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January 20, 2012

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.

Jack: By your count, there are 18 football commitments and a few transfers. Can you clear up what is left?

Honestly, the number of scholarships SDSU has left to give for this 2012 class is very confusing to me as well, but I'll do my best to explain it, because I think I'm pretty close to understanding it all. Now head coach Rocky Long has told me repeatedly he wants to take 25 guys in this class. We're hearing that doesn't include the 2011 grayshirts Micah Seau and Ryan Jack, as they will expectedly count back against the 2011 scholarship class. So they won't factor in for 2012. Then of course, you have your 18 commitments that we've chronicled since the summer (you can read who all of those are here). Finally, you have the three Division I transfers who are already on campus in Dillon Baxter, Brice Butler and Ryan Katz.

If you're following the math, that should put SDSU at 21 scholarships, which would mean four left. We're very close to 100 percent sure that's where the Aztecs are with their scholarship counter as well. Now for who will fill those last four spots, SDSU wants a scholarship longsnapper (there's one taking his official visit to SDSU today), they'd like two more offensive linemen (we're hearing Marc Pouvave and Corey Whitaker are the top targets) and one more defensive back (the two targets there were Devian Shelton and Jevaris Little, but both appear to be heading elsewhere). That should round out the 2012 class. Confusing, I know.


Adam: Do you think any of the new football transfers hurt our chances in regards to recruits? Or because they're one-year players will it not affect recruiting?

It won't affect recruiting one bit. SDSU football hasn't quite reached the level of SDSU basketball yet where they would be turning down some seriously talented freshmen in order to nab a one-year guy. The football squad is making huge strides in recruiting, as evidenced by this more-than-solid 2012 class, and once it joins the Big East, I think you could see a basketball-like recruiting game where three- and four-star recruits are more than interested in heading to San Diego. But right now, with the way football recruiting is today, they'll get more value out of a Katz or a Butler than they would with true freshmen that would fill up those scholarships otherwise.


Daniel: Talk about how you see that last 2012 scholarship playing out. With Norvel Pelle probably making his decision last minute, Anthony January being cleared eligibility wise, and Winston Shepard picking up some more big conference offers.

We kind of talked about this in last week's Mailbag on the Mesa, but a few things have changed since then. First and foremost, Shepard has reportedly picked up offers from UConn and St. John's, and with another nationally-televised game coming up this weekend, I think he could add a few more huge scholarship offers to his list if he plays well again. But honestly, Shepard and SDSU assistant coach Tony Bland have a special relationship, and Shepard has gone on record several times saying Jalen Rose is one of his basketball idols and playing for the man that coached him in college (Steve Fisher) would be special. So I think the Aztecs still have a good shot there.

As for Pelle, he visited SDSU last weekend, but you're right, it appears he's going to take things down to the wire. With January, it could be the same deal, only he's just trying to make sure he's eligible.

Now, in regards to this all playing out down the stretch, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Shepard is priority No. 1, Pelle is No. 2 and January is the fallback (if he indeed does become eligible). And like I've said before, and as much as some people don't want to hear it, if Shepard and Pelle both want to come, I seriously think someone could be asking somebody to transfer out at the end of this year.


Timothy: Regarding next year's hoops recruiting class, who do you think will have the biggest impact?

Well this is like asking Fisher to pick his favorite all-time player - the question is impossible to answer. I will say this, though. If there was any player in SDSU's recruiting classes, both in football and basketball, who should upgraded to a four-star ranking, it would be Matt Shrigley. He really doesn't get the credit he deserves, perhaps because of his appearance, but that guy is absolutely filthy on the hardwood. If you don't believe it, take a look at the highlight reel we posted from his game against La Verne Lutheran (which by the way has several Division I prospects on its team). He has incredible bounce, a smooth jumper and great maturity from a guy who hasn't even graduated high school yet.

I also really like Skylar Spencer, whom I saw in person for the first time in a long time earlier this week (we'll have a story up on him soon). I seriously think he could push Garrett Green and Deshawn Stephens for playing time today - and he still has just about nine more months before he officially suits up for SDSU. And of course, the transfers J.J. O'Brien, James Johnson and Dwayne Polee will likely all be starters at some point next year.

Anyway you look at it; if you thought this year's Aztec squad was good, just wait until next season.


Brandon: If you had to name an MVP of this year's SDSU basketball team, who would it be and why?

Well, I normally like to go against the grain, but this is just too hard to pick anybody other than Chase Tapley. In fact, now that SDSU has beaten both New Mexico and UNLV, he should hands down get the nod for Mountain West Player of the Year over Drew Gordon and Mike Moser. What he's done this season, going from the fifth option to the first, has been remarkable. Nearly 17 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field, averaging more than two steals per game, and he's even filled in at point guard when Xavier Thames was hurt this year. It's been a lot of fun to watch from press row.

Honorable mention goes to Thames and Jamaal Franklin, who have also been unreal for SDSU this year.


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