SDSU head coach Rocky Long received 24 National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
Feb. 6, 2013
COACH LONG QUOTES
SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State head coach Rocky Long
"I appreciate everybody coming. I don't have much to say. Coaches can brag about their recruiting class, but now that they're signed, to tell you the truth, you won't know if they can play for a couple years. So I'll answer any questions you have."
On if he expects any of the new recruits to play early on:
"Other than the two transfer guys, I would doubt any of them could play early. And if they do, I have no idea which one. We took six defensive backs, but that's because we have six senior defensive backs. That's for them to play the year after next, not next year. You never know. We're looking for a running back to alternate with Adam Muema. So we've got these running backs coming in that have a chance to play. Tight end is probably the best position for a guy to play since we lost three tight ends."
On the San Diego kids he was able to recruit:
"All three of them have a lot of upside to them. They're good athletes that have played on both sides of the ball. Obviously, we recruited them to play a certain position, but with all positions we give them a chance to play where they want to play. And if we can see they can benefit the team in another position, we move them. Other than offensive linemen, we try to recruit athletes that can play multiple positions. All three of the San Diego guys can play multiple positions."
On if he's finished recruiting after today:
"The situation is we've signed 24 (players). We can count two of them backwards because we didn't sign a full allotment last year - these are all NCAA rules. We only have room for 17 (players). Several of these young men have been approached with the possibility of gray shirting, and are willing to do that. But in my experience, we will have two or three more spots available due to an academic issue or an injury or something. But there's a chance all 24 will show up in the fall. For freshmen, gray shirting is really a good idea. They have a chance to get a few units in junior college, and as long as they're not full-time students, they can come in to practice and compete in spring practice, which gives them a much better chance to play. Most of these freshmen don't have an honest chance to play as freshmen when they come in the summer. But if they go through spring practice and an off-season program, they have a lot better chance to play. So some of these guys understand it's a good deal, and they'd be willing to do it if they have to."
On if sophomore transfer running back Ronnie Daniels will be able to play this year:
"Yes, he'll be able to play this year. By rule, you have to sit out one calendar year. Now, he has some academic things he needs to take care of, and he's in a junior college right now. So as long as he takes care of his academic work in junior college, he can play next year."
On if there were any "red flags" on Daniels:
"No, he's no different than anybody else on this list. We investigate their families, their backgrounds, if they have any problems in their past or any issues that might come up while they're here. And we're pretty satisfied he's learned from his mistakes."
On how this year's class compares to other's he's brought in:
"No. 1, we've recruited a lot more guys from different states. It's a more diverse class. They're from all over the country. There's a reason for that. I think when people thought we were going to the Big East, in retrospect, it was a real benefit because we got in contact with a lot of people who had never been in contact with us before. And as soon as we went back to the Mountain West, we were concerned that might make a difference to these guys we were recruiting, and it didn't make any difference whatsoever to them once they visited here and realized how good things are here. And what it has done is open up a whole bunch of other recruiting areas San Diego State never had in the past. Obviously, the more places you can recruit and the more possibilities you have, the better recruiting you can do. I think overall, if you go just by their high school films, this is a little step up from the classes we've had in the past. But that doesn't mean they'll be as good as the guys we've got right now, because they have to develop like these guys did."
On if he believes they'll continue to be able to bring in players from more states:
"Yes, I think that's exactly what it's done. There may have been a lot of negative things that have happened to us over the last year, but this is a real positive. We've made relationships with high school coaches and scouting people in those states. There are high school coaches contacting us now about players from their states that in the past, we had no interaction with those people. If those kids come out and do a good job and have a successful career here and like it here, it's just going to open up more."
On if he'll change his recruiting strategy going forward:
"We will canvas all of California, Nevada and Arizona like we always do. What I think is happening now is people are making contact with us from all those other places, and I expect that to increase since we signed all these guys from those states. It's increased the volume of athletes we get to evaluate. They'll get a hold of us initially, and we'll take it from there. That's what happened with most of these guys from out of state."
On if he's done anything differently recruiting against bigger schools:
"Our success in the program the last couple years has opened up a lot of people's eyes. I've been accused in the past of not going after the big name (players). That is as far from the truth as anybody knows. We make contact with every one of those guys. Now, if we don't get a positive response, we go on about our way. If we get a positive response, we continue to recruit them. This year, we had more guys that gave us a positive response. It's a very simple deal. Next year, we'll call every five-star recruit in the country, we'll call every four-star recruit in the country, and if we don't get a positive response, we'll go on about our way. If we do get a positive response, we will try to recruit them.
On if he has to do anything differently to attract more high-profile recruits:
We don't do anything differently, because I don't think we can. We have to show them who we are and what we have. We're not going to make promises we can't keep. We're not going to lie to them. We're going to show them what we show every recruit that comes on this campus. If we can continue to win games, sooner or later that will be just fine for some of those guys. We've got to continue to win games. But the fact that they're checking us out means they're noticing us and they like the honesty about us."
On if other schools are watching closely how SDSU recruits:
"I don't think they're watching us too closely, but as soon as we land one or two of those five-star (players), there's going to be a lot of people watching. Once they get here, it is what it is."
On how the coaching staff evaluates talent:
"I think that's yet to be seen. I think we do a good job of evaluation, and the only time we use scouting services is to make sure we don't miss anybody. We don't care what the scouting service's evaluation is, we don't care how many `stars' they get, we evaluate for the kids that will fit into our program. I think we've done a good job over the last three years. This class here, I think we've done a really good job of evaluating, but you'll find out when they start playing, and most of them aren't going to play next year."
On if there were any de-commits once they back out from going to the Big East:
"No, and I thought we might, but we didn't. All the kids that have been here and saw what we have, they didn't seem to care we were going back to the Mountain West."
On the size of the linebackers recruited and if that was by design:
"Yes. The game of football is changing. For the better? I don't know. The days when you could eliminate a crossing route with a really good hit or eliminate completed pass by knocking the heck out of a quarterback, those days are leaving. Every time you get a good hit on defense, it's a penalty. Every time you touch a quarterback, it's a penalty. So on defense, to counter-act that, you have to get long guys. It sounds like basketball. You need to get tall guys with long arms, because you can't eliminate that stuff by collisions anymore. So you have to have people who can expand in space and knock balls down. Now, I'm not sure that's a good change in football, by the way. But it's the way it's going, so if you want to play good defense, you have to change who you recruit. In the past, I recruited quick, fast guys that would knock the heck out of you. And it didn't matter how big or tall they were. Since they don't let you do that anymore, you've got to get long, tall guys that can take up more space."
On if he ever thought to allow tight end recruit and former quarterback Darryl Richardson play QB at SDSU:
"We thought about that. We have so many quarterbacks in our program now, we couldn't recruit him as a quarterback. Right now, we have a lack of depth at tight end, so that gives him the best chance to play early."
On bringing in JC transfer tight end Dominique Bierria:
"I think it's really important he's here now to get through spring practice. We lost two senior tight ends. We were recruiting nothing but high school tight ends at the time, but as soon as Gavin Escobar decided he was going to the NFL, it made it more important for us to try to get a transfer tight end. So the process of recruiting Dominique was, `Let's get the best athlete we can find out there at tight end and see if he wants to be a tight end for us.' So it was a quick deal. But I was always hoping that (Escobar) was staying, because I thought it was the best thing for him."
On how happy he was to address so many needs through recruiting:
"The other problem on defense now is you're getting those 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5 wide receivers out there, and it's really hard to cover those guys with 5-foot-9 cornerbacks, even if they're really good players. So you have to find some guys to cover that are 6-feet tall or 6-foot-1. You're trying to get defensive backs that can run with 6-foot-5 guys and can make a play on the ball. If we want to continue to play well, that's a necessity."
On if he recruited taller defensive backs in the past:
"I think the emphasis was different in the past in our recruiting. It wasn't as important how tall you were, it was about how tough a football player you were and how physical you were. We're the only ones that recruited Jake Fely, and he's a really good player. But part of it is because he plays so hard and will knock the heck out of you. But here in another two years, you won't be able to hit anybody hard. You can't do it with physical play anymore. In the past, you could be the smallest team in the world. If you ran around and knocked the heck out of people, it worked. Now, it's a penalty."
On how it feels to finish the recruiting process:
"I've heard other coaches say it's the most exciting day for college football. I think it's a big-time relief that all those letters of intent showed up. I kind of think of it the other way. It's the utmost of importance for your program to continue to be successful to recruit really good players. It's not nearly the most fun part of football. The most fun part of football is practicing and playing. But you have to do this. Recruiting has gotten a lot more hype than it should. For an old guy, I'm just kind of glad that it's over."