The Missouri Western football team has landed another top class for 2007.
Missouri Western head coach Jerry Partridge announced the signing of 25 high school football players. The team signed 7 players from local schools.
Among them was defensive linemen Andrew Gilmore from Benton High School.
He is considered the gem of the recruiting class. He is 6â€™0 285 lb. and has a vertical leap of 28 in. He will be in competition for a starting spot next year.
â€œAndrew is a kid that has a great deal of potential to play next year,â€ Partridge said.
Other area players that will play for the Griffons include Central High Schoolâ€™s quarterback Casey Siela and linebacker Tom Madget. From Savannah High School they signed defensive backâ€™s Isaac Collins and Dustin Williams. The Griffons also signed Buchananâ€™s tight end Jesse Engelken and Cameron High Schoolâ€™s defensive lineman Aaron Fritz.
The Griffons also signed 3 athletes from the state of Iowa. They are running back Sean Ratliff, defensive lineman Ryan Katch and offensive lineman Joseph Bailey. Katch will also be in competition for a spot on the defensive lineman.
The main focus of this yearâ€™s recruiting class was defensive line. After losing the four horsemen to graduation they need to reload at that position.
They signed 6 defensive linemen and are looking to get more through the junior college ranks. The group of defensive linemen that were signed is a solid group.
â€œThis is a very good defensive line class we signed,â€ Partridge said.
The Griffons are coming off one of the best years in Missouri Western football history. They tied the record for most wins in a season last year and they also made their first playoff appearance in school history.
The senior class that just left won a record 32 games over a 4-year span. Replacing them will be a tough task. Getting a good recruiting class was another step in order to keep the program on the right path.
This recruiting class along with last years will play a huge role in the teamâ€™s future success. The Griffons are hoping that the players they have along with recruits they are bringing in can keep the winning tradition going here at Missouri Western.
The Griffons have to get leadership out of receiver Joey Harris and safety J.R. Graham to lead the younger players back.