San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Football reels in 23 commits during early National Signing Day period

Courtesy of SDSU Athletics
San Diego State football head coach Brady Hoke speaks in front of the media during a press conference on Dec. 16 — the beginning of the early National Signing Day period.

The NCAA implemented an early signing period for National Signing Day, and San Diego State football took advantage of it — as 23 recruits signed with the program Wednesday morning.

According to 247 Sports, the Aztecs have the third-best recruiting class in the Mountain West Conference behind UNLV and Boise State, respectively.

The most notable additions for the Scarlet and Black: two quarterbacks, and for good reason.

One signee — Mississippi State transfer dual-threat quarterback and 2018 recruit Jalen Mayden — is immediately eligible, pending “a couple waiver deals,” according to head coach Brady Hoke.

Mayden did not see any game action for the Bulldogs in 2019 or 2020, but appeared in three games in 2018 — passing 1-for-2 for nine yards and running seven times for 32 yards.

His high school statistics, however, show why he made it to a Power Five school in the first place.

As a four-star recruit from Sachse High in Sachse, Texas, Mayden completed 65.9% of his passes, throwing 6,210 yards with 74 passing touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions in 32 games played.

He showed off his dual-threat ability with 291 carries for 1,876 yards (6.4 YPC average) with 24 touchdowns.

Hoke said he was in contact with former SDSU defensive coordinator Zach Arnett to learn more about Mayden. Arnett now holds the defensive coordinator position at Mississippi State.

“Obviously, Zach Arnett’s there, and (we had) some conversations with Zach,” Hoke said. “You use what you can, you find out as much as you can.”

Another quarterback headed to the Mesa is someone Aztec fans might already be familiar with.

Three-star dual-threat Will Haskell, from Ironwood High in Glendale, Ariz., gained traction on social media earlier this year, showing off his arm and athletic ability.

His skill set also translated to the game field at Ironwood, where he led the team to the AIA 5A State Football Championships this month.

In his high school career, Haskell completed 61.8% of his passes for 4,193 yards, 44 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. On the ground, he added 206 carries for 1,902 yards (9.2 YPC) and 26 touchdowns.

The Arizona native was recruited by Alabama, Oregon and Arizona State, among others. He chose the Aztecs over Iowa State, Fresno State, Duke, Akron and Northern Arizona.

“Will’s numbers are pretty incredible,” Hoke said of Haskell. “We can be enamored by athleticism and things that guys can do, but it’s got to come down to what they put on tape, and that’s why we recruited well.”

Hoke said the evolution and new trend of dual-threat, athletic quarterbacks played a role in bringing in the two QB commits.

“From a defensive perspective, it seems to be a little harder defending some of those types of teams (with those quarterbacks),” Hoke said. “We feel like those two guys will come in and compete.”

The biggest position group joining the Scarlet and Black is defensive backs.

According to 247 Sports, the team’s highest-rated commit is cornerback Noah Avinger.

Avinger, who hails from Servite High, showed off his versatility on both sides of the ball as a junior.

The Scarlet and Black also brought in six linemen — two on offense, four on defense.

One standout from that corps is Christian “Doorway” Jones — a 6-foot-9 (yes, you read that correctly), 320-pound offensive tackle from San Luis Obispo High. A three-star recruit, he also received offers from San Jose State and San Diego.

In total, the Aztecs secured 11 commitments from California (just two from San Diego) and five from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hoke said running backs coach Jeff Horton, a Texas native, played a role in bringing in recruits from down south.

“Coach Horton has a pretty reputation recruiting that area — he has a lot of ties,” Hoke said. “Right now, we have five guys on our team from Texas. All have been pretty significant.”

Although only two local players committed to SDSU, nine were recruited from the San Diego region.

Hoke said COVID-19 might have played a role in affecting the recruiting process of San Diego student-athletes, as high school sports were put on pause this fall.

“I think there’s probably some of that,” Hoke said. “We were in it with them pretty hard, and most of them we were the first ones to offer because we feel — and we need to — know about them more than other schools.”

About the Contributor
Kyle Betz
Kyle Betz, Sports Editor
Kyle Betz is a fourth-year journalism student at SDSU and 2020-21 marks his fourth year reporting for The Daily Aztec. The Lake Forest, Calif. native has covered numerous sports as a writer, editor and media contributor. An avid fan of the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Lakers, Manchester United and Anaheim Ducks, Kyle enjoys watching and attending sporting events, listening to music, going to the beach and spending time with friends and family in his free time.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Football reels in 23 commits during early National Signing Day period