Lehigh Football Nation is pretty excited this week following the announcement on Lehighsports.com of the recruiting class of 2009.
[Updated with link to Express-Times Article, and additional facts on "Players to Watch"]
The 29 student-athletes come from as far away as Westlake High School in Texas and as close to the Lehigh Valley as Liberty High School in Bethlehem. Overall, recruiting seemed to go very well in "our backyard" of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The incoming class has a lot of good pure athletes that could play as offensive or defensive players. Speed (as it should be) seemed to be a major factor in recruiting. This has served Coach Lembo well in years past.
Curiously, there were no QBs in this year's recruiting class. It looks like coach Lembo recruited strongly in our need areas. As a result, we recruited and committed many WRs, DBs, TEs, and defensive front seven players. I'm pleased with the list of wideouts especially, but also with the inclusion of a couple FBs and TEs as well.
A well-written piece by Corky Blake of the Express-Times sums up the 2009 class better than I ever could. Anyone who tracked down the fact that Max El-Hag's father competed in judo for Egypt in the 1964 Olympics deserves some sort of Pulitzer prize.
Here is this year's list of "5 New Faces to Watch":
1. Matt McGowan, RB, PA, Hazelton. A transfer from the University of Richmond, he didn't play a down for the Spiders. However, in 2003 with Hazelton he rushed for 2,294 yards his senior year. My hunch is that he might turn out to be a real sleeper in this class a few years down the road. 2005 Prediction: Will challenge for backup RB position in 2005.
2. Adam Watson, FB, NJ, Bergen Catholic. From one of the best high school programs in the state, if he continues to build on his 6'0, 225 lb frame he could be part of a great 1-2 running punch down the road - unless he converts to LB. Prediction: Special Teams impact in 2005, starting FB in 2006.
3. Sekou Yansane, DB/WR, MD, Winston Churchill. 6'1, 175, and speedy - he also was on the track team. From the Express-Times: "Lehigh lists him at 6-1, 175, but newspaper accounts of his Winston Churchill games report him to be 6-3, 180 pounds with a Randy Moss-like physical presence. Yansane caught 33 passes for 620 yards. As a defensive back, he intercepted six passes." Are the plans for him to be a go-to wideout? Or a cover corner? With his size and speed, the defense and offense will be battling for him. Prediction: Special teams impact in 2005, starting WR in 2006.
4. Tim Diamond, OLB, NJ, Lakeland. All-state and a one-man wrecking crew at Lakeland. Diamond had 134 tackles, six sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six interceptions during the regular season in his senior year. Did I mention he also played wideout? Express-Times: "Diamond led Lakeland to the New Jersey North 1 Group 2 sectional title. In the 17-14 championship victory over Lenape Valley at Giants Stadium, Diamond caught a touchdown pass, registered 13 tackles and kicked the winning 23-yard field goal in overtime." Now that's a player! A true find, and I feel we should see his impact on the team very soon. Prediction: Special teams impact in 2005, starting OLB in 2006.
5. Quadir Carter, RB/DB, PA, Freedom. A very good athlete who was a starting RB at Freedom who could run and catch the ball well. Played on the same team as Mark McGowan in the PSFCA East/West game in 2003. Express-Times: "Lembo was excited to keep Freedom's Carter in the fold. Carter was an Express-Times All-Area first-team defensive back as a senior in 2003." Prediction: Special teams impact in 2005, starting DB in 2006.