Coach Prince's Comments on the 2007 Recruiting Class
Coach Prince's Comments on the 2007 Recruiting Class
Head Coach Ron Prince
“First of all, I’d like to recognize the efforts of the fellows over at
Secondly, I’d like to thank those people who put quite a bit of effort into this year’s recruiting class. I think Matt Wallerstedt did a fantastic job of putting this thing together, holding this thing together, and finishing strong. As we go through some of these names, you’re going to see his name and initials coming up a lot. I thought he did a terrific job with that, along with the other coaches on our staff.
I’m really excited about this class. In last year’s class we really addressed our issues defensively, knowing that so many people in college football are playing with three and four wide receivers now. As you could see in the national championship game, they really were getting in some bad personnel match-ups from time-to-time with excellent athletes. I think we addressed that last year, and I think many of those things paid off for us. We had some good depth in the secondary and good depth on the defensive line. Because of that, we were able to stay fresh for a bulk of the year, even though we did have some injuries that nicked us up. The players that we added offensively last year did contribute for us even though they were young players Josh Freeman,
This year we took a similar look at things, sticking to our plan even before last season, of going heavy on the offensive side. We would look for the type of players, the skilled players that are capable of doing something with the ball in their hands offensively. I don’t believe that if you don’t play good defense you have no chance to win, and the kicking game is ultimately where it is decided. Last year we knew that we would be short-handed, as far as depth, on the offensive side of the ball and would do the best we could to develop those players. This year, we made a conscious effort to recruit some guys that could either upgrade the roster specifically or provide the type of depth we had on defense last year.
With that, I think we upgraded and added some significant defensive players this year that we’re very excited about some guys who can contribute this fall for sure. We added some speed in this class. I think that you could see in the world championship game, guys like Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison can make game-changing plays. Those are the type of abilities that we are seeking. It is very difficult to go 12 plays, 87 yards all the time. There are too many good defensive coordinators out there. It’s just challenging in a league like this where the defenses are so good. So, we’re looking for offensive players who can do something with the ball when they have it, and looking for guys who can obviously protect our quarterback and make the necessary holes for our runners. We were looking for fast guys, or at least those guys who are functionally fast at virtually every position. It was very apparent to me that in those games where we were able to play fast, to run and hit, we were able to control that game. Defensively, if we were able to put pressure on their quarterback and make fast plays down the field, they could never get comfortable offensively. Yamon Figurs made it able for us to play that way on offense Leon Patton and James Johnson did the same at times. We want to make it so that we can play that way into the distant future.”
On key defensive additions...
“There are a couple of guys I want to highlight, specifically on the defensive side of the ball. I am really excited to have the opportunity to have Gary Chandler on our campus. When I first arrived, I wasn’t very familiar with Gary until I was able to watch film of the Shrine Bowl a couple of years ago when he was senior in high school. There was a situation that someone was running that film on a monitor and I couldn’t help but ask Who’s that guy?’ They said it was Gary Chandler who had committed to K-State, and that’s when we got excited about being able to pursue him down in
To be able to add Chris Patterson was a terrific opportunity for us. I was familiar with Chris from high school. We had a coach on staff at
Also, maybe a sleeper to some, was Xzavier Stewart, a defensive tackle from Morgan Park in
On key offensive additions...
“Alesana Alesana was one of the key signs for our staff. Tim McCarty did a great job in recruiting Alesana. It was really exciting for our staff to work in recruiting such an athletic player as Alesana is. His team went all the way to the championship game in
I’m very excited about Penisini Liu. He’s an offensive lineman from
Eldridge Sims from
I wanted to be able to add some fire power at the receiver position. With the departure of Jermaine Moreira and Yamon Figurs, adding two wide receivers to the class really doesn’t add any depth, it just replaces the two we had. The same is true on the offensive line, replacing Mike Freison and Greg Wafford. We had to do more than just stay at the status quo, and we felt like we did that. By adding Deon Murphy, a very fast receiver with a reported 4.3 second 40-time or less, he can contribute quite a bit here with his deep-ball ability. I think he was excited about the way we used Yamon last season in both the offense and kicking game. I think that made a big impact on him and he sees himself doing some of those same things. Ernie Pierce, a wide receiver from
There are two young receivers, right out of high school, that we’re excited about. They will give us a terrific chance and will both have a chance to see the field this fall. Lamark Brown, from
On speedy recruits...
“We wanted to make sure not to just plug the holes that we had with our departures, but to go a step further because of what our roster will look like in the coming years. Then we added some fast players. Whether they’re defensive backs or running backs, these are the guys who just give you a chance. They have that elite speed that if they’re 100m guys, then they run a 10.6 or less. These players give us the chance to upgrade the speed of our team a team that we hope is fast already. Players like Dee Bell, Justin Woods, and Jeremy Reed at the running back position are those guys. We lost three running backs off of last year’s roster, and these guys have the pedigree, the speed, and terrific bodies. At other positions, Reggie Haynes, Richard Evans, Kendrick Matthews, and Jerrell McDaniel are players who can play defensive backs, wide receivers, or maybe running backs. They are accomplished players with the ball in their arms and have the confirmed speed.”
On recruiting areas...
“I think there is a good mix of kids from our regional area, which was very important to us. We had a great opportunity to pursue players at the junior college level. But then I thought we got some guys from some unusual places. We were able to get a kicker from
On recruiting fast players...
“I could tell quickly that speed could make up for any mistakes that we might make. Against
On the size of the recruiting class being so large...
“We have a number of players in this class who were confirmed in their interest in
On Michael Abana...
“He played in a four-down system last year at
On the versatility of the players in this class...
“I think versatility is very important in this class. That is one of the things that I think you can make a mistake on in college recruiting, as apposed to the pros that have seven draft picks a year. They have to define things a little more than we do. We are still developing players, and for most of these players Mother Nature is going to tell us what type of player they are. Quite frankly, some of these kids are coming from places where they aren’t very spoiled. They don’t have three meals a day and don’t have proper weightlifting equipment. So, some of these kids are going to get bigger and faster in a hurry. That may allow some of these kids to play certain positions on the field. Just getting a lot of really good players is something that I was concerned with. I think we had some very particular needs at both offensive line and wide receiver that we wanted to address. We also needed to add a long snapper and kicker. Other than that, I wanted what the NFL calls best available.’ We wanted the best available football players that we could find. There are some other players in there that are projected because of a special talent that they already possess. They’re so fast or they stand out in a certain area. You feel like you can develop them at a certain spot, and that’s the name of the game in college developing players, not just going out and signing free agents.”