Another signing day come and been completed. I would say from our prospective it went very well. No bad surprises today. Things that transpired is what was anticipated, so no issues of that nature. I know we helped ourselves in two categories, speed and size, size meaning height and length. We recruited a bunch of guys, 6'4"-plus guys with big frames, big wingspans. More guys of that body type in this class than any class than I can remember. And then the speed of the guys that we got, particularly at running back, wide receiver, defensive back - exceptional speed. We're fairly certain we helped ourselves in those two areas.
One area of most pressing concern was the defensive line, we signed six of them if you count Tevita Bloomfield, who was actually a signee a year ago but has now joined us this semester, and then five new guys. That was a primary area of emphasis. Secondary areas were running back and quarterback. We helped ourselves with four running backs and three quarterbacks, and added depth to those positions. Other than those spots it was really across the board signings. I think we helped ourselves at each position.
Geographically, the usual footprint that we've used for a lot of years - Texas, Utah and California, most notably Southern California. We feel really good about our Texas guys. We got seven guys out of Texas this year, which is a real credit to the coaching staff and primarily Morgan Scalley, who is the lead recruiter in that state. Obviously there are other guys who would get involved as the process goes on, but Morgan is the point man in the Texas area. He did a very nice job. We have four in-state players we feel good about. We did lose a couple to out-of-state BCS schools that we wish we could have gotten in on, but for the most part we had a productive year in the state of Utah. California, I think that was our largest area, we had 11 signees out of California. That's typical, typically that is the area of most volume.
I think it was overall very positive. Covered our needs, good balance, seven JC recruits, 17 high school I think was the final tally. There are also a handful of players that don't appear on the list that will be joining us at some point in the future. With the new NCAA rules, and the limit of 25 national letters there are now three limits you have to adhere to - the 85 overall scholarship count, you can never exceed the 25 new scholarships per year and the 25 national letters, that was added this year. Last year the limit on national letters was 28, which gave you some flexibility. Prior to that there was no limit at all. They've screwed that down a little bit, which does not allow us to mention some names that in other years would have allowed us to mention some names of guys that will be playing for us in the future.
On the quarterbacks (Brandon Cox, Connor Manning and Micah Thomas):
I can tell you that they are very athletic. They are going to be a great addition to the two that we have, Travis Wilson and Adam Schulz. Brandon is actually here, so he will be in spring football. Athletic kid. Timed in most camps with sub-4.5 speed. Good size, he is going to fill out. He's about 6'1.5", 200 lbs right now, but he is going to be a 215-220 kid. Connor Manning from Southern California. He broke most of Matt Barkley's Orange County passing records. He had a very prolific senior year. Throws the ball exceptionally well. Good runner as well, not the type of runner that the other two are but a capable runner. Micah Thomas is the third guy from Texas. Exceptional athlete, 4.39 40-speed, and really a guy that we're excited about as well. All three of those quarterbacks are going to be adding to what we already have at that position and we're excited to see them all in action.
It's a situation where the total number of quarterbacks in the program is about the same anywhere you go - four or five. So it's actually an easier sell when you are competing against other freshmen rather than established guys already in the program.
On signing players with speed:
Without a doubt the biggest deficiency. If you go through, Troy McCormick is a 10.5 100-meter guy out of Texas. Dre'Vian Young out of Texas is second in the state in the 200 meters. Marcus Williams, the running back from Vegas, was the fastest guy at a combine with 1,300 athletes. We feel like we have really made inroads in the lack of speed and we will continue to do that every year. That's going to be a priority.
On signing three players from Trinity HS in Texas:
Three guys from one high school from Texas, all linemen. That has been a good area for us, particularly that high school. Sam Tevi, a big physical lineman. As I recall, he is a lot bigger than what he is listed. Keio Vaenuku is a very talented, highly-recruited athlete who is also a defensive lineman. He's going to be a very good player. Salesi Uhatafe, a big offensive lineman. Big, physical kids out of Texas, and there happened to be three players from the same high school that we really liked. They are very good players.
Morgan Scalley works his tail off in Texas. Recruiting is about work if you do it right. There are no shortcuts in recruiting. Coach Scalley is bulldog recruiter. He beats the bushes and turns over every rock. It's one thing identifying the player, but another thing to sell the player on the program, and he does an exceptional job of that as well. He's a great ambassador for our school, in a lot of different ways.
On the running backs:
We think Devontae Booker is in the same mold as other junior college running backs that we've had come through here - John White, Kelvin York. Kelvin is scheduled to be the primary ball carrier right now, but we need Booker to come in and be a good supplement to Kelvin.
We think three of the backs, DeVontae, Dre'Vian Young and Troy McCormick are guys who are going to come in and hopefully have an impact for us. Really, a recruiting class can't be fully assessed until a few years down the road, but we feel like what we see on tape, and with their speed, they can be a factor for us relatively soon.
On the backfield:
We feel both Davion Orphey and Tevin Carter are going to be key pieces to our secondary. That's why you usually recruit a junior college player, is for immediate help and guys who can step in sooner and be more game-ready than high school players. We're really high on Hipolito Corporan, he's a big corner and is going to help us as well. We have a lot of good, young corners in the program that haven't had their chance yet. Two or three of them redshirted last year. Cupboard's not bare, but experience-wise, a little lean at the corner position.
On NFL alumni and recruiting:
I know that the NFL is full of guys who have come through here who weren't very highly recruited. It's a great selling point for us. I think it goes back to the evaluation process, it speaks to the ability of our assistant coaches to project these guys and see these diamonds in the rough and we certainly use that. We had four players in the Super Bowl. There is only one college in America that had more players in the Super Bowl. Our primary objective with our players is to get their degree and have a chance to play at the next level, and we think we're doing a good job of that.