Transfers and local talent headline Fresno State's '23 class

Alec Nolan Image
Thursday, December 22, 2022

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresh off a 9-game winning streak (10-4) that included a Mountain West Conference Championship and a dominating Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl victory, Fresno State football welcomes in a new crop of Bulldogs.

The team kicked off the early signing period with 16 signees on Wednesday morning-- receiving valid National Letters of Intent from all 16, bringing in a new group of talent for the 2023 season.

The player making the biggest splash, University of Central Florida transfer QB Mikey Keene committing to the Bulldogs. As a true freshman in 2021, Keene would play in 11 games completing 123/272 (63.6%) of his passes for 1,730 yards and 17 TDs. He'd redshirt his sophomore season, playing in just 4 games, completing 72% of his passes with 6 TDs and 1 INT.

Originally from Chandler, Arizona, Keene led Chandler High School to a perfect 10-0 record in 2020, and its second-straight Arizona Open Division State title as a Senior.

Set to compete in the QB room, Buchanan's Jayden Mandel. The reigning 2022 TRAC football player of the year is considered a 3-star recruit by 247Sports. Initially committed to play baseball at Fresno State in September of 2020, Mandel would flip to play football under Head Coach Jeff Tedford in March.

Mandel is projected to leave Buchanan early and join the Bulldogs as an early enrollee.

Other players heading the '23 class, Hanford Native and San Joaquin Memorial product Brandon Ramirez. The two-way Safety/RB rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 31 TDs during his Senior campaign, leading the Panthers to the D-1 title game vs eventual champion Liberty-Bakersfield.

Ramirez is slated to play Safety under DBs Coach JD Williams and DC Kevin Coyle.

2023 Signing Class Notes

  • Fresno State received 16 National Letters of Intent as the early signing period opened up on Wednesday.
  • Fresno State signed 10 additions to the offense and six to the defense on Wednesday.
  • 13 signees originate from the state of California while one is from Arizona, one from Oregon and one from Louisiana.
  • Fresno State had 10 first year players and five junior college additions announced on Wednesday.
  • Fresno State had one Division I recruit officially added to the program on Wednesday in quarterback Mikey Keene, who transferred in from UCF.
  • The Bulldogs added five junior college additions in Tim Grear Jr. (WR), Jake Tarwater (TE), Caleb Barajas (OL), Hayden Pulis (OL), and Dupre Mendoza (DL).
  • Three of Wednesday's signees come from the Central Valley in Brandon Ramirez (DB), Hayden Pulis (OL) and Jayden Mandel (QB). Ramirez and Pulis list Hanford, Calif. as their hometown, joining current Bulldog Tyler Mello as players from the city. Former Bulldog defensive back Juju Hughes (now with the Arizona Cardinals) was also from Hanford.
  • Fresno State signed legacy player Devon Rivers on Wednesday. Rivers is the third of his family to play football at Fresno State, following the footsteps of his father Ron Rivers (1991-93) and brother Ronnie Rivers (2017-21). Both Ron and Ronnie are two of the program's top running backs. Ronnie left in 2021 as the program's leader in career touchdowns scored and career rushing touchdowns. Even sister Malia played softball at Fresno State (2015-17).
  • Wednesday's announcement marks the beginning of Jeff Tedford's second signing class since his return as head coach of the program. The signing period resumes in February.