Monday, March 31, 2008

Recruiting: Grambling State's 2007 signing day class

Here are Grambling State University's announced football signees, with same-day analysis, from National Signing Day in February 2007:

Grambling State's 2007 haul
By Nick Deriso
Breakdown: 17 signees (10 offense, 7 defense)

Local ties: Wossman offensive lineman Steve Timber aside, many of Grambling's local prospects either didn't get announced or were late adds. Bastrop defensive back Montrell Gardner was part of a group of players who apparently would not qualify -- and first-year coach Rod Broadway has decided against announcing those players. A group of Richwood players signed at a school ceremony, but didn't immediately sent in their paperwork.

Sudden impact: Linebacker and offensive line units badly in need to rebuilding could get a quick fix with the addition of a Alabama prospect Jhirron Spencer, a linebacker out of Aliceville; and no less than four new guys up front.

One that got away: Grambling decided to reverse course on a couple of offers not long after Broadway arrived, including one for Rivals two-star prospect Johnny Wooten of Garland. He looked to be an impact player, but on-going legal troubles were apparently a deal breaker.

Instant analysis: It's too early to tell just what kind of impact this group will have for Broadway, who hasn't installed his playbook --- and arrived too late to participate in the recruiting process. He's saved back some scholarships, and will likely use them on transfers in the spring if they right mix of starters can't be found.

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An in-depth look at Grambling's newest signees

DB/WR Joshua Blackmon, 6-1, 180, Hueytown (Ala.): An athlete with the ability to help out on offense, defense and special teams. Earned special mention honors on Jim Stefani's Underclassmen Recruiting Blog. One of seven from the state of Alabama.
Instant analysis: A two-way prep star who could find a home in Grambling's deeply depleted secondary.

LB Dante Cheek, 6-0, 220, Starr's Mill (Fayetteville, Ga.): Played tight end but is projected to play linebacker. Caught 32 receptions for 473 yards with three touchdowns, in a season highlighted by six catches for 100 yards versus Fayette County High.
Instant analysis: Could play on both sides of the ball, as well; also starred as a prep tight end.

OL Sam Cooper, 6-4, 285, Richwood (La.): Named Class 3A All-State by the Louisiana Sports Writer's Association. "Best of the Rest" prospect by Dandy Don. One of three Richwood players to sign with Grambling after advancing to Class 3A quarterfinals.
Instant analysis: One of five offensive lineman to sign; looks to have the athleticism this staff craves.

DB Quincy Covington, 5-10, 175, Independence (La.): Recorded 49 tackles with 33 solo stops at the safety position. Broke up four passes with five interceptions for 83 yards and returned 31 punts for 391 yards. Had two games with multiple interceptions.
Instant analysis: An interception machine at powerhouse Independence; could start immediately.

OG Brandon Gardner, Aliceville (Carrolton, Ala.): Played tackle in high school and projects as a guard in college. All-State and All-County as a junior. Blocked for an offense that produced over 2,000 yards on the ground in 2006.
Instant analysis: A former All-State performer with good feet, Gardner led the way for 1,700-yard rusher last season.

WR Bryan Jackson, 6-3, 190, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): Tall, physical receiver with good speed. Caught 26 receptions for over 500 yards this past season. Scored six touchdowns via the pass with one rushing touchdown. Also plays special teams.
Instant analysis: In a signing class light on skill-position players, Jackson will have a chance to shine.

LB Toby Mott, 6-0, 205, Richwood (La.): Earned Class 3A All-State Honorable Mention All-State honors last season. Posted 152 tackles and scored one defensive touchdown with three sacks. Also selected as District 2-3A MVP. Ranked third in the area in tackles.
Instant analysis: A bit undersized, but always around the ball, Mott was one of the one or two best area LBs.

OG Victor Phillips, 6-4, 295, Minor (Adamsville, Ala.): Earned special mention honors on Jim Stefani's Class of 2007 Underclassmen Recruiting Blog. Participated in the Tuscaloosa combine.
Instant analysis: Versatile blocker who led the way for all-staters at QB and RB last season.

DE Kendell Robinson, 6-4, 235, Parker (Birmingham, Ala.): Two-way player in high school who projects to play on the defensive side of the ball. Helped lead his high school team to a 6-3 record and an appearance in the state playoffs. Named a "Player to Watch" by The Birmingham News.
Instant analysis: Two-way player in high school who projects to play on the defensive side.

DE Antwon Rogers, 6-4, 225, Mays (Atlanta, Ga.): Played on the offensive line before switching over to the defensive side of the ball at the end of the season. Helped lead team to the second round of the playoffs.
Instant analysis: Depending on what the coaches see, Rogers would be used at either of his prep positions.

LB Jhrron Spencer, 6-1, 250, Aliceville (Ala.): Selected as the state of Alabama's Class 3A Lineman of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Recorded 126 tackles, 15 quarterback hurries, seven sacks and five fumble recoveries.
Instant analysis: A one-star recruit, could become next Pettway/Hatcher team so badly needs.

WR Dezmond Spivey, 6-1, 175, Green Oaks (Shreveport, La.): Passed for 720 yards with five passing touchdowns, including a 234-yard passing effort against North Caddo.
Instant analysis: A do-anything player, he also played quarterback and defensive back -- and was all-district as a punter.

RB Raymond "J.R." Spivey, 5-9, 170, Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.): Named First-Team All-Cobb County by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rushed for 1,677 yards and 20 touchdowns along with averaging 9.1 yards per carry. Nephew of former Grambling State quarterback and Jacksonville Jaguars team executive James "Shack" Harris.
Instant analysis: His 1,700 rushing yards as senior make a case for Spivey as heir apparent in an empty backfield.

OL Steve Timber, 6-4, 330, Wossman (Monroe, La.): All-Northeast selection participated in the 2006 NIKE Training Camp in Baton Rouge. Named "Best of the Rest" prospect by Dandy Don's football recruiting Web site.
Instant analysis: The All-Northeast selection could fill any number of voids on the offensive line.

WR Kiare Thompson, 6-0, 185, Burbank (Sacramento, Calif.): Recorded 18 receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown last season; averaged 21.1 yards per catch. Also had 19 tackles. Ranked the 64th best prospect in California by Phil's Spartan Athletics message board.
Instant analysis: Another two-way player who was also a standout defensive back; projects to play offense.

WR DeMarion Turner, 6-2, 205, Richwood (La.): Two-way standout; switched to defensive back this season. Caught 23 receptions for 421 yards and three touchdowns as a wide receiver in 2005. Earned second team All-District honors as an athlete.
Instant analysis: Terrific WR who lost some recruiting buzz when he was switched to DB; likely to move back.

RB Frank Warren, 6-0, 185, Pleasant Grove (Ala.): Selected to the Alabama Sports Writer's Association Class 5A All-State football team. Mentioned on Jim Stefani's Class of 2007 Underclassmen Recruiting Blog. Finalist for Class 5A Back of the Year award. Also plays on his high school's basketball team.
Instant analysis: Word is, he plays with the same intensity as his uncle, the great Saints defender of the same name.

NOTE: Grambling State only announced qualifiers this year; Bastrop defensive back Montrell Gardner was one of several others who also signed.

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