Feb. 7, 2007
2007 Recruiting Class Announcement
Head Coach Frank Solich
"It's obvious that a lot of work goes into recruiting. I think we've got a great staff when it comes to recruiting. I don't think it's always the case when you have nine assistants and one head coach that you have the total group with a great work ethic when it comes to recruiting, but we do have that. I think they have great communication skills, and I think that's the reason we've been able to put together what I think is a very good class, and what I believe to be the third very good class in a row for us which I think will add up to very good football for Ohio University for years to come. In saying that, we did lose a large group of seniors, a very good group of seniors. I believe that the chemistry on last year's football team was outstanding. We'll be a bigger, stronger and faster football team than what we were last year, but whether or not we have the same kind of chemistry remains to be seen. We hope so, and we'll certainly work towards that. What these guys do in the offseason will determine what kind of chemistry exists for us during next season."
On signing players from 10 different states:
"In looking at the class, we had the opportunity to do some national recruiting. We were able to go down into Florida to get a couple of players, one in Washington, one in California. I think the national exposure that our football team has received by being able to be on ESPN, by being able to play in a conference championship game, by being able to play in a bowl game does bring back dividends to us. I think that is coming forth now in terms of us being able to reach out and recruit somewhat nation-wide."
On recruiting 10 players from Ohio
"This is the third year in a row, as we look at our incoming freshmen that will be on scholarship, half those guys are from the state of Ohio. It's obvious to us that there are a number of very, very talented and outstanding athletes in the state. We always want to get our fair share of those. The high school coaching in the state is outstanding. We always start with our home state in terms of attacking it recruiting wise and then spread out from there."
On what the staff was looking for in this class:
"We wanted to recruit toughness. We wanted to recruit speed. You can develop some toughness in a player, but he better show up with a great deal of toughness. You better have a player show up with pretty good speed if you want to have speed in your program. Those are things that you can work on and develop some. You're able to develop more progress in the area of strength than you are in those other two areas. When we look at what we're after, we look at those two areas very, very hard before moving forward with a player. I think we've combined those two things in the players that we have recruited and signed today."
On this class' ability to contribute right away:
"I believe it will be an excellent group of players that will have some that will be able to help us very early in terms of playing here at Ohio. Some, of course, won't be able to get on the field immediately, but they're all going to have a shot at playing very early in this program."
On who has the best chance to play early:
"We're going to open it up and try to prepare every single one of those players to show their very best early on to see who has the ability to help us early. It doesn't necessarily have to be on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. We made great strides in special teams this year. If you look at the MAC, in all the special teams categories we were no lower than fourth in any category. We will look at players that can help us immediately on special teams as well as those that can help us on the offensive and defensive side of it. Who that's all going to work for remains to be seen. We have a couple of junior college players, and when you recruit junior college players it's because you want to take a great look at them being on the field immediately. We also have a number of incoming freshman who will have an opportunity to either earn the number one spot, supply depth or maybe even help in special teams."
On bringing in junior college quarterback Theo Scott:
"It's a key position. If you look at us right now, Brad (Bower) is coming back with experience, Brandon (Jones) is coming back with some experience although he redshirted this past year and is really coming off of an injury. He didn't get a great deal of practice time in even as a scout team player. Brad right now is not able to run for the next six weeks in terms of conditioning, so we've got two guys that are banged up a little bit. Of course, Josh (Febus) got some playing time, but it's obvious that there is no one with extensive playing time. That position, as it was last year, will be wide open as will all positions to be very practical with you. We'll take a good look at Theo as a junior college player. He's got excellent running ability. He's got a very strong arm. He can be a very good thrower and an excellent combination player for us."
On freshman quarterback Brian Sweeney:
"We'll give him reps early on to see exactly where he may fit into the whole process. After a short period of time, you can only work with a select few quarterbacks, and we'll narrow that down pretty quickly."
On whether last season's success helped recruiting this year, or whether it is something that won't have an effect until next year:
"I think we're showing some benefits from that. That's the fact that people have seen us around the country, and players from different states have tuned us in on ESPN. From that, we've been able to get them here on campus. We've got a very good campus. They like the atmosphere that they see here. We only had 36 official visits, and 23 of those have signed with us. That's a great percentage. It normally doesn't work that way. You're allowed 56 visits, and we didn't have to use near that. I think that was a very good sign of a lot of things. One, they had some knowledge of us before they arrived here. When they arrived here, they liked what they saw."
On transfer kicker Michael Braunstein:
"He has graduated from the University of Washington so under the rule that exists now he has one more year of eligibility left. The major that we have here that he was interested in (sports administration) is one that we're one of the very best in the country in, and that's drawn him our way. He's an established kicker, having had a great year at the University of Washington. We feel he can step in right away and take over the chores of kicking off, field goal kicking and extra points. Getting a kicker in this class was a real key for us."
On maintaining the special teams play:
"We want to stay where we're at special teams wise in terms of our output and how successful we've been. In order to do that, you better have guys that can punt the ball and kick the ball. When I said that we've recruited more speed, that carries over to special teams. If you have excellent speed on your special teams, you're probably going to have very good special teams play, but it can all go down the drain if you don't have a guy that can punt very well or a guy that can kick very well. If you have those two people in place and a snapper, which our long snapper (Ryan Senser) is coming back, you have three key elements in place. Now if you add speed in there with that, you have a chance to be successful on special teams."
On the five offensive linemen in the class:
"I think they're all very good players. Right now when you look at them size wise, they fit what you're looking for in terms of offensive linemen. It's not a group of guys that in bringing them, for the most part, you 're going to have to develop in terms of their size. Now, picking up the offense and being able to step on the field early as an offensive lineman is kind of like a quarterback playing early. It's not easy. There's a lot of things that have to go right in order to get that done. I do like the group that we have. We have a number of guys that have good height. We recruited more tackle-type guys than anything else. With that in mind, they'll get good looks early on. We do have guys that go in and play guard, and we have one that can go in and play center so we do have a little bit of versatility there."
On not singling out one player in this class above another:
"I'm not going to bring out a few names and bring those guys forward because that's what fall camp is all about. We get surprised every year. We watch these guys on film run around, and then they come in and you watch them and sometimes you wonder if it's the same guy. Sometimes they just show immediately and someone who was maybe a little bit later of a signee all of a sudden shows up great. I'm not going to throw anyone out ahead of the pack. We're going to let them all start off and see what they can do. We're going to move fast this coming fall. Anybody that can help us is going to continue to get reps, and anybody who can't help us right away will be in the running for a redshirt."
On the make-up of the depth chart in his third season:
"Our senior group was special in a lot of ways, and we didn't recruit that group. As I look at them, they're not going to be easy to replace. We are now getting to the point that some of those guys that got a lot of experience for us very early on and played as true freshmen should really start to show what they're all about in terms of being great players. I think that's a plus for us. The first year that we recruited here, we didn't get started until January, and so we didn't have much of a recruiting season and we had a full number of scholarships to give out. That was an amazing year to me in what transpired in terms of us having a good recruiting year because the odds are against that happening. A lot of that comes back to Pete (Germano) and his experience in the state and the fact that he was the recruiting coordinator here before so he had ties with coaches. The fact that we did win some games and we did get a lot of TV exposure, really the last two years, has helped us tremendously in terms of recruiting. We'll continue to always look at incoming freshmen to step on the field immediately. It's clear to me that if you're going to have a chance to be a really good football team, you can not just automatically try to redshirt people and try to save them. There are too many positions to fill and you've got to be good in at least two of the three areas. If special teams is going to be one of them, you can have a lot of young players that maybe are special there that don't have to learn a complete offense or defense, but can line up and run down and tackle somebody on kickoff coverage or be able to make a play on a punt return. Those things all become critical to winning football games and having a successful season. We'll continue to always look at freshmen, but we're getting to the point now that a lot of our young players that we first recruited here are experienced and are very good players. They should be able to lead the way in terms of work ethic and what this team is all about."
Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Pete Germano
On the difference in recruiting this season as opposed to past years:
"We were in the running with some really good football players, and we ended up getting our class, commitment wise, a lot sooner. We didn't have to sweat it out down the stretch so to speak, and it even allowed us to get a jump start on 2008. Those are some of the benefits. The last couple of years we've had some key decisions that have to be made late in January on some of the remaining scholarships, but this year we were done with plenty of time. We felt good about it, and we were able to get at least a little bit of a jump start on the '08 class. The biggest things were the quality of player we recruited, the ones we had a chance to get, as well as the ones we did get and how quickly we were able to get them."
On which players he feels will be playmakers:
"Looking at our skill kids, starting with the running backs, all three of those kids are special players. They've all played on both sides of the ball. They're tough, and they bring a certain athleticism to the position. Even though Kalvin McRae is returning for his senior season, we didn't sign a running back last year. We've only signed one in two years, and he's not here anymore. We haven't had a solid running back in our class the last two years. Now having those three kids coming in this class that are all versatile athletes and special athletes that bring certain things to the position that if they don't work out at running back, they can surely play another position. Those three kids are the first ones I think of. The young receiver (LaVon Brazill) from Florida is a special kid. He's a very, very good receiver. Taking some quotes from Coach (Derek) Mason, he's not a kid that's really, really fast that you have to teach how to be a good receiver. He's a good receiver to begin with, and he's also very athletic. He's the kind of kid that we were looking for. You can take a really fast kid and teach him how to run routes and catch the ball, but he's not in that category. Right now he can run routes and catch the ball. He's an established receiver that brings a lot of athletic ability to the table. He's surely going to get a great look this fall camp. I don't want to leave anybody out, but those are the guys that come to mind."
On the differences in recruiting now as opposed to when he started at Ohio:
"Winning, that's number one. Number two is facilities. The facilities are not even close to what they were when I first got here. We got 23 commitments from 36 visits so when they got here they liked what they saw. First of all, we won. Second of all, the facilities have been improved so much that it's really helped our recruiting. There's no question."
On whether they look at need or take the best available player, particularly at linebacker:
"You have your needs and you determine how many scholarships you have available. Then you try and find kids that you can watch on film who are playing the position that you are recruiting them for. Sometimes it gets difficult to project kids, although the more athletic they are the easier it is to determine that this receiver could play defensive back or vice versa. At the linebacker spot, Coach (Ross) Els is very picky. That's a good thing. Bringing him film on linebackers, sometimes you have to do a little Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen that he's going to like you're kid. These kids were linebackers, and if they weren't linebackers, he saw enough athletically that he could see them fitting in to what we're trying to do. Especially with the offenses we see in the Mid-American Conference, they dictate a little bit of what we have to put on the field. That iso, power game, other than what you see from us, you don't get too much of that. Kids that are athletic and can run are important because we see a lot of spread offenses. That dictates to us a little bit what we have to get on defense. I know Coach Els is pretty happy with the athletic ability of the kids that we have signed."