Written by Andrew Ottoson Wednesday, 25 July 2007 06:52
With the start of training camp less than a month away, Tabor College head football coach Mike Gottsch is pleased with the off-season recruiting he and his staff have accomplished so far.
“If the head coach is looking at the problem the right way, you have to try to sign every spot again, and every year you’ll have the same needs,” he said.
With 33 recruits, Gottsch is confident that the team’s depth has increased in nearly every area.
“I feel, coming from the head coach’s standpoint, you have to bring in new players at every position during the off-season,” he said.
“Of course you’ll be stronger in some areas than others, but you need competition at every spot to improve,” he added. “We want to be very competitive with our second- and third-teamers at every spot, and that’s how we’re recruiting.”
With the additions already inked, Gottsch estimates the process has the Bluejays right on track.
“I think we’ve signed some good football players,” Gottsch said. “We’re in line to have some very competitive two-a-days when practice starts.”
Gottsch and his staff have successfully filled in holes created by the graduation of 16 seniors from last season’s 6-4 team.
Tabor lost three seniors along the offensive line to graduation, including all-conference blockers Grant Myers and Bobby Hurd.
“I hate to pinpoint an area, because I feel like we’ve signed very good players for every spot on the field,” Gottsch said. “A possible exception is our offensive line, because there aren’t a lot of those guys who are 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds running around out there.
“Offensive line is an area where we have some very solid players, but we’re just not very deep and it’s the one area I feel we could be deeper at. To me, offensive line is a critical, critical position.
“But I don’t want to sound at all gloom-and-doom about it, because we’ve got some good players returning,” he said.
One area of his recruiting plan has made an impact on every part of the team—a concerted effort on the part of the Tabor staff to improve the squad that hits a little closer to home—literally.
“I feel like we need to have 15 to 20 percent of our roster composed of good solid Kansas kids,” he said. “The team has been less than that, so we’ve aimed at getting Kansas kids, and with the kids that we’ve signed, we’re right near the number we think we should have.”
Gottsch has added 11 from Kansas—six from Marion County with three from Hillsboro.
With the rising number of closer-to-home players on the roster, Gottsch intends to field a team with more than merely physical strength.
“I feel very, very good about the guys we’re bringing in this year—not only as good athletes and good students, but also for quality character,” he said.
Gottsch's first-year recruiting class
Following is a list of the 33 football signees for Tabor College first-year head coach Mike Gottsch.
Quarterbacks: Jason Aubrey (6-1, 210) Bartlesville, Okla.; Anthony Davis (6-1, 175) Houston, Texas; Michael Garcia (6-0, 185) Del Rio, Texas.
Running backs: Demetrius Cox (5-9, 180) Orlando, Fla.; Thomas Phillips (5-11, 200) Peabody; Seth Ramsay (6-0, 210) Owasso, Okla.; Devin Smith (5-9, 185) Winnetka, Calif.
Wide receivers: Steven Chisholm (6-3, 200) Hillsboro; Troy Frick (6-4, 190) Durham; Chad Huffman (6-0, 170) Cunningham; Zach Redding (5-10, 175) Wichita; Aaron Stepanek (5-10, 175) Hillsboro; Cody Wright (5-11, 175) Glenpool, Okla.
Offensive line: Ben Cutler (5-11, 230) Henderson, Nev.; Jordan Hackerott (6-7, 260) Kingman; Howard Marine (6-4, 310) Houston, Texas.
Defensive backs: Marce Ayala (5-8, 170) Long Beach, Calif.; Adrian Clay (5-10, 175) Houston, Texas; Thomas Price (5-10, 175) Chapman; Marcus Singletary (6-2, 190) Hinesville, Ga.; Jacob Story (6-1, 185) Waco, Texas
Linebackers: Chris Bloss (5-9, 210) Wichita; Dustin Brooks (6-0, 210) Cassville, Mo.; LaJamal Dixon (6-0, 190) Houston, Texas; Clayton Kessler (6-3, 205) Uvalde, Texas; Michael Lahita III (5-10, 180) Owasso, Okla.; Timothy Sheppard (6-0, 200) Houston; Brendon Smith (5-10, 180) Crosby, Texas; Teal Stutzman (6-2, 210) Lititz, Pa.; Michael Suderman (6-0, 205) Hillsboro; Kyle Townsend (6-0, 180) Collinsville, Okla.; Justen White (5-10, 205) Kansas City, Mo.
Defensive line: Adam Dirks (6-4, 215) Durham; Brad Tyler-Clark (6-1, 280) Broken Arrow, Okla.