Monday, February 11, 2008

Recruiting: Grambling State's 2004 football signing class

Here are Grambling State University's announced football signees, with same-day analysis, from National Signing Day in February 2004:

Grambling State's 2004 haul
By Nick Deriso

· Brandon Gultrey, 5-10, 160, McCall (Tallulah, La.) HS: McCall's only senior, finished year with 2,218 yards, completing 64.1 percent of passes.

· Larry Kerlegan, 5-11, 180, La Marque (Texas) HS: Ranked No. 11 nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks by

· Brandon Landers, 5-11, 190, Carroll (La.) HS: The News-Star's Offensive Player of the Year on 2003 All-Northeast Louisiana team.

· Mike Nichols, 6-5, 220, Westbury (Houston, Texas) HS: SuperPrep listed Nichols as 90th out of Top 100 prospects in the entire Big 12 region.

The Skinny: GSU did a good job of preparing for the future, as All-America quarterback Bruce Eugene enters his senior season. Landers was an early target, but the coaches kept working to sign more top-notch talent - including the two Texas quarterbacks. Kerlegan's academic status is uncertain, which probably means the race is between Nichols and Landers. Gultrey, who excelled as a safety at McCall, will likely be moved to another position.


·Michael Rainey, 6-1, 185, Vicksburg (Miss.) HS: Rushed for 359 yards and also caught 22 passes for 207 yards last season.

The Skinny: While Grambling State has decided to use Ab Kuuan as its everyday rusher, he'll need someone to work in relief next season. That had been Henry Tolbert, but the coaches are moving him to the slot. Rainey is a similar runner, rangy and elusive.


· Clyde Edwards, 5-11, 170, Westbury (Houston, Texas) HS: Good academic performer; received first-team District 18-5A honors this season.

· Xavier Jackson, 6-3, 195, Parker (Birmingham, Ala.) HS: Had more than 900 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.

· Kenneth Miller, 6-2, 180, Winnsboro (La.) HS: Honorable mention on 2002 Class 3A All-State team. Also played basketball and ran track.

· Albert Rogers, 6-3, 180, Northeast (Zachary, La.) HS: Two-way player, received second-team All District 8-2A honors. All-around athlete, excelled at safety as well.

· Frank Green, 6-1, 185, Moncks Corner, SC/East Tennessee Univ.: Had 16 receptions for 242 yards and touchdown; also returned kick for another score last season.

The Skinny: Miller gives GSU the speed it so clearly craves, while Green brings valuable experience. Still, wide receiver wasn't a point of great need for the Tigers - despite the graduation of senior All-American Tramon Douglas, who broke Jerry Rice's record for receptions in a Southwestern Athletic Conference game. Freshman Tim Abney proved he was ready to audition for the No. 1 spot after tying for second in total touchdowns scored last season. Moses Harris and Paul Hardiman are also locks for playing time.


· Antonio Shannon, 6-4, 220, Mansfield (La.) HS: Member of Class 3A All-State football team.

· Travis Singleton, 6-3, 245, O. Perry Walker (New Orleans, La.) HS: Louisiana's No. 10 tight end prospect on the Zems Gems recruiting Web page. Impressive athlete, also plays basketball for Walker.

The Skinny: Shannon is the day's steal, a center on his school's basketball team who goes for passes like an aggressive rebounder. Singleton is listed at 4.8 in the 40-yard dash. Both of last year's tight ends are gone, meaning there will be a wide-open race to replace them. Gershone Jessie, an All-America candidate, has graduated. Jason Hatcher has been moved to defensive end.


· Mike Smith, 6-5, 315, Vicksburg (Miss.) HS: Smith joins former VHS linemen Andre Bennett and Charles Wilson, sophomores who both started at GSU last season. Wilson is Smith's brother.

· Quentin Smith, 6-2, 295, Centennial (Roswell, Ga.) HS: Son of former New York Giants OG Lance Smith, was part of group that gave CHS coach Mike Cloy his 100th career victory in 2003.

· Tavarus Cockrell, 6-3, 295, Parker (Birmingham, Ala.) HS: All-State as offensive tackle and defensive tackle, also played basketball.

The Skinny: GSU coaches feel that they have the type of runner in Kuuan who can return some balance to the Tigers' offensive attack. The problem last season seemed to be the lack of athleticism up front, especially with the reintroduction of the Wing-T formation in the scheme - one that calls for lots of pulling linemen. Cockrell in particular is a signing aimed directly at correcting that.


· Guy Henderson, DB/WR, 6-0, 190, Karr (New Orleans, La.) HS: Superior athlete, also played quarterback for Karr as junior.

· Deshon Pennie, DB, 6-0, 195, Nimitz (Houston, Texas) HS: First-team all-district as senior. Runs a legitimate 4.4, according to his prep coach.

· Robby Smith, DB, 5-11, 170, Ruston (La.) HS: First-team pick on 2003 All-Northeast Football Team. Adept at both man-to-man coverage or stopping run.

· Dee White, DT, 6-2, 260, Richwood (La.) HS: All-district pick as senior and honorable mention for 2-3A in 2002.

The Skinny: The defensive line and linebacker corps went largely unaddressed since GSU coaches are happy with the development of several players there. But a pair of new defensive backs were desperately needed with the graduation of both starters. That means Smith, Henderson and Pennie - perhaps the most accomplished of these backs coming out of high school - will get immediate reps and, possibly, playing time.


· William Mathis, KR/WR, 5-6, 155, Shades Valley (Pleasant Grove, Ala.) HS: Solid academic performer but also track star. Coaches say he is low 4.4 40-yard dasher.

· Larry Anderson, P, 6-4, 215, Redemptorist (Baton Rouge, La.) HS: Received second-team all-District 7-4A honors last season. Also played forward on school's basketball team.

The Skinny: Grambling State didn't have a reliable kickoff returner last season, often using starters from the defensive back and wide receiver units. So, Mathis will get an immediate look. Meanwhile, Anderson was badly needed at punter. Darien Morgan wasn't consistent enough in 2003 to be relied upon on an every-game basis.

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