National signing day has come and gone and as the dust settles and the prep athletes move back to taking care of business on the field and in the classrooms of their respective high schools, a number of colleges will reap the rewards of their choices.
University of Saint Mary’s football program announced a class of 30 recruits that they hope can build the program’s depth after coming off its most successful season in program history at 8-3 last fall.
Players across the country signed to play various sports at the collegiate level on Wednesday and they will continue to do so from here on out.
The Spire football team secured commitments from 11 in-state players and five junior college athletes while bringing in over a dozen prep athletes from Texas, Missouri, California and Hawaii.
USM head football coach Jay Osborne was pleased with what his program has brought in. His aim is to bring in about 10 more players to get his program’s numbers up to about 100 athletes.
“From a program standpoint, recruiting is always for two, three, four years out,” Osborne said. “You have three stages of a football player: the guy who plays on Saturday, the guy you are developing on the field and the guy you are redshirting.
“In the fall, we should retain 70 guys from the spring and we signed about (30) or so today and if we don’t have any drop off or anything, we are probably looking for 10 or 15 more players mainly on the offensive and defensive lines.”
Osborne noted that the recent decision by the Kansas junior colleges to allow unlimited recruiting and thus potentially hurting the state athletes from getting offers in lieu of wanting to bring in players from out of state, has helped programs like his bring in players.
A record-breaking year and a nice stadium doesn’t hurt either.
“I thought we found some (Kansas) guys who can play for us,” Osborne said. “We have done a pretty good job of recruiting Kansas at this point while, at the same time, finding the right guys for the program.”
One of those in-state signings including local product, Pleasant Ridge OL Will Douthitt.
On defense, Osborne was looking to replace some key pieces at linebacker, safety and the defensive line after a stalwart season from that unit.
Some of their top spots needing filled will be done via the junior college route, because plugging in a freshman isn’t always the best fix immediately.
“We return one all-conference player, but only one of our four starters in our secondary,” Osborne said. “We are trying to create some competition … you are going to spin your wheels … if you replace those losses with freshmen. We aren’t trying to do a heavy JUCO class or anything. We are looking more at the (junior) and sophomore classes (in 2017) that will be coming back next year.
“We brought in some receivers that we can redshirt and get them ready to go as second-year players for us.”
The biggest victory on this day was Osborne learning where his program has lifted itself.
He rarely if ever hears of losing a recruit to another Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) team.
“We don’t hear, ‘I’m going to Sterling, Friends, Southwestern or Kansas Wesleyan,’ we don’t hear that anymore,” Osborne said. “Because we are not hearing that (they are winning the overall battles), but we are targeting a different kid. I said for years that we try not to recruit against our conference, but now, we found our niche and the kind of kid we are going to go after, a hard-nosed, tough, football kid. We are signing a lot of those kids. He may be undersized, or play at a small school, or play sparingly at a junior college or big school, they can still have a high end if they get in the right program.”
USM Football 2017 Recruiting Class
Seth Arena (DB, Medford, OR – College of the Siskiyous), Garrett Ball (RB, Fairfax, MO, East Atchison HS), Nicholas Brady (LB, Cypress, TX – St. John XXIII HS), Kenton Brandeberry (ATH, Kansas City, MO, Liberty North HS), Hunder Chadic (QB, Douglass – Douglass HS), Chandler Cocklin (LB, Dinuba, CA – Fresno City College), Elijah Creighton-Rhea (WR, Victorville, CA – Victor Valley College), Carlos Delgado (DB, Covina, CA – Citrus College), Will Douthitt (OL, Leavenworth, KS – Pleasant Ridge HS), Dominic Dreger (DL, Kansas City – Piper HS), Israel Esteban (DB, Kansas City, MO – Oak Park HS), Antonio Franco II (OL, Topeka – Bishop Miege HS), Kevin Garcia (K, Burbank, CA – Glendale CC), Shayden Gooman-Ranion (Honolulu, HI (Bartlett HS, Anchorage, AK), Joey Janes (WR, Blue Springs, MO – Blue Springs HS), Nathaniel Jimenez (OL, Moreno Valley, CA – Riverside CC), Cole Kellum (ATH, Lecompton – Perry-Lecompton HS), Adam Kenworthy (ATH, Frankfort – Frankfort HS), Jordan Longoria (TE, Houston, TX – Houston Baptist/Kempner HS), Jaedon Mcgee (LB, Bastrop TX – Bastop HS), Peyton Newton (RB, Topeka – Santa Fe Trail HS), Patrick Ravelo (DL, Fort Worth, TX – Nolan Catholic HS), Clay Reed (DL, Manhattan – Riley County HS), Forrest Rhea (DB, Kansas City, MO – Oak Park HS), Martin Rios (WR, El Paso, TX – Ysleta HS), Will Thompson (WR, Osawatomie – Osawatomie HS), Ross Tisdell Jr. (WR, Lathrop, CA – Lathrop HS), Reece Williams (ATH, Wellsville – Wellsville HS) and Logan Woodyard (ATH, Blue Rapids – Valley Heights Jr/Sr. HS).