Redhawks add quarterback, cornerback from Oakland

Monday, January 29, 2007

Southeast may already have as many as 12 new transfer players on campus.

The Southeast Missouri State football program received a commitment last week from an Oakland quarterback who became the second player from northern California to indicate he would attend the school.

The Oakland Tribune reported in its Friday edition that Laron Johnson, who directed McClymonds High School to a 20-3-1 record in two years as quarterback, committed to Southeast.

Johnson, 6-foot and 175 pounds, passed for 615 yards and seven touchdowns on a 50-percent completion rate in a run-oriented offense, according to the Tribune. He was a second-team all-Oakland Athletic League selection.

Johnson told the Tribune his reason for picking Southeast: "It's simple, everybody knows everybody. I just want to be in a safer environment so I know I couldn't get in as much trouble as home. I can get an education and grow up and become my own man.

"My momma and other people in my family, they have high expectations for me, and I don't want to let them down."

The other Oakland player to choose Southeast is Shominic Zaid of Wilson Prep in Oakland, according to the Tribune.

Zaid was listed on a San Diego State rivals.com Web site as a 6-1, 180 cornerback who runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. He was said to be considering Idaho State and Ivy League schools Cornell and Pennsylvania in addition to San Diego State.

Southeast coaches are not allowed to comment on players who have not yet signed letters of intent.

Tranfer numbers increase

By choice, Redhawks coach Tony Samuel also is not releasing information on transfers already on campus at Southeast -- a number that may be as large as 12 players.

By contrast, Southeast had five second-semester transfers last year among its 16 recruits. Three of the transfers were junior college and two were freshmen. In Tim Billings' last recruiting period, he also brought in five second-semester transfers -- all among the nine junior college players that were part of his 21-player class.

Samuel is not confirming a number, telling the Southeast Missourian in an exchange of messages that he plans a Feb. 7 news conference with highlight videos. "This is just a part of recruiting strategy," he wrote.

Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman said he had not seen a list of those second-semester signees but said it was a fair number.

"I think there's around a dozen or so" who started school on Jan. 16, Kaverman said.

As a Division I-AA institution, Southeast works within a 63-scholarship maximum and also must have 57.6 scholarships in order to maintain its status as a legitimate opponent for Division I-A teams.

Kaverman said the high number of second-semester enrollments would create some unique financial circumstances for the department, but that the bigger picture includes a ratio of in-state and out-of-state aid.

"It will put some strain on our grant-in-aid budgets because we're not fully funded," Kaverman said. "We have to raise money, shift money around. It is an issue, especially when you're trying to rebuild a program, which we're trying to do with both [football and men[']s basketball].

"But if you tell a coach he can't recruit, what's the sense of bringing them in here."

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