Feb. 6, 2013
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State head football coach Rocky Long, who recently guided the Aztecs to their first-ever Mountain West title en route to being named the league's coach of the year, announced the signing Wednesday of 22 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Of that group, 21 are currently high school seniors.
Coupled with the two student-athletes who enrolled at SDSU this semester, the total class is comprised of 24 individuals. The class is equally distributed with 12 on offense and 12 on defense. The class features athletes from 11 different states, with 10 from California, four from Nevada, two from Illinois, and one each from Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico and Texas.
Long and almost the entire coaching staff remained intact following the 2012 season in which San Diego State finished 9-4 with a trip to a school-record third consecutive bowl game. The Aztecs' lone change in the coaching staff was at offensive coordinator, where they gained Bob Toledo, who has over 39 years of collegiate experience, including 18 as a head coach.
"(Assistant coach/recruiting coordinator) Tony White did a great job organizing and our coaches did a great job recruiting," Long said. "When we were supposed to be in the BIG EAST, it opened up a lot of recruiting areas for us. The interest from all across the country improved dramatically over the last year. Now we're back in the Mountain West and it didn't make one bit of difference to (our recruits). Now we have a foothold in a lot of different places, which allows us to expand our recruiting."
SDSU, which had 25 juniors on its roster in 2012, signed six defensive backs - Trey Lomax (San Diego/Mira Mesa HS), Kalan Montgomery (Compton, Calif./Dominguez HS), Joe Morrow (Chicago, Ill./Hales Franciscan HS), Brandon Porter (River Ridge, La./John Curtis HS), Malik Smith (Compton, Calif./Dominguez HS) and Billy Vaughn, Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif./Dorsey HS) - and five linebackers - Fred Melifonwu (San Diego/Lincoln HS), Tyler Morris (Henderson, Nev./Foothill HS), Calvin Munson (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell HS), Randy Ricks (Las Vegas, Nev./Legacy HS) and Dakota Turner (Mililani, Hawaii/Mililani HS) - to a defense that ranked 28th in the country last year in rushing defense. Jordan Watson (Chicago, Ill./Hales Franciscan HS), a defensive end, makes up the final player of this year's defense in the recruiting class.
"We recruit to our needs," Long said. "We have a bunch of (defensive backs) that are going to be seniors and all of them have been playing since they were redshirt freshmen. You have to give somebody a chance to get involved and get experience before they have to be the guys."
The offense, meanwhile, was mostly spread out throughout the group with three offensive linemen - Lenicio Noble (Las Vegas, Nev./Phoenix CC), Sergio Phillips (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto HS) and Antonio Rosales (Tucson, Ariz./Tucson Magnet HS), three running backs - Ronnie Daniels (Albuquerque, N.M./Texas Tech), Donnel Pumphrey (Las Vegas, Nev./Canyon Springs HS) and Marcus Stamps (Los Angeles, Calif./Jefferson HS), three wide receivers - Christian Cumberlander (Matthews, N.C./Jireh Prep), Addison Morrow (San Diego/Mira Mesa HS) and Julius Wilson (Culver City, Calif./Culver City HS) and three tight ends - Dominique Bierria (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica College), Darryl Richardson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS) and David Wells (Clovis, Calif./Clovis North HS). The only position on offense that didn't have a signee today was quarterback as San Diego State returns four from last year's squad.
"The biggest concern going into recruiting was at tight end," Long said. "We didn't have many tight ends in our program. Two of them were seniors and were gone, and when Gavin Escobar decided to go pro, we lost three tight ends right off the bat. We had to go get tight ends, including a transfer who has a bit more experience."