David Fales showing off his arm
It has been said many times that one cannot fit a square peg into a round hole.
Many have also experienced the frustration of going to a shoe store and trying on several pairs of footwear before finding the perfect fit.
Those two experiences symbolize the trials and tribulations of David Fales, the starting quarterback for the San Jose State Spartans.
Coming from Salinas, Calif., Fales thought he was headed on an easy path to success after being a two-time all-league quarterback and the Tri-County League Most Valuable Player as a high school senior.
However, he didn't receive many college scholarship offers.
Fales decided to accept the first offer that came his way, and he signed with the University of Nevada after the 2008 season. In 2009, Colin Kaepernick, a second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, was fully entrenched as the starting quarterback and two years ahead of Fales.
Fales was redshirted and lasted just one season with the Wolf Pack. He realized Nevada was not a proper fit for him.
Fales is a pocket passer, and Nevada wanted him to run the ball more than throw it.
Fales then decided to be closer to home and attend Monterey Peninsula College. In two years at MPC running a pro-style offense, he completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 4,635 yards and 27 touchdowns.
As a sophomore, Fales ranked among the state's top 10 in number of completions, completion percentage, passing yards, passing efficiency and touchdowns passes. While at MPC, he was selected as a First-team All-Coast Conference quarterback twice.
After his redshirt freshman season, the Wyoming Cowboys recruited Fales as a non-scholarship player. He spent part of the summer of 2011 in Laramie taking one class.
It didn't take long for Fales to decide that Wyoming was not the place for him, and he returned to MPC.
In 2011, Fales led MPC to a Coast Conference co-championship and an appearance in the Sierra Central Credit Union Bowl. Scholarship offers did not come rushing in despite Fales' success in junior college.
It looked like Fales was going to enroll at Indiana State, an FCS institution.
Unexpectedly, the San Jose State Spartans entered into the picture. Mike MacIntyre, the head coach at SJSU, thought Michigan transfer Tate Forcier was his quarterback of the future. However, as the fall semester of 2011 came to a close, Forcier decided to leave school.
At first, MacIntyre was interested in another quarterback that was going into his senior year. MacIntyre decided that Fales would be the better option since he had two years of eligibility remaining.
In addition, San Jose State runs a similar offense to that of MPC.
Finally, the jigsaw pieces were fitting together for Fales; he was finally leaving the land of misfit quarterbacks.
Fales enrolled in January of 2012 and entered into a three-way battle for the starting quarterback position. Fales quickly jumped ahead of Blake Jurich and Dasmen Stewart during spring drills.
In the Spring Game, Fales completed 16-of-23 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown. MacIntyre was impressed by Fales' ability to throw accurately while performing rollouts, bootlegs, five-step drops and seven-step drops.
Based on Fales' performance during the spring, he was named the starting quarterback for the opening game against the Stanford Cardinal.
Playing his first game at the FBS level against a Pac-12 school didn't faze Fales at all.
Fales threw for 217 yards and one touchdown as the Spartans narrowly lost to the Cardinal 20-17. As the season has progressed, Fales' performances keep improving.
Six games into the season, Fales has completed 162 of his 216 attempts (75.0 percent) for 1,867 yards with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He is ranked eighth in the FBS in completions per game (27.0) and 12th in passing yards per game (311.17).
Fales' 163.16 passing efficiency places him ninth in the FBS. He is on pace to set school single-season records in yards per game, completion percentage and touchdowns.
More importantly, the 6'3", 220-lb junior has led the Spartans to a 6-2 record.
San Jose State has not achieved a winning record since 2006.
One of Fales' greatest attributes is his ability to stay calm in pressure situations and remain confident when his team is behind. Narrowly failing to complete the comeback against Stanford, he rebounded three weeks later to throw three touchdowns in the final 12 minutes of the game to give San Jose State a 38-34 victory over the San Diego State Aztecs.
Fales' competitive spirit was on display on Oct. 13 against the Utah State Aggies when he threw for 467 yards and three touchdowns, despite being sacked 13 times in the contest.
Fales is clearly the best quarterback San Jose State has had since Jeff Garcia played for the Spartans from 1991-93. Fans of SJSU are excited to see more of Fales' exploits for the rest of this season and hopefully next year when the Spartans move to the Mountain West Conference.
It is amazing how much success Fales is having now that he finally put the square peg into the square hole.
If the shoe fits—play football at San Jose State!