Samuel adds 11, eight from Missouri

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Two quarterbacks signed with the Redhawks on Wednesday.

Southeast Missouri State football coach Tony Samuel decided to try his luck with another junior college quarterback.

Dustin Powell, who played at Bakersfield Community College, was one of 11 players who signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play for the Redhawks next season.

Samuel brought in Houston Lillard and Victor Anderson to compete at quarterback last season, and Lillard finally won the position. Anderson was moved to safety.

Samuel said Powell, a 6 foot 2, 215-pounder, is in the same mold as Lillard and Anderson.

"I like mobile quarterbacks that can throw," Samuel said. "The ability to escape is critical. ... But they also must be able to throw the ball."

Powell, who already is enrolled in classes at Southeast and will participate in spring drills, helped Bakersfield average 43.5 points per game in six conference games last year. He was named all-conference and helped the team go 23-3 over his two seasons at the school.

The Redhawks also signed quarterback Matthew Scheible, a 6-1, 200-pounder from Washington, Mo. He passed for 1,732 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for 959 yards and 12 scores last fall as a senior.

Samuel refused to speculate on who would be under center when the season begins. Sophomores Steve Callanan and Jared Van Slyke are also quarterbacks on the roster.

"Spring ball is right around the corner, and we'll find out a lot between spring ball and summer," Samuel said. "We've got quite a few months to be worrying about who's going in No. 1 and all that."

Out of Samuel's 11 signees, eight are from Missouri.

"Geographics have nothing to do with it, even though when you look at it on the paper here, it's a great advantage for us from a fan support base," Samuel said. "But geographics don't have much to do with it. You have to take a good look at the film, and you have to evaluate kids on what they're capable of doing for your team and make it a championship-caliber team. This year we're very fortunate to have eight in-state that are capable of doing it with the academics and the willingness to come here."

Josh Woods joins Powell as Samuel's other junior college transfer. Woods, a 5-11, 200-pound cornerback, already is enrolled at the university and will participate in spring drills. Woods, whose twin brother Jarrell plays running back at Arizona State, spent two seasons playing at Utah before transferring to West Los Angeles (Calif.) Community College.

"Any time you bring JC kids in, you're looking for them to help you right away," Samuel said. "With [Woods] having spring ball, because he's already on campus, so with him being here, that's the edge. He's going through our conditioning program right now, our weight program right now. He's a strong, powerful kid now."

Samuel tried to bolster his linebacking corps with the addition of David Bax, a 6-3, 220-pounder from Jefferson City, Mo., and Poplar Bluff's Philip Klaproth, a 6-0, 225-pounder. Bax led Helias with 86 tackles and recorded five sacks and two interceptions last season. Klaproth was a three-time all-conference selection.

Samuel added Matthew Shannon, a 6-3, 265-pounder from Washington, Mo., and Armin Blagajcevic, a 6-3, 310-pounder from St. Louis, who played at Affton, on the offensive line.

Samuel brought in Robert Watley, at 5-10, 185 pounds from La Plata, Md., and Jacob McKinley, at 5-9, 180 pounds from Maryland Heights, Mo., to compete at running back. Samuel did say that he expects Timmy Holloman, who was suspended during the season, to return next season.

Rounding out Samuel's recruiting class were Jackson tight end Antonio Garritano and Perryville cornerback Kris Cottner.

"You're never satisfied, you know how that is," Samuel said. "You always want more. Eleven kids you sign, boy you wish you had 16. I think what you'll see is a class, if you go down from top to bottom of this list, every one of those kids has a history of being very hard-working, tough kids. You put that blue-collar mentality into a class, and nothing but good things should happen from it."

Samuel said he did not exhaust all his scholarships.

"We've got a couple more left over," he said. "We need to evaluate. One, we need a couple more spots to fill. Two, there are a couple kids that are on our team right now that don't have scholarships, and we'll evaluate them through spring ball and then give them a little something."

One area that Samuel said he'd still like to see improvement is the defensive line. He said he'll continue looking for the best fit.

"I'd like to maybe get a great defensive end, probably a junior college kid that's got the experience of this level already," he said. "But the defensive line pretty much is intact, except for one kid. But we'd like to get one."

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