Aztec Soccer Pocket book: San Jose State Nicely Armed With Graduates Switch Quarterback

When San Jose state quarterback Josh Love, last year’s Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, graduated, it would have been understandable if the Spartans had needed some time to nurture a successor.

At least it was like that back then. The ability to get transfers from graduates who can make an immediate impact has changed things.

Nick Starkel, the new quarterback for San Jose State, is a great example of this.

The 6-foot-3 graduate transfer from Texas completed nearly 75 percent of its passes (56 for 76) for 693 yards and seven touchdowns with just one interception.

San Jose State (2-0) will play against San Diego State (2-0) on Friday night after a 38-21 win over New Mexico in which Starkel overtook 34:47 for 467 yards and five touchdowns.

“I don’t care who you play against, it gets the ball where it needs to be,” said SDSU head coach Brady Hoke. “He does a good job and keeps his eyes on the field. Reads Defense very well and he really has an enormous arm.

“Either it goes from the hash to the limit or it does a really good job on the deep ball. Drop it there. “

Starkel played at Texas A&M in 2017-18, where he made five starts before moving to Arkansas.

He started five games for the Razorbacks last season and decided to switch again after the school made a change of coach.

He moved to the state of San Jose last December and is now one of only two QBs launched for three different Division I programs in the past decade. The other is Pete Thomas, who started out in Colorado State (2010-11), North Carolina State (2013), and Louisiana-Monroe (2014).

“The decision to leave Arkansas was not based on emotion,” Starkel told The Athletic. “I don’t invest a lot emotionally in this type of decision. It was more about looking at the facts. I had to face the music.

“I’ve had a tough year; A coach comes in who gets a transfer. We have a small quarterback room. You just have to get someone else through numbers. Not being the type and being a coach who brings in someone who is technically their type and who is exactly what they want – they are not going to recruit someone they don’t like. … I saw that this was probably the end of the line for me. “

The Arkansas defeat was a huge win for the state of San Jose, who started 2-0 for the first time since 1987.

San Jose state head coach Brent Brennan put it simply enough after beating New Mexico: “Starkel was fantastic.”

Working on field goals

Hoke didn’t seem overly concerned about the situation where second kicker Matt Araiza blocked one field goal attempt (33 yards) and missed another (45 yards) before taking his third attempt (28 yards) at the U.S. last week. State of Utah was successful.

“Of course we have to work a little more on it,” said Hoke. “I think the snapshots were good, one of them got a little tall, but we have to grab it, catch it and put it on the ground.

“I have great faith in Matt. I think we hit the first and the second wrong that we just pulled a little. It was nice to see him go out and do the third. “

Araiza was 22:26 last season, setting a school record for field goals in one season.

Senior gymnast Bernard snapped for Araiza last season, although owner Tanner Kuljian is new to the mix.

The football’s laces were pointed towards Araiza on his second attempt, though Hoke didn’t think this was a problem on the kick.

“If these are extremely long field goals, I think it’s important,” said Hoke. “But we had a few options during training and when we were preparing. Every now and then he’ll slap it on the shoelace and he’ll hit it just fine. “

Kuljian takes over the jump-off

Araiza started the season as a kicker and punter for SDSU.

The Aztecs only attempted one blow against the Aggies and it was a 58-yarder in the fourth quarter from Kuljian, a senior USD transfer.

Hoke said Kuljian will also be the punter against San Jose state after earning the job in the field.

“We have a program that builds on the competition and what you do during the week,” said Hoke, noting that Kuljian’s consistency made all the difference.

Security return

Seniors Safety Trenton Thompson is expected to be back on the grid after missing last week’s game with a sprained ankle.

“He’ll be fine,” said Hoke.

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