Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter and his staff have gone to the southern end of California to establish a presence in some of the state’s biggest producing schools in their first three recruiting classes. The Bulldogs have landed two players from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra HS so far - wide receiver Darrell Fuery and defensive lineman Sam Akoteu. This spring the staff headed back to see their 2015 targets.
Included in those targets is a pair of Junipero Serra defensive backs - Alphonso Lester and Cameron Hayes. The pair plays on both sides of the ball - Lester at running back and Hayes at wide receiver. Alongside four-star corner Stanley Norman, the two Serra athletes are gaining interest from Pac-12 schools as well for their ability in the secondary.
Hayes is being recruited by schools as an athlete at either receiver or cornerback, he currently holds two offers and that list is expected to grow very soon.
“Right now I have two offers from (UTEP) and UC Davis,” Hayes said. “I’m also interested in Cal Berkeley, UCLA, ASU, Arizona, Fresno State, USC and UCLA - mainly Pac-12 schools… I’m also interested in BYU.”
Fresno State’s coaching staff especially liked what they saw from Hayes on the defensive side at their camp they hosted at Cerritos College.
“It was a lot of competition out there,” Hayes said. “It was a lot of footwork drills, backpaddeling, showing the coaches how our hips are, how we can run, where your ball skills are at. I feel that I did pretty decent. I went both ways at the camp also.”
The Bulldogs’ staff picked out the camp’s top defensive back and top receiver to go head-to-head to conclude the camp. Hayes alongside Maurice Davison of Servite HS were chosen as the top corners to go one-on-one with receiver Alec Dana.
“It gets a little exciting - it’s an indescribable feeling,” Hayes said. “But you can’t overthink it because if you overthink it you get away from your technique. You just have to remember that it’s the last play and bear down and focus.”
A combination of athleticism and football IQ make Hayes an impressive talent on both sides of the ball. He says he has no preference between the two positions when it comes to his recruitment.
“At DB, I’m patient,” Hayes said. “If I’m in my backpedal when I read the quarterback’s three-step and get my eyes to the receiver and use process of elimination to break down his routes.”
There appears to be a higher mutual interest between the Bulldogs and Hayes’ teammate Alphonso Lester, however. Lester is receiving interest from Pac-12 schools but is also high on Fresno State.
“They want to use me at corner,” Lester said. “I like Fresno State. I like their DBs. Most of their DBs go to the NFL. That’s where I’m trying to go.”
Lester plays an aggressive style from the cornerback position which would fit perfectly with Fresno State’s 3-4 defense.
“I’m aggressive,” Lester said. “I love corner blitzes from the outside. I love it.”
The list of schools Lester is interested in outside of Fresno State includes Arizona, Colorado, UCLA and USC. He says that location is not a factor and that he wants to make his decision during the season.
“Well, I’m just going to discuss it with my parents and wherever they think is the best place for me, that’s just where I’m going to go,” Lester said.