Johnson Adds 16 to the 2006 Class; Brings Total to 19
Head coach Denver Johnson
Head coach Denver Johnson

Feb. 1, 2006

NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State head football coach Denver Johnson announced at the Kaufman Football Building Wednesday that 16 student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and football careers at Illinois State as members of the 2006 Redbird recruiting class.

"We are excited about this class," Johnson said. "I think, across the board, it is a real quality class. As these young men matriculate through our program, I think it will prove to be an outstanding class for our program."

All 16 signees announced on Wednesday are products from the high school ranks. With three players who signed during the mid-year signing period and are already attending classes at Illinois State, the total class consists of 19 recruits. The class covers seven states, including Illinois, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

"We have some good ties and in-roads into certain areas," Johnson said. "The addition of coach (Mike) Menefee to our staff, having been a high school coach in Texas, obviously gave us some good ties to that area. We go out, search and work areas, but we also take a lot of referrals. We are very fortunate because there are a lot of people out there that think a lot of Illinois State as an institution."

Essentially, the Redbirds filled needs at every position, except for quarterback, with a high focus on the offensive and defensive line.

"Going into the recruiting season, we said that we would not sign a quarterback unless it was a pretty special guy," Johnson said. "We are obviously a little heavier in the offensive and defensive line and that was by design. We had not recruited the numbers over the past couple of years that I wish we had, so we felt like we needed to make a good investment there. Other than that, we felt like we wanted some balance across the board to supplement each position."

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Player NamePositionHometownHigh SchoolPrevious School
Geno BlowRBSeabrook, TexasClear Lake
Michael CrossOLBloomington, Ill.Normal Community
Tyler FunkP/KRacine, Wis.William Horlick
Micha GordonWRPeoria, Ill.Woodruff
Kelvyn HemphillDBSan Antonio, TexasO'Connor
Brent HoltzDBBloomington, Ill.Bloomington
Jeremy JoyntTEEmmetsburg, IowaEmmetsburgIowa Central CC
Jermaine MalcolmWRSan Antonio, TexasHolmes
Brad PaulOLSeabrook, TexasClear Lake
Mike PitonDLPalos Hills, Ill.Stagg
Chris RileyOLWadsworth, Ill.Warren Township
Dave Rivas DLChicago, Ill.Gordon Tech
Billy Speiser OLWarrenton, Mo.WarrentonIowa Central CC
Mike Strutz DLOrland Park, Ill.Carl Sandburg
Jason Tate DBLake Mary, Fla.Seminole
Tony Trujillo AthleteSalt Lake City, UtahCottonwood
Tommie Westbrook LBChicago, Ill.Gordon Tech
Brandon WilsonDLSan Antonio, TexasJohn Jay
Dane ZumbahlenTEMorris, Ill.Morris