive Player of the Year while helping Helix to a state championship appearance. Has eight interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns. As a receiver, had 40 catches for 534 yards, eight TDs.

T.J. Sullivan | Mt. Carmel | WR | 6-0, 180 | Dec. 20

Notable: A 2017 graduate who is part of 2018 signing class after grayshirting. He is also a talented kick returner. He is already enrolled and expected to participate in spring drills.

Cameron Thomas | Carlsbad | DL | 6-5, 235 | Dec. 20

Notable: Younger brother of SDSU redshirt freshman OL Zachary Thomas has displayed ability on both sides of the ball, providing flexibility to see where he fits best at next level.

kirk.kenney@sduniontribune.com / on Twitter: @sdutkirKDKenney

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