National signing day is always teeming with surprises. This year, few are as fascinating as the success San Jose State had putting together its No. 58-ranked class.
With wide receiver Kanya Bell, the Spartans boast more 4-star signees than BYU, Boston College and Kansas State, more 3-star prospects than reigning Mountain West and Fiesta Bowl champion Boise State, and finished with a higher rated class than Iowa, Minnesota, Pitt or Syracuse.
Not bad for a program that was the dregs of the FBS just a few years ago.
San Jose State turned the corner under current Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre, peaking with a Top 25 ranking in 2012. Successor Ron Caragher has yet to match MacIntyre’s heights, but putting together such an impressive recruiting class ahead of his third season is a step in the right direction.
It’s also Caragher’s way of blazing his own trail at San Jose State.
MacIntyre’s Spartans teams were built primarily around unheralded prospects, playing above their ratings. At Mountain West media days in 2013, quarterback David Fales and linebacker Keith Smith talked about playing with chips on their shoulders, motivated by a desire to disprove naysayers who overlooked them.
San Jose State’s recruiting classes were ranked No. 93 in 2010, No. 127 in 2011, No. 102 in 2012.
At No. 58, the 2015 San Jose State recruiting class doesn’t need to use naysayers as motivation. The talent in this group wasn’t overlooked — far from it.
Bell held offers from numerous Power 5 programs, including USC and UCLA. Cornerback Taeon Mason was a one-time USC verbal commit. Wide receiver Jeremy Kelly brings the ongoing transformation of San Jose State full circle.
The Los Angeles product drew interest from Pac-12 programs, ultimately picking the Spartans over MacIntyre’s Colorado team.
Bell, Kelly and Mason lead a contingent of Southern California prospects buoying this surprise, and the success Caragher and his staff are having with prep powerhouses like Long Beach Poly and Gardena Junipero Serra could sustain San Jose State for the long term.