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Talianko knows way to San Jose

Football: St. Francis senior receiver/safety commits to accept scholarship, play for Spartans.

October 05, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
(Raul Roa/Staff…)

With just shy of four football seasons' worth of tackle football experience under his belt, St. Francis High senior Travis Talianko has already assured himself the opportunity of four more years of football.

On Wednesday morning, the Golden Knights receiver and safety verbally committed to play football at San Jose State University.

"They're the only team that's been straight up with me, they've been the most realistic," Talianko said. "I really like what they're doing, they're building something."

A 6-foot-1, 200-pound prospect, Talianko said he also drew interest from Arizona State, UCLA, Nevada and San Diego State, among others. But, along with its honest approach, San Jose State also brought an urgency to the table that appealed to Talianko.

"There wasn't a lot of urgency from the other schools," he said. "It's not something I wanted to have hang over the season. It feels good.

"I dealt with the circus, if you could call it that, it's not like it was that much. There's worse problems to have, but it does feel good to have it off my back."

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Now a two-way standout, it's unclear if Talianko will settle into the Spartans roster as a receiver or safety.

"I have no idea, but it doesn't matter," said Talianko, who expressed his willingness to play wherever the Spartans want and need him. "Receiver's what I'm good at. … Over the season, I've grown to have a pretty strong affection for the safety position."

St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds has never hesitated to say that Talianko has the best pair of hands he's ever seen for a high school receiver.

"I'm an offensive guy and I see those hands and I think what a waste not to have him as a slot receiver, using that athletic ability to get yards after the catch," Bonds said.

But, despite originally being recruited as an "athlete" by San Jose State, Bonds said most of the recruits he's talked to have been looking at Talianko as a safety.

A receiver since his days playing flag football, Talianko will enter a Spartans program in which its starting safeties in the team's 4-3 defense are a senior and a junior. In all, the Spartans have eight safeties on their roster — two seniors, four juniors, one sophomore and one freshman. Offensively, San Jose State runs a three-wide offense and all three of its starting receivers are underclassmen, including a freshman. The Spartans have 12 rostered receivers — two seniors, three sophomores and seven freshmen.

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