Monday, April 13, 2009

Abilene Christian - 2009 Recruiting Class

Need Help:
Running Back - Losing two-time All American, Bernard Scott, the Harlon Hill winner (and back to back 2,100+ yds rushing) automatically means you need some help. Throw in Taber Minner's and Chauncy Campbell's departures and it becomes worse. Patrick Washington is the only running back from the 2008 roster scheduled to come back.

Wide Receiver - Another position losing a lot of talent - All-American Johnny Knox, TEs Kendrick Holloway (1st LSC South) and Ryan Keeling, WRs Jonathan Ferguson (2nd LSC South), Chris Morris, Rodney Freeman, andTyjuan Manning. Edmund Gates (1st LSC South) returns, but no other returning receiver caught more than 2 passes.

Need Depth:
Offensive Line - The Wildcats will miss All Americans Sam Collins and Joseph Thompson, but do have All American Tony Washington back, as well as Trevis Turner and Royland Tubbs (both 2nd LSC South). Four linemen will be seniors this fall.

Defensive Line - ACU lost three defensive linemen from last year, including Vantrise Studivant (1st LSC South). Aston Whiteside (1st LSC South) leads the returnees, which also include Nick Jones, Tony Metoyer and Ryan Smith. Could use some more experience here.

Good Quality/Depth:
Quarterback - Replacing the all-time leading passer in LSC history (Billy Malone) should mean that there will be a dropoff this fall. But Zach Stewart filled in very well in two starts last fall, and Clark Harrell and Mitchell Gale each had good springs.

Linebackers - Mike Kern (1st LSC South) will be missed, but Fred Thompson (1st LSC South), Bryson Lewis (2nd LSC South) and Eric Edwards (HM LSC South) return to lead a deep group of linebackers.

Defensive Backs - Nick Fellows (2nd LSC South) was a senior last year, but ACU returns Tony Harp (1st LSC South), Alex Harbison (2nd LSC South), Craig Harris (2nd LSC South), Drew Cuffee (HM LSC South), and several others who received a lot of playing time last year. There are five seniors in the group.

The Wildcats not only had 23 seniors on last year's roster, but that included the Harlon Hill winner and several other All Americans as well. They brought in several transfers to fill the immediate needs. Kyle Fox (Angelo State) and Reggie Brown (Blinn JC) will attempt to fill the void left behind by Bernard Scott. Kendrick Johnson (Kilgore College) will try to give ACU another receiving target, keeping teams from doubling up on Edmund Gates. Buck Burnette (Texas) should help the offensive line, and Marvin Jones (Laney College) is expected to fill the nose tackle slot. ACU also had an outstanding high school class - QB John David Baker, RBs Daryl Cantu-Harkless and Amon Pimpton, WRs Tayler Gabriel, Darian Hogg, Chris Allen, Caleb Winthorw and Josh Fellows, TEs Ryan Eastman and Tyler Sutton, OL Blake Spears, LBs Thor Woerner, Blake Rudd and Tanner Estes, and DBs Stephun Hazlett and Demetric Lee - and should help keep the good times rolling in Abilene.

LSC Rank: 2

Overall Grade: A+
With all the talent that ACU lost from 2008, recruiting this year was a tall task. But ACU has solid talent to step up in several spots, and did a good job in trying to fill other spots. Their HS class should be ready to compete for spots in a year or two.

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