The class of 24 is Fresno State's largest since signing 25 student-athletes back in 2007. The 2013 recruiting class in comprised of 17 high school prospects and seven that come from junior colleges.
Coming off a 9-4 season that resulted in a Mountain West championship, DeRuyter and his staff were able to put together a class that he said addressed the team's needs and will allow the program to build off last season's success.
"Coming in we had some holes to fill on our offensive line, in the secondary and on the defensive line to fit the systems we're looking for," DeRuyter said. "We were able to do that with this class and I'm really excited about the 24 guys that have become Bulldogs."
To fit those three main focus areas, the Bulldogs signed five defensive linemen, four defensive backs and four offensive linemen.
"Because of that we signed a few more junior college transfers than we probably will in an average year going forward," DeRuyter said, as two of the four offensive linemen, two of the five defensive linemen and one of the four secondary players signed are from junior colleges.
Of Wednesday's 24 signess, 17 of them are California natives, two are from Texas, two are originally from Florida, and then one student-athlete is coming from each Arizona, Hawai'i and Nevada.
Fresno State inked four student-athletes from Valley high schools and two from Valley junior colleges in this signing class.
"It's been our priority since we've been here to recruit the Valley first and we have six signees from the Valley," DeRuyter said.
Claudell Louis, a 6-4, 288-pound defensive end from the College of Sequoias and Ioane Sagapolu, a 6-0, 301-pound nose guard from Fresno City College are good fits in the 3-4 system run by the Bulldogs.
"On the defensive line, we're signing two big-time guys in Claudell Louis and Ioane Sagapolu," DeRuyter said. "Those are two guys that we expect to come in and compete right away."
The four Valley signees coming out of high school include quarterback Zack Greenlee from Stockton's Lincoln High School, defensive end Jaylen Ruiz from Fresno's San Joaquin Memorial High School, nose guard Ryan Steele from Kingsburg High School and safety Justin Holmes from Fresno's Edison High School.
"Everyone talks about quarterbacks first and we're really excited to have Zack Greenlee," DeRuyter said. "He's a guy that's been on a national profile because he earned it by going out and winning his regional in the Elite 11 competition. Every step along the way Zack's played with a chip on his shoulder, he's our kind of guy and we are excited for him to be the future of Fresno State football, or at least have a chance to compete for that."
Up on the defensive line, Ruiz and Steele join Louis and Sagapolu as four of the five defensive linemen signed. The fifth is Nathan Madsen, a 6-4, 260-pound defensive end out of Eureka, Calif.
"Ryan Steele is a nose guard that we've known for a while, has a big-time motor and has a really good pedigree as his father played at USC and in the National Football League," DeRuyter said. "Jaylen Ruiz, another guy that was in our camp last summer, moves really well for a big guy. He's been fired up to be a Bulldog ever since camp last summer and we expect big things from him because he's a big guy that is really athletic."
Holmes is one of the four secondary players being brought in to help add depth to that group that loses unanimous All-American strong safety Phillip Thomas to graduation.
"Justin is a guy that we noticed in our camp last year, is a very physical player and has really good ball skills with a bunch of interceptions at Edison High School," DeRuyter said. "He fits into our mode of a play-making safety and has a big upside."
The three other defensive backs that signed with the Bulldogs include Riverside City College cornerback Tray Hall, cornerback Treshon Broughton out of Murrieta, Calif. and Randon Knotts from Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Austin, Texas.
"Losing Phillip and Cristin [Wilson] from last year, we wanted to bring in a safety that can compete right away and that's why we got Knotts and Holmes to come in and compete," DeRuyter said. "Then adding Tray Hall and Treshon Broughton is really going to help our depth at corner. We like how our young guys last year have developed and we think it is going to be a real competitive spring ball and fall camp in the secondary."
On the offensive line, Sean Rubalcava from Cerritos College and Kolby Drew from Palomar College bring experience into the immediate fold. Then Elijah Cox, a 6-4, 297-pounder out of Glendale, Ariz., and 6-4, 289-pound David Patterson from Irvine's Woodbridge High School are two prep signees that come in with good size.
"We're really happy about the additions to our offensive line, we knew that was a need area coming in," DeRuyter said. "We got two guys that will be here for spring ball in our [previously announced] mid-year transfers and then the four that we signed today are big-time additions that will all come in and compete for a spot."
Another position that drew a need for more players due to the new schemes DeRuyter installed when he was hired was at wide receiver. The Bulldogs signed four in this spot with a mixture of speed and size. The four wide outs are Devonn Brown from Riverside City College, Darrell Fuery from Gardena, Calif., and then Delvon Hardaway and Da'Mari Scott, who both are from elite programs in Los Angeles.
"The other thing we had to do in going from a pro style to a spread offense is add to our receiving corps and we're bringing in some real speed in Devonn Brown and Darrell Fuery," DeRuyter said. "They are guys that have some big-time track speed. Then we've brought in some guys that have some really good size. Da'Mari Scott and Delvon Hardaway are two long receivers that are going to fit in with our guys and be able to compete as well."
Rounding out the offensive side of the ball is 6-8 tight end Jerin McClendon from Phoenix Community College and running back Dontel James from Fontana, Calif.
At linebacker, the Bulldogs signed three physically-gifted players in Jeff Camilli from Shingle Springs, Calif., Robert Stanley out of Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School and Stephen Van Hook from the CIF Southern Section Champion Citrus Hill High School in Perris, Calif.
"The linebackers are physical and are three kids that fit the mold in terms of size and dimension that we want from linebackers in this defense," defensive coordinator Nick Toth said. "There is not a lot of physical development needed from these three and we expect them to come in and compete right away."
The final signee of the class is kicker Colin McGuire out of Austin, Texas. McGuire was rated as a five-star kicker by kicking guru Jamie Kohl.
"We haven't had a kicker here on scholarship since two seasons ago so we brought in Colin McGuire, who we were very fired up about," DeRuyter said. "He's going to be a guy that is going to have a chance to earn a job right away this fall. He's got a 50-plus-yard leg and can boom it out of the end zone on kickoffs."