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June 25, 2012

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every week ASR Publisher Agustin Gonzalez will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to augonzal711@yahoo.com, @Agustin_ASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Matt: Why is recruiting going so bad right now? We still only have one commit.

This has been the most popular question I've gotten in recent weeks, and I think it's time for SDSU fans to take a deep breath and get their hands off that panic button. Sure, Tyler Morris is still the lone football commit, but it's the same number of commits as Pac-12 team Oregon State, and only two less than the number of commits that the Aztecs had at this time last year.

There are a few reasons why SDSU's commitments haven't picked up yet. First off, many of the recruits who SDSU has a great shot of landing (like the Latu twins, Delvin Batiste, Joe Bean and Billy Vaughn Jr.) have several more camps they want to attend this summer and some want to wait and take their official visits in the fall. Second, here in Southern California the Pac-12 reigns supreme, and prospects who may not be USC or Oregon-caliber recruits get letters from those schools and hold out for Pac-12 offers that they may not get. Third, the Aztecs are going after a high number of out-of-state recruits, who typically take longer to commit because they (for the most part) want to get down to the campus and visit before they make their final decisions. This isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world, as SDSU has traditionally had success with recruits who commit late -- like Leon McFadden and Gavin Escobar (two January commits).

SDSU is planning to sign around 20 kids this year, and once it gets a string of commitments and those spots fill up, I think recruits who really like the Aztecs will realize that SDSU can't wait on them forever and will decide to commit. So long story short, it's not time to panic yet, but if there's still only one commit by the time August or September rolls around, then it'll be time to get a little worried.

Dilly: Who are the sdsu recruits your covering at the ucla 7 on 7 today, and anyone there that we have a legit shot at? Also have you heard anything regarding joe mathis? Ive heard rumors his grades were a concern in getting into a usc or ucla, would that be favorable to sdsu? or are his grades not even good enough to get into SDSU?

There were actually quite a few San Diego State recruits at the UCLA Elite and passing camps, highlighted by Batiste, Charles Okonkwo, Justin Strong, and Kalan Montgomery, who all have SDSU offers. I'll post in-depth evaluations of these guys and the other recruits I saw later tonight.

Out of the recruits I talked to this weekend, I think the Aztecs have the best shot at landing cornerbacks Batiste and Montgomery. Batiste has had his heart set on snagging an SDSU offer for quite some time, ever since I first talked to him at a 7-on-7 tournament several months back. Now that SDSU has pulled the trigger on an offer, the Aztecs are in great shape to land him. They were his first offer, are close to home (he says he's "a big momma's boy") and are recruiting two of his good friends, twin linebackers A.J. Latu and Viliami Latu. Batiste left UCLA's camp without an offer, and if he doesn't pick up another one after attending the Arizona State and Colorado camps next month, he could make the decision to commit. Montgomery is another cornerback who is high on SDSU's recruiting board, and he left UCLA's camp without an offer as well (which is significant because he told me prior to the camp that UCLA was recruiting him hard). The humble Compton (Calif.) Dominguez product is hard to get a good read on, as he won't name favorites because he says he's just happy and blessed to have scholarship offers and go to college. But SDSU was the second school to offer him (after Hawaii) and have been recruiting him hard ever since offering back in March.

As far as Mathis goes, I have also heard that his grades are a concern, but that won't stop many schools from recruiting such a talented defensive end. He says he finished the past semester with a 3.36 GPA, and is taking a number of summer school classes. Even if there's a chance he won't qualify, schools see Mathis' size, speed and power and are willing to take that chance. He recently named a top 10 of Alabama, Washington, USC, UCLA, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Miami and Arizona State, so SDSU is not in the running.

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Vince: Who are the top quarterbacks that we're looking at right now?

College coaches have to be extra-careful when extending scholarship offers to quarterbacks, because since schools typically take only one a year or two at the most, QB's tend to commit early, making it all the more important that coaches get the right one.

Right now SDSU has only two confirmed offers out to quarterbacks, and one is already committed to Vanderbilt (Harvard Westlake's Chad Kanoff). We've also heard that the Aztecs have cooled in their pursuit of Johnny Stanton, the other QB with an offer. Some names that have been in the mix are Kelly Hilinski, Andrew Elffers and Jihad Vercher, but it wouldn't surprise me if SDSU doesn't offer another quarterback until after the summer.

Don't forget that the Aztecs already have Chase Favreau coming in next year, as he chose to grayshirt this year for the chance to compete as a QB in 2013.

Steve: I noticed that youve been focusing on football recruiting a lot lately. Whats up with basketball recruiting and the offseason workouts?

It's just that time of year, Steve. Football recruiting reigns supreme in June because so many colleges hold their skills and passing camps (SDSU just finished up with its camps earlier this month), many recruits take unofficial visits and a good number of them commit on or after those visits, so June is a busy football month.

July is when basketball recruiting starts picking up again, as the evaluation period is next month where college coaches can go watch AAU tournaments and evaluate recruits. Our July schedule is full of basketball events, so stay tuned.

As far as the football team's offseason workouts are concerned, we're in the process of setting up interviews to give you all updates on how things are going. Also, in just a few weeks Ruben and I will start cranking up the football coverage with pre-camp position-by-position breakdowns and fall camp previews, so it's an exciting time for Aztec football fans. Be sure to sign up for a free trial so you don't miss any of our upcoming football coverage.

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