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Frank Solich Announces 2005 Ohio Football Signings

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Frank Solich Announces 2005 Ohio Football Signings

Contact: Jim Stephan

2/2/2005


2004 Kentucky Player of the Year Lee Renfro (seated, middle) was one of the 27 players to sign a national letter-of-intent with the Bobcats today. Seated with him are his mother Sandy and his father Graves. In the back row are (left to right) Southwestern High School principal Boyd Randolph, football coach Dale Anderson and athletic director Greg Scholl.

  • Press Conference Video Part 1 (.mov)
  • Press Conference Video Part 2 (.mov)
  • Press Conference Video Part 3 (.mov)

    ATHENS, Ohio – The 2005 Ohio University signing class has a heavy Ohio flavor with 12 of the 27 players coming from in-state, head coach Frank Solich announced today. The class is represented by 11 states and features three mid-year transfers. A full transcript of the press conference is located at the bottom of this page.

    Spencer Farley, TB, 5-8, 205, Morgantown, W.Va. (Morgantown)
    A three-year letterwinner at Morgantown High School... rushed for 2,374 yards on 231 carries, while scoring 53 touchdowns as a senior in 2004... finished his career with 4,898 yards rushing and 84 touchdowns... a two-time first-team AAA all-state selection... two-time Dominion Post Player of the Year... twice named first-team All-North Central Athletic Conference... conference Player of the Year as a senior... named Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year... led Morgantown to a perfect 14-0 record and an AAA state crown in 2004... Morgantown finished the season ranked 18th nationally by Tony Bianco... an honor roll student... member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

    Josh Febus, QB, 6-2, 205, Dublin, Ohio (Dublin Coffman)
    A three-year letterwinner at Dublin Coffman High School… threw for more than 1,300 yards and ran for more than 800 yards in his senior season… captained Dublin Coffman to a playoff berth in 2004… earned all-Ohio Capital Conference and special mention All-Central District honors.

    Dathan Ferrainolo, OL, 6-3, 288, East Liverpool, Ohio (Beaver Local)
    A three-year letterwinner at Beaver Local High School…a two-year starter for the winningest class in school history…compiled a 31-5 record in three seasons… earned first team All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, all-district and all-county honors…a special mention all-state selection… named the Morning Journal’s “Lineman of the Year.”

    Christopher Garrett, WR, 5-8, 175, Bristow, Va., (Stonewall Jackson)
    A three-sport athlete at Virginia’s Stonewall Jackson High School... rushed for 1,389 yards, while racking up more than 300 yards receiving in 2004... finished as the school’s career rushing leader with more than 4,000 yards... two-time team Most Valuable Player... named District Player of the Year in 2004... first team all-region and all-district on both sides of the football (WR and DB)... led his team to a district title in his senior season... an honor roll student.

    Jameson Hartke, DL, 6-5, 239, Centerville, Ohio (Centerville)
    A first-team all-state selection and three-year letterwinner at Centerville High School... earned first team all-conference and all-district honors... named conference player of the week in 2004... recorded 88 tackles — 19.5 for a loss — last season... also made ten sacks in 2004... led the Elks to a conference title and unblemished record in his senior campaign... a member of the National Honor Society... also lettered twice in volleyball.

    Ervin Jackson, DB, 6-0, 189, Kiln, Miss. (Hancock HS/Pearl River JC)
    Will enroll at Ohio for the spring quarter and be eligible for spring practice… played two seasons at Pearl River Junior College, starting as a sophomore… the Wildcats went 11-0, winning state and national championships… recorded 45 tackles and made three interceptions… picked off a pair of passes as a freshman when Pearl River went 10-1 and won the state title… earned four letters in track and football at Hancock High School… three-time all-region selection at defensive back… twice named all-conference at running back… ran the 110 and 200-meter dashes… finished his associate’s degree in just three semesters at Pearl River.

    Steven Jackson, DB, 6-2, 180, Austin, Texas (Westlake)
    Lettered twice in football and basketball at Westlake High School... was team captain and team most valuable player for Westlake, ranked first in the district in 2004... earned first-team all-district honors and was named District Defensive MVP... a second-team all-state honoree... recorded 122 career tackles, including five for a loss... finished his prep career with four sacks, three interceptions and five fumble recoveries... a youth leader in the Generation Baptist Church.

    Brandon Jones, QB, 6-2, 195, Marietta, Ga. (Marietta)
    A four-year letterwinner in football and baseball at Marietta High School… threw for 2,800 yards in his senior season… connected on 22 touchdown passes, with only four interceptions in 2004… named first-team all-state and all-county in 2004… received the Ben T. Wilkins Award… led Marietta to a perfect 10-0 regular season and a No. 6 ranking in Georgia… listed as a member of the Who’s Who at Marietta High School.

    Eric Kenkel, DL, 6-4, 240, Cincinnati, Ohio (Elder)
    Four year letterman at Elder High School… led the Panthers to back-to-back Division I State Titles in 2002 and 2003… registered 69 tackles, three sacks and 22 hurries in 2004… also blocked a punt, caused a fumble and broke up a pass in his senior campaign… earned first-team All-Greater Catholic League, Associated Press Southwest Ohio All-District and Cincinnati Enquirer honors… a special mention all-state recipient.

    Idris Lawrence, DB, 5-10, 173, Columbus, Ohio (Brookhaven)
    Earned letters in football, track and basketball at Brookhaven High... made 42 tackles as senior in 2004... also picked off five passes, scored three touchdowns and recovered a pair of fumbles last season... finished his career with 106 tackles, eight picks, six touchdowns and five fumble recoveries... also gained 480 yards on 59 carries for his career... two-time all-city selection... led Brookhaven to the state semifinals in 2003 and the Division II state championship in 2004... a member of the National Honor Society and Super Honor Roll.

    Josh Leuck, DL, 6-3, 275, Omaha, Nebraska (Westside)
    A four-year letterwinner at Westside High School… a first-team all-state, all-metro and all-district selection in 2004… first-team all-metro, all-district and Defensive Lineman of the Year as a junior… finished his career with 72 tackles — 24 for a loss… also recorded eight sacks… an honor roll student… also lettered four times in track and field.

    Brian Mellott, DL, 6-3, 255, Austintown, Ohio (Austintown Fitch)
    A four-year letterwinner on the offensive and defensive lines at Austintown Fitch High School... earned first-team all-state honors... received the Mack Truck Lineman-of-the-Year Award... selected to play in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game and to captain his squad in the Big 33 Ohio vs. Pennsylvania All-Star Game... finished his career at Fitch with 104 tackles and 16.5 sacks, while forcing seven fumbles and recovering three... on the offensive line, earned a 93% efficiency rating in 2003 and a 96% rating in his senior season... member of the National Honor Society and the Who’s Who Among High School Students... earned the Henry Shuler Award for his team-leading 3.97 GPA in the classroom... also lettered in track and baseball.

    Jordan Meyers, LB, 6-1, 218, Harrison, Ohio. (Harrison)
    A three-time All-Fort Ancient Valley Conference player at Harrison High School... also named FAVC Defensive Player-of-the-Year... earned all-star distinction from the Southwest Ohio Football Coaches Association and Cincinnati Enquirer... a second-team all-state selection... ranks second in school history in career tackles and first with 34 career tackles for a loss... recipient of the American Legion Americanism Award and the Scholastic Readers of America Award... an honor roll student... earned letters in football and track and field.

    Michael Mitchell, DB, 6-0, 190, Ft. Thomas, Ky. (Highlands)
    A three-year letterwinner... made 87 tackles in his senior season... forced three fumbles and recovered two... scored one defensive touchdown in 2004... twice named a Northern Kentucky All-Star... honorable mention all-state as a senior... led the Bluebirds to a state title in 2004... member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

    Mitchell Morsillo, FB, 6-0, 243, Moon, Pa. (Moon Area)
    Lettered four times in football and track and field at Moon Area High School... played fullback and linebacker… led Moon Area to a to a 9-2 record and No. 13 ranking in the state in 2004... the Tigers finished 32-14 over his four-year career… carried the ball 67 times in 2004, gaining 363 yards and five scores... also caught four passes — two for touchdowns... earned third-team all-state honors... first-team All-Parkway Conference on offense and defense... voted as a team captain his senior year… also a record-setter in the shot put… won the WPIAL championship as a junior at 58’-8”... member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes… father, Jim, was a three-year letterwinner at Pittsburgh (1977-79).

    Mark Parson, DB, 5-10, 192, Richmond, Va. (Monacan High School/Fork Union Military Academy)
    Slated to enroll at Ohio for spring quarter and will be eligible for spring practice… picked off five passes last season at Fork Union Military Academy… also returned a fumble 40 yards for a score … broke the single-season rushing record at Monacan High School, gaining 1600 yards… also set record for single game touchdowns and longest run from scrimmage… a first-team all-region, all-metro and all-district selection… named second-team all-state… led his squad to a district title… also lettered in track and field and basketball.

    Voncarie Owens, TB, 5-10, 185, Taylorsville, Miss. (Collins HS/Jones County JC)
    Enrolled at Ohio for winter quarter and will be eligible for spring practice… a junior college transfer from Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss… was a preseason All-America selection… led Collins High School to back-to-back state titles in 2002 and 2003… received all-state and all-region honors… also lettered in track and baseball.

    Brandon Peterson, WR, 6-1, 185, Gaithersburg, Md. (DeMatha)
    Earned three letters at DeMatha High School…led his team to a No. 1 area ranking by the Washington Post and a No. 14 national standing according to USA Today…caught 53 balls for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in his career…made 31 catches for 673 yards and seven scores as a senior…earned first team all-state, All-Maryland Journal, All-Prince George’s Gazette and All-Western Catholic Athletic Conference honors in 2004…served as school president…carries a 3.2 GPA.

    Mike Philibin, OL, 6-4, 290, Poland, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney)
    A three-year letterwinner at Cardinal Mooney High School... earned first-team All Steel Valley Conference, all-district and all-state honors... selected as a finalist for the North-South All-Star Game and Ohio-Pennsylvania All-Star Classic... led Cardinal Mooney to a Division IX state title... named to the Who’s Who in America as a sophomore and junior... named to the Who’s Who in America Sports as a senior.

    Conor Reilly, DL, 6-3, 240, Hudson, Ohio (Hudson)
    Lettered twice in football and three times in basketball at Hudson High School... registered 60 tackles — eight for a loss — and eight sacks in 2004... also caused a pair of fumbles and recovered two fumbles... helped the Explorers to Western Reserve South Conference titles both years as a varsity player... they also appeared in the state playoffs in both seasons... earned special mention All-Ohio as a senior... took home Division I Northeast Ohio Inland first-team all-district honors... named Cleveland Plain Dealer Player of the Week and a 2004 All-Star... a first team All-Western Reserve Conference selection... nominated for the Ohio North-South Bowl All-Star game... received 2004 Gatorade “Will to Win” Athlete Award and Greater Akron Touchdown Club All-Star Athlete honors.

    Lee Renfro, DB, 5-10, 202, Burnside, Ky. (Southwestern)
    A three-year letterwinner at Southwestern High School... named player of the year in Kentucky by Old Spice and the Kentucky High School Coaches Association... earned first-team all-state honors, News Journal city player of the year and Commonwealth Journal county player of the year... holds 16 school records, including rushing touchdowns in a season and career and rushing touchdowns in a season and career... an honor roll student and three-time Kentucky High School Athletic Association Academic all-state team member... member of the National Honor Society... also lettered three times in track and field.

    Chris Rodgers, TE, 6-4, 228, Phoenix, Ariz. (Central)
    Earned three letters at Central High School in Phoenix... caught 37 passes for 378 yards during his senior season... also made 60 tackles as a defensive end... twice named first team all-region... also lettered four times in basketball and once in track.

    Gary Schussler, OL, 6-2, 264, Chardon, Ohio (Chardon)
    Earned three letters at Chardon High School…recorded 70 tackles as a junior and 62 as a senior…registered a pair of sacks and two fumble recoveries in 2004…made 50 knockdown blocks in 14 games his junior season, followed by 55 in ten games as a senior…twice earned special mention all-state honors…a two-time first team all-district and all-county selection…helped lead Chardon to an 18-6 record over his final two seasons…also lettered in track.

    Tommy Stuck, OL, 6-1, 291, Lancaster, Ohio (Lancaster)
    Lettered three times for Lancaster High School... earned first team All-Ohio Capital Conference and all-district honors... a second team all-state selection... selected to participate in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game... led Lancaster to back-to-back conference titles... a member of the National Honor Society and maintains a GPA better than 3.8... also lettered in track and field, where he was an all-district selection and state qualifier in 2003-04.

    Thad Turner, WR , 6-0, 169, Marietta, Ga. (Marietta)
    Earned two letters at Marietta High School... caught 31 balls for 732 yards his senior season... scored six touchdowns in 2004... named first-team All-Cobb County and first-team all-state... led Marietta to a regional title, No. 6 state ranking and an 11-1 record in 2004... lettered three times in baseball.

    David White, Jr., OL, 6-1, 300, Chardon, Ohio (Chardon)
    A three-year letterwinner at Chardon High School... credited with 63 knockdowns in ten games... recorded 40 tackles — six for a loss — at the defensive tackle position in 2004... earned honorable mention all-state honors... first-team All-County selection and member of the Cleveland Plain Dealer All-Star team... an Ohio Magazine Top 100 senior selection... also lettered in track and field.

    Jayson White, FB, 6-2, 225, Erie, Pa., (McDowell)
    A three-time letterwinner at McDowell high school... rushed for nearly 1,500 yards in 2004, averaging 6.4 yards per carry... also caught 17 balls for 297 yards as a senior... scored 24 touchdowns in 2004 and 41 for his career... named Region 6 Player-of-the-Year... earned third-team All-State honors and first-team All-District accolades... led McDowell to an 11-2 record and a ranking of 10th in Pennsylvania... also lettered in track and field.

    Transcript from Feb. 2, 2005, National Signing Day Press Conference:

    Ohio University Head Football Coach Frank Solich


    It’s good to be up in front of you to visit. A little bit about the incoming class. We’re very excited about the group of players. We had a large graduating senior class, which opened up a number of scholarships which we were able to give out. That was good.

    The thing that I worried about coming in was that we had such a short period of time to put it all together and acquire the signatures. Looking back on it, the staff has really done a great job. I really feel good about our nine assistant coaches and what they’ve been able to accomplish in a very short period of time. I truly believe that this staff is an excellent staff in terms of recruiting. We have nine guys on this staff that did a very good job and that’s not always the case. In fact, normally that’s not the case. These guys probably got as much done in a short period of time as any staff that I’ve been associated with. I appreciate their efforts.

    I think one thing that was very good is that the outgoing staff was of value to us on that end of it. They were willing to share information about who they were recruiting, who they offered. We relied on those guys a great deal on those guys knowing what recruiting was about, so those were the players that we started to watch film on when we started immediately to put it all together. Their help was greatly appreciated.

    Our players did a great job. The biggest thing about recruiting is when you get them on campus, you need to have them have a good weekend. Players become a very important part of that because when they get an opportunity to be around the players, they get a feel for what the players are all about and in getting a feel for what the players are all about, they either feel comfortable or they don’t feel comfortable at your place. Because of how our players handled things and what they were all about, we had a very high rate of players accepting scholarships with the number that was brought in. We had a few recruiting weekends with a few people brought in mid-week in terms of the recruiting process.

    It really was a team effort and I appreciate what everybody did in putting this together. Our coaches had to work basically over Christmas. They took a couple days off to go home over Christmas, a day off to go home to their wives and families over New Year’s. Other than that, they were working through the holiday period and have worked and traveled a lot right up to signing day.

    We actually have 27 incoming players. Three of those players are players that we’re able to put back into last year’s numbers so they don’t count in the initials. Two of those players are junior college players and a third is from a prep school. All three will be here for spring ball so that should play out very well for us.

    On the other 24, we have 12 players from Ohio. If you look at it, we really traveled the state of Ohio to get these players. That was with an intent. We certainly want to do a great job of recruiting the state of Ohio. We know that will be the bloodline for us not only this year but in the overall future of the program. We will work at recruiting Ohio very, very hard. As you look at the players we recruited, we really got more offensive and defensive linemen from the state of Ohio if you look at those numbers closely. We think that was a need for us, a need to get a few bigger bodies into the program also.

    Eleven different states were represented in the class, which means we traveled all over. The fact that we were able to put this (coaching) staff together and that they were from different parts of the country helped somewhat in the recruiting process.

    It’s not over for us. We’ll continue to recruit some walk-ons. It’s obvious to me and the coaches on our staff that the walk-on program is vital to what we’re going to be all about so we’ll continue to recruit some walk-ons to help booster this incoming class.

    We’re excited about the class. We’re glad the signing date has now come and gone. We did get everybody’s signature. It gives us an opportunity now to start being around our players, start being on campus here and to sit down as an offensive staff and a defensive staff and start to put things together. It’ll be a little easier doing it knowing that, at least from our end of it, we have an excellent class coming in.

    (On working with a limited timetable) We didn’t go through the normal process to scholarship a player. I relied a great deal on the position coaches and coordinators. I was just another body watching film and trying to make some decisions on players. We all sat down with a ton of film in front of us and watched film on a daily basis until we started to feel comfortable that we could put together a big enough pool so that we would be able to go out there and sign the numbers we knew we wanted to sign. That was a little nerve-wracking. It’s a little different story if you’re signing 10 or 12 guys but if you’re signing 24 and counting some back to make it 27, then that’s a lot of players to go out and find in a very short period of time. The thing that was not amazing to me but what was very good for us was that the players we identified as players we wanted in the system seemed to have a very good interest. Once we got them here on campus, they loved what this school was about, they got along with the players well, the coaching part of it seemed to fit for them. So, we were able to get a great number of players out of a really small pool. If you look at this pool compared to what we’ll have next year, we’ll have a much bigger pool and probably only be able to offer 10-12 scholarships next year. So we’ll go through it a little more thoroughly and from a little different angle. It was a really good job by everybody of doing it in such a short period of time. After we reviewed the film, then it was a matter of phone call after phone call to high school coaches, to also the players themselves and visiting with parents. One thing we were fortunate about was that a lot of parents or parent or guardian were able to come in with their son. Once you’re able to get parents in or a parent in, your chances of getting the young man seem to rise. Parents sometimes seem to look at things from a different angle than what the players do. The player doesn’t have to now take this information and go home and sell the parents on what’s at Ohio University. They’re able to see it for themselves so that played out very big for us. We worked hard at trying to get parents to come in with their sons on visits.

    (On players who showed interest once Solich and his staff came to Ohio) Obviously there were some that had an interest but any time there’s a coaching change, that interest can all of the sudden wave on you. I think we had some of that. I think we also had some that hadn’t considered Ohio University at all and we were then, with the change, able to step forward and (they) began to look at Ohio University. I like to think the fact that we were able to put together such an excellent staff with excellent backgrounds and proven track records probably helped a great deal in the recruiting process.

    (On how many incoming players might see playing time next fall) That’s a good question and it will be very interesting. We have somewhat of a young team coming back. We have approximately 13 returning starters, seven on defense and six on offense. That depends on how you look at it from the defensive end of it. Moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3, that number can vary one or two. I think everybody understands we’re starting from ground zero. Guys are going to have to earn their jobs and that’ll be the case every spring. They’re going to have to earn their jobs so there will be great competition out there in the spring. That does not lock a job up. We will look at incoming freshman. We’ll have a couple scrimmages, we’ll have a number of practices. Some positions it’s easier to advance as far as you have to advance in order to play football your first year. Some of these kids will be able to do it. Some will have the physical makeup to do it, some will have the mental makeup to do it. Of course, at times, the position, if you’re not deep at that position, enters into it. It would be difficult for me to take a look as far as numbers but I do know we’re not going to rule anybody out. You go through your first week of practice, your first two weeks of practice, you need to get reps to the players that are going to be lining up for you when the kickoff occurs. We’ll have to make some decisions somewhat early but we’ll take a look at those guys in the freshman class.

    (On the effect of his spending a week coaching in the Hula Bowl) It probably got me out of the way so our coaches could go out and not have me goof them up. I really worried about it. It really seemed like a heck of a deal five or so months ago when it was offered to me but the closer it got and the more that we were in the middle of recruiting and the number of players we need to get committed, I was concerned about it. A lot of good people stepped forward and put me in that bowl so I stuck with it. I think our coaches picked up the slack and did a great job. We got some publicity out of it, which I’m sure didn’t hurt us, but I was nervous about taking the week off. We were in front of people, that was obvious from the parents and recruits that we had on campus. Many of them saw the game so at least Ohio University was being thrown in front of them again and that’s probably not all bad in the recruiting process. I was still able to make some phone calls from over there so that kept some things alive by doing that.

    (On the standout player of the signing class) I don’t want to single anybody out because if you look at the tapes of these guys that we put together, you’ll get excited about every one of them. There are things that they show that are really exciting. It’s obvious there are certain positions that we need to boost right away, so in doing that there are certain guys that’ll look a little bit better to you, only because they may be playing next year. It’s obvious we think it’s a very good class and I won’t single anybody out.

    (On being able to fill a large number of available scholarships) I was concerned about that from day one. But as our coaches went out on the recruiting trail and the response they were getting as they were going around visiting players in their homes and at school. Then, after the first weekend, we had such a high rate of those saying they were going to come versus the number that was in, that made me feel much more comfortable. I just thought if we can put another couple weekends like this together, then we’re going to be able to get it done. We were able to do that.

    (On the difference between recruiting at Nebraska and at a mid-major school) We really didn’t find ourselves limited. Number one, it was such a short period of time, you can only spend so much money. We worked at it. We think the results will be well worth it. Everybody in the administration backed us in terms of what we were trying to get accomplished in terms of the recruiting class and that certainly made things so much easier. Recruiting to Ohio University, to Nebraska, there are key points that you sell. This place has as many key points as any place in the country, in terms of why a player should come. Once they get on campus, they like it. If you want to go to school and get a great education, if you want to spend four or five years maximizing your athletic talent, we have the coaches to help you do that. We’re in a great conference and we have a great university to help you get an education. It’s a good deal recruiting here.

    (On recruiting within the state of Ohio) I’ve been wanting to do a great job within the state of Ohio. It’ll be an ongoing process trying to build relationships throughout the state. We didn’t touch every coach, of course, it’d be impossible to do. But we do want them to understand that we’re in this together. I know what high school coaching’s about. I spent 13 years doing it and I love it from the high school angle and appreciate what those guys are all about. We’ll try to build good relationships with the high school coaches throughout the state.

    I’ll just go through a few here. In Columbus, Idris Lawrence, Josh Febus and Tommy Stuck. Stuck is from Lancaster. I’m kind of considering it Columbus, though most of you probably don’t. You have to go through it to get to Columbus so it’s part of it. Stuck, of course, an offensive lineman who we think has excellent potential and we think will play early. Febus is a quarterback and we only have three quarterbacks in the system right now—one of them being a walk-on—so Febus was extremely important. Lawrence was recruited as a defensive back at a lot of top schools so we felt pretty good. He’s from an excellent school and all three of them are from excellent schools in the area.

    In Cincinnati, we were able to get two players, both of them on the defensive side. (Eric) Kenkel is a defensive lineman for us and Jordan Meyers is the only linebacker that we recruited. We only recruited one linebacker this year because of the number of linebackers in the program right now.

    In Cleveland, Conor Reilly, defensive lineman, (Gary) Schussler is an offensive lineman and David White, an offensive lineman. Cleveland is an area that I grew up in but really that had no effect in us getting the players from Cleveland. What did it was our coaches hit the area hard and there was interest there. Things seemed to fall into place.

    In Youngstown, we have three guys. Of course, Carl Pelini is from the Youngstown area so that seemed to play out well for us. (Brian) Mellot, (Mike) Philibin and Dathan (Ferrainolo) all are either offensive or defensive lineman.

    Jameson Hartke is a defensive lineman from the Dayton area. If you look at offensive and defensive lineman we got from within the state, that was vital to us, critical to us. You ought to be able to find offensive and defensive lineman in this state. It’s a great state for high school football and if you work it hard, you have a chance to get guys in. So we’ll continue to work it hard.

    (On the large number of lineman in the class) We don’t have enough offensive linemen in the program to start with. We recruited five offensive linemen. We wanted to make sure that we had guys per position there. We’ll still try to recruit a couple walk-ons from the offensive line standpoint.

    Same thing with defense. They did a great job defensively last year. They were a little bit undersized but they used a lot of movement to compensate for that. When you go to a 4-3, you’re adding another down lineman is what you’re doing so we needed to make sure that we recruited heavily on the defensive line. A lot of those guys have growth potential. Some will start off as a rush end and maybe as they go through their careers, there’s a chance a couple of them may move inside.

    (On using the success of former MAC players in the NFL as a recruiting tool) There were a few articles that came out talking about the MAC—one was in USA Today. Certainly that was able to be used because players read that and their parents read that. You’re able to build off of that. I think the MAC’s name is just growing. The conference is, I believe, just starting to take off. And it will continue to take off. It’s getting a lot of publicity, a lot of play from broadcasters regardless of whether you’re talking about college or pro football. That will benefit us.

    (On any members of the signing class potentially playing both ways) We have a fair number of guys that could line up at more than one position—some at either side of the ball. Chris Garrett, you look at him, even though he’s a very small player, he’s about as quick as they come. He could line up as a receiver, a running back, could line up as a defensive back. We think he has a chance to become a great return guy. We needed to look at some of those things.

    We have a great punter in the system but he’s going to be gone. We looked at possibly taking a punter, we did not do it this year. But, we felt that what we wanted to do was take a guy that could possibly return kicks and we’ll look very hard at the players right within our program in terms of returning kicks. There’s a lot of yardage there that goes out the window if you don’t have a guy that can field punts. We recruited with that in mind a little bit.