Troy Trojans #039;meet needs#039; with 32 new faces

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

The Troy University football program didn't go looking for the next big thing when they started shopping around for their 2005 recruiting class.

They weren't looking for the flashiest package or even the best value. The Trojans were shopping for specific needs and according to Troy coaches, they believe they met those needs with 32 new players, including 27 signed on National Signing Day.

&uot;With any signing class it's always a wait-and-see deal, but we feel like this is a solid class that meets some of our needs and should be able to give us some immediate help,&uot; Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said. &uot;I believe this is probably our best class and with the things we are offering here at the university it should be. Your class should get better and better each year.&uot;

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&uot;We feel like this is a good class,&uot; Troy tight ends coach Brian Turner. &uot;We were looking to meet a lot of needs and we feel like we were able to do that with the guys we signed. I think we did a real good job of filling some of the voids we had from graduation.&uot;

The new crop of Trojans will add a boost to a roster that has to replace 25 seniors, including the school's all-time leading rusher DeWhitt Betterson and potential NFL first-round draft pick Demarcus Ware.

"I'm not sure you can replace the caliber of players we lost in just one season,&uot; Troy recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach Jeremy Rowell said. &uot;We had to address the offensive and defensive lines. We lost a lot of experience in those two areas, so we needed to get some help there. We also looked at guys that would be able to come in and give us some help at wideout and in the secondary.&uot;

Troy's receiving corps got the biggest boost with the addition of six new receivers.

&uot;We feel like these guys will be able to come in and give us some immediate help,&uot; Blakeney said. &uot;It's an athletic group with a lot of speed. We're looking for some of these guys to step up and fill the void left by the departure of a great player in Jason Samples.&uot;

Blakeney believes the new group, and particularly Opp High School standout Daniel Coleman, can help fill the gap this season.

&uot;We're going to need some of these guys to be players early,&uot; Blakeney said. &uot;Wide receiver was one of our biggest needs and we think we have some players in this group that can help. Daniel Coleman is certainly a guy we feel like can come in and be a player. He's just a great kid and to me it was a no-brainer the first time I saw him play on tape and then when I had the chance to meet him and his family that convinced me even more. We're hoping that Daniel can come in and get some time on the field early on.&uot;

Coleman helped lead Opp to a 7-5 record in 2004, and was rewarded with a spot on the Wiregrass Super 12 team. Coleman finished the season with more than a 1,000 yards as both a receiver and running back.

Troy also added five players to both the offensive and defensive lines, both of which were hit hard by graduation.

&uot;We had some big needs up front on both sides of the ball,&uot; Blakeney said. &uot;We think some of these guys will be able to come in and help us. We already have a couple of guys on campus that we are excited about and think can give us some immediate help.&uot;

Troy added an Seth Sutton (OL), Brandon Lang (DE), Josh Pruitt (TE), Ben Ramsey (TE) and Junior Tagovailoa (DT) in January.

The 27 newcomers also included three linebackers, three running backs, three defensive backs and a tight end and kicker. The only position that Troy did not sign was quarterback, but according to Blakeney that could change.

&uot;We can't get specific, but we're still talking to a couple of guys that could come in as quarterbacks,&uot; Blakeney said. &uot;We think we might add one or two over the next couple of weeks.&uot;