I don't pretend to be an expert on recruiting, but with "signing day" only a month away I do turn my attention to football recruiting and Lehigh's needs on the recruiting front. I'll break this into two parts: one, my analysis on what Lehigh's needs are in the recruiting offseason, and two, what I can scrape up about some of the prospective incoming athletes for the class of 2015. Today, I'll be analyzing what I feel Lehigh's recruiting needs are.
So for me, it is sort of a recruiting "blitz" in the sense that I haven't prepared all season for this, and (much like my undergraduate years, I might add) I crammed the night before this blog posting to scrape something presentable together. (more)
Before I dive right in though, one point worthy of mention is the unusual size of Lehigh's graduating senior football class this year. There are only 12 seniors saying goodbye this offseason. Of those twelve, only two were offensive starters last year (senior FB Anthony Fossati, senior OL Frank Giacalone) and only three (consensus all-American senior LB Matt Cohen, senior DT B.J. Benning, and senior SS Jesse Sanchez) were full-time defensive starters.
That means that this year's recruiting class might be smaller than the 25+ athletes we've been accustomed to seeing in years past - but then again, if you're an incoming freshman and can demonstrate you can play, coach Andy Coen has been exceedingly fair when it comes to giving freshmen a chance to prove themselves. Four freshmen were on the two-deep last year for "The Rivalry", and no more than eight freshmen last year saw time on the field for Lehigh - so if you can play with the big boys, you'll get opportunities to prove yourself.
Lehigh's Biggest Recruiting Needs
1. Defensive Back/Return Specialist. While Lehigh will enjoy the return of both their corners (senior CB/RS John "Prez" Kennedy, senior CB/RS Jarard "Fearless" Cribbs) in 2010, looking ahead Lehigh will need to replace both ends of one of the top return teams in FCS in 2009. Add to this that there will be five seniors in this year's secondary (including starting senior FS John Venerio), speed and depth at defensive back will be crucial.
By my count, Lehigh has 13 underclassmen defensive backs on the roster right now. I'd like at least four more.
2. "O" Line. Again looking beyond 2010, Lehigh will enjoy the return of four senior 300 lb linemen (All-American senior OL Will Rackley, senior OL Ricky Clerge, senior OL R.J. McNamara, and senior OL Keith Schauder.) But in 2011 these guys will graduate, and we need to be sure to have the next generation of hogs ready to take their place.
By my count, Lehigh has 14 underclassmen "O" linemen on the roster right now. I'd like to see three or four more.
3. The QB of the Future. Right now, it's senior QB J.B. Clark, senior QB Trace Cisneros and junior QB Chris Lum in the mix at QB. But it will be crucial to get the heir apparent at the most important offensive position on the field in this recruiting class. A wild card, freshman QB Michael Colvin, still is in the mix as well - but will he be an option primarily out of the Wildcat, or as an everyday QB?
Lehigh has 4 underclassman QBs on the roster now. I'd like to see two more.
Three Other Recruiting Needs
1. "H"-Backs. Lehigh has a lot of TEs listed - but only one FB listed, junior FB Bryce Arruda. I have to believe at least one of those TEs will be converted to fullback (perhaps junior TE Fred Mihal, or senior TE Brandon Radke), but with Radke and senior TE Alex Wojdowski entering their senior years, there will need to be at least one replacement waiting in the wings. (Ideal: 2 FB/LB types.)
2. "D"-Line depth. Hopefully senior DT Phil Winett, who has missed two big chunks of the last two seasons, will be healthy. Ideally as well, though, Lehigh will get their next generation of B.J. Benning - a big defensive tackle that makes plays. (Ideal: 2 DT prospects, 1 DE prospect).
3. Athletes in the RB and LB pipelines. With senior RB Jaren Walker,senior RB Jay Campbell, senior LB Troy Taylor and senior LB Al Pierce graduating in 2011, there will be a need for more players to get in the mix at key positions. Lehigh needs to get the next generation of these players in there. (Ideal: 1 RB, 2 LBs).