ISU Football Inks "The Dandy Dozen"
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State's Denver Johnson announced the newest additions to the Redbird football team, as the head coach formally unveiled the 12-man recruiting class on National Signing Day at a public event in Redbird Arena on Wednesday.
The 12 high school recruits join Illinois State's three mid-year signees to bring the total number of players in the 2007 recruiting class to 15.
"We are extremely excited about this class," Johnson said. "This is a relatively small class, since we did not have a large senior class leaving us this year. With the three mid-year guys combined with the February signees, I think it is an extremely talented class full of outstanding prospects. As this class matriculates through the program, I think it is going to prove to be a really marquee group of players."
Johnson and his coaches addressed some key needs, while also bolstering the depth on both the offensive and defensive lines. Including the three mid-year signees, the Redbirds added four defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, two linebackers, two defensive backs, a quarterback, a running back, a tight end and a wide receiver.
"We didn't have a lot of room to maneuver because we didn't have a lot of scholarships to work with," Johnson said. "We had to be very deliberate about what we did. We felt like we had to invest in our offensive and defensive lines and then we targeted players at the skill positions.
"Also, as excited as we are about these 12 signees today, we are also looking forward to adding some talented non-scholarship players to the team that have a chance of becoming scholarship players in the future."
As expected, the Redbirds added players from the state of Illinois and from the Midwest, but also maintained their recruiting success in Florida, Texas and California.
"We are really beginning to reap great dividends from our tenure here," Johnson said. "For a long time, we have been cultivating our local, in-state and Midwest recruiting ties, while also continuing our in-roads with California, Florida and Texas, and we are starting to get great dividends from our credibility and longevity."
With Johnson beginning his eighth season at Illinois State and the Redbirds coming off of an elite eight appearance in the 2006 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, the ISU staff noticed the results of success and continuity.
"Obviously success never hurts," Johnson said. "The record attendance and the trip to the playoffs obviously helped, but the general feeling about this program has been that last season was a prelude to even bigger and better things to come."
"I think the high school football in the Twin Cities is outstanding with outstanding coaching staffs," Johnson said. "We certainly covet those great players who come out of the Twin Cities' high school programs and I think it is going to be a great thrill for people in this community to be able to continue to follow these guys."
Media Conference Coverage (Redbird All-Access Members only)
Signee Highlight Videos (Redbird All-Access members only)
NOTE: Prospective student-athletes are listed above only when the ISU Football Office has received an official NCAA National Letter of Intent that has been verified by the ISU Athletics Compliance Office.
Redbird All-Access members have access to the highlight videos of each signee as well as coach Denver Johnson's comments. For more information on the Redbird All-Access, click on the links below.