Throughout the day, I will post updates when the ISU compliance office has received signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) from recruits. We will then make their full bio, highlight film and coaches' comments on each player in the grey sidebar to the right.
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The first signee of the day is quarterback Matt Younger from Cocoa, Fla. At 6'2", 175-pounds, Younger is a very versatile signal caller who led this team to a perfect 14-0 record and a Class 2A state championship as a senior. In his final season, he threw for 1,601 yards and threw just three interceptions. He also rushed 96 times for 731 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Matt was voted as the Florida Dairy Farmers 2A State Player of the Year and finished third in the Mr. Football voting in Florida.
The east coast players keep rolling in! Just received paperwork from Tacius Pierre-Louis, a 6'1", 215-pound linebacker from Loxahatchee, Fla. Pierre-Louis played his high school football at Seminole Ridge High School, where he was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter.
He had 47 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss and two sacks in his senior season while also returning an interception 80 yards for a touchdown. He was a first-team all-conference selection and an honorable mention all-area selection in the hotbed of college football that is Florida.
Make it three players from the Sunshine State. Just received papers from Charles Cowley, a defensive lineman from Boca Raton, Fla. Cowley was a four-year letterwinner at Boca Raton Christian HS and was a dual threat running back/defensive end. At 6'2, 265-pounds, Cowley add size and quickness to the Redbird defensive line.
During his senior season, Cowley recorded 39 tackles, six tackles-for-loss and a an interception while also rushing for five touchdowns and catching six touchdowns. He was selected for the Outback All-Star Game and was an all-county selection.
After three players from Florida, we have our first signee from the Land of Lincoln. Defensive lineman Colton Underwood from Washington, Ill., is officially in the fold. Underwood, a 6'4", 245-pound defensive end, is rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and is also a one-star recruit by Scout.com.
Underwood was a fullback/defensive end combo star in high school and helped lead Washington HS to the quarterfinals of the IHSA Class 5A state playoffs as a senior. He posted 68 tackles on the season (46 solo), eight sacks, an interception and recovered a fumble while also carrying the ball 133 times for 913 yards and 13 TDs in his final season.
He was an honorable-mention all-state selection by the Champaign News-Gazette and the Chicago Tribune. In addition, both of his parents were former Redbirds. His father, Scott, played football at ISU from 1986-89 and his mother, Donna (Zajeski), was an ISU volleyball standout from 1986-90.
Terrance Moore, a 6'0", 180-pound defensive back from Ypsilanti, Mich., has just faxed in his NLI. Moore was a quarterback in high school at Ypsilanti HS, but will be converted to a defensive back here at Illinois State.
Moore passed for over 1,000 yards and rushed for 650 with 11 passing TDs and seven rushing scores as a senior. He was named an all-league and all-conference selection and was an honorable mention all-state selection in his final season.
Former Redbird great Tom Nelson is a proud big brother today, as his younger brother Steve Nelson has just submitted his NLI. Much like his brother coming out of Hersey HS, Steve was a dual-threat quarterback that could control the passing game and pull the ball down and run when he had to. At Illinois State, Nelson will be converted to a defensive back and will also help return punts ... sounds familiar!
Steve, a 6'0", 180-pound athlete, missed his senior season due to a torn ACL in his knee, but that did not scare away the Redbird coaching staff. They saw his potential and offered him a scholarship when many people shied away. As a junior, Nelson was impressive and passed for over 1,200 yards and rushed for over 600. He was named a first-team all-conference selection and an all-area pick.
Our first offensive lineman is in the fold with the signing of Isaac Rinehart. At 6'4", 260-pounds, Rinehart has room to grow for the Redbirds and offensive line coach/running game coordinator George Barnett believes he will do just that.
A standout at St. Thomas Academy in Eagan, Minn., Rinehart was a three-year letterwinner and was named an all-conference selection as a senior after helping the team to an 11-1 overall record and an appearance in the state playoff semifinals. He is rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and a one-star recruit by Scout.com.
Bradon Prate is our next commitment from Illinois. A 6'4", 240-pound defensive lineman from Wauconda, played two seasons there after moving back home from Arizona with his family. He played in all nine games as a junior after sitting out with a leg injury as a sophomore.
He was named an all-area, all-conference and all-state selection after his junior season for the Bulldogs for head coach David Mills.
The Redbirds have a new tight end/H-back in Bryce Kiser from Royal Center, Ind. Kiser was a fullback and defensive end in high school but showed an athletic side that the ISU coaches believe will translate well into him being a collegiate tight end.
At 6'2", 215-pounds, Kiser finished his career with over 4,000 rushing yards and 67 total touchdowns, both of which set new school records at Pioneer HS. In his senior season, Kiser racked up 1,413 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns and caught six passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. He was named the Midwest Conference Player of the Year and a first-team Class A all-state selection on defense by the Associated Press.
Back-to-back tight end prospects have come through, as Casey Beck has been added to the Redbird roster for 2010. A 6'8", 245-pound tight end, Beck was signed out of head coach Brock Spack's hometown of Rockford, Ill., and Harlem HS.
Beck caught 22 passes for 368 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior season and led his team to an 8-2 overall record and a playoff appearance. For his efforts, he was named an first-team all-conference selection and an honorable mention all-stater.
Make it a quartet of signees from Florida! Todd Shorter, a 6'0", 185-pound defensive back from Palm Harbor, Fla., has just signed his NLI. Rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com, Shorter will be converted to defensive back after playing wide receiver in high school at Countryside HS.
As a four-year letterwinner, he caught 25 passes for 555 yards and six touchdowns as a senior on way to being named a first-team all-county selection. He also helped lead his team to a district championship and to the Region 5A finals.
The initial wave of paperwork is in and 11 new Redbirds are in the fold. So far, the break down is three defensive linemen, three defensive backs, two tight ends, one linebacker, one quarterback and one offensive lineman.
Four recruits from the Sunshine State have been signed, and we all know the level of football and talent that state has produced for Illinois State in the past (All-Americans Laurént Robinson, Stafford Davis and Galen Scott come to mind).
We will continue to wait for more papers to come in, but if you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our coverage today will wrap up with Coach Spack's press conference at 3:30 p.m., which can be viewed live on Redbird All-Access.
Matt Goldsmith from Clinton, Md., will be the next Redbird to put on a jersey in the fall. A 6'1", 180-pound defensive back from Bishop McNamara HS, Goldsmith was a three-year letterwinner and played and started in all 11 games during his senior season.
He split time at wide receiver and in the secondary, but was stellar on both fronts. He led his conference with 820 yards and 51 catches while scoring seven touchdowns on offense and then recorded 40 tackles and three interceptions on defense. That helped him earn All-WCAC honors as well as all-county, all-metro, and all-state honors after his final season.
In the pass-happy spread offense utilized by the Redbirds, quality wide receivers are always sought after. The Redbird coaches think they have found one in James O'Shaughnessy from Naperville, Ill. At 6'4", 205-pounds, O'Shaughnessy runs extremely well for his size and has a solid vertical leap which made him a dangerous target at Naperville North HS.
O'Shaughnessy was a three-year letterwinner and was used more as a tight end in the offensive system run at North HS. However, he caught 19 passes for 184 yards and touchdowns as a senior and also returned 10 kickoffs for 294 yards. He was a two-time academic all-conference selection in his career and comes from a family of athletes. His father, Jim, played basketball at DePaul and his mother, Sally, ran track at Drake.
The Redbird offensive line just got a bit bigger with the addition of Rocco Ammons from Wheaton Warrenville South HS in Wheaton, Ill. The 6'5", 310-pound, recruit was rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Ammons comes from a highly-successful program that won the IHSA Class 7A state championship in 2009 in Memorial Stadium in Champaign. He was credited with 48 pancake blocks on the season and was named the co-lineman of the year in the DuPage Valley Conference. He was also honored as a first-team all-state selection by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Champaign News-Gazette and the IHSA Coaches Association.
Cameron Hunt becomes the first running back of the 2010 class to sign with the Redbirds. At 6'0", 200-pounds, Hunt is a physical back with speed that can also catch the ball well out of the backfield, something Coach Spack looks for in his running backs in this system.
Hunt was rated as a one-star recruit by Scout.com and was named a Top-100 player in the state of Washington by the Seattle Times. During his senior season, Hunt rushed for 1,165 yards and averaged 7.0 yards per carry. Add that in with his 23 catches for 245 yards and you get 22 total touchdowns out of the talented running back.
If you are not a member of Redbird All-Access, several of the Redbirds' recruits have highlight films available on YouTube. Here are the direct links to their video or you can just search out their names on the site:
Don't forget to tune into GoRedbirds.com today at 3:30 p.m., as Coach Spack will officially unveil the entire recruiting class at the hosting its annual signing day press conference. Coach Spack will make remarks about all of this year's signees and will talk about the future of Redbird football. The future looks bright for ISU, with the 'Birds coming off their first winning season since 2006 and win in the final game of the season against No. 9 Northern Iowa at Hancock Stadium.
The team return several key components, including now sophomore quarterback Matt Brown who was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Freshman of the Year in 2009 after setting new ISU freshman records for completions (226), attempts (352) and passing yards (2,369) in a season. Brown was joined on the All-Valley team by defensive back Kelvyn Hemphill, offensive lineman Nick Bledsoe and defensive tackle Eric Brunner.
Wide receiver Tyrone Walker and linebackers Austin Davis and Mike Zimmer joined Brown on this year's MVFC All-Newcomer Team. The four selections to the squad are the most for the Redbirds since 2002, when ISU had six players on the list.
We're trying something new this year and we hope all of you can be a part of a new Redbird Football tradition. Head football coach Brock Spack and his staff will publicly announce the 2010 Redbird recruiting class at a National Signing Day party to be held at Alexander's Steakhouse in Normal, Ill., tonight.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a short meet-and-greet session before Coach Spack and his coaching staff provides commentary and recruiting insight on each of the Redbird prospects, with video clips of the newest Redbirds available for viewing.
The event is free of charge and open to the public, with light appetizers and a cash bar being provided by Alexander's.
The 2010 Redbird Football signing class is official with 15 players added to the fold for next season. It's been a long day of hard work by the coaches, the ISU athletics compliance staff and for the recruits and their families, coaches and friends as well. Now, its on to the press conference to hear what Coach Spack has to say about his new players and what they will bring to the program in the coming years.
On behalf of the everyone involved today, I would like to thank all of you for following along with the live coverage. We hope you enjoyed all the content and insight provided today and check back next February for much of the same on National Signing Day. Hope you all have a wonderful evening and GO YOU REDBIRDS!