Big Rapids, Mich. - A total of 24 prep student-athletes,
including 22 in-state products have inked National
Letters-of-Intent with the Ferris State University football program
as the Bulldogs unveiled their 2010 recruiting class.
The official announcement of this year's signees came from head coach Jeff Pierce on National Signing Day late Wednesday (Feb. 3) afternoon inside FSU's Ewigleben Sports Complex.
The Bulldogs' prep recruiting class features 22 products from the state of Michigan along with two from the state of Indiana. This year represents the fifth time in the last six years the Bulldogs have added at least one player from the Hoosier state and the 24-member class follows in the footsteps of last year's 26 signing day commitments as two of the largest in Pierce's tenure.
"We're extremely excited about this year's recruiting class and expect them to help create a strong future for our program," said Pierce, who will embark on his 16th-year at the Bulldog helm in the fall 2010 season as the program's all-time winningest coach with a 92-74 (.554) career mark.
"I'm especially pleased with the high percentage of student-athletes we initially went after who decided to come to Ferris State University," he added.
This year's class consists of 13 individuals on defense along with 11 on the offensive side of the ball. Five of the defensive players came from the linebacker position, a spot where the Bulldogs have had to replace a number of experienced veterans due to graduation each of the last two campaigns.
The linebacker signees included three Detroit area All-Metro honorees in Kane Hayes (Lake Orion), Shane McCain (St. Clair Shores/Warren De La Salle) and Austin Root (Plymouth/Salem) along with a talented out-of-state stopper in Joe Campagna (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita).
McCain helped Warren De La Salle to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 2 State Semifinals in 2009 and Hayes was tabbed as one of the state's top 75 players by the Oakland Press after racking up 78 total tackles as a senior. The hard-hitting Root earned Detroit News All-Metro West Honorable Mention laurels while the 215-pound Campagna is regarded as an outstanding run stuffer who received significant Division I interest in the Chicago Catholic League.
FSU also inked linebacker Jacob Baldino (DeWitt), who led the Capital Area Activities Conference Gold Division in tackles last fall while helping DeWitt to a 12-1 overall record and state semifinal berth.
"The group of linebackers all ran extremely well and were an impressive bunch," said Pierce. "Overall, a number of the guys we signed were right on the edge of being Division I recruits and ended up on our list, which is what you need to be able to do to succeed in our conference."
In the defensive backfield, the Bulldogs added to last year's strong recruiting focus in the secondary by signing four in-state players including Eric Decker (Sanford/Sanford-Meridian), Spencer Munson (Mattawan/Portage Central), Drew Pineda (Montague) and Terrence Stevens (Detroit/Inkster).
Decker was honored as the Midland Daily News' Co-MVP in 2009 with Munson following in the footsteps of his father, Eric, as a Bulldog football player. He intercepted six passes for Portage Central last fall in addition to running for 1,575 yards and 22 TD's out of the backfield.
The 5-11 Pineda was a consensus Division 5-6 All-State First Team honoree who totaled 82 tackles as a senior, including a game-high 15 in November's state championship game as Montague topped Monroe St. Mary's at Ford Field to cap a back-to-back title run. Stevens, also a Michigan Top 75 recruit, is a speedy cover man and dangerous kick returner from Inkster, which earned a second-straight state runner-up finish in 2009.
Up front, the Bulldogs added four quality defensive linemen in Michael Grimm (Macomb Township/Warren De La Salle), Michael Perdue (Jackson), Capus Robinson (Mt. Morris/Flint Kearsley) and Garrett Woods (Ceresco/Marshall). Grimm was also a member of De La Salle's state semifinal team, Perdue tallied 95 stops and 12 sacks in 2009 with Robinson claiming All-Flint Metro recognition. The 6-1 Woods led Marshall to a 13-1 overall record and state title this past season while running for 195 yards and three TD's from the fullback position in the state championship game.
"Overall, we were able to sign a balanced class of student-athletes at every position we went after this year," Pierce said.
Offensively, the Bulldogs added significant size up front with two offensive line prospects in Jacob Davis (Grant Township/Port Huron Northern) and Tyler Prybylla (Michigan City, Ind.), both of whom are listed at more than 300 pounds.
Prybylla headlines the group after being listed among Indiana's top prep football recruits by various services, including recognition from Indiana Football Digest as one of its Primetime Top 25 players from the state prior to his senior season. Davis was recognized by the Detroit News as an All-Metro East Team honoree.
"We had a good year in terms of adding offensive linemen," said Pierce. "Both of these guys are very impressive physically and we're excited we were able to attract them into our program."
The Bulldogs signed a pair of West Michigan area quarterbacks in Taylor Masiewicz (Belmont/Rockford) and Bryan Kiel (Grand Haven). The 6-4 Masiewicz is the second Rockford quarterback in the last three years to ink with FSU, joining current Bulldog redshirt sophomore-to-be Robert Banaszak, and guided the Rams to a league crown and only the school's fourth unbeaten regular season in history under head coach Ralph Munger this past fall. Kiel is a pro-style quarterback who compiled 1,500 yards of total offense and 15 TD's as a junior before suffering a season-ending injury only three plays into his senior campaign last fall.
A third prep quarterback, Cody Marks (Durand/Linden), is projected as a collegiate wide receiver for the Bulldogs following a stellar career in which he became the Flint area's all-time leading passer and the state's second-leading prep passer ever with 7,906 passing yards and 75 touchdown tosses. The dual-threat signal caller concluded his prep career with 10,101 yards of total offense and 115 TD's while being a two-time Associated Press All-State pick and the Flint Journal's Player of the Year last fall.
Ferris added depth and speed to its offensive backfield with the addition of four running backs in Levonte Brooks (Livonia/Clarenceville), Jamaal Jackson (St. Joseph), Edwin Limmitt (Warren/Fitzgerald) and Jordan Piepkow (Jackson/Northwest).
A highly-regarded prospect, Brooks ran for more than 1,000 yards and 18 scores in 2009 while averaging 10 yards per carry. Jackson garnered more than 1,500 yards as a senior en route to earning Detroit News and Associated Press Division 3-4 Honorable Mention All-State kudos. The versatile Limmitt twice attained Macomb County Tier 2 All-Star accolades along with receiving All-Metro honors. Piepkow totaled 1,441 yards on 224 carries as a senior and is the cousin of former standout Ferris linebacker Luke Piepkow.
The final two offensive signees were tight ends Trevor Crittendon (Comstock Park) and Cody Dewitt (New Era/Shelby). Crittendon averaged more than 20 yards per catch and was regarded as one of the state's top prospects at his position with Dewitt grabbing 24 balls for 592 yards as a prep senior while being featured among West Michigan's top receivers.
As a group, the average weight of this year's 24 signees was 214 pounds and 14 of the 24 individuals weigh over 200 pounds.
"Overall, this class features an outstanding mix of guys who are committed to success and we were able to fill some priority needs with high-quality experienced kids," Pierce said.
The Bulldogs are slated to open the 2010 season by visiting Hillsdale on Friday, Sept. 3, for a 7 p.m. (EST) non-conference contest at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium in Hillsdale, Mich.
FSU's first home contest will also serve as its Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener on Saturday, Sept. 11, against Saginaw Valley State with kickoff set for 7 p.m. (EST) at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids. Both of the first two games are against teams that qualified for the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2009.
Below is the complete list of FSU's 2010 signees:
|First Name||Last Name||School||Hometown||Pos||Ht||Wt|
|Joe||Campagna||St. Rita||Chicago, Ill.||LB||6-0||215|
|Trevor||Crittendon||Comstock Park||Comstock Park||TE||6-2||215|
|Jacob||Davis||Port Huron Northern||Grant Township||OL||6-4||310|
|Michael||Grimm||Warrenn De La Salle||Macomb Township||DT||6-2||230|
|Kane||Hayes||Lake Orion||Lake Orion||LB||6-1||205|
|Jamaal||Jackson||St. Joseph||St. Joseph||RB||5-8||200|
|Bryan||Kiel||Grand Haven||Grand Haven||QB||6-2||220|
|Shane||McCain||Warrenn De La Salle||Saint Clair Shores||LB||6-1||230|
|Tyler||Prybylla||Michigan City||Michigan City, Ind.||OL||6-6||305|