Steve Fairchild introduces 28 signees Wednesday
Feb. 4, 2010
Opening statement: "I'll start off by congratulating our coaching staff on a job well done. This is obviously a multi-year task and our guys were very impressive in the way they worked together in being able to secure this group of signees. The other thing I would like to mention is just a thank you to everyone out there, particularly on campus that helped us. You don't get a class like this without tremendous support from the university, not just within our athletic department, but students, staff and faculty. At one point Dr. (Tony) Frank (CSU President) was walking a recruit down the Oval. We are very fortunate here to have the product we have to sell this tremendous university and community. I think as we continue to improve as a football program the sky is the limit for this place, and we will just continue to work our plan."
On the class: "This particular class covers a wide range geographically. Eleven are from the state of Florida and eight are from the state of Texas. That is where we were able to shore up the bulk of this class. Three were from the state of Colorado, which will always be our primary focus. We will do as well as we can in-state and then go far and wide from there to fill out the class. We had three from California, which normally in the past has been a very good area for us and we will continue to try and make it that. Two were from the state of Washington; I believe they were both top-20 players in the state. Then, obviously one from Oklahoma; we believe we got a very good player the year before from Oklahoma and we got one again this year. So, geographically we were fairly spread out, but we obviously did a good job in Florida and Texas.
"From a position standpoint, as we go class to class around here, it will always be in the 20-some range, so it is never, `Did you address a certain position?'. What we would like to do is address all 22 positions in every class and keep a steady flow of talent coming up through our program. We lost four starting offensive linemen this year. You can't address that in this recruiting class; it's too late. You have to see the big picture and keep it coming and keep feeding your program each year, year-in, year-out, primarily with high-school kids that you feel are good. That is just the way we do it around here.
"We did not get everyone we wanted, nor will we ever, but we are going to recruit anyone in the country that we think can help us win here."
On recruits' academic achievements: "Half of the class, I believe the total number is 28, as it stands now is above a 3.0 GPA. Nine of them are above a 3.5 and two of them, including Pete Thomas, who's enrolled right now, are 4.0-or-better students. So, we believe we have a good academic group.
Shaq Bell, DB, 5-11, 178, Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola
"What we have been trying to do in the secondary is get a little more height and a little more range. We like that Shaq is 5-11. He has a brother that plays at Auburn. He is one of our Central Florida crew. He is the No. 6 DB prospect in Central Florida, an all-county/all-district guy. He plays out of a high school that produced Momo Thomas, a guy we signed two years ago and started as a true freshman. It is a very good high-school program and we are very excited about Shaq Bell."
Bernard Blake, DB, 6-0, 177, Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop
"I can tell you that this guy who got heavily recruited; we held off an offer from CU as this thing progressed in the recruiting process. He is an all-district player/all-Central Texas-type of player. He had a very good GPA. He is another corner that we think has a lot of height and length, which is something we have to improve on around here."
James Boone, WR, 6-1, 183, St. Cloud, Fla./St. Cloud
"He is a wide receiver from Central Florida, and if you look at what James has done, he has been very productive. He is the No. 6 wide receiver and No. 29 prospect in Central Florida. He was first-team all-Central Florida. He owns the county records for receptions in a career and season; he has just been a productive player all three years. He is a very explosive receiver; he can obviously get down the field. He also played a little bit of wildcat quarterback for them as well."
Bobby Borcky, Ath, 6-2, 190, Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland Prep
"He is the brother of T.J. He was a quarterback at Lake Highland Prep. We think he is an athlete and we will probably start him at receiver, but he probably could play in the secondary somewhere. He was a top-30 type of prospect out of Central Florida and was all-county. And, again, along with Pete Thomas, which is pretty impressive, he accounted for 60 touchdowns in his high school career, which is hard to have. He is a coach's kid and a two-year team captain, and we are very happy that Bobby will be joining his brother in our program."
Nordly Capi, DL 6-3, 242, Ocoee, Fla./Ocoee
"He is a defensive end/defensive tackle type guy who has good size and is unbelievably quick. If you stick around for the highlight tape, you will see he picks up a fumble and returns it 80 yards for a touchdown. He can run. He was a top-100 prospect, first-team all-district and all-county. He was an MVP and just a very impressive defensive lineman, which is an area where we have to keep guys coming in."
Kivon Cartwright, TE 6-4, 215, Pueblo, Colo./Pueblo South
"He is one of our in-state players. He got hurt as a senior and didn't have as big of a senior year, which kind of helped us get him in some ways. We are very sure that he is a guy that can help us. He was in our basketball camp and is just a tremendous athlete. He is a tight end-type of guy that could play defensive end. He came from the same high school as Anthony Cesario. He is a very good student with a 3.6 GPA. He was recruited by Wyoming and Air Force and we got him to commit early, which was a good take by us."
Thomas Coffman, WR, 5-10, 170, Austin, Texas/Stephen F. Austin
"He is a wide receiver from down in the Austin area. We kind of caught on him a little later than maybe I liked in terms of him being a tremendous player on tape. He was all-state out of a 5A high school. I am just thrilled to get this kid to say he is coming here. He is a good student and I think he is going to add to our receiver corps, which I think is very strong in this class."
Tony Drake, RB 5-8, 176, Dallas, Texas/Skyline
"He is a running back from Dallas that committed very early to Michigan; all along in the recruiting process we thought that he was going to attend the University of Michigan. He is the No. 8 all-purpose back in the county, a top-50 prospect in Texas. He is a lot like Lou Greenwood, maybe even a little more explosive, and like Lou Greenwood, if he is not helping us in the backfield, could probably very easily go over and help us in the secondary. He was very heavily recruited and is very fast as he scored 32 touchdowns in his sophomore year."
Charles Favors, LB, 6-2, 235, Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips
"He was the MVP of the Florida all-star game. He was a very highly ranked player, No. 13 in all of Florida. Coming out of spring, this guy could have probably said wherever he wanted to go, but we hung in there. He is a two-time all-state guy. He is coming out of Nico Ranieri's high school; we have a number of kids out of Dr. Phillips, and Charles is a guy that maybe will come in and help us pretty early here."
Marvin Ford, RB 5-10, 190, Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips
"He is also from Dr. Phillips. We like Marvin; he has big-time speed and has that running-back build we like around here, not real tall and very low center of gravity with very good balance. He was top-50 in Central Florida and all-conference. There was another back on this team that right now could probably go wherever he wants and these two split time. Marvin is every bit as impressive when he got the chance to run with the football. He was the district long jump champ and has big-time speed. He also played some defense as well. They rushed the passer with this guy; that is just the type of athlete he is."
John Froland, DL 6-5, 250, Snohomish, Wash./Glacier Peak
"He is a young man who for a long time was going to go to Northwestern. He is a very good student. He is a defensive lineman with good size, and is just a tremendous football player. He was the No. 9 best prospect out of the state of Washington. We hung in there with the young man, as he was first-team all-state on both sides of the ball and was a 3.96 student. This was a good get for us and we are very pleased John is going to join our program."
Crockett Gillmore, TE 6-6, 235, Bushland, Texas/Bushland
"He is antoher one from the Amarillo area. We signed an offensive lineman (Weston Richburg) last year from that high school. We were able to get Crockett in our camp this summer and Tim Duffie did a good job of getting him committed this summer, and had he not, I'm not sure that every school in the state of Texas would have been recruiting this kid. He played as a wideout and a defensive end; we project him as a tight end. He is a guy that scored 22 touchdowns as a senior with a team that went deep into the playoffs. He was a district high jump champion, he can run, he is big and has his weight down now and is a wrestler. The sky is the limit on an athlete like that. Had this guy not committed in our summer camp, like I said, I'm sure he could have gone anywhere in the country."
Garrett Grayson, QB 6-2, 200, Vancouver, Wash./Heritage
"We like Garrett. I wanted to get somebody that could get in here mid-year and compete. Garrett, although he is a very good student, was not able to pull that off, whereas Pete Thomas was. So, we are going to work with Garrett. If you look at him, he is the No. 22-ranked quarterback by Rivals.com in the country. So, we have two of the top 25 in this class and we will work to separate those two. Again, he was the 17th-rated player in the state of Washington, had back-to-back league MVPs, led the nation in throwing percentage, broke a lot of 4A records, which is good high school football, and had over 10,000 yards for his career. He is just a tremendous quarterback. A friend of mine, Steve Kragthorpe, who was the head coach at Louisville, thought this guy was one of the top five quarterbacks in the country. We are glad to have him in our program and we will work with him and make this work. He is a track kid, too. If at worst he was not a quarterback, I'm quite confident he, like T.J. Borcky, would find a place to help our football program."
Charles Green, DL 6-2, 221, Sanford, Fla./Seminole
"This guy had a tremendous senior year. If you watch him play basketball, he is above the rim. He is another top-50 prospect in Central Florida. This is tremendous high school football; this is as good of high school football as there is in the country. As a junior, his team is the team that beat Miami Northwestern for the large-class title in the state of Florida. It produced several NFL players. If you walk the halls of that school you will see a picture of Jeff Blake and numerous guys that have gone on and had NFL careers, so we are very fortunate to get Charles to join our program."
Vance Green, LB, 6-0, 211, Gilmer, Texas/Gilmer
"He is a linebacker that is a lot like Davis Burl. He is a running back-type of athlete that runs a 10.6 in the 100 meters coming out of high school. He has good size and his team won the Texas state championship. He is just a tremendous athlete, the type that we need to keep getting in the linebacker spot to upgrade there athletically, so we are excited about Vance Green."
Mason Hathaway, OL, 6-5, 270, Southlake, Texas/Carroll
"He is from Southlake Carroll High School in the Dallas area, which is a very good high school program. He was the No. 80-ranked offensive tackle in the nation. Again, we got on him early and got him to commit during the season. This kid was very heavily recruited down to the wire. Utah had lost somebody and tried to get back in on this guy. He is another young offensive lineman, and not just a young offensive lineman, but a tackle-type guy that we think is athletic enough to play on the edge for us."
Marquis Hood, LB, 6-0, 203, Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips
"He is another one of the Dr. Phillips crew, a linebacker that was recruited by Michigan State and some other guys. He was all-Orange County and was invited to play in the all-star game. He can run; you will see him right next to favors on tape, two tremendous linebackers. Again, he is the athletic type of guy we are trying to get into this program."
Jay James, WR, 6-3, 215, Orlando, Fla./Colonial
"He is C.J. James' brother. He is a big wide receiver, but I'm not sure if that is the position he is. He is a little bit like a Joey Porter, just a big athletic guy coming out of high school. You see him line up as a defensive end in high school, so I'm not sure where his best spot for us is, but as far as size, speed, athletic ability, being a basketball player and those types of things, like his brother C.J., he is a tremendous athlete and we will find a spot for him and get him on the field."
Najee James, DB, 6-0, 187, Orlando, Fla./Evans
"He is another defensive back from the Orlando area that was very heavily recruited. He is a track athlete, the No. 6 DB in Florida, 38th guy in the area, a top-100 guy in Florida and all-conference. He was the MVP of the Central Florida All-Star Game, and that is the second year in a row that we have gotten the MVP of the Central Florida All-Star Game to sign with Colorado State. He is related to Chris Johnson, who had a great year with the Tennessee Titans. He was a very heavily recruited kid and we are just happy that he is going to be joining the Colorado State program."
Max Morgan, LB, 6-1, 213, Greeley, Colo./Greeley West
"He is an in-state linebacker we had in camp. He is kind of a multi-purpose player and was a very impressive kid in camp. I wasn't sure he was big enough. He is a tremendous football player, and when we got him here he was 6-1, 219 pounds and plenty big. He is going to go on a mission, but is going to be a linebacker for us. He is the 14th-ranked player in the state, was two-time all-state and was Denver Post All-Colorado. Again, a fullback type of guy, but we project him as a linebacker."
Trevor Murphy, DL, 6-3, 290, Jefferson, Texas/Jefferson
"He is a defensive lineman from Jefferson, Texas, which is very East Texas. In fact, this is Tim Duffie's high school. He is definitely a defensive tackle guy and definitely has the size right now, 280-295 type of guy when you see him. He was first-team all-district, two-time all-state, all-East Texas, was that county's player of the year, a four-year starter, 3.8 student and was recruited by Stanford. Again, Tim did an excellent job and we ended up getting him to commit to us."
Mason Myers, OL 6-3, 285, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma/Southmoore
"He is out of Southmoore High School, right outside Oklahoma City. He is a true center, which is a nice thing to get occasionally, particularly in a class of four linemen. It's nice to get a true center. He was all-state in the state of Oklahoma, over a 4.0 student, was a power lifter and has a big upside and I think he has a chance to come in here and make his mark pretty early."
Eric Niederberger, LB, 6-1, 210, Nevada City, Calif./Nevada Union
"He is from Northern California and Eric wanted out of California; he could have gone anywhere from Fresno, San Diego State, Nevada and all those schools in there but he chose to come to our camp and he liked it out here. He was the conference defensive player of the year and can really run and has big-time speed. You can see him on tape not only play linebacker but also safety. He has great range and is going to be a big kid eventually; he is about 215 right now. Like all of our linebackers we recruit here, you would like to see them be a good-enough athlete at their high school where they play running back, which this guy did. Eric, again, was an early commit from our summer camp."
Mike Orakpo, DB 6-1, 200, Houston, Texas/Westbury
"He was somebody that we announced last year, and were very excited about. His brother was a first-round draft pick of the Redskins. Mike was an all-district guy and was one of the top-20 linebackers in Texas. We thought that he was going to enroll in August, but there was a hangup in some of the paperwork. And, I'll say this about Mike, he acted very maturely about the thing and did what he needed to do to take care of business, and now here he is; he is enrolled. His clock starts now and he will go through spring ball and he will have five years. He is a tremendous young man, and when word got out that he was not with us in the fall, Boise State and a lot of people knew who he was and he stuck with his word."
Ty Sambrailo, OL, 6-5, 275, Watsonville, Calif./St. Francis Central Coast
"He is from just south of the Santa Cruz area, south of the Bay Area. He is an offensive lineman and kind of a late bloomer. He was a big-time skier growing up. He went to a small high school, but we like his athleticism and we like what he has done of late through the season and feel like he is coming on and might be something special. He is a 3.5 student, and once we got involved, the recruiting picked up very heavy on him and we are glad he is joining our program."
Christian Stefo, OL, 6-6, 316, Arvada, Colo./Pomona
"He is kind of a Tim Stuber type guy when we were all here in the 90s. He is 6-6 and already a 300-plus-pound guy out of Pomona. He is just a very physical player, all-state, and when you saw him in that championship game against Mullen, you saw him get after some very good people. He is a very tough guy. We are going to try him at tackle, and if not, we will bump him into guard and he will give us a big body at strong guard."
Pete Thomas, QB, 6-5, 220, El Cajon, Calif./Valhalla
"He was a very heavily recruited kid out of San Diego that we were able to get to decommit from Arizona State. He had visited in the summer and had USC and Boston College; he drew nationwide attention. I knew we were in his top five and he eventually committed to Arizona State and we were able to swing him back our way. He is on campus now and will definitely compete for our starting quarterback job this spring."
Alex Tucci, OL, 6-3, 295, Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay
"He is an offensive lineman that is already a 300-pound guy out of the Miami area. He is out of a very good high school program. He was first-team all-county. A very physical guy, probably a guard as a 6-3 type of kid already at 300 pounds. He was recruited by Southern Miss. The more we got to know him and visited him and were around him we really liked his attitude. He just brings a certain toughness to our offensive line.
QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA
On pipeline high schools:
"I think sometimes you get that sort of thing. I think in the `90s we had that kind of thing in the city of San Diego. We started getting a lot of San Diego kids to come here and play. I think anytime you establish yourself in an area, you start to have kids come up and like it, enjoy it, have success, then it makes it easier to go back to that area and/or that high school."
On the youth at quarterback:
"I've said all along that we're never going to be comfortable at quarterback until we've had a guy go through our program for four or five years, with the way we coach quarterbacks here. We'll always play the guy that gives us the best chance to win, whether it's a fifth-year senior or a true freshman, but we'll have a wide-open, spirited competition this spring."
On grayshirting any players in this class:
"There is some grayshirt flexibility built in this class."
On roster limits:
"First of all, it's impossible to crunch the numbers right now. The bottom line is come next season, when we're under the NCAA rule, we have 85 scholarships and no more than 25 initials. We've always adhered to that rule. We will again this fall. To give you a perfect example, last year, Joe Brown and Weston Richburg were planning on enrolling now. That was their intent. As things occur, like the Orakpo situation, you need that flexibility. What we don't want to ever do is get caught under 85. We're not spending the salary cap, so to speak. We'll manage this and we'll be under the NCAA rules when we start practice (in August)."
On any recruits playing offensive line this year, CSU loses four starters:
"It's a very difficult position to play as a true freshman. It's difficult to play as a redshirt freshman. I like our young offensive linemen. I think we've got a good group coming up. We're going to be inexperienced. We know that. That group last year was as good as there was in the country. I think at one point we'll have enough talent to match that group we had last year. It will take us some time. We're not going to line up and be the offensive line we were last season, but I like our young kids. I think we'll be fine there. Obviously we're not up and running with enough depth at every spot. That showed defensively last year but we'll just keep recruiting and keep improving our talent level every year."
On playing any true freshman this season:
"If a guy can help us win, we're going to play him. You'd like to think that you're going to redshirt the entire class but how we develop through the spring and the summer, how these guys develop still, there's still a lot of time between now and August, so we'll just see where it is. I would anticipate somebody will be able to come in and play."
On Marvin Ford, what position he'll play, and the running back depth:
"We'll see. He'll start at running back. Those types of guys can help you. Marvin Ford is kind of like Elijah-Blu Smith so maybe he could help us (in another position) but he'll start at running back."
On wanting higher recruiting numbers in Colorado:
"Absolutely. If I could fill out the entire class in-state, we'll do it. But we're not signing anybody based on their street address. It's our job to evaluate the 30 or 40 or however many that are in-state and decide how many we think can help us win. And if we think they can help us win, we're going to recruit them. If we don't think they can help us win, we're not going to recruit them. It changes from year to year. Just like Florida and Texas, Colorado will have some really good years. And I don't mean in terms of signees, I mean in the way we evaluate them. If we think there are a lot of good players in-state, we're going to recruit more. Sometimes that number's a little lower. But again, if we could sign more than three, I'd be happy. And I can tell you that we're after a lot next year, so we'll see what happens."
On top Colorado recruits signing out of state:
"Within every state, there's people that stay and people that leave. You could ask Washington State why two of their top recruits are coming to Colorado State. Does that frustrate them? Probably. I know we can certainly sign more. We've tried. We will, I think, as our product improves. But again, even in the `90s we had to supplement those classes. Back then it was a little more California, now it just happens to be a little more Texas and Florida."
On the confidence a strong recruiting class gives the coaching staff:
"We're confident. I don't know that this gives us anymore. We got here. We saw where we were and where we wanted to go and I'm not sure how long it's going to take us but I'm sure we're going to get there. This is just part of the equation. None of these guys now are good enough to help us win the Mountain West Conference championship. They've got to develop and our coaches have got to develop these guys. They need to be a lot better here in a year or two, and that's part of the job."
On contact with recruits after they're signed:
"You can do a lot more, obviously, than prior. You can text now and those sort of things. There is a lot of work to do still. There's finalizing transcripts and dorm applications. So there's still a lot of interaction. It doesn't just end with the Letter of Intent."
On getting recruits ranked higher by the Internet sites this year:
"Well, I've said every year that I could care less. If a guy has five stars and I don't think he's a very good player, or very good student, or has very good character, or what have you - there's a lot more to this equation than just stars - we're not recruiting them. Now if a guy has just one star but I like him and I think he's a good person and I think he's going to get a degree and I think he's a good character kid, then we'll recruit him. I don't want the guy who dictates the stars to dictate our future. I want to make that decision myself."
On recruiting system players:
"The system can change. Obviously we're looking for the same thing everybody is: A tough, athletic guy who makes plays, productive, and the same thing offensively. We can take any running back or receiver and make it work. A good offensive lineman is an offensive lineman. The only thing where a system comes into place is maybe a little different kind of quarterback. Having said that, that's about the only place where a system is of any consequence."
On the performance of the MWC (two straight undefeated BCS teams) and the role it plays in helping with recruiting:
"I think it helps, no doubt. When you have teams like Utah two years ago and TCU last year, that are easily as good as anybody in the country, then it helps everyone in the conference. I think what helps us the most here, is there is just a feel on our campus that starts with Dr. Frank and goes through Paul Kowalczyk, and you see it with facilities, that people genuinely want us to have a good football program. If that is the case, then we have a real chance. It doesn't matter how good any of these coaches or players are, if we don't have the support on campus and in the community and Board of Governors, just everyone, then it's not working. But, I am convinced we do, and like I led off in the opening statement, I am convinced that this is a great product to sell not just the community but also the university."
On QB recruits wanting to play at CSU because it's an NFL-style offense, rather than a spread:
"At this stage, in a guy like Pete's career, you can do it. Where it is difficult is when, four or five years from now, he is at the combine and hasn't done it and then he is trying to do it. So, that is a selling point for us and I think a lot of kids realize that. I think it helps us not only in terms of quarterbacks that aspire to play at the next level but also with receivers and linemen. Just the way we do things here, we are going to prepare you to play at the next level just as good as anybody. It's really hard to find a fullback in high school. If you are a fullback and want to have a shot at going to the next level, like say Zac Pauga might this next year, then this is where you want to be."
On Marc Lubick's performance as the recruiting coordinator, and the recruiting philosophy:
"It always will, like any aspect of our program. When we get done with the summer camp we sit down and evaluate what we liked, what we didn't like and what we can improve on. So, recruiting is no different. Marc is very organized, has a great background and I can already tell that it is going to be a positive move for our program. And, again, it's not just Marc, it's all of our coaches. We just sit down and say, `Alright now, where can we improve?'. We can never sit still here. We can't sit still in terms of our facilities. I mean, you just can't sit still because no one else is. You have to improve in everything you do."
On recruiting the populous areas in the country in addition to Colorado:
"I don't foresee us changing much. It is difficult. You take Larry Lewis, for example. Larry is in the city of Los Angeles but he has the entire Pacific Coast up to Seattle. Obviously, he can't be everywhere at once and do all that. But, having said that, you pick and choose your battles and you do a lot of legwork prior to ever going out and Larry is onto a lot of tremendous guys. We got a guy from Northern California, we got two from the state of Washington and next year maybe it will be more from Los Angeles for him. We are spread thin, there is no question, but I think like Nebraska, and some schools like that, that are in similar situations from a population standpoint; that is just the way to do it here."
On whether he had an in-home visit with every signee (from the Pacific Northwest to the south tip of Florida):
"Yes. I also saw kids that we didn't take. These guys (assistant coaches) all did a lot of work, too, now. Coach (Dan) Hammershmidt, for example, rolls in here in January and had a lot to do with this class. Daren Wilkinson is out seeing guys all over the country. Pat Meyer is in Pete Thomas' home (traveling from Florida to San Diego). Larry Kerr saw every defensive player, not just that we signed but the ones we were considering signing. These guys all put a lot of mileage on the car so to speak."
On getting three commitments from the state of Colorado and also losing none to CU but to out-of-state schools:
"I hadn't given that much thought, but I'm not really concerned with what CU does. Again, we evaluate the way we evaluate and recruit who we think can help us win and obviously are not going to get everyone we offer."
On keeping other schools away from the commits the last few weeks before Signing Day and whether he can rest easy now:
"We have already started for next year. To give you an example, Larry Kerr has done a tremendous job in-state. We have already gone to work on that. Guys will take a couple of days off just because we can do that now, but we will open up our mat drills next Tuesday and we have about six weeks left to have a good strength and conditioning program leading up to our spring football."
On when spring football will be held:
"It is the third week in March (March 25). It will be the Thursday after we come back from spring break."
On Cartwright out of Pueblo:
"He was tough and athletic. He could move and catch the ball. He went into the basketball camp and had his elbow around the rim. He is 215 and will be 235 real quick. On tape you can see that he is a tremendous receiver and can play with his hand on the ground. I'm not sure that he isn't a defensive end candidate at some point as well."
On Morgan's mission:
"It remains to be seen when he will take it. But, he definitely is going to go on a mission as did Drew Reilly two years ago and I am not against that. He has a very good family, and sometimes you talk it over with people and it is just the right thing for them to do. But, he is a good fit and eventually he is going to be here and playing for us."
On how CSU will fill out its roster with all the signees, including grayshirts:
"There is a lot going on, no question. And, like everyone alluded to the numbers, there are some numbers that we have to obey, but we communicate very well with all the parties involved and have a good grasp of what we are doing."
On kids coming back from missions and not staying with their commit:
"Well, I know that happens. It happened to me as an assistant coach here back in the `90s, but you can only control what you can control."
On what other teams have done around the MWC:
"I haven't paid much attention because we have enough work to do here."
On separation with Grayson and Thomas:
"If we can get it; it is still Garrett's decision. We will work with these guys. As I said, a lot has been communicated. We just didn't roll these guys out and get them to ink on the line. We are very aware of what they are thinking and what they want to do with goals they have and what they are doing in school. We check these guys out pretty good, and it's not just a quick check. We have gotten to know these guys. I can only see a guy once, but there are a lot of conversations. You take Garrett for instance, I know Larry Lewis was in his house a number of times, and Daren Wilkinson was up there. We have a good feel for what is going on, but ultimately there are still some decisions to be made and none of us can say exactly what is going to happen with any certainty right now. There are just some options."
On coaching these kids and if anyone stands out in his mind:
"Normally you do that, but I try not to, but if you watch the tape, they all excite you. Sometimes you think this guy is the guy when they get here and then another guy will surprise you. I just think we did a good job. This is a very talented class. I thought last year's class was very good and when they came on campus, it was better than I thought. There are some tremendous players. Three of them played (last year's class) and most of them redshirted; it was just a tremendous class. This one appears to be even better, but we will just wait and see when they arrive in the summer just to see how good they really are."
On whether the numbers now affect the number of walk-ons that can be brought on:
"There is always a Title IX number and it is an issue. My first year here without any injuries, we were able to run a pretty good practice. When you talk about running a rapid-paced practice with the scout team, you can't have 11 guys on defense, you have to have 22. As we got injured last year with that number being as low as it is, it affected our season."
On how confident he is on getting all the players in:
"Half of them are tremendous students. There is always going to be a cross section of guys where we will never bring anybody to the table when we aren't certain they will graduate. That's just the nature of a college football coach right now. I wish everybody I recruited was a 3.5 and already qualified and all that. At any university, even the Dukes, there is a cross section of what is going on, and we try to get as good of students we can. I'm a firm believer if the guy is achieving in other aspects in his life besides football, then he will develop the way we want him to develop when he gets here. To answer your question, we have a pretty good handle on these guys and what they are doing."
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