Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz announced his first class today on National Signing Day. In the class of 2013, the Bulldogs signed 21 total student-athletes.
JUCO Heavy but Matched with High School Players
After losing more than 30 seniors from last year's roster, Tech is using an influx of junior college talent in order to enable Tech to win immediately. That influx is by way of 10 junior college players -- 6 early enrollees.
"I've always said when you take Junior College players you need to take High School players with them," Holtz said.
With exception to linebacker, Tech was able to get similar numbers at each position in which they signed Junior College players with High School players.
Multiple NLI's for One Tech Signee
There is a little drama brewing with Tech's junior college signees. Tech signed linebacker Tony Johnson in the early signing period in December but Johnson also signed a National Letter of Intent on National Signing Day to University of South Alabama.
Johnson was scheduled to enroll in Tech's Spring Quarter in March but has not graduated from Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, Miss. We are working on getting verification on whether his NLI with Tech is null and void because he has not graduated from the community college.
Linebacker Battle Losses Left Holes
Tech battled hard for some high school linebackers in the New Orleans area in Lyn Clark and Edward Williams. Clark signed with Louisville and Williams has yet to sign.
Additionally, Tech had a commitment from linebacker John Patrick Sherling. Sherling is pondering whether to walk-on at an SEC school or take the scholarship position at Tech.
"It's not just the one's we signed but it's the battles we were in recruiting and who we lost some of the people to, those are the types of people we want to battle with in recruiting."
"[The lack of High School linebackers] is the one thing I'd like to change is to be able to close out on a couple of those high school linebackers at the end. If we could've I would have like to have taken two more high school linebackers we just weren't able to close them out in the short period of time we had from a recruiting standpoint."
Holtz said they will be focusing on the I-20 corridor to make sure they keep the players in the area. He did that in this year's class in DeAngelo Brooks, Hakim Gray, Trent Taylor, Xavier Woods, and LSU transfer Paul Turner.
"We have said that the I-20 corridor, the northern part of the state has to be the first spot that we really dig our heels in but then we have got to get into the I-10 corridor and the great population mass and the great programs in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and New Orleans area."
Tech running backs coach and New Orleans recruiter Jabbar Juluke will be instrumental in Tech's recruitment of players along the I-10 corridor especially in New Orleans. As it was, Tech received an NLI from New Orleans athlete Carlos Henderson.
"There's a lot of great football that is played on the I-10 corridor from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and it's where the largest population mass is."
With a Full Year Juluke Will Do Special Things
Juluke was able to get in the conversation of some high-profile recruits in a short period of time. With a full year to recruit there is no telling what caliber of athletes he will bring to Ruston.
"Especially when he just walked in there and he was able to get into some of the doors that he was. But I think that's because of the contacts that he has because of the respect that people have for him and the job he has done at Karr High School."