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August 19, 2011

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every Friday ASR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to edwardflewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Brandon: None of the players or coaches will say it, so why don't you: Who has stood out to you at camp this year?

First and foremost, quarterback Chad Jeffries has absolutely blown me away. He's a three-star incoming freshman who might be a little undersized at a generous listing of 6 feet 2, but he throws a killer football; extremely tight spiral and generally very accurate. He's looked fantastic.

As for guys that will help SDSU this year, I'd say Ezell Ruffin is starting to come into his own a little bit. The more comfortable he gets in this offense and the less he thinks while he's running, the better he looks. Same deal with Colin Lockett. For a guy who played corner six months ago, he sure can run some solid routes and blow by some talented corners.

Lastly, on the defensive side, Sam Meredith has been very impressive. And not just to me. Rocky Long said Meredith will play this season as a true freshman. Which is rare in Long's football world. He's been great in 1-on-1s and has looked good in scrimmages. He could be a big-time starter at SDSU when all is said and done.

Rob: With the QB Matt Morin committed to SDSU, how much does that help recruiting, not only the kids from his HS but in general?

I think any time a recruit commits to your school, it's great for recruiting. Not just in the sense of you get a player you obviously like, but it sends out shockwaves throughout the recruiting landscape.

Take SMU, for example. It's a school about 1,500 miles away from Los Angeles and in a weather climate that couldn't be more different than California's cool, sunny skies. In most years, they would be hard-pressed to snag one kid from LA, let alone three. But once three-star running back Robert Lewis committed back in February, recruits in the LA area noticed. Lewis befriended Los Angeles four-star receiver Gabriel Marks, who then committed there last month, and he befriended Culver City three-star linebacker Khalil Pettway, who committed there just a few days later, and now SMU has a stacked 2012 recruiting class.

Now the Aztecs are hoping they can land a similar situation with Morin. Morin is teammates with three-star defensive lineman Teddy Queen and three-star linebacker Joe Robinson. If Morin can sway his Chaparral High teammates into coming with him to SDSU, like Lewis did with Marks and Marks did with Pettway at SMU, the Aztecs add three really solid three-star recruits to their 2012 class. And when other top-tier recruits see those big-name guys heading to the Aztecs, they get antsy to see why as well and start looking a little deeper into SDSU. It's really a crazy cycle that is a lot of fun to watch unfold firsthand.


Antonio: Brady Hoke raved how Aaron Wellman was a big part of the success the team last year. How is the new strength coach?

This question is difficult to answer because it basically comes down to: What is a good barometer to measure the success of a strength coach? Do the Aztecs have to look like they just came from filming the movie "300"? Do they all have to bench press 350 pounds with ease now? Should all of them carry around protein shakes and have no necks?

For me, I always judge a strength and conditioning coach on injuries. And I'm not talking about concussions or bone breaks - those are a natural freak part of a violent game. I'm talking about if during every practice some kid is tweaking an ankle, tearing a groin, straining a knee or pulling a hamstring. That's when it tells me the strength and conditioning coach isn't getting these guys properly stretched out, isn't doing the right exercises to isolate powerhouse muscles and isn't getting his team prepared for a season-long grind.

With that said, however, the Aztecs are in great shape this camp. There are a couple guys with a couple dings and dents, but nobody has nagging hamstrings or ankle sprains that are requiring them to miss four-to-six weeks because they still feel a pull. So that tells me new strength and conditioning coach Rick Court is doing his job. Plus, I talked to a bunch of guys this camp - guys like Jordan Thomas, Alston Umuolo, Ryan Lindley and Ronnie Hillman - who all said he helped them either put on weight or get over injuries this summer. So I think he's doing just fine filling in for Wellman so far.


Steve: What are the chances that Dwayne Polee receives eligibility for the 2011-2012 season? Do you think Steve Fisher will add anymore scholarship players for 2011-2012 season?

To answer your first question, I would say the odds of him landing eligibility for 2011-12 are less than slim. Look, Brian Carlwell almost died in a car accident and suffered severe injuries from it that ultimately required him to transfer, and the NCAA still didn't give him another year. I very much doubt the NCAA would deny his request and grant Polee's.

As far as the 2011-12 roster goes, I believe Fisher is done adding scholarship players. Garrett Green, Devon Bookert and Carlwell were the guys SDSU was going after, and it only got Green. Carlwell was denied a sixth year, and Bookert chose Florida State this morning. Now the Aztecs do have one schollie available for this year, but I believe they'll save it and give it to a guy in this 2012 class, which is absolutely stacked.


Want to talk more Aztecs with ASR Publisher Edward Lewis? Head over to the premium message board!




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