LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 19: Defensive lineman Cade Hall #92 of the San Jose State Spartans raises the Mountain West Championship game defensive MVP trophy after the team defeated the Boise State Broncos 34-20 in the Mountain West Football Championship at Sam Boyd Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by David J. Becker/Getty Images

San Jose State Football Preview 2023: Spartans Aim to Reign

San Jose State football has an outstanding quarterback, positive momentum, and a Mountain West title game berth on the mind in 2023.

The San Jose State Spartans in 2018 were 1-11, then two years later in 2020 they went 7-1 with a Mountain West title in the CoVid year. Last season they went 7-5. The Spartans' stock is rising, as the trend proves.

Head coach Brent Brennan has 14 starters back this year and an offense that is locked and loaded with talent, with studs on both sides of the ball. The Spartans want to get back to the Mountain West title game and this roster very well could do it. 

San Jose State 2023 PREVIEW

THE CONF.: Mountain West Conference (NOTE: The MWC has done away with divisions in 2023)

2022 RECORD: 7-5 played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, losing to Eastern Michigan 41-27. 

CONF. FINISH: 5-3 and finished 3rd in the West Division. 

HEAD COACH: Brent Brennan enters his 7th year at the helm, with a record of 27-42.


Chevan Cordeiro Sr./QB (259-427 (60.1%), 3,251 yards 23 TD's 6 INTs, 138 carries 568 yards 9 TD's, 2nd Team MW in 22); Kairee Robinson Sr./RB (157 carries 787 yards 10 Td's, 26 receptions 144 yards) Justin Lockheart Sr./WR (36 catches 578 yards 1 TD, named to the preseason All-Conference team. Bryun Parham Jr./LB (74 Tackles, 3 sacks, 2 TFL, and 2 pass breakups) Tre Jenkins Sr./SS (60 tackles, 2 sacks, 5 TFL, 5 pass breakups and 2 Int's). 


Jay Butterfield So./QB; Butterfield shouldn't make an impact this season, if he does that means there was an injury to the talented Cordeiro. Butterfield could continue the success the Spartans have seen at QB when he gets a chance next year. A 6-6 QB with a rocket arm gives the Spartans a QB of the future. 

Chevan Cordeiro

San Jose State QB Chevan Cordeiro is one of the top signal callers in the Mountain West (PHOTO CREDIT: San Jose State football)


This team is built to win a title now. QB Chevan Cordeiro was extremely productive last season and there is reason to believe he will be over 4,000 yards passing and 30 TDs this year. The offensive line returns largely intact with eight players back that started at least one game on the offensive line. Starters are back in the skill positions like RB Kairee Robinson and WR Justin Lockheart.

When you look at what Brennan added from the transfer portal it was skill depth. In the RB room, it was Utah Tech RB Quali Conley who ran for 1,095 yards his last year at the FCS school. Another area was the defensive line where the Spartans added several talented JUCO players. In the secondary, they added CB D.J. Harvey from Virginia Tech.

The big question for the Spartans' defense is replacing the sack production. Out of the 39 sacks produced from last season, 26 of those sacks are gone. But big things are expected by JUCO DL Tavarious Pitts, a Top 20 nationally ranked JUCO prospect. The sack production in 2022 led to 14 interceptions for the secondary. The secondary brings back a lot of experience like safety Tre Jenkins.

The schedule for the Spartans is interesting. They have winnable games against weakened Oregon State and a very intriguing matchup against MAC top dog Toledo. They open conference play with two Mountain West frontrunners — Air Force at home and at Boise State. So the first half of the schedule will say a lot about this team. The second half of the schedule eases up until the middle of November when they see Fresno State and San Diego St.


This is easy: Sept. 23 against Air Force. The Falcons have a tough team but San Jose State does get this matchup at home. Taking on Air Force's option is going to be tough; it is tough for everybody. Air Force is a contender and was picked 2nd in the Mountain West preseason poll. The last meeting was in 2020, when the Spartans won the contest 17-6. It's been two years since San Jose State has seen the option attack. The defense will need to be sound in its assignments. 


Oct. 7 at Boise State. In 2023 the Spartans have to be better on the road. They were 6-0 at home but 1-4 on the road last year. If the Spartans want to be Mountain West champ they have to go to Boise and come away with a win. This will be the toughest game on the road besides the non-conference game against Toledo. This game is in October so cold weather shouldn't play a massive factor in this one. 


This team is an easy contender for the MWC title game. With the amount of experience with 14 starters back, it feels like it could be a special year for the Spartans. The Spartans do have a very tough schedule, especially in conference play. They play all four top contenders Boise State, Air Force, San Diego State, and Fresno State — schedule rotation was not kind.

The good news is three of the four matchups are at home in their newly remodel Spartan Stadium. San Jose opens with Air Force then a bye week to prepare to go to Boise. At the end of the year, they finish with Fresno and San Diego.  With arguably the best QB in the league the Spartans have a chance in every game but it is a gauntlet.  

Marist Talavou

San Jose State's Marist Talavou will be be a big-time contributor this fall (PHOTO CREDIT: San Jose State Athletics)


The Spartans are going to be a fun team to watch in 2023. San Jose State will see defending conference champion Fresno State on Nov. 11, and then the next week will see San Diego State on Nov. 18.

If the Spartans can fix their road woes this season they could be playing in the Mountain West title game. The Spartans are just too good across the board — with a favorable home schedule — to not be in it if things go well. There is a concern about the lack of sack production coming back and how that might impact turnovers.

Having an elite QB like Cordeiro puts them in title contention. He will be an exciting prospect to watch to see if his name gets more love from NFL scouts. If the Spartans fall short then it will feel like a failed season. This is the Mountain West title-or-nothing type of season for San Jose State.

MORE: Mountain West Preview: Boise State Should Supplant Fresno State