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Football focuses on defense in recruiting class

Head coach Jerry Partridge and his coaching staff searched high and low, near and far and were able to reel in 24 recruits from six different states.

The Griffons went heavy on defense, with 17 of their 24 recruits playing on that side of the ball.

“There are really some good, young, talented kids,” said Partridge.

One of the best athletes coming with this year’s class is defensive lineman Evan Davis. Davis is from Cincinnati, Ohio and previously played at Iowa Central Community College.

“The main thing I liked about Missouri Western was the community,” said Davis.

Davis believes he has the ability to play a multitude of positions next year for the Griffons.

“They say I’ll be playing in a stand-up position,” Davis said. “But, I am also willing to play a five technique.”

In an interview with gogriffons.com, Partridge talked about the kind of athlete he was getting in Davis.

“He is an immediate need athlete,” Partridge said. “He has length, big hands and room for growth. He will help our defensive line next year and is a plus pass rusher.”

Western is also bringing in Davis’ teammate from Iowa Central, quarterback Corey Bertini.

The recruiting trail took the Griffons to LaVista, Nebraska. There, they were able to get twins, Alex and Adam Atkinson to commit to Missouri Western. Alex averaged four tackles per game and was the 46th ranked defensive end in the state of Nebraska. Adam also averaged four tackles and totaled four sacks last season.

Coming from the St. Louis area is linebacker Tyler Burrus. Burrus, standing at 6 feet and 200 pounds, finished his senior season with 46 tackles and an interception. Also signing with Missouri Western is his teammate, Kyle Berry.

Coming from right here in St. Joseph is offensive tackle Jacob Olson. Olson played his high school football at Central.

“This was a good o-line class,” said Partridge. “Three good tackle bodies.”

The concern going into recruiting for Western was what kind of players would they get after having a down year in 2015.

“It scared me a little bit because it was one of our lesser years on the field,” Partridge said.

The coaching staff believes that the future is bright for these future Griffons. These 24 kids will be a part of a Griffons team that will be trying to find their way back into the playoffs and once again compete in the MIAA.

“I’d say there are 10 that have the chance to be All-MIAA guys,” said Partridge.

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