Blue Raider head coach Rick Stockstill speaks with the press Feb. 6, 2013, during a press conference at MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tenn., after signing 25 new players to the football team. (Photo courtesy of MTSU/B. Lambert)
The quest for MTSU’s first Conference USA football title began Wednesday with national signing day, as high school and junior college gridiron stars chose their favorite school hoping to continue their playing careers.
Blue Raider head coach Rick Stockstill and his coaching staff finished the day signing 25 players from eight different states.
“We have a really balanced class, and we have some talent at each position,” Stockstill said.
The staff finished out the day with 12 signees on offensive, another 12 on defense and a kicker to fill out the 2013 class.
With the late change to C-USA during the recruiting period, MTSU Athletics had to figure out those players who stayed committed to the program.
Overall, Stockstill said he was pleased on how everything turned out.
“I do not think C-USA got us in the game with any of those guys, but what it did, it kept us in the game,” Stockstill said. “We’ve got some guys that I do not think we normally, or in the past, might have had a chance to hang on to. That was the big thing because we only had a chance to sell C-USA for a month and a half.”
Stockstill later added, “There are so many positives to sell with C-USA, like the six bowl tie-ins and the expanded television package. When you present that to a young man, there is a huge difference. I think it did have an affect on some of those guys.”
The offensive class includes five wide receivers, three lineman, two tailbacks, a tight end and a quarterback.
A.J. Erdely, a native of Cumming, Ga., is the newest signal caller to join the Blue Raiders. He finished out his career at West Forsyth High School going 29-8 as a starter.
During his senior year, he was named honorable mention all-state and all-region in the Peach State after passing for 2,373 yards for 18 scores, while only throwing three interceptions.
Erdely also got it done on the ground, running for 888 yards and nine touchdowns.
“He is strong, athletic and a highly competitive dual threat quarterback,” Stockstill said.
While on defense, the Blue Raiders were focused on defensive lineman with seven signees. The class also included two cornerbacks, two safeties and a linebacker.
The biggest one was Orlando, Fla., native, Kenderson Obas.
Rivals, an online sports media outlet that specializes in recruiting coverage, rated Obas as a three-star prospect, which was the highest among the players coming to MTSU.
Last season, Obas was named all-state, all-district, and all-metro at Dr. Phillips High School. He finished the year leading the team with 109 total tackles, a school record of 15 sacks and 33 tackles for loss.
According to staff notes, the “Beast,” as Obas is known on the field, has “great lower body strength and explodes off the ball.”
MTSU begins spring practice Monday, March 25, with the Blue-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 20, at Floyd Stadium.