FODDER: Ault enthusiastic about 2010 recruting class | NevadaAppeal.com

FODDER: Ault enthusiastic about 2010 recruting class

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . If you listen to Nevada head coach Chris Ault, the Wolf Pack’s 2010 football recruiting class was better than the New York Yankees’ free agent haul of Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett and C.C. Sabathia a year ago. If you listen to the so-called recruiting experts, well, it seems like the Pack spent too much time the last two months hiring coaches and deflecting rumors that the head coach was in trouble. The truth is probably somewhere smack dab in the middle. Rivals.com ranks the Pack’s recruiting class 96th in the nation and sixth in the Western Athletic Conference. Scouts.com ranks the Pack 95th overall and fifth best in the WAC. Ranking recruiting classes, though, is as credible as the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicting the weather a year ahead of time.

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Ault, though, said that this class will win some championships. OK, nobody knows exactly what that means. A Western Athletic Conference championship, otherwise known as the Chris Petersen Trophy? Are we talking about the crown of America’s Next Top Model? Hey, Pack quarterback recruit Cody Fajardo was a cast member on the reality television show, “The Ride,” this fall. And, don’t forget, the Pack’s old ball coach truly believes a bowl game is a championship. So be prepared for a bushel load of Humanitarian and New Mexico Bowl championships, Pack fans.

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This is, however, certainly one of the more interesting Pack recruiting classes. Fajardo, who looks like a mini (6-foot-2) version of Colin Kaepernick, could be special. Wide receiver Lemar Durant of Canada apparently can do anything and everything on a football field. Wide receiver Rishard Matthews signed with Oregon out of high school. And the Pack signed enough beef for the offensive and defensive lines to stage its own Reno Rodeo cattle drive. This is indeed a solid class, no matter what the internet experts say. It’s definitely no worse than third in the WAC behind Boise State and Fresno State.

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Ault and the Pack deserve a pat on the back for signing three northern Nevada kids: Bishop Manogue’s Connor Talbott, Spanish Springs’ Luke Arciniega and Reed’s Kyle Roberts. There have been far too many years in the last decade or so when the Pack recruiting list had no local products, mainly because Boise State and Fresno State beat them to the punch. It’s part of the reason why there has been a growing disconnect between the community and this football program. Hopefully those days are behind us.

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How did the Pack’s top rivals in the WAC fare on signing day? Well, Fresno loaded up on quarterbacks and wide receivers. Boise State signed a couple wide receivers, a replacement for Kellen Moore at quarterback and beat out Notre Dame for a safety. It’s getting tougher and tougher every year to win the recruiting wars in the WAC, especially with Boise’s phenomenal success.

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The best development out of signing day for the Pack was Ault’s enthusiasm. It’s been a difficult 10 weeks or so for the Hall of Famer, starting with the loss to Boise State the day after Thanksgiving. The bad news continued with the season-ending injury to Luke Lippincott, the academic problems of Vai Taua, a couple players getting in trouble in Hawaii at the bowl game, the loss of defensive coordinator Nigel Burton to Portland State during the pivotal preparation for the bowl game, the devastating loss to SMU in the bowl game, the loss of offensive line coach Chris Klenakis to Arkansas and the unsubstantiated media rumors that athletic director Cary Groth gave him a win-in-2010-or-get-out-town ultimatum. Ault, though, seemed to have renewed enthusiasm when he talked of his signing class on Wednesday. That was nice to see.