Now that the faxes have been sent and the roster is updated, the real work of putting together a depth chart begins. Even though this class has some perceived talent, the impact for next season will probably be minimal.
On offense the real competition is at quarterback. Pete Thomas will enter spring practice as a freshman, but to become a starter he will have to emerge in fall practice as a leader. Not an easy task. Whether or not this recruiting class helps propel the Rams back to prominence in the MWC won't be known for a while, but one thing for sure is that this could very well be the most balanced class CSU has ever signed.
The only areas lacking are a power running back, which was not really necessary given the current roster, and a place kicker. The one overall theme for this yearís class is a focus on speed. Running backs Tony Drake and Marvin Ford are both run the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds. Linebackers Marquis Hood and Eric Niederberger should have no trouble running sideline-to-sideline. Jay James is fast enough to play at any position, and while heíll start at receiver, he could become the next Joey Porter and moved to the defense before long. CSU needs some speed on the defensive side of the ball because the rest of the MWC is not going to slow down.
TCU signed athlete Curtis Carter of Stonewall, La., who last spring ran a 4.44 second 40-yard dash at a Nike combine -- and that was considered a slow time for him. TCU also signed running back Ethan Grant from Coconut Creek, Fla., who is considered one of the faster athletes around. Grant won the Florida 2A 110m hurdle state title as a junior, and runs a 10.6 second 100m dash.
The question on many Ram fans' minds is who will be the real impact player. Recruit rankings are one thing, but as a former walk-on turned NFL Super Bowl champion Clark Haggins showed, rankings donít matter so much come game day. Usually, there are some impact players who arenít really talked about. Last year my money was on safety Ezra Thompson (who I think would have played more if Klint Kubiak was injured earlier in the season), but it was running back Lou Greenwood who got to show glimpses of his abilities first. This year may not produce any instant starters, but someone like Drake or receiver James Boone could see time as a returner, and compete in a wide-open receiver competition.
There is one signee that does demonstrate good technique, and at a difficult position to play. That player is cornerback Shaq Bell of Osceola. Just like another Osceola alum, Gerard ďMomoĒ Thomas, playing as a true freshman is not out of the question for Bell. It is also not out of the question the biggest impact player as a true freshman has not even been added to the roster yet. If the Rams can add a strong leg kicker to handle kick off duties it is conceivable that a big shift in drive starting position for the opposition could lead to much fewer points allowed. The Rams did have kicker Josh Fralick from Chatfield High School in for an official visit last month. Fralick has not signed a letter-of-intent with a college as of Wednesday.
In a less-than-confidence-inspiring signing, Vance Green of Gilmer, Texas signed with CSU Wednesday morning....and then did the same at Tyler Junior College. I didnít realize this was allowed by the NCAA, but letís hope it works out for Green.
Here is a list of video highlights from signing day or other prospect clips (more will be added as they become available):
If you have a tip to share about prospective CSU recruits, feel free to shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.