Recruiting Review

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All it took was one conversation with a respected guru to fan the flame. Recruiting is a subject that, given job parameters, must danced around to a degree, with nebulous references highly favored over revealing prospects' names and hometowns. But it is common knowledge that the Owls have eight commitments in hand (you know where to look to get this information), and those who follow such things are likely familiar with the half-dozen or so prospects being targeted to fill the five remaining vacancies. Will David Bailiff add another offensive lineman to the current crop? A tight end? A defensive back of some sort, and maybe another receiver? Another defensive tackle would be appreciated, but that banged drum has been ignored.

However the next six weeks unfold, what will be interesting is noting how Bailiff fits the pieces of this puzzle together. Aside from six Class of 2006 signees who redshirted at some point in their careers (DB Max Anyiam, WR Pierre Beasley, DB Willie Garley, DS Brandon Long, WR Patrick Randolph, WR Corbin Smiter), the 2010 roster will be composed entirely of players Bailiff signed. Considering the Owls lost only a baker's dozen to graduation, including just three starters by season's end (WR Toren Dixon, TE Taylor Wardlow, LB Terrance Garmon), drastic alterations to the rotation are unlikely. But for the most part this will be Bailiff's team in every aspect, with his latest group of prospects cementing his recruiting style and philosophy.

Before we glance too far ahead to the Class of 2010, let's look back and review the development of the three classes Bailiff has signed thus far during his career on South Main:

Starters (10): OL Keshawn Carrington; OL Scott Mitchell; OL Jake Hicks; LB Justin Hill; DB Chris Jones; DE Cheta Ozougwu; OL Tyler Parish; OL Davon Allen; RB Tyler Smith; DE Scott Solomon. Rotation (5): WR Taylor Dupree; OL Kody Emmert; WR Brent Hotard; DE Kramer Lucio; DL Brian Stacey. Others (8): WR Randy Kitchens; LB Tanner Shuck; LB Aaron Williams; WR Michael Fuda; DB Joseph Leary; TE Will Norris; DL Cameron Thompson; LB Brandon Tolbert.

As was to be expected, Bailiff's first class has settled in and dominates the two-deep. Bailiff is still scrambling to recover from the losses of Fuda (baseball), Leary (hamstring), Norris (retired), Thompson (knee) and Tolbert (concussions), and efforts are continuing to find homes for Kitchens, Shuck and Williams, the last two having struggled at linebacker. For the most part the starters will represent team leadership in 2010 and 2011, especially in the trenches.

Starters (3): P Kyle Martens; DL Michael Smith; KR Shane Turner. Rotation (9): OL Eric Ball; DB Jarrett Ben; DL John Gioffre; DB Chris Jammer; QB Ryan Lewis; WR Roddy Maginot; DB Xavier Webb; DE Jared Williams; TE Luke Willson. Others (7): WR Derek Clark; OL Clay Herbert; LB Ronnie Lillard; OL Stefan Nazar; WR Michael Patterson; WR Denzel Wells; DE Arnaud Gascon-Nadon.

It's not a good sign when two of the three starters from this class work exclusively on special teams. Ben, Jammer and Webb will have ample opportunities to move back into the starting lineup, but the clock is ticking on the celebrated group of receivers Bailiff signed following his first season. The same could be said of Lillard, who has the physical tools to at least work his way into and remain a part of the playing rotation. Having AGN go AWOL really hurt the team.

Starters (4): DB Kevin Gaddis; DB Phillip Gaines; DL Alex Lowry; RB Charles Ross. Rotation (3): DE Cody Bauer; LB Trey Briggs; DB Corey Frazier. Others (17): QB Taylor McHargue; WR Donte Moore; ATH Turner Petersen; ATH Paul Porras; DL Hosam Shahin; OL Cade Shaw; DE Josh Skinner; DB Tolu Akinwumi; PK Chris Boswell; DB Andre Brackens; DB Alex Francis; WR Andre Gautreaux; DE Nic Hammett; OL Jon Hodde; DB Broderick Jackson; OL Bobby Janisch; WR Klein Kubiak.

Bailiff hit a home run with all four freshmen starters, and the best thing about the '09 season was that he preserved the redshirt on 16 members of his most recent class (resisting the temptation to pull the redshirts off potential stars McHargue and Janisch). With all the gnashing of teeth over the unproductive/unproven receivers (this corner is most guilty of that charge), Kubiak could be a boon to the roster in a manner similar to that of another greyshirt, TE Vance McDonald. Bauer, Briggs and Frazier need to physically mature this offseason because each flashed considerable promise as reserves and will be key to the rotation in '10.

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Wow, the class of 2008 gave us very little this season. We need some of them to step up. Wells and Clark could be a big help.

What's the official word on the EZF?

I know construction on it was originally supposed to commence post-2009 season but that's obviously no longer happening. Is post-2010 at all realistic?

Re: recruiting needs, DT doesn't look so bad with the extensive play the young guys already have gotten (Gioffre, Smith, Lowry, Stacey) a raw talent coming off a needed redshirt (Shahin) and a touted DT commit in the fold for 2010. Obviously you'd like to have more, but talented DTs with the requisite academics are hard to find and there are precious few spots in the critical 2010 class. This staff knows they can't miss on any of the recruits they fill this class with.

The position that concerns me is the lack of overtly talented WRs coming into this pass first spread we are supposed to be running. Clark and Wells have shown the most talent of the young receivers, and it's a shame that neither was able to cut their teeth in 2009. I hope that even if Clark's supposed immaturity continues in 2010 the coaches will realize the need to get his talent on the field regardless.

However, this staff has yet to sign a big, fast playmaking receiver in the past 3 classes or to gain the commit of one in the 2010 class. It is clearly one of their aims for one of the spots as it should be, but they're struggling to find a right fit that they can also get to commit. The search has expanded nationally for a sleeper that will fit the bill.

Talon: I haven't heard any additional word on the EZF. If I do I will pass along. - MK

Yeah, I had been meaning to post something about the 2008 class, but wasn't sure how to word it. Hopefully Wells can give them a lift next year.

i played at rice many years ago and now i am a defense coordinator at Humble high school. i have a kid xavier maxwell who is a stud on the field and 6'1'' 180 is blazing fast 4.4 forty and a track star . wr/db come see him... the humble school district hasnt had the looks it deserves with players such as jerrod johnson and jackie battle.. will peoples..sammy davis..david givens..david boston..byron davis and many more who my memory fails we competed against some of the best javorski lane, jamal charles, tate drom beaumont craig loston we whipped russell sheperds azz wit back ups.i think we deserve a better look from the houston area coaches.. dont let more of my guys escape your grasp i tried telling you two years ago about a linebacker we had Robert Parker but you let him slipp away to those dang SMU mustangs(june came all the way from hawaii to get him and u were up there street). heck he was smart number 50 in his class of 900. we gotta lot of kids to pool from come take your pick. plz dont let more shoulda been owls... slip out your grasp.(we need bigger dts also) RICE FIGHT NEVA DIE

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