Spartans stress both lines with new recruiting class

By Staff:

San Jose State football has wrapped up the 2018 recruiting season. Below is a list of profiles on all 25 newcomers, 10 on offense, 14 on defense and one not determined.

OFFENSE

OL Max Barth — Lodi, Calif.

Selected San Jose State over 10 other schools, which included Boise State. Barth is one of five offensive linemen to sign a letter of intent with SJSU. The 6-foot-6, 280-pounder was a 2017 first-team All-NorCal selection by Sports Stars and a BlackHat 209 All-Stars first-team selection. Barth played three seasons at right tackle for St. Mary’s High in Stockton, Calif., while also seeing action as a tight end and defensive tackle. His teammate, safety Tre Jenkins, also committed to SJSU. St. Mary’s High was ranked 25th in California and 175th nationally, according to Max Preps. During his senior season, Barth helped the Rams win the 2017 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship, knocking off the defending champions, Folsom. The team also won the Tri-City Athletic League title last fall. During the offseason in 2015, Barth spent a season with the school’s lacrosse team. Barth enjoys bass and salt-water fishing and crabbing. He currently has a 4.29 GPA and plans to pursue a career in computer engineering.

OG Jaime Navarro — Temecula, Calif

The offensive line and weight is something the Spartans lacked in 2017 and are sure working toward a solution with the addition of Jaime Navarro. From Great Oak High School, the 6-foot-3 Navarro is coming from playing as an offensive/defensive lineman to outside guard for his Spartan career. Navarro is a two-star prospect who is ranked No. 148 in his position and No. 295 in California. Captain of Great Oak’s varsity team his senior year, the 275-pound former lineman led his team to a (5-6, 3-2 SWL) 2017 season. Navarro was named All Southwestern League First Team Offense alongside teammates Tyler Yoder and J.T. Lead. In his senior season, Navarro finished with nine game points. The new Spartans offensive guard also had ten tackles total for the season with seven of them solo and three assists. 1.1 tackles were averaged per game by the 6-foot-3 OG.

OT Anthony Pardue — Murrieta, Calif.

The three-star football recruit decided to shelf basketball after signing with San Jose State’s football team in December. Pardue, a 6-foot-5 offensive lineman, played three years of varsity football for Murrieta Valley High School.On 247Sports list of 2018 Top Offensive Tackle Recruits, Pardue ranked 135 out of 325 offensive lineman recruits in the country. The lineman was able to make the All Southwestern League two times throughout his high school career.Utah State and San Jose State fought for Pardue’s talents but he decided San Jose State was the best option for him. “The biggest things for me were the people, the culture and the coaches. The staff are all down to earth and good people,” Pardue told SB Nation. “I especially loved Coach Bernardi’s coaching. They like tough physical players who love football, so I’ll fit right in.” The two-letter senior is in his third year on the varsity basketball team, something he does when football is not around. Pardue is interested in becoming a business administration major and possibly venturing into the restaurant business.“I’m trying to win games and I’m excited to get that culture back at San Jose,” Pardue said to SJSU Athletics.

OT Tyler Ostrom — Ventura, Calif.

One of the earlier commits from the Spartans 2018 class, Ostrom made his decision to continue playing football at San Jose State last August and signed his letter of intent on Dec. 20. Ostrom attended St. Bonaventure High School and is listed at 6-foot-3, 285 pounds. One of the anchors in St. Bonaventure’s running attack, as a team, the Seraph amassed 1,908 rushing yards on 399 carries, good for 4.8 yards per rush. Three different running backs had two 100-yard rushing games last season, and the team rushed for 20 touchdowns. The biggest reason Ostrom chose to play at SJSU is offensive line coach Joe Bernardi. “The deciding factor of my commitment to SJSU was the relationship I built with the coaches there, Coach Bernardi especially,” Ostrom said to 247Sports. “He is an amazing coach and from the time I’ve spent with him at camps and the criticism he has given me, I knew he was the right coach for me.”

OT Korey Moriboho — Mission Viejo, Calif.

Participated in the 2015 Orange County High School All-Star Game. Junipero Serra Catholic High School alum. Experienced at the Junior College level. Played left guard and left tackle on offense and defensive end. Stands 6-foot-3 and checks in at 285. Korey has played for Saddleback College, where after a solid freshman campaign was named to the All-National Division Southern Conference Second Team. Mariboho plans to major in business administration or kinesiology. He likes longboarding and watching movies. Mariboho gladly spends time helping his church. If you want to take Mariboho out for a movie you have good results of getting a yes if you suggest a movie with Adam Sandler. Two movies you better watch before introducing yourself to him would be “Happy Gilmore” and “The Blind Side.” With that sense of humor, let’s hope Mariboho can bring a lot of happiness to the team that might lead to a really fun season for the Spartans.

RB Kairee Robinson — Walnut Creek, Calif.

Kairee Robinson will be making the switch from a green, white and silver Spartan to a blue and gold Spartan. Robinson is one of two new running backs that will join the already diverse San Jose State backfield. Robinson was named Bay Area News Group All-Bay Area running back and was also named San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro choice as an all-purpose player during his junior year of high school. Robinson averaged 90 yards per game as a Spartan in high school, finished with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons and hit the 2,000-yard mark his junior year at the prestigious De La Salle High School. After helping his team to an 11-2 season his senior year, he was awarded second-team All-Bay honors and second-team All-Metro recognition for his defensive performance. Although he only stands at 5-foot-8, his size only helps him run faster. It has been a dream of Robinson’s since he was a little boy to play college football. He intends to study business when he arrives at San Jose State next fall.

RB Lorenzo Burkes — Carmichael, Calif.

A running back out of Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif. He only played four games as a senior but made a huge impact in those games. He registered 314 yards on 32 carries which was good enough for a solid average of 9.8 yards per carry. In his junior season, Burkes ran the ball for 1,410 yards and 18 touchdowns, helping pull interest from numerous colleges including multiple Pac-12 schools. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back is a big, physical runner who could get in between tacklers and really help the Spartans move the chains on 3rd-and-short situations. Burkes looks to create a boost for the Spartans ground game as the team finished second to last in the Mountain West, averaging only 120.1 rush yards per game.

WR Sitaleki Nunn — Redwood City, Calif.

Also known as “Leki,” the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder was a dual-threat quarterback at Junipero Serra High School (San Mateo), but he’ll convert to wide receiver come spring practice. San Jose State was the only school which offered him despite his athleticism. During his junior and senior seasons, Nunn threw and rushed for over a thousand yards, respectively, combining for 2,834 total yards as a junior and 3,103 as a senior. His standout prep career put him ahead of former Padre Tom Brady for first in career passing yards in Serra’s illustrious history, along with fourth in rushing yards. Nunn earned West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) Player of the Year and San Mateo Daily News Offensive Player of the Year honors after accumulating 283.4 scrimmage yards alone junior year. Additionally, he saw playing time at running back and cornerback, where he had seven fumble recoveries. The accolades continued his senior year after combining for 37 total touchdowns (19 passing and only three interceptions), earning him selections as a second-team all-state by MaxPreps as an all-purpose player, San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Area News Group’s Peninsula Player of the Year and the San Mateo Journal Player of the Year. The Redwood City native joins his cousin, Kyle Nunn (former SJSU wide receiver from 2010-13), to sport the blue and gold.  

WR Jermaine Braddock — Covina, Calif.

As 2017’s San Gabriel Valley Tribune Player of the Year, Braddock led the Charter Oak High School Chargers to a 12-1 record and to the Hacienda League championship because of his ability to play the whole field.The 6-foot-1 senior caught 147 passes for 2,453 yards and 28 touchdowns during his three years on varsity. Experienced at receiver, running back, cornerback, safety and kick returner, but will likely be used for his speed on offense and special teams. “After games, I felt really tired, but during games I felt energized. The coaches told me I had to do everything humanly possible to help us win,” Braddock told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Along with dominating the football field, Braddock played three years of varsity basketball and lettered in both sports at Charter Oak. Eight schools offered Braddock football scholarships. Braddock and his teammate Isaiah Hamilton both signed with San Jose State football together on February 7.“It was a blessing, my dream came true, full scholarship and I’m thankful for all of it,” Braddock told the Tribune. “When I get there (San Jose State), just going to have to compete, put on a show and show out for Charter Oak.”

WR Isaiah Hamilton — Covina, Calif.

Signed his National Letter of Intent alongside high school teammate and future Spartan Jermaine Braddock on Feb. 7. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound wide receiver was named the 2017 Hacienda League Offensive Player of the Year after reeling in 38 catches for 893 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. Hamilton made plays defensively as well that same season where Charter Oak went 12-1 and reached the Division 3 Southern Section semifinals, accounting for 39 tackles, 12 pass deflections and seven interceptions in 12 starts. Additionally, he earned first-team All-Hacienda League honors on offense and defense and an all-area first-teamer by San Gabriel Valley Tribune. His speed, along with lining up in the slot and having defensive back instincts will allow him to see some playing time right away as San Jose State was the only school to offer him.

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DEFENSE

DL Dimitri Sakalia — East Palo Alto, Calif.
Joining Cade Hall and Demanuel Tulauati on the defensive line is three star commit, freshman Dimitri Sakalia. Sakalia lettered three years at Menlo-Atherton High, finishing Second-Team All-Peninsula Bay League 2017. The 6-foot-3 defensive and tight ranks No. 25 in his conference for tackles, averaging 4.2 a game. He hammered out a total of 50 tackles alone his senior year, according to MaxPreps. The East Palo Alto native also played junior varsity volleyball his freshman year and competed on the track and field team. Turning down offers to Utah and Utah State, Tulauati announced on Twitter that he is “100 percent committed to… The San Jose State University!!!”

DL Demanuel Talauati — San Diego, Calif.

Right out of San Diego’s Madison High School, comes 6-foot-1, 264 pound defensive lineman Demanuel Talauati. Talauati led his team with 19.0 tackles for loss and 12.0 quarterback sacks, according to Maxpreps and is ranked No. 51 in the state. Playing linebacker and defensive end, he had 16 quarterback hits, 78 tackles and three pass deflections. The two-star recruit played in the All Star Polynesian All-American Bowl and joins his fellow defensive line signee Dimitri Sakalia to the San Jose State Polynesian football family.

DE Cade Hall — San Jose, Calif.

The defensive end is sticking to his home roots by signing with San Jose State. The two-star prospect is coming to the Spartans from nearby Bellarmine College Preparatory. The 6-foot-3 former defensive tackle/center will be coming to SJSU as a strong-side defensive end. Hall is the No. 285 recruit in California and the No. 125 recruit for strong-side defensive tackles. In 2015, Hall was part of the Bells’ NorCal D-1AA Championship as a sophomore. Hall played on Bellarmine’s varsity team his senior year and was recognized by WCAL in 2015 as the “Sophomore WCAL Player of the Year” and again in 2016 as the “Defensive Lineman MVP. With Hall on the team, the Bellarmine Bells were also the 2015 WCAL Second Team All-League and later became the WCAL First Team All-League in 2016.

DE Etero (E.J.) Ane — Yermo, Calif.

The Spartans may have just found the evolved version of a Shane Smith with this pickup. E.J. Ane rushed for 2,885 yards and 35 touchdowns in 13 games during his senior season at Silver Valley high school in Yucaipa, Calif. As good as those numbers sound however, the Spartans will likely use Ane of the defensive side of the ball, stopping the run. Ane was the 25th recruit to join the Spartans as he did so on Feb. 7. Ane forced two fumbles, had 98 total tackles and had 25.5 for loss as a Trojan in high school. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder is the fourth D-lineman added to the young and light group. Over the last three seasons, SJSU rankes in the bottom five in the nation at stopping the run, something that Brennan has to address heading into his second year at the helm. The dynamic playmaking ability by Ane sure will help.

LB Kyle Harmon — Oakley, Calif.

Coming from Cal Berkeley’s football team is linebacker Kyle Harmon.  Harmon was the star of his team at Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif. The signing of Harmon to SJSU from Cal came as a shock but it was revealed in an interview with The Mercury News that Cal was not a good fit for the 6-foot linebacker. “It was a family decision,” said Harmon, who didn’t play football in the 2017 season. “We decided Cal would not be the best place for me.” Following his time at Cal, Harmon announced he was heading to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo to play in the 2018 season before finally announcing he was on his way to San Jose. “They want me there, and I want to be there,” Harmon said. “The direction San Jose State is headed, it’s too good not to go.” The three-star prospect led Freedom High’s team in the 2016-17 season to an 11-2 season while going undefeated in conference play.  In his senior year, Harmon had 146 tackles, 47 of them solo, averaging 11.2 tackles per game. Harmon also had 4.5 sacks and four interceptions in his senior season where he played middle linebacker and running back.

LB Isaak Togia — Garden Grove Calif.

As a first team all-county honoree, the 6-foot-1 linebacker received offers from five other programs, including Washington State. His family blood already runs through the NFL as his cousin, DeForest Buckner, is a defensive lineman on the San Francisco 49ers. Togia earned a 2017 CalHiSports.com third-team all-state pick for medium schools. He was also a first-team all-league pick as a junior, and an All-C.I.F. (California Interscholastic Federation) Division 10 choice as a senior. The Samoan linebacker recorded 364 tackles, 25.0 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and eight pass breakups in his four varsity seasons at Pacifica High School. In his sophomore year, Togia was a part of the AIGA Foundation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting student-athletes in their pursuit of competing at the next level. In the Samoan language, “aiga” means family. He concluded his high school career playing in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl on Team Mauka with Buckner by his side as honorary team captain. In addition to football, Togia played one season of basketball and was a middle blocker on the boy’s volleyball team. Togia enjoys listening to country music. His favorite artists are Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood. He is undecided on a major, but has a current interest in teaching at the high school level.

LB Junior Fehoko — Mountain View, Calif.

Originally from Kolonga, Tongatapu, Tonga, a small island east of Australia, Fehoko is a big guy standing 6-foot-4, and weighing 235 pounds. As a senior at Saint Francis High School he was picked by Bay Area News Group to be a part of its All Bay Area first-team and he was also mentioned in San Francisco Chronicle when it listed its favorite All-Metro picks of 2017. Fehoko plans on majoring in kinesiology. He knows how to speak Tongan and can also communicate by using sign language. Outside of football, the linebacker enjoys playing rugby. Fehoko has several relatives already attending San Jose State University including beach volleyball player Latahevai Lousi and Lauola Amanoni, who were a part of SJSU’s women’s soccer team. Let’s hope those winning traditions lie in the family tree, because in that case, SJSU would have picked a fine leaf.

LB Michael Pryor — Pittsburg, Calif.

SJSU continued its trend of recruiting Bay Area talent by getting Michael Pryor of Pittsburg High School to sign a letter of intent. The 6-foot-3 230 pound outside linebacker is a strong and shifty pass rusher coming off the edge. In his senior season with the Pirates, he ended up with 54 tackles (18 for a loss) and 5.5 sacks. Those numbers were good enough to win Pryor all league first-team defensive honors in the Bay Valley Athletic League. His presence is much needed for a Spartan defense who really struggled stopping the run and getting pressure to the quarterback. San Jose State finished second to last in the Mountain West in sacks and had the worst rush defense in NCAA Division I.

CB L.J. Anderson — Hayward, Calif.

Will be joining the Spartans in the upcoming season as a cornerback. Passed on other Mountain West offers from Colorado State and Utah State. The senior at Moreau Catholic High School has been a varsity cornerback and wide receiver since his sophomore year. Anderson is a two-time first team all-league defensive back in the Mission Valley Athletic League. Within his varsity playing career, he had 37 solo tackles along with 39 assisted tackles. Only playing in five games his senior season, Anderson averaged out to have 4.5 tackles per game. The 6-foot corner also caught six interceptions during his high school career. The future Spartan deflected 12 passes and caused a fumble while playing at Moreau Catholic. Anderson was team captain in the 2017 season, leading the team to an undefeated league finish. Last year he was a San Francisco Chronicle honorable mention All-Metro pick. Anderson was the leader of his high school team, but he will have to prove that he can perform at the collegiate level this upcoming season. The pressure is on for Anderson as one of his cousins is a former Fresno State wide receiver and another cousin is a former Minnesota Viking wide receiver. Anderson is currently finishing his senior year playing basketball before he comes to San Jose as a D1 cornerback.

CB Jalen Nelson — Chula Vista, Calif.

Cornerback Jalen Nelson will be joining the Spartans in the upcoming season. At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Nelson could be the player the Spartans have been looking for at the cornerback position. The 2017 graduate from Horizon Christian Academy had a strong season as a cornerback and wide receiver. Nelson had a total of 80 tackles in his senior season with 46 of them being solo. He was also his team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, while being a first-team All Coastal League player. Within his final year at Horizon, he obtained five interceptions. Nelson had 46 receptions and scored 10 touchdowns during his senior season as a wide receiver. His high school career ended with playing in the San Diego County vs. Inland Empire All-Star game. Finishing high school as a threestar recruit, he spent the following year playing at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Calif. as a cornerback. Within the 11 games he played at the community college level, he had 26 solo tackles with seven assisted tackles. Nelson’s team went 9-2 going undefeated in conference. The defensive back also had four interceptions this past year. Nelson is the No. 34 ranked cornerback recruit for 2018. The sophomore player will be competing against three fellow signees along with the eight current Spartan cornerbacks for play time.

DB Bobby Brown — Paraclete, Calif.

Brown signed a letter of intent with SJSU coming fresh out off a stellar season at College of the Canyons, a community college in Santa Clarita, Calif. He racked up 42 tackles and was tied for most interceptions on the team with two. As a standout defensive back and wide receiver at Lancaster High School, Brown led the team to the CIF-Southern Division 6 championship in 2016. The 6-foot-1 170-pound defensive back is expected to start the season off playing safety for the Spartans. He is a ballhawk in the secondary with his remarkable closedown speed. Brown registered a 4.56 40-yard dash. When asked by The Signal on why he chose to play for SJSU over Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Utah, Brown stated, “I really wanted to try and stay as close to home and with my family.” He hopes to bring help to a secondary that only picked off the ball six times in 2017, which tied second-to-last in the Mountain West. “They said I’ll have a decent chance at starting right away but I’m not going to let that affect how I work,” Brown told The Signal. “I’ll play wherever they need me, though. I got a great feeling from the coaches and their entire staff, so I’m just looking forward to getting started.”

CB Charlie Bostic — San Jose, Calif.

The Spartans continue their “Shield The Bay” motto landing San Jose native and Valley Christian High School product Charlie Bostic. At 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Bostic will bring some length to SJSU’s crop of cornerbacks. The two-star prospect is the No. 237 cornerback in the nation and No. 2,578 recruit overall. During his time at Valley Christian, Bostic accumulated 37 tackles, three interceptions and two passes deflected. Most of his defensive numbers are from his junior year, where he played mainly on the defensive side of the ball. As a senior, Bostic was used more on offense as a running back. He carried the ball 119 times to finish with 1,207 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns — alongside five receptions, 148 receiving yards and two touchdowns. In 12 games played, Bostic reached the century mark in rushing yards seven times. Bostics athleticism will allow the Spartans to choose what side of the ball he best fits with the team, but at the moment, he is listed as a cornerback.  

CB Nehemiah Shelton — Gardena, Calif.

One season at Long Beach City College was enough to prove himself worthy of moving up to Division I. As a freshman, Shelton made a big impact for the Vikings, snatching four interceptions to go along with 46 total tackles and seven pass breakups. Shelton was part of a successful 2017 season where the Vikings finished with an 8-3 record on their way to their third consecutive National Central Conference Championship. He comes from a secondary group that allowed 195 passing yards a game, ranking 18 out of 68 schools. Shelton will need to come ready to play, as he will have a shot to make in impact at San Jose State with half of last year’s secondary gone. If he can find a way to translate his Division-3 success to Mountain West competitions, the Spartans will have more depth and explosiveness at the position.

S Tre Jenkins — Stockton, Calif.  

“Playing it safe” is one way to look at it, as the St. Mary’s High School star football, basketball and track star signed with San Jose State as a safety. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Jenkins was named 2017 Tri-City Athletic League Most Valuable Player his senior year after playing four different positions — safety, running back, wide receiver and return specialist. He was credited with 187 tackles on defense. As a junior, Jenkins was a finalist for the Stockton 2016-17 Male Athlete of the Year with his dedication to his three combined sports. Not only was he an essential factor for his school’s football team, his work did not go unnoticed for this dedication in basketball and track and field. Jenkins has a sports running through his blood. His father is Aaron Jenkins, Jr., was a running back for the University of Washington and during the 1988 season was responsible for rushing a touchdown against San Jose State in the Huskies’ 35-31 comeback win. His grandfather also played basketball for Iowa State in 1969. Look for Jenkins to play an immediate role on defense and go toe-to-toe with current safety Trevon Bierria for that starting spot.

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NOT DETERMINED

ATH Nick Nash — Irvine, Calif.

A three-sport athlete at Woodbridge High School who played football, basketball and baseball. It’s unclear where Nash will see much of his playing time on the gridiron, but it’s a good problem to have if you’re San Jose State. A dual-threat quarterback for the Warriors, the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder also saw action at wide receiver and cornerback. Nash played varsity all three years at Woodbridge, carrying the team to a 8-4 record as a senior — the school’s first eight-win season in over a decade. Against University High School (Irvine) on Oct. 27, 2017, Nash rushed for six touchdowns (323 yards on 31 carries) and passed for two (184 yards) in a 56-28 win. He was named Pacific Coast League Offensive Most Valuable Player for 2017 and the Irvine News’ all-city team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player. His dad, Kenny Nash, played wide receiver for the Spartans from 1985-86 before continuing his playing career for the Kansas City Chiefs.

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