A prep star gave a verbal commitment that has to make Fresno State Bulldogs head coach Tim DeRuyter smile. Jaylen Ruiz gave his verbal pledge this week to play football in central California.
DeRuyter’s 2013 class is just getting started. Ruiz is a defensive linemen that hails from the same town he will spend the next three to four years suiting up. There is great pride for the Bulldogs in building a winning program on high school talent from the central valley.
While the state of California is a pipeline for programs across the American west, Fresno States goes one step further and focuses on the area surrounding campus which is known for growing vegetables and football players.
Ruiz is rated as a three-star recruit from both 247Sports and Rivals. At 6’4″ 260 pounds, there is the potential for Ruiz to remain a versatile lineman capable of strongside end, or moving to a permanent interior position.
Programs like Fresno State live off of attracting two and three star talent, with the hope of churning out four and five star results. DeRuyter has a defensive resume spanning 16 years as a coordinator, which should give him a competitive advantage in the living rooms of lineman to safeties.
The only other recruit listed as a verbal for the Dogs 2013 class is kicker Colin McGuire out of Austin, Texas. In other words, Ruiz just doubled the current 2013 freshman roster with his verbal.
If DeRuyter can fill the rest of his class with talent similar to Ruiz, the Fresno faithful might not feel much of a transition from the Pat Hill era that ended this past season. Defensively, the Bulldogs have already looked much improved under the new coach’s tutelage.
Further consider that Ruiz was getting interest from Pac-12 schools such as the UCLA Bruins. No Mountain West school has as much prep talent in its own backyard as does Fresno State. If the Ruiz commitment is any indication, DeRuyter is intent on keeping tradition alive and well.
James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America
You can follow James on Twitter as well.