Fresno State's Pat Hill continues to stockpile talented players in a program that over time has been known for its success. Heading into this 13th season, Hill had guided the Bulldogs to nine bowl games in the last 10 seasons.
That stability and Fresno State's reputation for academic success and producing players who move on to the NFL, has brought the Bulldogs a 2009 recruiting class that is the smallest in Hill's tenure but is rich with talented players.
One recruiting services lists eight of Fresno State's recruits among the Top 100 players for their position in the nation, two of those were ranked in the Top 20.
Hill only signed 14 players on signing day, seven of which come from Valley high schools.
"We didn't have a lot of scholarships available, so we didn't need to sign many players," said Hill. "I feel that that we targeted some excellent players who will fit into what we are looking for. Like always, we went after the top players from Valley high schools and we are pleased with those."
A breakdown of the class shows that Fresno State signed nine defensive players, one offensive linemen, a running back, one receiver and two student-athletes whose positions will be determined once they report to the team in August.
Former Bulldog greats David Carr and Cory Hall were on hand for Hill's media conference. Carr, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft and current New York Giants, was Hill's first recruit when he became Fresno State's head coach.
Hall, a Bakersfield, Calif., native played for Hill in the late 1990sa was had a good career in the NFL playing for the Bengals and Falcons.
2009 Fresno State Football Signing Class Biographies
Lars Bramer, Offensive Line, 6-5, 260, Clovis, Calif. (Buchanan)
All-Valley selection for Buchanan High School ... ranked among the Top 90 tackles in America by on recruiting service ... selected third-team All-State ... a three-year starter at left tackle ... led the Bears to a 9-3 record and TRAC tri-championship in 2008 ... a consistently dominating player who was selected the conference linemen of the year ... committed to Fresno State early and was recruited by UCLA, Cal and Nevada ... an excellent student. Pat Hill: "Lars is a physical and smart football player. He projects as a good lineman in our program. He was a linemen we targeted early and we are excited he's joining our program."
Erik Brown, Cornerback, 5-11, 185, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Saguaro)
An explosive athlete who is projected to play cornerback for the Dogs ... earned first-team All-State honors in Texas as a junior and Arizona as a senior ... played just one season at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., earning first-team All-State ... led his team to a perfect 14-0 record and third straight Arizona 4A state championship ... he scored on touchdown runs of 70 and 66 yards a 38-0 championship win over Chaparral in the championship game ... had 33 tackles and one interception in his senior season ... had a popular You Tube video of a punt return in which he hurdled the punter before scoring on a long return ... rushed for 417 yards and six touchdowns, averaging over 15 yards per carry ... completed two passes, both for touchdowns ... caught 20 passes for 412 yards and four more scores, averaging 20.6 yards per reception ... he averaged 17 yards per punt return and over 43 yards on kickoff returns ... played his junior season for Judson High School in Converse, Texas, leading the Rockets to an 11-5 record and the Division 1 state title game ... he had seven interceptions and earned all-district and first-team all-state honors in Texas ... recruited by Oregon State, Iowa State Arizona State and Arizona. Pat Hill: "Erik Brown is a tremendous athlete who I expect to see making an impact on our team early in his career. He comes from a great program in Arizona and was a good player from a top program in Texas as a junior."
Travis Brown, Linebacker, 6-2, 235, Fresno, Calif. (Clovis West)
A first-team All-State player who has been ranked by one scouting services the 11th best linebacker in the nation ... led Clovis West to a Valley championship as a senior, beating Clovis East 24-7 in the title game ... first-team all-league and All-Valley two years running ... selected the TRAC Player of the Year in 2008 ... called the "best player in the Valley" by his high school coach Gary Kinne ... a hard-hitting player who has been a three-year starter for the Golden Eagles... was named first-team sophomore all-state in 2006 ... had 150 tackles, six sacks, four forces fumbles, four fumble recoveries and three interceptions as a senior despite playing the second half of the season with an injury ... set a Clovis West record with 310 career tackles, shattering the record by more than 50 tackles ... as a junior had 163 tackle, a single season record ... had 10 forced fumbles in his career ... son of Bulldog defensive coordinator Dan Brown, who played linebacker on a national championship team at Boise State ... brother, Eric, is a sophomore linebacker for the Dogs ... Pat Hill: "Travis Brown was born to be a Bulldog. He's been around our program nearly all his life. He's as good a linebacker as the Valley has produced in quite a while. Travis is a tough, aggressive, smart player. He plays the game with great passion and intensity. He comes from a great family and we are thrilled he'll join our program in the fall."
J.B. Dock, Cornerback, 5-10, 165, Ventura, Calif. (Saint Bonaventure)
Comes to Fresno State fresh off winning the CIF State Division III championship ... led the Seraphs to a 14-1 record and 28-6 win over Cardinal Newman at the Home Depot Center ... selected third-team All-State ... rated the 40th best cornerback in the nation by one scouting service ... had 30 tackles and one interception as a junior ... selected first team All-CIF Northern Division ... recruited by Army, Utah, Arizona, San Diego State and Washington. Pat Hill: "J.B. is from a winning program. He's the kind of athlete we like. He's got good speed and gets to the ball in a hurry."
Nat Harrison, 6-2, 215, Athlete, Fresno, Calif. (Edison)
Played defensive end and tight end on a talent-rich Edison program ... selected All-Valley as a defensive end ... team was 9-3 last season ... came from the same high school that produced former Bulldog MVP and Pro Bowl player Clifton Smith ... coached by former NFL player Tim McDonald ... recruited by Army and Utah. Pat Hill: "Nat comes from a very good program that has produced a lot of Division I athletes. He played defensive end in high school but we like his position flexibility on defense."
Alex Jefferies, Wide Receiver, 6-1, 180, Rialto, Calif. (Eisenhower)
A versatile athlete to played receiver, running back, quarterback and in the secondary for the Eagles ... selected first-team All-CIF Southern Section ... had 47 receptions for 815 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games as a senior ... averaged 17.3 yards per reception ... had 10 receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns against Fontana ... had an 88 yard touchdown against Yucaipa ... ran for nearly 300 yards, had a 90-yard touchdown run and averaged 6 yards per carry ... selected to play in the Inland Empire All-Star Football Classic ...recruited by Nebraska, Utah and Colorado State. Pat Hill: "Alex is one versatile athlete. He's played a lot of different positions in high school. I think he will be a playmaker in our offense as a receiver."
Andy Jennings, Defensive Line, 6-3, 240, Turlock, Calif. (Pitman)
Selected the top defensive player in the Central California Conference ... selected first-team All-District ... led his team to a 7-3 record ... coached by Brandon Harris ... Pat Hill: "Andy is a very young player who won't be 18 years old until next year. He has great growth potential and I like his motor and toughness."
Ben Letcher, Defensive Line, 6-3, 240, Corona, Calif. (Centennial)
Led his team to a perfect record and CIF championship with a 21-16 win over De La Salle and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 poll ... had 113 tackles and 8.5 sacks in his senior season ... had 10 tackles against De La Salle in the CIF title games ... had two tackles and two sacks against Mater Dei ... had seven tackles and one sack in a 42-7 win over Clovis West ... a first-team All-Big VIII League selection and All-CIF Inland Division ... recruited by Colorado, Colorado State, New Mexico and North Carolina. Pat Hill: "Ben has some raw skills that we can develop into a premier pass rusher. He played well against good competition all season long and obviously comes from a winning program, the best team in California last year."
Nikko Motta, Athlete, 6-3, 275, Sanger, Calif. (Sanger)
One of the most dominating players in the state ... selected second-team All-State as a defensive tackle ... was a dominating offensive lineman as well, leading a team that produced two 1,000-yard rushers ... a two-time All-Valley selection ... set a school record with 15 sacks in his senior season ... considered one of the best players ever to come from Sanger ... named lineman of the year in his conference as junior and a senior ... played for coach Chuck Shidan ... recruited by Arizona State, Arizona and San Diego State. Pat Hill: "Nikko has the motor that we like in our defensive linemen. He plays the game with great passion. He's a powerful player who dominated games with his speed and strength. He plays the game with an attitude. Nikko can play on either side of the ball he will get a shot early in his career."
Ibe Nduka, Athlete, 6-0, 220, Etiwanda, Calif. (Etiwanda)
A very strong, hard-hitting player who starred as a defensive end in high school ... racked up 102 tackles with 13 sacks and grabbed three fumbles in 11 games ... named the Baseline League Defensive Player of the Year ... a first-team All-Inland Valley Selection ... had a season-high 15 tackles in a 52-6 win over Claremont ... his best game of the season came against Alta Loma when he had 12 tackles and five quarterback sacks for negative 27 yards ... Pat Hill: "I think Ibe is going to make a fine linebacker and pass rusher in our defensive scheme. He has long arms, like a player who's 6'5" and he plays the game the way it should be played. He's tough and aggressive and very explosive off of the ball. "
Donahvaughn "Donnie" Pritchett, Defensive Line 6-5, 290 Santa Rosa, Calif. (Santa Rosa Junior College)
The only junior college recruit in the Bulldog signing class and Fresno State's first since 2007 ... rated as the 10th best junior college player regardless of position in the nation by one recruiting service ... rated as a 4-star recruit ... recruited by Kansas, Oregon State and Utah. Pat Hill: "Donnie is the kind of guy who will be able to make an immediate impact next fall. He's got tremendous strength and is quick off the ball and gives us a mature and physical pass rusher. We don't take too many junior college players, but he is a special player and person."
Robbie Rouse, Running Back, 5-7, 185, San Diego, Calif. (Madison)
He finished ninth in California in rushing with 2,390 yard and scored 39 touchdowns ... averaged an amazing 12.92 yards per carry, easily the best per carry average among California's top 50 running backs... ranked eighth in California with 199.2 yards per game... led his team to an 11-1 record, losing in the Division IV Section Championship, the school's first-ever appearance in the title game... Rouse had 242 yards on 36 carries and three touchdowns in the championship game... he rushed for more than 200 yards in eight of his last 10 games, including 273 yards on 20 carries and five touchdowns in a 45-26 win over Mission Bay to led the Mustangs to the title game ... scored six touchdowns on 18 carries against Kearny ... had 2,055 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior and named his team's Offensive Player of the year ... he had 355 yards vs. Santana as a junior ... selected to the All-San Diego Section first team running back by the San Diego Union Tribune in 2007 ... was named the Central League Offensive Player of the Year and second-team All-State as a senior. Pat Hill: "Robbie is a playmaker who fits into the mold of Clifton Smith (Pro Bowl player with Tampa Bay Bucs). Regardless of his size, he's a great football player. He can make you miss and go the distance every time he touches the football. Robbie is quick, explosive and is very strong. He's going to be one very exciting Bulldog."
Patrick Su'a, Linebacker, 6-2, 215, Bakersfield, Calif. (Highland)
A first-team All-State selection ... had 119 tackles, 75 of them solo ... finished with two interceptions and recovered two fumbles... blocked one punt and two field goals ... had a season-high 18 tackles vs. Garces ... as a junior, he had 107 tackles and six quarterback sack while being named All-Area ... rushed for 201 yards and five touchdowns as a senior ... named the All-Area Defensive Player of the Year by the Bakersfield Californian ... selected second-team All-Southern California by the Pasadena Star News, one of six Bulldog signees to make that team (Lars Bramers and Travis Brown were first-team selections, Derek Carr and Robbie Rouse were second-team selections, and J.B. Dock was third team) ... another in a long line of outstanding players of Bakersfield to join the Bulldog program ... played for coach Tim Hartnett. Pat Hill: "Patrick is a heck of a football player. He is always around the football and plays the game with great passion. He's explosive and quick and will add a lot to our linebacking corps."
Jeremiah Toma, Linebacker, 6-0, 215, Sacramento, Calif. (Grant)
Comes from the state champion Grant team that defeated Long Beach Poly 25-20 in the title game at the Home Depot Center and finished No. 6 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 poll ... had 165 tackles and 10 sacks as a senior, leading Grant in both categories ... had two interceptions, one he returned 41 yards for a touchdown, and four fumbles ... had a season-high of 22 tackles vs. Woodcreek and 21 against Alta High of Sandy, Utah, the 2007 5A Utah State champions ... led Grant to a shutout in an 89-0 win over McClatchy, the third of three straight shutouts on the season ... had 65 tackles and one interception as a junior ... selected the Metro Conference MVP and first team All-Area ... named to the All-Sac-Joaquin Section team ... comes from the same high school that produced current Bulldogs Devan Cunningham and J.J. Stallworth. Pat Hill: "When you watch Jeremiah he reminded me of Marcus Riley (2007 WAC Defensive Player of the Year) while at Elk Grove High School. He's a playmaker on the field and closes to the football. He's a hard hitter and tough and physical. He was the leader of the defense of one of the best high schools teams in America."
The Bulldogs added three recent high school graduates to the program. Those include quarterback Derek Carr (Bakersfield, Calif.), defensive end Terrance Kindle (Galena, Texas) and linebacker Daniel Salinas (Galena, Texas) to the team. They graduated from high school after the fall semester and enrolled as freshman at Fresno State in the 2009 spring semester.
They graduated from high school after the fall semester and enrolled as freshman at Fresno State in the 2009 spring semester.
Carr comes to Fresno State from Bakersfield Christian High School and was rated by one recruiting service as the 12th best quarterback in the nation.
The youngest brother of former Bulldog quarterback David Carr, the 2001 Johnny Unitas Award winner and 2002 No. 1 NFL pick, Derek Carr played two seasons of high school football in the Houston area before moving back to his hometown of Bakersfield the summer before her senior year.
Carr guided his team to a 12-1 record and threw for 4,067 yards and 46 touchdowns. He led Bakersfield Christian to the Division V Central Section title.
He ranked third in California and 11th in the nation for high school quarterbacks in passing yards. He completed 68 percent of his passes while throwing just nine interceptions in 413 pass attempts. He rushed for 281 yards, averaging 8 yards per carry, and five touchdowns. He had a 62 yard touchdown run against Coast Union.
He threw at least five touchdown passes in four of his 13 games, including two games of six touchdowns (vs. Parlier and Fowler). He directed an offense that averaged 44 points per game. He threw for 541 yards and four touchdowns against Arvin and against Shafter he completed 13-of-17 passes for 269 yards with five touchdowns.
While at Clements High Schools in Sugarland, Texas, he threw for 2,868 yards and 28 touchdowns in his sophomore and junior seasons combined.
Carr was one of 10 finalists for the State of California Mr. Football Award as the state's top player.
"Derek Carr has been around our program for a long time and it's great that he's decided to be a Bulldog," said Hill. "He's as talented a passing quarterback as we've signed since I've been here. He's got a great command of the game and comes from a wonderful family and a true football family. We are excited he's on campus and I know he's ready to get to work."