Missouri Western’s football team has announced its incoming recruiting class for next season’s team and as usual it has a local flavor to it.
They signed 24 high school players, 22 from the state of Missouri and four from St. Joseph. The Griffons signed three athletes from Central High School. From Central, they signed Michael Hill a running back, who had 746 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns his senior year.
They also signed Ben Pister, also from Central who played linebacker and was two-time all state during his high school career. The last player they signed from Central was Jeremy Weston who played both wide receiver and defensive back during high school.
The only other local player they signed was Dan Ritter from Lafeyette High School. Ritter played linebacker at Lafeyette and was a four-year letter winner. Head coach Jerry Partridge knows adding local players is good for the fan base.
“Hopefully will have towns coming to watch us play,” Partridge said.
The only two out-of-state recruits the Griffons signed were Matt Fairchild from Kansas and Ben Jackson from California. Fairchild who is from Andale, Kan., plays linebacker and is the all-time leading tackler in Andale High School history. Jackson who is from Chino Hills, Calif., plays defensive back and had 80 tackles in his two-year varsity career.
Â The biggest focus for the Griffons this recruiting class was offensive line. They signed seven offensive linemen all from the state of Missouri. Colt Schulte (6-6, 315), Ethan Tabbert (6-3, 235) and Kyle Hoyt (6-2 235) are the core of the strong offensive linemen class.
Â “That’s a credit to our coaches and our offensive line coach that kids want to come here,” Partridge said.Â “Those are seven kids that we think are going to be good football players.”
The Griffons are coming off a successful season were they went 9-3 and won the Mineral Water Bowl. They were also 6-3 in the MIAA conference play. Defensive Coordinator Regi Trotter believes the recent success has helped the Griffons in recruiting.
“The success has really helped us, especially in local recruiting,” Trotter said. “Guys aren’t looking to leave, they are looking to stay around here and that is a good thing for Western.”
The Griffons also added four people who transferred at the semester. The four players they added were Matt Glades (6-1, 215) linebacker who transferred from Fort Scott Community College in Kan., Andrew Jones (6-2 225) linebacker who transferred from Missouri State, Ian Thompson (5-10, 185) defensive back who transferred from Fullerton Community College in Calif., and Christian Sandoval (6-0 210) free safety from LA Pierce. The Griffons will also look to add more players through the junior college ranks.Â
The athletes the Griffons added will look to help the team in the future. Though many will take a red shirt for next season, some might see immediate playing time. The Griffons loaded up with local talent. They are trying to get the top talent from St. Joseph every year. Though with all recruiting classes only time will tell if this class was a success.