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Big Rapids, Mich. - The future arrived Wednesday (Feb. 7) as the back-to-back NCAA Division II National Quarterfinalist Ferris State University football program celebrated National Signing Day with the announcement of this year's heralded recruiting class by head coach Tony Annese, who ranks as the nation's winningest active head coach.
Annese, who led the Bulldogs to their fourth-straight NCAA Division II Playoff appearance this past fall, announced FSU's 2018 recruiting class with a live afternoon press conference inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex. The outstanding class refelcts the Bulldogs' recent success and name on a national level in addition to continuing the program's strong ties from Michigan.
The Bulldogs' 28-member class features a heavy dose players with championship experience and nearly all of this year's signees also received all-state accolades on an individual basis. They will join a FSU program that has posted the GLIAC's best league record over the past six seasons (60-14) and a squad that owns the top overall six-year record of all collegiate programs in Michigan or in the GLIAC.
"We got a late start on recruiting with the success we had last fall and the fact we were still playing in December, but our staff worked incredibly hard and secured another outstanding class," Annese said. "With the success we've had, we have so much to sell at Ferris State and we've been able to find outstanding student-athletes not only locally, but also now on a national level.
"This class has all the tools to be successful both academically and athletically at Ferris State," he added. "They're excited about coming in to compete for championships and we're thrilled they've decided to become Bulldogs."
Ferris State's 2018 class features standouts on both sides of the ball as the Bulldogs inked 10 touted prospects on the defensive side to go with 18 offensively. The total number of signees on both sides of the ball includes a nice mix of student-athletes from nearly every position.
Offensively, FSU added six offensive linemen, three wide receivers, four slots, three potential quarterbacks, a tight end and a running back to fit the Bulldogs' high-powered offense, which has ranked among the nation's leaders in total offense, scoring offense and rushing offense throughout Annese's tenure.
On the defensive side, the Bulldogs brought in five in the secondary, four on the defensive line and a linebacker.
Ferris State again placed a heavy emphasis on its home state and grabbed plenty of the top talent in the state of Michigan with 17 coming from within the state, including several from home in West Michigan. FSU also continued its highly-successful pipeline to West Florida, inking six talented performers from the Sunshine State, in addition to standout signeees from California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.
Within Michigan, Ferris State again attracted top talent from West Michigan with signees from schools such as Rockford, Holland, Kalamazoo and Muskegon. FSU also again capitalized in the southeast corner of the state and the Metro Detroit area with incoming recruits from high schools such as Livonia Stevenson, Grosse Pointe North, Birmingham Groves, Detroit Mumford, Detroit Western and Detroit Loyola. In between, the Bulldogs landed student-athletes from various corners of the state with locations such as Pinckney, Belleville, Three Rivers and more.
This year's expected stellar class comes on the heels of another historic campaign as the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals in 2017 for the second consecutive year. The Bulldogs made their fourth-straight trip to the D2 Playoffs and posted an 11-2 record, marking the first time in school history in which FSU has won 11 games or more in four-straight seasons. This past summer, Hero Sports picked FSU as Michigan's Best College Football program regardless of division.
Over the last four seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 45-7 overall record and made four consecutive NCAA Playoff appearances, claimed two conference championships, posted two unbeaten regular-seasons, twice made the national quarterfinals, captured a regional title and reached the national semifinals. Ferris State has also accumulated two Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student- athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won six postseason games.
In the six seasons under Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 60-14 overall mark in the last six years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) since his arrival. Twice he's been tabbed as the Super Region Coach of the Year at Ferris State.
Overall, Annese has won 83% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 285 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.
Ferris State, which will return nearly 50 letterwinners for the 2018 campaign, is presently midst the winter conditioning slate with spring practice drills scheduled to begin in March. FSU opens the 2018 schedule in late August.
For complete coverage of the 2018 football signing day class, stay tuned to FerrisStateBulldogs.com
*Click On Player Name Below For Photo, Bio, Video Highlights & Comments
|2018 FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL RECRUITS|
|First Name||Last Name||Hometown/High School||Position||Height||Weight|
|Justin||Allie||Loxahatchee, Fla./Seminole Ridge||Slot||5'9||165|
|Jake||Baxa||Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy||OL||6'5||270|
|Brendan||Bengtsson||Bradenton, Fla./Braden River||OL||6'3||285|
|Sheldon||Cage||Grosse Pointe Woods/Grosse Pointe North||RB||6'3||220|
|Chaise||Ford||Beverly Hills/Birmingham Groves||DB||5'11||195|
|Da'Vion||Kidd-Jackson||Philadelphia, Pa./West Catholic Prep||QB||6'1||185|
|Jayden||Tauanu'u||La Mesa, Calif./Helix||DB||6'1||180|
|Marcus||Taylor||Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge||Slot||5'9||170|