TSU anxiously awaits signing class today

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Sports Editor

Today many of the worries and speculation will be put to rest. The phone will either ring or not and the future of college football teams will be decided.

It’s signing day, and while the bigger schools will get most of the attention and many of the bigger named recruits, for the teams like Troy State the stress of recruiting is just as strong and the payoff can be just as big.

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TSU head coach Larry Blakeney has surprised a lot of people around recruiting circles this season with some of the big commitments he has received. With the Trojans moving to Division I-A ball in the year 2001, Blakeney and his staff have been hard at work recruiting the type of players he feels they will need to make that leap.

"We feel good about this class and we hope that it will turn out to be the best class we’ve ever recruited," Blakeney said. "We had earlier and better commitments than we ever had. I think that’s a sign of good things and that we’re projecting a better image with the probability of becoming I-A in 2001.

"I think we’ve accomplished some of the things we went in to accomplish," he continued. "I also think we fulfilled some obligations to this class and this program with positions that we needed. Our recruiting spans the whole spectrum of the team in offense, defense and even the kicking game. If it turns out as good as we hope, that just means we’ve done our job."

The hustle and bustle to nab those marquee players can sometimes take a toll on coaches and programs. Recruiting players and trying to sell yourself and your team can be trying sometimes.

Blakeney enjoys it, however. He feels that it all boils down to who you get into your program to push it into the future.

"I don’t think you can be a college coach and not enjoy recruiting," Blakeney said. "The people, the competition and the comparison that goes on is fun. We compare players to pick out the one we want and they compare schools to pick out the one they want."

"People are very interested in hearing about recruiting and you have to have a good frame of mind about it because it’s what replenishes your program and keeps you going," Blakeney added. "The move we’re making and the transition it makes it all that more exciting as well as more challenging. If we’ve done a good job of evaluating and recruiting then it’s our job to raise them into this program."

After all is said and done Today, there will be surprises and maybe even some hurt feelings, but Blakeney says that is all to be expected.

"We’ve got three or four that will go right down to tonight. They’ll tell us yes or no and there’s nothing we can do, but beg," the coach laughed. "We’ll do that if we have to."

While begging might not be out of the question as the zero hour approaches, Blakeney’s philosophy about recruiting might not be as harsh as many. While some teams fight tooth and nail over star recruits, the coach doesn’t want anyone that doesn’t in turn want to be a part of his program.

"Our philosophy as a program is we want people here because they want to be here," he said. "We’re low or no pressure. We don’t push for commitments like some schools do. That happens every day and we lose some kids because of it, but we try not to do that. We try to let these guys make a good, solid, firm and free decision. I think they’ll be better off when they get here if they make it that way."