16 prospects sign NLIs with San Jose State football program

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

The San Jose State football team ended the 2019 season with a bang, a come-from-behind 17-16 win over rival Fresno State to reclaim the Valley Trophy on November 30th. But the Spartans are now gearing up for the 2020 season as 16 new prospects signed NLIs on Wednesday.

Here are the players who signed NLIs.

Lamar Barrett
OL | 6-4 | 325 | JR | Bartow, Fla./Independence College
A 2019 second-team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference honoree, Lamar joins the Spartans this summer as an offensive line prospect. Barrett played for Independence College (Coach Kiyoshi Harris), the 2019 KJCCC champion and ranked eighth in the December 9 National Junior College Athletic Association poll. The Bartow (Fla.) High graduate competed in football (Coaches Ray Tiller and Brian McRae), weightlifting, and track and field. Barrett was a two-time All-Polk County honoree and a 2016 Class 7-A honorable mention all-state pick for Bartow High. In weightlifting his senior season, he was the 2018 Class 2A, District 12 unlimited champion, fourth at the Class 2A Region 6 meet, and finished tied for seventh at the 2018 Florida state championships. In track and field, he threw the shot put. Lamar is considering business administration as his major. He’s intrigued about the job opportunities in Silicon Valley. Three of his favorite hip-hop artists are Kodak Black, NBA Young Boy and Chief Keef. Besides weightlifting, he enjoys distance running. Barrett is a native of Bartow, Fla.

Malik Welch
CB | 6-1 | 195 | JR | Torrance, Calif./Long Beach City College
A 2019 second-team All-Northern League pick for Long Beach City College (Coach Brett Peabody), Malik is a cornerback hopeful enrolling at SJSU this spring. Welch was second on the team in tackles with 51, was in on 4.0 tackles for loss, intercepted two passes and was credited with six pass break ups. The El Segundo (Calif.) High graduate was a cornerback on the football team (Coach Steve Shevlin) and a sprinter in track and field. He began his high school career at North High in Torrance, Calif. (Coach Todd Croce) and participated in the same two sports.

Sam Olson
TE | 6-4 | 225 | FR | Visalia, Calif./Redwood HS
A two-time first-team All-West Yosemite League honoree for Redwood High in Visalia, Calif. (Coaches Kevin Scharton and Shaun Ball), Sam begins his SJSU football career as a tight end. Named the best tight end in Tulare County in 2019 by the Visalia Times Delta, Olson caught 33 passes for 586 yards and a team-best 11 touchdowns. His 66 points was good to share team-high scoring honors. The versatile player also served as a punter and a long snapper. He also played a season on the Rangers boys’ basketball team. He’s interested in majoring in environmental science and becoming a firefighter. During his junior year, he was named to the school’s Spanish National Honor Society. He lists Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X as his heroes. The San Francisco 49ers are his favorite NFL team. All-Pro 49ers tight end George Kittle and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry are his favorite athletes. Olson is a native of Visalia, Calif.

Elijah Lawson
LB | 6-2 | 205 | FR | Hayward, Calif./Stellar Prep HS
After playing six different positions in high school for Stellar Prep in Hayward, Calif. (Coach Desmond Gumbs), Lawson will begin his SJSU career as a linebacker prospect. Lawson saw action as a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and safety for the Thunder football program. In his junior season, he intercepted five passes. He’s undecided on an academic major. Lawson would like to pursue a sports broadcasting career. For the last three years, he has served as a youth counselor for children ages 3-to-13 at the Life City Church in Stockton, Calif. He’s the third male in a family of nine children to play college football. His oldest brother, Rodney Lawson, played at the University of Nevada in 2015 and Western New Mexico University in 2017. His older brother Michael Lawson was named a 2019 first-team All-Southland Conference safety and punt return specialist as a junior for Lamar University. Lawson is a native of Stockton, Calif.

Jalen Apalit-Williams
S | 6-2 | 185 | FR | Martinez, Calif./Las Lomas HS
A 2018 honorable mention All-Bay Area News group selection, Apalit-Williams is a safety prospect joining the SJSU football program. He divided his high school football career between Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek, Calif., (Coach Doug Longero) and Alhambra High in Martinez, Calif., (Coach Alan Hern). As a junior, he was a first-team All-Diablo-Foothill League pick and his team’s Defensive Most Valuable Player. A three-sport athlete, he was a sprinter at Las Lomas High and played on the Alhambra High boys’ basketball team. He’s targeting communication studies as his major. Kim Apalit, his mom, played volleyball at the University of Cincinnati in the 1990’s. He enjoys Meek Mill’s music. Two of his favorite movies are “Creed” and “Remember the Titans.” His favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys and his favorite athlete is four-time NBA scoring champion Allen Iverson. Apalit-Williams is a native of San Francisco.

Dion Leonard
LB | 6-3 | 215 | JR | Milpitas, Calif./Foothill College
A first-team All-Pac 7 League choice for Foothill College (Coach Kelly Edwards), Leonard is a linebacker prospect joining the Spartans this spring. He was credited with 44 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, was in on a quarterback sack, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles and broke up four passes his sophomore season. As a freshman, he was a defensive back for San Jose City College (Coach Connor Carlton). The Milpitas (Calif.) High graduate lettered in football (Coach Kelly King), basketball and was a sprinter on the track and field team. He was a first-team All-Santa Clara Valley Athletic League wide receiver who caught 32 passes for 648 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons.

Chance Johnson
S | 6-0 | 185 | FR | Spring Valley, Calif./Steele Canyon HS
A football (Coach Scott Longerbone) and track and field letterwinner at Steele Canyon High in Spring Valley, Calif., Johnson is a safety candidate enrolling at SJSU this summer. During his career, he played safety, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and was a return specialist. In his sophomore season, the Cougars captured the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation (C.I.F.) Division 3-A state championship. The two-time, first-team All-Grossmont Hills honoree was credited with 126 tackles and three pass interceptions in his junior and senior seasons combined. As a senior, he returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. He concluded his high school career playing in the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic and the Makasi Bowl all-star football games in San Diego. He also was a sprinter and hurdler in track and field. He plans to major in psychology and is interested in becoming either a high school counselor or a police detective. He participates in the school’s Mito Action Club, which raises funds to fight against mitochondria diseases; volunteering at Hope City Church in El Cajon, Calif., where his dad is a pastor; and participating in an award-winning dance group, Candyman, using the stage name of “Snickers.” Johnson is a native of SD.

Shamar Garrett
RB | 5-9 | 179 | FR | Livermore, Calif./De La Salle HS
One of the top all-purpose high school players in California, Garett is a running back prospect enrolling at SJSU this summer. He was a running back, defensive back and return specialist at De La Salle High in Concord, Calif. (Coach Jason Alumbaugh). A scoring threat from anywhere on the field, he rushed for 27 touchdowns, returned three interceptions and one punt return for six points, and passed for seven scores in three seasons. In the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation Open Division state championship game, he rushed for three touchdowns including a 60-yard score and played cornerback. He was a CalHiSports.com first-team all-state selection as a multi-purpose back, and a first-team San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro and Bay Area News Group pick his junior season. His choices for an academic major are business administration and psychology. He has been a member of De La Salle’s Black Student Union organization since his freshman year. He enjoys sketching cartoon characters. Two of his cousins are Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Carter and running back C.J. Anderson, a seven-year National Football League veteran. Garrett is a native of Berkeley, Calif.

Grady Manley
DL | 6-4 | 265 | FR | Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln HS
A two-time first-team All-Foothill Valley selection, Manley is a defensive line candidate joining the Spartans this summer. He was a prolific tackler during his three seasons at Lincoln (Calif.) High (Coach Chris Bean). He played middle linebacker his sophomore and junior seasons and was a defensive lineman as a senior. At Lincoln High, he was credited with 322 tackles, 29.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, and two safeties. As a junior, he led the Fighting Zebras with 142 tackles and was a 2018 Sacramento Bee honorable mention All-Metro honoree. He was tops on the team with 18.0 tackles for loss and contributed 73 tackles as a senior. The three-sport athlete also played on the basketball team and was an outfielder for a season of baseball. One of his favorite activities is skeet shooting. Manley is a native of Citrus Heights, Calif.

Mikale Greer
CB | 6-2 | 185 | FR | Compton, Calif./Lawndale HS
A cornerback prospect, Greer comes to SJSU from Lawndale (Calif.) High. (Coach Travis Clark). Greer played both defensive back and wide receiver for the Cardinals. He was credited with three interceptions his senior season. He began his high school football career at Paramount (Calif.) High, where he was used primarily as a wide receiver. He’s planning on majoring in sport management or kinesiology. One of his cousins is Calgary Stampeders defensive backfield coach Josh Bell, who played safety for San Diego, Denver and Green Bay during the 2008 through 2010 seasons. He enjoys listening to the music of Young Boy and Rod Wave. Greer is a native of Bellflower, Calif.

Jalen Bainer
CB | 5-11 | 180 | FR | San Marcos, Calif./San Marcos HS
A two-time All-Avocado League award winner, Bainer is a versatile player joining the Spartans. He was a wide receiver, cornerback, kicker and return specialist at San Marcos (Calif.) High (Coaches Derek Stank, Jason Texler). As a senior, he was a team captain and a second-team all-league wide receiver after leading his team with 36 receptions 615 yards and seven touchdowns. He scored two more touchdowns rushing and a third on an interception return. He was a first-team all-league defensive back as a junior after intercepting four passes and making 29 tackles. The two-sport athlete was a sprinter, long jumper and triple jumper in track and field. He was the 2019 Avocado League champion in the long jump with a school-record setting mark of 22-feet-10.5. Jalen would like to major in business administration. Named twice to the Avocado League all-academic team, he’d like to own and operate an athletic performance facility. His dad, Chris Bainer, was a member of the 1993 University of San Diego football team. Bainer is a native of San Diego.

Zavion Reese
CB | 6-0 | 175 | FR | San Marcos, Calif./San Marcos HS
A two-time All-Avocado League defensive back, Reese is a cornerback hopeful to join the Spartans this summer. He was a first-team selection as a junior and second-team choice as a senior at San Marcos (Calif.) High (Coaches Derek Shank and Jason Texler). In his three seasons, he played cornerback, wide receiver and was used as a return specialist. As a senior, he was a team captain and was named his team’s Defensive Most Valuable Player at the end of the season. He concluded his high school football career playing in the Alex Spanos All-Star Game in San Diego. The two-sport athlete is a sprinter and a long jumper on the track and field team. He’s interested in majoring in either mechanical engineering or business administration. One of his goals is achieving and maintaining financial stability. At San Marcos High, he’s a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Black Student Union. One of his brothers, Nacion Reese, was a linebacker at Minot State University. Zavion is a native of Oceanside, Calif.

Elijah Wood
LB | 6-3 | 205 | FR | Elk Grove, Calif./St. Mary’s HS
A two-time All-Tri-City Athletic League honoree, Wood is a linebacker candidate enrolling at San Jose State this summer. At St. Mary’s High in Stockton, Calif. (Coach Tony Frank), he played outside linebacker, cornerback, strong safety, wide receiver, tight end and was used as a return specialist. As a senior, he was a second-team all-league choice who was in on 53 tackles, intercepted three passes and was credited with eight pass break-ups. In his junior season, he was a first-team all-league wide receiver. He began his high school football career at Cosumnes Oaks High (Coach Derrick Milgrim) in Elk Grove, Calif. He was invited to conclude his high school football career at the January 18, 2020 Bay Area Cali Classic Senior Showcase matching the Bay Area All-Stars vs. the Valley All-Stars in San Leandro, Calif. He plans to major in business marketing. His business interests include earning a real estate license, become a realtor, and owning and operating a shoe store. He enjoys traveling and Hawaii and Florida are his top destinations. His favorite sports teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Wood is a native of Modesto, Calif.

Noah Wright
DL | 6-5 | 315 | JR | Lemoore, Calif./College of the Sequoias
The 2019 Valley League Defensive Player of the Year, Wright is joining the Spartans this spring as a defensive line candidate. He played two seasons for the College of the Sequoias (Coach Joe D’Agostino). As a sophomore, the first-team All-Valley League honoree led the conference with 21.0 tackles for loss and added 4.0 quarterback sacks, one fumble recovery. The Lemoore (Calif.) High graduate lettered in football (Coaches Mitch Crossley and Shannon Pulliam) and wrestling and was a catcher on the baseball team. He was the 2016 West Yosemite League Defensive Player of the Year in football and placed fourth in the heavyweight division at the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation state championship meet. He began his high school career at Wilcox High in Santa Clara, Calif., and was on the football (Coach Dan Brown), wrestling and baseball teams. He’s undecided on an academic major, but he’s interested in social work and would like to work with children. He likes to listen to reggae music. Wright is a native of Mountain View, Calif.

Kenyon Reed
CB | 6-0 | 170 | FR | Concord, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS/Kansas State
A transfer from Kansas State University, Reed is a cornerback prospect joining the Spartans this spring. He lettered in football (Coach Stephen Barbee) and track and field at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High. He played cornerback, wide receiver and was a return specialist as a senior. As a wide receiver, he caught 17 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns and earned second-team All-Moore League honors. He excelled in track and field his senior season at Long Beach Poly. At the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation state championship meet, he finished ninth in the 100 meters, eight in the 200 meters and helped the Jackrabbits 4×100 meter relay team take third place. He has personal bests of 10.63 in the 100 and 21.09 in the 200 meters. He was named the 2019 Long Beach Press Telegram’s Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. He began his high school career at Cosumnes Oaks High in Elk Grove, Calif. (Coach Derek Milgrim) and was a teammate of fellow Spartan signee Elijah Wood.

Jay Kakiva
DL | 6-5 | 325 | JR | Las Vegas, Nev./Fresno City College
A two-time first-team All-Valley Conference award winner, Kakiva plans on joining the Spartans this summer as a defensive line candidate. In his two seasons at Fresno City College (Coach Tony Caviglia), he was in on 50 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, and 4.5 quarterback sacks. A three-time first team all-league football selection, he earned the honor at three different schools. As a senior, he played at Green Valley High in Henderson, Nev. (Coach Brian Castro). As a junior, he played for Liberty High (Coach Rich Muraco) — also in Henderson. He played his freshman and sophomore seasons at McLane High in Fresno, Calif. (Coach Pete Joseph). He’s deciding on an academic major. He’d like to pursue a sports broadcasting career. His favorite movies are “The Lion King,” “Miracle” about the 1980 U.S. Winter Olympics men’s ice hockey team, and “Pursuit of Happiness.” He’s a youth group leader at a church near his Nevada home. Kakiva was born In Honolulu, Hawaii.

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