Jalen Cropper is staying home.
The Buchanan standout football player verbally committed to play at Fresno State, citing a desire to play close to home, break records and the chance of multiple championships.
“I like breaking records and they told me that there’s records to be broken here,” Cropper said in front of about 100 friends, family and media members at the Parlier Senior Center on Nov. 25. “These are teams that are going to be winning championships and bowl games.”
Cropper, a 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back, receiver and kick returner, spurned schools such as Nebraska, Utah and Cal for the opportunity to suit up for the hometown Bulldogs.
His decision could influence other local recruits, a big boost for Jeff Tedford’s program.
Under Tedford, Fresno State has made a remarkable turnaround, going 21-6 including berths in two Mountain West Championship games after the Bulldogs went 1-11 in 2016.
“I love to compete and that’s why I wanted to be a Bulldog,” Cropper added.
He can officially sign on Dec. 19 and is expected to compete at wide receiver and return kicks.
Cropper is excited about playing in front of friends and family, especially mom Lisette Moreno and dad Aaron Cropper.
“Fresno State and Bulldog fans should be happy because you have a kid that will go 100 percent, [all] out,” said Aaron Cropper. “It’s going to be nice to see and it’s going to be nice to know as a parent that I’m going to be watching him.”
Cropper transferred to Buchanan for his senior season after spending his first three years at Sanger. He helped lead the Bears to the D-I Central Section semifinals, where they lost 24-23 on a last-second field goal to Liberty, a game where the dynamic player returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.