Brian Polian has had a busy first month as the Nevada Wolf Pack head football coach.
“We put this recruiting class together in a little over three and a half weeks,” said Polian on Wednesday as he announced his first Wolf Pack recruiting class. “When you take that into account, this class is very impressive.”
Polian, who said he has saved one available scholarship in case “something meets our needs in the spring,” announced the signing of 21 players to National Letters of Intent. The class consists of 15 high school players and three junior college transfers, three of which have already enrolled at Nevada.
“When we finally got a chance to look at this class as a whole as a staff, we’re real excited about it,” said Polian, who was announced as the Pack head coach to succeed Chris Ault on Jan. 11. “These are our kinds of guys.”
Polian said, above all else, he wanted a group of players who are “competitive, play physically and mentally tough and are good citizens who love the sport of football and like to practice.”
More specifically, he said, the goal was to add speed to the roster.
“We certainly have increased our team speed,” Polian said. “We needed difference makers, some home run hitters and we got that.”
Two of the home run hitters Polian got on signing day were defensive back Tere Calloway of Seattle Prep and D’Andre Fuller, a 160-pounder who doesn’t have a position yet. Fuller, of Arlington, Texas, didn’t consider the Wolf Pack seriously until Monday.
“A BCS school pulled its offer and we were blessed to be able to get him,” Polian said.
Calloway was the first player Polian recruited personally after becoming the Pack’s head coach.
“I was up in Seattle pretty quickly and I have no doubt in my mind that saved it,” he said. “Once we made him an offer a dozen other BCS schools offered him and he never wavered.”
Polian’s first recruiting class consists of 11 defensive players and three others who could also end up on the defensive side of the ball. The class also includes just one quarterback Dante Mayes of Pittsburg, Calif.) and one running back (Don Jackson of Iowa Western College).
“We wanted to balance our scholarship numbers,” Polian said. “We were far too heavy on offense.”
Polian added, "We needed to generate a pass rush without having to blitz and we did that.”
The Pack signed four junior college defensive players who will be counted on to boost the pass rush right away: Ian Seau, Dupree Roberts-Jordan, Faigofie Faaituala and Matthew Lyons. Seau, from Grossmont College, is the nephew of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau. Roberts-Jordan is a 275-pound tackle from Golden West College, Faaituala is a 223-pound linebacker from El Camino College and Lyons is an outside linebacker from Los Angeles Pierce College.
Faaituala and Roberts-Jordan will be juniors in 2013 while Seau and Lyons will have three years of eligibility remaining. Seau spent his red-shirt year at Kansas State in 2011 and Lyons was a red-shirt at Washington the same year.
“Our pass rush got significantly better,” Polian said. “We recruited guys who can get to the quarterback on their own.”
Polian said he went a little heavy on junior college players because of need.
“I don’t know if I want six or eight junior college guys in every class,” he said. “But we had some needs that had to be filled.”
A closer look at the Wolf Pack’s 21-player recruiting class . . .
Anglemire is a 6-3, 280-pound offensive lineman from Mililani High in Wahiawa, Hawaii . . . His brother Jared Silva-Purcell is a former Pack player. “I’m very happy we got a player from Hawaii,” said Polian, who recruited linebacker Manti Te’o out of Hawaii for Notre Dame four years ago.
Brooks, a 6-2, 210-pound defensive back from Sierra Canyon High in North Hills, Calif., has already enrolled at Nevada and will take part in spring practices starting in late March . . . He is from the same high school as Wolf Pack red-shirt freshman quarterback Tyler Stewart . . . Had 10 interceptions as a junior.
The 5-10, 176-pound Calloway was a two-time All-State player at Seattle Prep . . . Scored 35 touchdowns as a running back in high school . . . High school teammate of Wolf Pack basketball recruit D.J. Fenner.
Made transition from center to tight end his senior year at Chaparral High in Temecula, Calif. . . Is 6-3, 232 pounds. “He has an infectious personality and loves the physical part of the game,” Polian said.
Played offensive and defensive line at La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day High . . . Played on Under-19 national team . . . The 6-6, 290-pounder is expected to play offensive line for the Pack.
Played football, track and basketball at St. Mary’s High in Mountain House, Calif. . . . Had three interceptions on defense and caught 32 passes on offense as a senior . . . Is 6-2, 198 pounds and is projected by Polian as a safety in college.
Goes by “Fie.” Has already enrolled at Nevada after playing at El Camino College in Carson, Calif. . . . The 6-1, 223-pound linebaqcker went to high school at Banning, Calif. . . “He has a great motor and can help us immediately,” Polian said.
The 5-10, 160-pound Fuller doesn’t have a position yet . . . Polian says Fuller possesses “game-breaking speed and big-play ability.” . . . Polian said Fuller might play offense, defense and special teams for the Wolf Pack. “We are very excited about those possibilities,” Polian said.
Hershberger is a 6-2, 230-pound linebacker from Granite Bay (Calif.) High . . . Could end up at defensive end . . . Father Greg played wide receiver at Chico State . . . Expected to be big-time contributor on special teams as a freshman, Polian said.
Isaac is a Pennsylvania native who graduated from Ridge High in Florida . . . The 6-5, 286-pound offensive lineman comes to the Pack from Foothill College. “He should have a chance to help us pretty quickly,” Polian said.
The 5-10, 209-pound Jackson signed with the Wolf Pack last fall. He led the nation’s junior college running backs with an average carry of 8.7 yards at Iowa Western College . . . Jackson was 2010 Sacramento Bee Player of the Year at Laguna Creek High.
The 6-2, 230-pound Lyons, from Dorsey High in Los Angeles, spent his freshman year in 2011at Washington . . . Played last season at Los Angeles Pierce College.
Mayes is a 6-2, 175-pound pistol quarterback from Freedom High in Pittsburg, Calif. . . “I’m told he looks like Colin Kaepernick when Colin was a freshman,” Polian said. “I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him.”
Mitchell is a 5-8, 170-pound defensive back from Roosevelt High in Corona, Calif. . . He won the 200-meter dash in California last spring as a junior with a time of 21.19 seconds . . . Brother Immanuel plays at Colorado State and brother Joshua plays at Nebraska.
The 6-2, 237-pound linebacker from Poway (Calif.) High was one of the first players of this class to give the Pack a verbal commitment last August . . . Had 17 sacks combined as a junior and a senior . . . Also played baseball and basketball at Poway.
The 6-foot, 275-pound defensive tackle also played tight end in high school at Lakewood (Calif.) High . . . Played last year at Golden West College in Long Beach, Calif. . . . “He has a wingspan of a man six inches taller,” Polian said.
The 6-2, 250-pound Seau spent his red-shirt freshman year in 2011 at Kansas State before play at Grossmont College this past season . . . Nephew of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau . . . Defensive Player of the Year in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference in 2012.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Schnicker also doesn’t have a position yet . . . “We fell in love with him because of his work ethic,” Polian said. “He can help us in any number of spots.”
The 6-5, 286-pound offensive lineman comes to the Pack from Clovis (Calif.) West High . . . Gave the Pack a verbal commitment last fall. “He has the flexibility to play inside (guard) or outside (tackle),” Polian said.
The 6-2, 279-pound defensive tackle is also an avid swimmer and skier, Polian said . . . Had over 200 tackles and 19 sacks combined his junior and senior year at Fowler (Calif.) High.
Wilson is yet another Pack recruit who isn’t tied down to a single position . . . The 6-1, 200-pounder caught 30 passes for Cedar Hill (Texas) High last year as a tight end and averaged 16.3 yards on his punt returns.