Feb. 4, 2009
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RUSTON -- Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley announced the Bulldogs 2009 signing class Wednesday, an impressive group of student-athletes that includes 23 prep stars and three junior college transfers.
Dooley and Co. landed a total of nine three-star recruits (Rivals.com) and early indications are the class could be LA Tech's best in decades as the Bulldogs out-dueled numerous Conference USA schools and even some Big 12 programs for a number of high-profile signees.
"The biggest change this year is we had a little more sticking power," Dooley said. "We had a little more success against our regional recruiting rivals. I think that is an indicator of a number of things. Certainly we were better prepared as coaches.
"I think the recruits in high school are noticing the progress we are making, not just in wins and losses, but in the infrastructure and the investments we are making in the program. Anytime you make progress it attracts more quality players. When I first got here we were selling a dream and a vision, and now they are seeing results. More and more kids are buying into what we are doing."
The class includes 14 high school players from Louisiana -- including 10 of the Top 75 according to Rivals.com -- and nine from the state of Texas and three junior college transfers. Tech trailed only LSU, who signed 12 of the Top 75 players in the state of Louisiana while no other in-state school got more than five.
Tech's class is ranked No. 2 in the Western Athletic Conference according to Rivals.com just behind defending league champion Boise State, the highest ranking within the conference since the program joined the league in 2001.
"We signed 26 players, and with the exception of three junior college guys, every one of them is from the state of Louisiana and Texas ... within a five to six hour drive," Dooley said. "I've always believed that gives us plenty of recruiting area to build a program. Our coaches did phenomenal job of identifying players and then signing them."
The Bulldogs signing class includes 12 offensive players, 11 defensive players, two athletes and one place-kicker.
"We put together an entire offense," Dooley said. "We've got five offensive linemen and then six skill position players. We also had a real big emphasis on the secondary because it is an area where we are thin. It was important to get some good defensive backs in this class."
A number of local players signed with LA Tech including Ruston High School safety Javontay Crowe, Neville offensive lineman Justin Ellis, Evangel Christian Academy athlete Quinn Giles, and Logansport wide receiver Jacarri Jackson.
Tech had plenty of success in south Louisiana, landing Archbishop Shaw defensive back Chad Boyd, Leesville cornerback Cassetti Brown, O.P. Walker running back Tyrone Duplessis, South Plaquemine athlete Lyle Fitte, O.P. Walker linebacker Kendrick James, L.W. Higgins defensive end Shakeil Lucas, Assumption offensive lineman Jordan Mills, Destrehan linebacker Rufus Porter, Acadiana wide receiver D.J. St. Julien, and Lutcher cornerback Fred Thomas.
Tech also made a living in the Lone Star state, inking Pleasant Grove safety C.J. Broades, Timberview wide receiver Sharman Brown, Kilgore offensive lineman Vincent Cano, Pflugerville linebacker I.K. Enemkpali, Westwood running back D.J. Morrow, Steele placekicker Matt Nelson, All Saints Episcopal quarterback Doak Raulston, Marshall offensive lineman Matt Shepperd, and Round Rock tight end Andre Taylor.
"I do think we are building our roster from the ground up," Dooley said. "This is a good freshman class that will stick through four years. We signed a good class last year and this is really the second class. It's important that we start building a lineage of players at each position."
The Bulldogs also added some junior college experience by signing Hutchison Junior College offensive lineman Jacob Miller, Georgia Military Institute cornerback Olajuwan Paige, and Northeast Oklahoma Junior College defensive tackle John White.
Dooley and Co. will open spring practice March 14 as the Bulldogs begin preparations for the 2009 season after capturing the 2008 Independence Bowl championship title this year.
|Chad Boyd||DB||5-10||190||Westwego, La.||Archbishop Shaw HS||Watch|
|C.J. Broades||S||6-1||205||Texarkana, Texas||Pleasant Grove HS||Watch|
|Cassetti Brown||CB||5-11||180||Leesville, La.||Leesville HS||Watch|
|Sharman Brown||WR||6-0||185||Mansfield, Texas||Timberview HS||Watch|
|Vincent Cano||OL||6-2||295||Kilgore, Texas||Kilgore HS||Watch|
|Javontay Crowe||S||5-11||190||Ruston, La.||Ruston HS||Watch|
|Tyrone Duplessis||RB||5-8||185||New Orleans, La.||O.P. Walker HS||Watch|
|Justin Ellis||OL||6-2||330||Monroe, La.||Neville HS||Watch|
|IK Enemkpali||LB||6-1||230||Pflugerville, Texas||Pflugerville HS||Watch|
|Lyle Fitte||ATH||5-8||185||Sulphur, La.||South Plaquemines HS||Watch|
|Quinn Giles||ATH||5-10||185||Shreveport, La.||Evangel Christian Academy||Watch|
|Jacarri Jackson||WR||6-2||185||Logansport, La.||Logansport HS||Watch|
|Kendrick James||LB||6-1||225||New Orleans, La.||O.P. Walker HS||Watch|
|Shakeil Lucas||DE||6-2||255||Marrero, La.||L.W. Higgins HS||Watch|
|Jacob Miller||OL||6-3||285||Emporia, KS||Hutchinson CC||Watch||Jordan Mills||OL||6-6||325||Napoleonville, La.||Assumption HS||Watch|
|D.J. Morrow||RB||5-10||200||Palestine, Texas||Westwood HS||Watch|
|Matt Nelson||PK||5-10||155||Cibolo, Texas||Steele HS||Watch|
|Olajuwan Paige||CB||5-9||180||Aiken, S.C.||Georgia Military Institute||Watch|
|Rufus Porter||LB||6-1||215||Destrehan, La.||Destrehan HS||Watch|
|Doak Raulston||QB||6-2||190||Fort Worth, Texas||All Saints Episcopal HS||Watch|
|Matthew Shepperd||OL||6-2||305||Marshall, Texas||Marshall HS||Watch|
|D.J. St. Julien||WR||6-0||190||Lafayette, La.||Acadiana HS||Watch|
|Andre Taylor||TE||6-5||235||Round Rock, Texas||Round Rock HS||Watch|
|Fred Thomas||CB||5-11||170||Lutcher, La.||Lutcher HS||Watch|
|John White||DT||6-2||290||Miami, Okla.||Northeast Oklahoma JC||Watch|