Football

What San Jose State football recruits are saying after Brent Brennan leaves for Arizona

SAN JOSE — When Nick Saban announced last week that he was retiring as Alabama’s football coach, Joseph Bey had sympathy for the incoming players.

“It’s crazy,” Bey, a standout safety from San Mateo’s Serra High School, said on Tuesday. “When it happened, I was just thinking about the Alabama recruits. I’m glad that won’t happen to me. Then it came around and happened to me.”

San Jose State football recruits were trying to digest the news after Brent Brennan, who led the Spartans to three bowl games in the past four seasons, left the Bay Area to become the next head coach at the University of Arizona.

Brennan replaced Jedd Fisch, who stepped down at Arizona over the weekend to take over at the University of Washington, which needed a coach after Kalen DeBoer was hired to replace Saban at Alabama.

“I am just trusting God’s plan,” said Bey, who was among a handful of Bay Area seniors to sign with San Jose State in December. “He has a plan for me. Sit back and be patient.”

Recruits reached by the Bay Area News Group said they were stunned by the coaching change but still intend to honor their commitment to San Jose State at this point.

“My plan going forward is still the same as it was before,” Manny Serna, a offensive lineman from Concord’s Clayton Valley High, said in a text. “Honestly hearing about Coach Brennan signing with Arizona was surprising to me. I’m curious to see what the future holds for SJ. I still love SJ. I still think it’s a great place and holds a special group of players and coaches that could help me achieve my goal.”

Wide receiver/defensive back Jaylen Thomas from Los Gatos High, the Bay Area News Group’s player of the year last fall, called Brennan’s departure “a big shocker” but noted that college football is a business.

“I signed in December so I’m still committed,” Thomas said in a text.

Linebacker Jabari Mann from Serra High, BANG’s San Mateo County player of the year in each of the past two seasons, said he had heard from some San Jose State coaches but they didn’t have much information to share.

Mann said he is still committed to San Jose State.

“They’re just saying that they’ll keep in touch, and let me know when more info comes up,” Mann said in a text. “I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating, but it is a lot to take in. I’m happy for Coach Brennan for sure though.”

Bey said he found out about Brennan’s possible exit when news began to leak on social media Monday night.

“I am just sitting back, trying to see what’s going on,” Bey said, adding that he chose San Jose State for the program but largely because of Brennan.

“I liked what he was doing over there,” Bey said. “I liked what he had going on there. He was changing the program and I was excited to play for him. He was a big piece of my commitment.

“I am definitely still committed. But I’ll probably just talk to my family and think about some things. I am still committed to see what happens, see what pans out.”

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