Aztec Notebook : Jennings Will Stay With Football Team

Times Staff Writer

Jim Jennings, who started at fullback for the San Diego State football team last season but then considered transferring after being moved to linebacker, will stay and play offensive guard, Coach Al Luginbill said this week.

Jennings said last month that he had received permission from SDSU Athletic Director Fred Miller to contact other schools about transferring. But Luginbill said Jennings has decided to remain at SDSU after a meeting in which it was decided he would be moved to guard.

“Jim was excited about the switch,” Luginbill said. “It was an idea that we have been kicking around. Jim felt more comfortable with trying guard. It should be an easier transition.”

Jennings said he considered leaving after the fullback position was eliminated as part of Luginbill’s proposed switch to a one-back offense. Jennings, a 6-foot 4-inch, 245-pound freshman from San Marcos High School, started all but one game for the Aztecs last season after red-shirting in 1987. He was third on the team in rushing with 31 carries for 104 yards and 1 touchdown and seventh in receptions with 13 for 81 yards.


Luginbill said is optimistic about the Aztecs’ chances for landing a strong group of recruits.

Luginbill, who said he has been active in most areas of the state, said the Aztecs have 25 scholarships available and that he expects to award all of them beginning Feb. 8, the first day high school seniors may sign national letters of intent.

At least seven seniors have announced oral commitments to attend SDSU.

One community college player who reportedly has made a commitment will not enroll for the start of the spring semester. Calvin Thomas, a defensive lineman from Compton Community College, was not granted admission to SDSU and will have to find another school.

Defensive lineman Brad Burton, who missed the final four games last season because of a staph infection in his ankle, is questionable for the start of spring practice April 3, trainer Brian Barry said.

Barry said team physicians want to be sure Burton has completely recovered from the infection before allowing him to practice. Burton wears a brace on his ankle and has not been given permission to resume working out, Barry said.

Luginbill also said that he has asked offensive tackle Joe Heinz to lose 65 pounds before the start of spring practice. Luginbill said Heinz already has lost 30 pounds, down to 300, and that he wants him to report to spring practice at 265. Heinz, a 6-3 freshman from Chula Vista High School, red-shirted last season.

Three of former Coach Denny Stolz’s four assistant coaches who were not retained by Luginbill have found employment elsewhere.

Jon Hoke has moved to Kent State as secondary coach. Wayne Moses is at New Mexico as running backs coach. And Mike Nelson is coaching the defensive line at Kansas State. Only Dana Bible, offensive coordinator under Stolz, has not accepted a new position.

The Aztecs open their baseball season Wednesday at home against University of San Diego, but they will get an unofficial start Sunday with an alumni game at Smith Field at 2 p.m.

The game is part of a weekend of baseball alumni activities that begin with a golf tournament Saturday and continue Sunday starting with an old-timers game at 10 a.m.

Coach Jim Dietz figures to have one of his stronger teams in recent years--the entire starting rotation returns from a team that finished 47-18-1.

The Aztecs are ranked 15th in Baseball America and 26th in Collegiate Baseball preseason polls.

The Aztec volleyball team will play host to the 8-team Asics Tiger tournament this week at three sites in San Diego.

All eight teams are in the Top 20 in Volleyball Monthly magazine’s preseason rankings.

No. 12 SDSU will open in Pool A against No. 15 Navy at 10 a.m. in the Horizon International Athletic Center. The Aztecs will close Pool A play against No. 5 UC Santa Barbara at 8 p.m. Rounding out Pool A is No. 11 Ball State.

No. 17 UC San Diego will play in Pool B against No. 9 Cal State Long Beach at noon and against No. 13 Rutgers Newark at 6 p.m. Pool B matches will be held at the Lawrence Jewish Community Center in La Jolla. No. 2 Hawaii is the pool’s top team.

Final-round play will be held at Peterson Gym begining at 11 a.m. and concluding with the championship game at 7:30 p.m.