The Fresno State Bulldogs are a team to keep an eye on this upcoming football season. Yes, you may have to stay up late to watch them. That comes standard for a lot of us east-coasters who want to keep up with conferences like the PAC-12 or the Mountain West. You’ll definitely have to keep an eye on your TV guide — Fresno is one of those teams that just might find itself in a random Thursday night ESPN2 slot. You won’t often luck out as a casual fan if you’re hoping to catch some Bulldog football. But, Central California is in for a treat in 2022. And, Fresno State shouldn’t surprise anybody.
Let’s take a look at the five guys you should know about, heading into the season.
On the Fresno State Offense:
Quarterback: Jake Haener – The best of the bunch. The potential early draft pick is entering his sixth year of collegiate eligibility.
At 23 years old, he’s the best thing to happen to Fresno, CA since Derek Carr. Second team All-Mountain West last season, Haener threw for 4,096 yards and 33 touchdowns, with a 67% completion percentage. Pro Football Network put Haener ninth among college quarterbacks (first in the Mountain West) heading into the fall.
Haener’s preseason honors include:
Davey O’Brien Award Watchlist
Maxwell Award Watchlist
Walter Camp Award Watchlist
Fourth Team Preseason All-American (Phil Steele)
First Team Preseason All-Mountain West (Phil Steele)
First Team Preseason All-Mountain West (Athlon Sports)
Shrine Bowl 1000 Selection
Jake Haener (photo via kget.com)
Wide Receiver: Jalen Cropper – After toying with the idea of entering the NFL Draft this past April, Jalen Cropper is one of many offensive weapons returning to the field for Fresno State in the fall of 2022.
Last season, Cropper led the Bulldogs in receiving and total touchdowns with 899 and 13 (11 receiving and 2 rushing) respectively. He’s been a favorite of the quarterback, having been the receiving leader in the Covid-shortened 2020 season, as well. Jalen is number one among pass-catchers returning to the Mountain West Conference this season. He’s a big-play threat, with 14 of his 85 receptions going for 20-plus yards in 2021. Look for him to shoot up draft boards as the season progresses.
Cropper’s preseason honors include:
Biletnikoff Award Watchlist
Wuerffel Trophy Watchlist
First Team Preseason All-Mountain West (Athlon Sports)
Jalen Cropper (photo via gobulldogs.com)
Running Back: Jordan Mims – Like Haener, Mims is utilizing the extra year of eligibility afforded to him, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And just like he and his quarterback, the Bulldog team should benefit greatly from it.
After spending a while as the number two back behind Fresno’s career rushing touchdown leader, Ronnie Rivers, Jordan Mims gets his turn. He should finally have a workload that’ll allow him to finish a season with the type of stat line he has long deserved. Appearing in all 13 games last year, and making two starts, Mims finished the 2021 season with over 1,000 total yards and 10 total touchdowns. Averaging 5.6 yards per touch last season, Mims resembled former Utah back, Zack Moss, with his downhill running-style and good hands out of the backfield. He may offer a little more juice in the open field than the current Buffalo Bill does, however.
Mims’ preseason honors include:
Doak Walker Award Watchlist
Jordan Mims (photo via vcpfootball.com)
Wide Receiver: Nikko Remigio – Remigio is another experienced player poised to play a key role on this Fresno State football team. The 5’10”, 190 pounder will spend his final season of eligibility playing for his former coach, Jeff Tedford, after four seasons at Cal.
Averaging around 225 yards and 2 touchdowns per season while in Berkeley, Remigio doesn’t possess numbers that’ll jump off the stat sheet and force you to take notice — not as a wide receiver, that is. The transfer is, however, a very dangerous man in the return game. Racking up almost 30 yards per kick return last year was good enough to land him in the 11th spot at season’s end, in regards to the best in the nation.
Remigio’s preseason honors include:
Paul Hornung Award Watchlist
Nikko Remigio (photo via mercurynews.com)
On the Fresno State Defense:
Defensive Back: Evan Williams – Returning All-Mountain West first team DB, Evan Williams, is sure be a factor for this Bulldog squad in 2022. A Senior this year, Williams is looking to continue the steady rise in which he’s been on since his relatively quiet, although productive, Freshman campaign.
Last season, the 6’0”, 200 pound product of Campbell, California started all 13 of Fresno’s games at safety, and led the team in tackles with 90 (60 solo). Those numbers also faired well outside of his own team, landing him third among Mountain West defensive backs, and ninth overall in the conference, as a Junior. While also leading Fresno State in fumble recoveries and interceptions, Williams demonstrated an uncanny ability to create opportunities for his team. He’s a ball-hawk in a bulldog’s disguise. As the lone standout on the defensive side of the football for Fresno, it’s on Williams to have a big year, really solidify the Bulldog’s position as a well-rounded program, and take them from being one of the West’s best kept secrets, to the nationally-recognized football program they’ve proven capable of being before.
Williams’ preseason honors include:
Chuck Badnarik Award Watchlist
Jim Thorpe Award Watchlist
Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watchlist
Evan Williams (photo via mwcconnection.com)
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE