Q:From a defensive perspective, evaluate the class that you signed today…
A: “Like Coach (Graham) said, we got the guys we needed. We got explosive. We got longer. People ask ‘What’s longer?’ well we got taller, longer guys but we didn’t sacrifice what our mission and our purpose is, which is attacking and explosive and being dynamic. I think up front, in our foursome unit and the front seven, I think we’ve done a great job of adding that caliber of guys to our program.
“In the back end, we wanted to get a little bit longer, faster, more athletic in our secondary and I think we did that. Marcus Ball is really a dynamic player. He can play either side of the ball if he wanted to. Adding the safeties in (James) Johnson and (Jayme) Otomewo and in the corners, we got a lot taller and a lot longer. I think our staff offensively and defensively, coaches, and recruiting staff have done a phenomenal job. With our defense, we signed fifteen defensive players and I feel great about every single one of them.”
Q:What are the defensive goals for this class as far as numbers filling in for the different positions?
A: “Well for us, our goal naturally is to add depth. We are returning a group of guys who played all last year. Will Sutton, Carl Bradford, Jaxon Hood, freshman All-American at the nose, Davon Coleman, Junior (Onyeali); all those guys played a lot, but they had to play a lot. You don’t really want your defensive linemen playing 90-plus snaps in the game. We definitely need to create depth and I think we did that instantly in this signing class up-front.
“Then naturally at every position, our goal is to create competition. I think we’ve done that in this class. We have a competition level breed of play that champions have to perform at every day and I think we’ve done that also.”
Q:What is the thinking behind six junior college players in terms of immediate help?
A: “That’s that depth. That thing we had to improve upon, which is our depth. I think we did that. We’re bringing in guys that are mature, older, physically stronger, and physically and mentally more mature than high school guys. Naturally, we’re thinking that’s a depth issue. Let’s make sure we have guys that can come in, help immediately in our depth.”
Q:Are there some specific positions that you felt needed the most help that this recruiting class can help with?
A: “No doubt. Like I said, up-front we had to create depth in numbers, no question about that. At linebacker, we lost Brandon Magee, who was a standout, stellar player for us. We had to bring guys in that we think could play that position immediately also. We think we’ve done that in (Antonio) Longino. We’ve got Carlos Mendoza who’s coming back off of surgery this fall. For us, we’re creating competition at every position.
In the back end, we lost Deveron Carr at the corner and Keelan Johnson at the safety. We’ve got guys that got to come in and compete for those spots. There’s no question about it. We added at every position and the number at every position that I think we needed to create competition and create depth.”
Q:Is there one player that you’re the most excited to work with?
A: “Every single one of them. That’s the truth. As a coach, I get to recruit the d-line more or some other position more. As Coach Graham said, sitting down in every one of the guys’ living rooms, getting to meet them, and knowing them when they come on the recruiting trips, there’s no question about it. Every single one of them are great, fine young men. There’s no question they fit our program.”