Troy State football inks 27
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2000
picks on the first day
By STEVEN G. WATSON
The fax-machine ink might need changing at some of your local colleges after yesterday’s college football signing frenzy.
At Troy State the Trojans nabbed 27 national letters of intent and hope to add a few more to that number before the signing period ends.
TSU head coach Larry Blakeney was smiling yesterday as the dust settled, which is always a good sign. In his ninth year as the Trojans field general, Blakeney hopes this will be one of his best recruiting days to date.
"In general we feel good about the class," Blakeney said. "We’re probably going to sign 27 or 28 guys total. Some of those guys will probably enter school here under Proposition 42’s, but most of them are qualifiers. I think we were able to sign some guys that will really mean a lot to us in the future."
Outstanding on the list of high school talent is a very nice group of offensive and defensive linemen, some wide receivers of note, a good core of linebackers that should retool a depleted group and some all-around prospects who will be plugged in to a number of different positions.
Looking down the list the strength has to be in the lineman category. Blakeney and his staff have signed four huge prospects that meet all the right criteria. They got letters from Lee Milliner (6-foot-2, 270) of Enterprise, Henry Tellis (6-5, 310) of Montgomery, Branden Hall (6-4, 300) of Auburn and Donnie Bostian (6-6, 305) out of Georgia.
"On the Offensive line we signed all the guys we wanted," Blakeney said. "With Milliner, Bostian, Hall and Tellis we feel we’ll notice an immediate impact. All of them are around the 300-pound range and over 6-foot so they are Division I-A material."
Blakeney calls Milliner a big time prospects and feels like he was probably one of their biggest finds. His family went to Troy State. And while he sees Hall and Bostian as overpowering and incredibly athletic, he calls Henry the most passive of the bunch, but uses his hands very well and will be a fantastic pass protector.
Another huge pick up will be running back Jermaine Richardson (5-10, 180) who the Trojans inked from Pensacola, Fla. As a senior Richardson ran for over 2,000 yards and was named the 1999 Northwest Florida Player of the Year. The tough tailback even played three games with a broken toe last season and could be a jewel for the Trojans’ running back corps.
The only other running back TSU signed was Neal Oates Jr. (5-11, 180) who Blakeney feels was a steal as well.
Troy State also filled their need at the linebacker position signing four quality picks with Jordan Lesley (6-3, 225) from Fulton, Ms., and Robby Farmer (6-2, 210) from Hayden, Ala., heading the top of the list.
They also got a number of quality defensive backs and wide receivers in the mix with height and size being the main topic of conversation.
A pleased Blakeney seemed to have gotten what he wanted out of the signing class and feels that Troy State has done what they need to as they surge towards Division I-A ball in 2001.
"We’ve got a good bunch, but the main thing now is to make sure that they all finish out school properly. Recruiting is like legalized gambling," Blakeney said smiling. "We feel really good about the young men entering in this year’s class. These men will be cornerstones in our move to I-A in 2001."