SAN JOSE -- David Fales had no interest in playing for San Jose State coming out of high school, and then-coach Dick Tomey wasn't clamoring to get him.
"I was like, 'I'm not coming here,' " Fales said of SJSU. "I was recruited, and Coach Tomey didn't want to bring me on because there was no film of me running."
Dual-threat quarterbacks were, and still are, the rage in college football, and Fales does not fit that mold. Instead, he's a pocket-passing gunslinger who broke every significant single-season SJSU passing record last year.
Now, with some legitimate star power on the field with him, Fales is back to lead the Spartans in his senior season. He hopes this year will serve as an encore to last season's 11-2 Military Bowl-winning campaign that goes down as the best in the school's major college football history.
The season begins Thursday at 7 p.m. against Sacramento State. Fales, who is 3,355 yards and 26 touchdowns away from breaking the school's career records in those categories, seems destined to go down as one of the best quarterbacks in school history.
"He's a very humble guy," senior wide receiver Noel Grigsby said. "Now he's stepping into more of a leadership role, and I'm right behind him. I love David like a brother. He's always willing to learn more. He never shows anybody up."
Plenty of attention was directed toward Fales during the offseason. Not Johnny Manziel-type attention -- Fales roomed with the Heisman Trophy winner at the Elite 11 camp and learned some of what the Texas A&M quarterback has to deal with -- but Fales has seen his share of national press.
Requests for his time are "clearly more" than when Jeff Garcia was at SJSU in the 1990s, according to longtime sports information director Lawrence Fan.
He's caught the eye of NFL scouts, some of whom laud him as a potential first-round pick, while others question his arm strength that he's spent the offseason improving.
"A lot of people still have questions about what he can or can't do, but David doesn't worry about that," Grigsby said. "He just wants to win games and have fun. He has the million dollar smile on his face all the time."
The smile wasn't always there. He began his career at Nevada and quickly learned the Wolf Pack wouldn't be switching back to a passing offense after Colin Kaepernick graduated, as Fales was told during his recruitment.
After transferring to Monterey Peninsula College, he split time at quarterback for the first five games and began questioning himself. But he also learned some maturity.
"I had the mindset, 'I'm a Division I player, I'm going to a JC, I'm going to be the guy,' " Fales said. "But you've got to compete and earn everything. It was definitely a big transition period for me."
Although San Jose State showed little interested in Fales out of high school, it was the only big school to come calling after his two years at Monterey Peninsula.
Fales ended up stepping in to a perfect situation last year and thrived. Now, he has made the transition to new coach Ron Caragher's staff easier.
"It's great to have a field general who's really an extension of the coaching staff and your philosophy," Caragher said. "He's a competitor, he's a leader."