Sports Network Lists ISU's Football Recruiting Class Among FCS Best

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The Captain Level
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Around FCS: The Rich Get Richer
By David Coulson, FCS Executive Director

Philadelphia (Sports Network) - My e-mail inbox has been overflowing in the past few days with one simple question: "How do you think our school did with its recruiting class?"

Rating recruiting classes has become a cottage industry in recent years, and everyone from Car and Driver magazine to Better Homes and Gardens seems to take a crack at analyzing the results these days.

It is indisputable that few things that college coaches do - at any level - have as much bearing on the success of their programs as does recruiting.

No matter how much you attempt to dissect a school's recruiting success, however, the fact remains that it is all speculative, and no one really knows how good a player will be until he steps foot on campus and begins to practice.

If the experts were so good at their craft, we wouldn't have players like Brian Westbrook slipping through the recruiting cracks and ending up at a relatively small school like Villanova.

We can look back now at a career filled with achievements like winning the Walter Payton Award, and becoming a Pro Bowl running back at the next level. But a decade back, few if any college recruiters other than those at Villanova believed in the pint-sized, but uber-talented runner. And even the Wildcat coaching staff wasn't sure what they had uncovered.

The same can be said for under-recruited players at a variety of FCS schools every year, and I'm sure we will eventually see plenty more rags to riches stories from this year's recruiting class. We just won't know for awhile who has caught lightning in a bottle.

So with that disclaimer in place, we offer our take on the 2008 recruiting class.

Among the schools who received pretty much unanimous approval for their recruiting efforts were Appalachian State, Eastern Washington, Illinois State, McNeese State, Massachusetts, Villanova, Richmond, Northwestern State and a couple of big surprises, Indiana State and Georgetown.

Others getting props included Georgia Southern, New Hampshire, James Madison, Old Dominion, Central Arkansas, Northern Iowa, Duquesne, Northern Colorado, Rhode Island, Chattanooga, Western Carolina, Fordham and Cal Poly.

Appalachian State has made the most of its regular television appearances and media exposure in its three-year national championship run. The Mountaineers scored big again by recruiting even more of their trademark speed.

* * *

Joining Illinois State with a sparkling recruiting class is a team that has been one of the bottom-feeders of FCS, Indiana State. But the Sycamores have gained some excitement under new coach Trent Miles.

Among the players who will try to turn around Indiana State's fortunes are defensive backs Aaron Archie and Julian Easterly, and defensive ends Nate Williams and Lawrence Young.

Coming off a No. 1 ranking in the regular season, Northern Iowa scored with offensive linemen Kyle Staudt and Tim Sauer, running backs Carlos Anderson, Joe Johnson, Rayon Simmons and De'Andre Vandevender, receiver Kenyad Blair, linebackers Joe Cason and L.J. Fort, athlete Craig Ralls and defensive backs Garrett Scott and Nico Watson.

* * *

The Ohio Valley Conference war, Eastern Illinois and Eastern Kentucky were riding on top, followed closely by Jacksonville State.

Eastern Illinois' top prospects include running back Kenny Williams, linebacker Gordon Kickels, lineman Ben Olson and speedy quarterback Doug Reynolds.

EKU did well, despite losing coach Danny Hope to Purdue. New coach Dean Hood was excited to sign wide receivers T.J. Brown and Gary Myers and lineman Christian Molina.

Sparked by plans of facility upgrades, Jacksonville State was able to land a pair of blue chippers in offensive lineman Tylor Chambers and quarterback Casey Weston.

However things turn out for any and all of the above players and teams, it will be fun for all fans of FCS to watch and see what stars emerge from the recruiting class of 2008. Who knows, maybe a future Payton Award or Buchanan Award winner will be among the names we've discussed above.


The Varsity Level
This says a lot about Coach Miles, his credentials and what he is getting done all ready!

COME ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!!! Yeah, I said it....