Wednesday, January 13, 1988
Depth - RB (Holland needs help), OL (only 9 OL on roster that have remaining eligibility)
Okay - QB Jackson a good one, but what if he gets hurt?
Defense loses 4 top tacklers (7 of top 10) and wasn't stellar to begin with (35 pts, 457 yds per game). Who will Jackson throw to?
The glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball were addressed as coach Nichols brought in 6 transfers for immediate help, plus a HS signee for the future. Xerxes Griffin, expected to sign with North Dakota State, Floyd Wafer and Isaac Ramirez should improve the defensive line immediately. At linebacker, 5 new recruits were signed, including 2 JC transfers (Ryan Madison and Robbie Prescott) and 2 LSC North transfers (Justin Hannah - NSU, and Ty Gower - SEO), giving the Tigers immediate depth here as well. While not on the list of signings, Alex Woodley (Missouri) and Dominic Brooks (Colorado) are two transfers who could step right in. Woodley may be looked at on offense however. Gower may move from LB to safety as well. To replenish the WR spot, ECU signed Tyrone Gibbs, Illinois St transfer Gerald Loveless, and Quade Soffel from the JC ranks. For the offensive line, 9 HS and 1 JC recruits were brought in. At QB, four were brought in, including Stuart Bishop from Cisco JC for immediate depth behind the talented Marcus Johnson.
The defensive line appears to have been upgraded, especially if you factor in Craig Roark, expected to play last year, but was injured. LB added some experienced players ready to step in. The secondary could be the most improved, depending on where coach Nichols has Woodley and Gower play. The WRs could be better than last year's, and with Johnson more comfortable at QB should be more productive. The running game does not look to be improved upon with no announced RBs signed, and the offensive line questionable on whether it will be better right off the bat. We would expect some more additions at the RB and OL from the JC or DI transfer ranks.
Tuesday, January 12, 1988
Depth - OL, DB, RB (8 of 10 OL will be Srs, need depth behind Birmingham)
Okay - WR (return almost all)
Ryan O'Hara wasn't a world beater, but was a two year starter that needs to be replace. Clewis was a world beater, and the Bronchos likely won't fill that void with equal talent.
Under former head coach Chuck Langston, the Bronchos relied heavily on junior college and D1 transfers to replenish their roster. This year, with Terry Holland in charge, every single recruit signed so far is from the high school ranks, and every one is from Oklahoma. Offensively, UCO signed 8 offensive linemen including Oklahoma all-stars Curtis Baker, Cread Helton, Matt Lantz and Brian McGuire. At QB, OK all-stars Jason Robison and Garrett Valdez may need to be ready to contribute if Clancy doesn't improve his performance over last year (in limited duty). Matt Jackson leads a group of 4 WRs to add depth to a group that returns the top targets from last year. Defensively, Herbert Byrd and five other signees will bolster a line that loses Corey Lewis and Nigel Dawson, but still returns good talent. The secondary is good hands, but Dolphin Davis could be ready to step in if called upon. Where the Bronchos lost the most was at LB, and Bryson Crawford and Tucker Cason may be needed to be ready as true freshmen.
Overall Grade B-
It is certainly understandable for UCO to change how they recruit, and this could turn out to be an excellent class. However, there are some immediate needs that might still be lacking. Who will lead the offense (and an offense averaged 14 points a game) - Colin Clancy, who struggled in limited time last year, one of the two from last year's roster with no college playing experience, or one of the two signees this year? Defensively, you cannot hope to replace Will Clewis with freshmen, but the Bronchos lost two other top LBs as well - that's a tall order for freshmen to try and fill.
Monday, January 11, 1988
Depth - LB, DL, DB, RB (some good players return, especially DB Mondy and RB Lewis, but need more around them)
Okay - ST (first team kicker, HM punter to return)
Outside of Josh Lewis, the whole offense needs to be replenished or upgraded. The defense looks to be in better shape, but won't get the Riverhawks to the playoffs on their own.
New coach Kenny Evans addressed the Riverhawks offensive line needs by bringing in 8 linemen, including 4 JC transfers. QB was a problem last year, but D'Marquis Wilson should provide an immediate upgrade. Wilson comes to NSU by way of the North Texas (and before that Coffeyville CC, and he originally signed with Arkansas out of HS). Kenny Davis looks like a great recruit for the future. Darrin Allen and Tristan Thomas should step right into the mix at WR. The Riverhawks return 10 of their top 13 tacklers so there wasn't a lot of immediat needs, but 8 of them will be seniors so depth and future needs were a concern. Five LBs led by Beau Beathard were signed, and 4 of the 8 linemen signed could go either offense or defense. Josh Lewis is set to return for 2 more years at RB, but 3 more RB recruits were brought in for depth.
Overall Grade B+
The most glaring needs at QB and WR were addressed, but how good will the offensive line be? The Riverhawks look to be well stocked at LB for the future, but with so many seniors on defense next fall, extra HS recruits on the defensive line and in the secondary would have been welcome.
Sunday, January 10, 1988
Depth - top RB and QBs will be Srs
Okay - DL and DB each return 2 first team All-LSC players
The Lions will have a lot of seniors returning. A good chance for them to have that breakout year that has been expected in recent times.
The Lions need help at WR and got it with the additions of transfers Willie Thorton (from Central Florida where he was the teams fourth leading receiver as a soph), Ernest Quander (who will have three years of eligibility remaining) and Matt McClaren. Offensive line also needed some immediate help, and transfers Daniel Stantz and Danny Rios should fit right in. No LBs were signed despite losing some good talent there. Maurice DuPont will add depth at RB behind Nabil El-Amin. Stephen Payne is a great addition at QB, but should be able to sit back and learn from Terry Mayo next fall. The DL added a couple of JC transfers, Glendale teammates Bryan Lynch and Ander Magee. A J Billings from Kilgore JC, will add depth to the defensive backfield that should have a couple of first team all conference players back.
Overall Grade B -
The Lions did a good job at addressing the WR position, but will need some current players to step in on the offensive line to replace 6 seniors on the team last year. Who will replace Fifita at LB? Payne looks like a terriffic addition for the future at QB. DL replaced the numbers lost, but not sure if Smith and Lujan's talent was adequately replaced. DB and RB look to be in better shape than last year. With a lot of seniors next fall, this would have been a great year to add a big HS class for the future.
Saturday, January 9, 1988
Depth - QB, WR, DB (Day only QB with experience, Haggerty only WR w/more than 20 catches)
Okay - LB, Special Teams (McCoy and Franklin return at LB)
SWO needs to replenish the lines and add some playmakers on offense.
SWO's primary goal was to upgrade its athleticism especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs 24 offensive touchdowns ranked them 10th in the LSC and they had only three plays last season that went for 50+ yards. RB Luke Lundy led all Nebraska high schoolers in rushing with 2,441 yards in 2006. He ended his career at Auburn NB with 5,022 yards. Junior college signee (1 star) Ovie Esalomi, 5-9, 175, WR/RB, averaged 8.8 yards on 68 carries at New Mexico Military and should give the Bulldogs a needed game-breaker. WR Brandon Dixon (Highland Community) is 6-3 207 and runs a 4.47 forty, was a second-team Kansas Jayhawk Community College pick after catching 30 balls for 506 yards and five touchdowns became available when TCU backed off him late.
Defensively, SWO will overhaul a secondary that finished tied for last in interceptions with nine. The Bulldogs will have 3/4th's of the College of DuPage's starting secondary joining them this spring. Cornerback Carlos Bates and Jeff Lemon had initial interest from some Big XII North schools and along with teammate and safety Sam Nwafor should make the Bulldogs better. The starting lineup could also include Shane Scott a hard-hitting safety from American River who has looked good in off-season drills. John Kaye and Iziah Perry are two high school signees that add depth. Lorenzo Martinez and Chris Lyon will bolster the defensive line, and Ethan Davis joins a LB crew that returns largely intact.
Overall Grade - B
Overall: SWO didn't add any experienced offensive linemen, so they will need the young offensive line returnees to develop quickly and provide protection for junior-to-be quarterback Steve Day who will take over full time as the signal caller. Depth at QB could be an issue throught the season as well. It appears that WR Johnathan Haggerty, an all-conference pick as a freshman and sophomore, got some help as playmakers were added at the RB and WR positions. Defensively, SWO will again be solid but they are hoping for specactular with a new secondary being put in place. Starting linebackers Greg Franklin and Ruzell McCoy are back and the defensive line should get a boost from former starter Cory Summers who sit out 2007 with a shoulder injury.
Friday, January 8, 1988
Needs - DL, RB (lose top 2 DL, and RB Sean Cooper)
Depth - OL, LB, DB (lose 3 OL)
Okay - WR, QB (Top 5 receivers return + maybe some ineligilble from last year, QB moves to needs if Pitrucha isn't back)
SEO's recruiting class will be a success if Justin Pitrucha is eligible in the fall. Defense needs to get better, esepcially against the run.
The Savage Storm need to shore up a defense that allowed 100 more yards and 11 more points per game than the prior year. The most pressing need is on the defensive line, where the top two linemen were lost to graduation. A couple of DI transfers, Phillip Jones (Texas Tech) and Jesse Hernandez (Missouri) should provid immediate help, while Rodney Payne and Justin Cordova provide depth for the future. The linebacker position and defensive backfield didn't suffer the same losses, but Michael Anguiano at LB and Mike Scott at CB could help out right away. Offensively, needs to improve a running game that was 11th in the LSC, and averaged only 3.0 per carry and lost long-time contributor Sean Cooper. Cordney Smith, from Baylor, and Baylen Lauren, from Northern Iowa, shoud be ready to step right in. The Storm have to replace 3 linemen as well and Bryan Bethea and Jesse Renschler lead a group of 7 signees to try and do just that. QB should be in good hands if two time All-Conference Justin Pitrucha regains his eligibility, if not look for Logan Parker to be in the mix. Whoever the QB is, there will be plenty of targets returning with Keon Rucker and Jeremy Witherspoon leading a talented group of 8 newcomers.
Overall Grade A-
The Savage Storm filled their most pressing needs at DL and RB with players who should be ready right away, while adding depth everywhere else. If Pitrucha doesn't return, uncertainty at the QB position would drop the grade down to a B.
Wednesday, January 6, 1988
Depth - OL, QB (OL only loses two but needs to improve, only had 3 QBs last year, all frosh and all played)
Okay - WR, LB (should return everyone at these spots)
Didn't lose many seniors, but are thin at spots and need to get better at others.
Texas A&M-Kingsville is looking for a starting RB (or maybe two or three to share the load), so Jonathan Woodson, a Scout.com 2 star recruit, and Mitchell Swan might get a chance early to contribute. On the defensive line, DTs were needed, but the best new Javelinas are DEs Ryan Deal, Steven Ogebedie and Spenser Duncan. Jonathan McCray, Zack Pate, and Cody Daniels lead a group of 7 signings to bolster the secondary that loses 3 starters. While TAMK lost only one starter on the offensive line, they got two D1 transfers in Chris Herrerra (Mississippi St) and Chris Hudgins (Missouri), plus Cisco JC transfer Chris Luckey, a first team all-SWJCFC honoree last fall. For the future, Jose Trevino and Sid Cheatham are two HS recruits ranked by Scout.com. QB Logan Morris provides depth at QB and was a first team all-SWJCFC performer for Kilgore last year. WR is not an area of immediate concern, but the Javelinas still brought in several recruits, led by Sherman Batiste, Paul Fontenot and Chandler Hill. LB is also an area where TAMK has depth, and Chris Jones will add to that.
Overall Grade B+
TAMK appears to have addressed most of their needs, and the OL looks to have received an upgrade in talent, another DT addition wouldn't hurt.
Depth - DL, LB, DB (take out Bacone and OPSU games, ENMU gave up 440+ yds and 34 pts per game)
The Greyhounds are apparently throwing in the towel on the option, which means they basically need to replace their offense. Defense loses some of their better players and they struggled as it was.
The Greyhounds venture into the spread offense and retooled their offense big-time. QBs Shaun Rutherford, JJ Harp and Travis Chrisman all threw for 3,000+ yards last year. Matt Handler and JJ James lead a group of five WRs, who combined to catch over 250 passes for over 3,400 yds. Joseph Banyard transfers in from TCU at RB. He and Keith Flye highlight a group of 6 RBs that should give the new offense some balance. Evan Fraley and six fellow offensive linemen (5 of the 7 are listed at 300+ lbs.) could offer immediate help to the offensive line. Defensively, there haven't been any drastic changes in philosophy announced. Nick Adams and All-State Josey Childs and 2006 HM All-State Isaiah Yandall bolster the DL. LBs added three, including Edward Zamora. Only 2 DBs were signed, but Reggie Butler could help out early on.
Overall Grade A
Coach Ribaudo didn't mess around with the offensive switch, bringing in several quality recruits, some of whom might get the starting nod as true freshmen. That might cause the team to endure some lumps early on, but will pay dividends down the road. Defensively, a few more additions, especially linebacker where they are undersized, would make this class even better.
Tuesday, January 5, 1988
Depth - DL, DB (lose 2 second team All-LSC DL, and 1 first and 2 second teamers at DB)
Okay - RB, LB (plenty of good bodies to replace those leaving)
The Mustangs find themselves looking for a new QB, but it wouldn't fair to expect someone to do what Daniel Polk did for MSU. Zack Eskridge and Brandon Kelsey were brought in to join the 4 QBs currently on the roster to compete for the job. Eskridge, a TCU transfer, was a Scout.com 2 star recruit out of HS, while Kelsey is rated a 1 star prospect. MSU also has to replace the top 2 WRs from last year and brought in 3 HS recruits to bolster the returning corps. The offensive line could get some immediate help from Tulsa transfer Brandon Washington and Matt Hanson from Sacremento City CC, while Adam Lambert is a player to keep an eye on. One area that the Mustangs look to have upgraded immediately is the defensive line with a trio from Navarro JC - Apollos Daily, Sharod Basey, and Chaz Walker - could step in immediately for MSU, while KK Francis is another name for the future. Ray Daniels is the one that Coach Maskill specifically pointed out, but Cameron Onic, Jeremy Hernandez and Bert Boudreaux will also try to bolster a secondary that loses Frank Brown and Darron Harbert. The top RBs are expected to return next year, but Lester Bush from Galena Park could find himself in the mix. MSU didn't lose much at LB, but Brandon Onu could step in and contribute right away.
Overall Grade B
Obviously the QB position will be scrutinized, but who will step up at WR? Other positions look to be in good hands.
Monday, January 4, 1988
Depth - DL (Miles will be hard to replace)
Okay - QB, RB, WR (good and good depth at all the offensive skill positions)
Coach McElroy was busy on defense, adding transfers McNeal Uwajeh and Jordan Walker in the defensive backfield, Gary Ragston at linebacker (not on TSU's SID list, but mentioned in various publications as having signed), and Clayton Byrd on the defensive line. Look for some freshmen to contribute next year as well - Matt Knicky in the secondary and Steven Welch (who could be a huge steal as SFA de-offered late in the recruiting season), Michael Damron, and Gary Green all on the defensive line. Offensively, the gem might well be TE Tanner Maher, a transfer from Fullerton CC. Ricky McNatt and Mike Hernandez should be ready to step in and bolster the offensive line. Nate Golden was a 2 star recruit by Scout.com. Jake Fenske and Blair Johnson bring more depth to the QB position, but if Grantham and Page stay healthy, they won't be rushed onto the field. At RB, the Texans added Eddie Brown to a spot that is very deep. Same for Danny Swan at WR.
Overall Grade B+
Overall a good, solid class. Not all of the defensive holes were filled with experienced players. The current roster may have the answers, but until they snap the ball, you just never know. A few more transfers would take a little of the uncertainty away, and bump this up to a solid A.
Sunday, January 3, 1988
Depth - OL, RB, QB (good players in place, just need more)
Okay - WR (not scheduled to lose anyone)
Angelo State is very young, and could use help all over (even more depth at WR wouldn't be a bad thing.)
That was the synopsis, but surprisingly the Rams have only announced 9 signings so far. Coach Carr is expecting immediate help from the JC transfers - RB Dwight Pete, WR Robert Boone, DL Calvin France, and LB Sir'Ron DeWitt. The HS group is small in number and is highlighted by OL Andrew Krutsinger.
Overall Grade C -
It doesn't appear the defense got nearly the help needed to improve drastically from last year. Unless more signings are on the way, improvement will have to come from the current roster. Offensively, the Rams didn't need as much immediate help and added some pieces for the future.
Saturday, January 2, 1988
Depth - WR, LB (need a WR to keep teams from double teaming Knox, lose steady LB Stutts)
Okay - QB, RB, DB (top 3 QBs back, top 3 RBs back, DB is deep w/returnees)
Will Foster and Blake Gunderson are the two offensive linemen signed. Jacoby Johnson, Armonty Bryant, and Felix Odighibor will provide depth at defensive line. Doug Pierce and Gary Edwards, teamed with returnees Johnny Knox and Edmund Gates could give the Wildcats the most dangerous quartet of receivers in the nation. Only two LBs signed, but L. B. Suggs might get some playing time if the defense struggles again. Took another step toward the post-Billy Malone era, signing Mitchell Gale from Alva, Oklahoma. He is likely to redshirt this fall. The Wildcats thought they were going to be getting Marcus Jackson, who ended up at West Texas A&M. Not an immediate concern, with Bernard Scott, Kebron Lampkin, Taber Minner, and Patrick Washington expected to be back. Danny Jackson and Kyle Godbolt could provide immediate help, while AJ Miller, Arthur Reed and Jaqua Charleston might not be counted on right away.
The Wildcats added some solid players in most areas, though some might not be ready to contribute to a playoff run next year. The paradox is that they are loaded with seniors and this year might be their window of opportunity. The new additions at WR should contribute immediately, but its unclear on how much immediate help they will get in the areas where they lost the most from last year - on the offensive and defensive lines.
Friday, January 1, 1988
Depth - LB, DB, DL (a lot of seniors in these spots next year)
Okay - QB, RB, WR (good and deep here with backups ready to contribute when called upon)
Overall Grade: A
The three-time defending LSC champions aren't sitting on their laurels. Coach Carthel signed a huge high school class - 50 at this point. He didn't sacrifice quality for quantity either. Every position has recruits that were star-rated by Scout.com, but with the players expected to return to WTAM in the fall, few will be pressed into service. Seven offensive linement, led by Hunter Hettick and Aaron Mullane, were signed, but look for some JC signees later on as well. Denarious Marshall, and Taylor McCuller are the top recruits in the group of 11 LBs. Curtis Slater leads a relatively small group of 4 defensive backs. WT signed 8 HS defensive linemen with Bo Campbell, Demetrius Daniels, Blake Nusser and Aaron Wampler bringing great potential and depth. Not really needing a QB with Null and Harris returning plus Kyler Hill redshirting last year, the Buffs go out and sign 4 (5 if you count Spenser Lackey). Kyler Crenshaw, Kevin Smith, and Tanner Marsh were top-notch QBs in HS, but its highly unlikely that any of them will see the field with so many returning QBs in front of them. Jamaal Mitchell and Marcus Jackson provide depth behind Flemming, McKnight and Michael Dugat who redshirted last year. You can really never have enough WRs in the WT offense, so WT has signed 12 so far. Kortney McDow, Coby Jones and Tyson Williams may find themselves contributing soon.
Keep in mind, the recruiting class currently is limited to high school signees. Junior college and four year college transfers have not been announced, and there will almost assuredly be several. That could easily bump this grade up to an A+.