Feb. 2, 2011
QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH Bob Toledo AT THE SIGNING DAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Obviously, today is the culmination of a lot hard work. This past year we have gone out and got after it pretty good. I really appreciate the effort that our coaching staff gave. I think they did a super job. We are pleased with their efforts. One of the things we wanted to do was to increase the quality depth of our football team and create more competition for our football team, because that's how you get better. Obviously we wanted to improve special teams by getting some of the athletes that we got in this class.
Of the 22 commitments that we got, 11 of them are from the state of Louisiana and that is one of the things I set out to do. I wanted to make sure we hit the state so hard that we could get every possible guy we wanted. Now obviously that never happens, but I think we did a good job. Of the 11 that are from Louisiana, seven of them are from the New Orleans area and that was really pleasing to me. Of the other 11 recruits we have, they are from nine different states, so they are from all over the country. We have a pool of players and we tried to get the best pool of players that we could that fit athletically, number one, and academically, so we could find guys who can get in school and stay in. Character is very important to me, too, because I want them to go out and be good citizens in our community, as well.
Offensively, we signed 13 players. We have two quarterbacks, two running backs, three tight ends, four wide receivers and two offensive linemen. On defense we signed nine total guys, with five defensive linemen, one linebacker and 3 defensive backs committing. I know a lot of people talk about three-star, five-star, and all those good things. I'm not sure how much it matters, but I am told that we have nine three start athletes in this year's class, which is the most we've ever had a Tulane. Over the last three years, we have signed 24 of them.
On the possibility of moving guys to other positions
We have already put some guys into some positions that they really haven't played much of, or at all. Maybe they are a linebacker and we are looking at them as a defensive lineman, for example. They may be a wide receiver and we are looking at them as more of a defensive back. We are trying to project some things, too, and evaluating them on where they will fit into our schemes. Again, you just never know what is going to happen. You get fooled so often by players. Who knew that Orleans Darkwa was going to turn out to be the freshman that he was. We had a kid, Pat Husain, who we recruited out of Alabama a year ago and when he came in we said `hey we don't think he is going to play' and now he is playing. So you just never know how kids are going to turn out, you just have to wait and see.
On his depth at the running back position
"First of all we have Orleans, but we have some other guys there too. We have Williams, Barnett and Tarver and some other guys. Having those two guys gives us quality depth at that position, plus it gives us some athletes that we can utilize on special teams. And that was important for us as well, to build some competition at that position. You know, Orleans missed some games last season due to injury and you want to have guys that can step in there and not have too much of a drop off."
On which positions may need immediate impact from the commitments
"I would say wide receiver, number one, I would hope that a couple of those guys will come in and contribute right away, maybe tight end or, possibly, some of the defensive linemen. That would be about it."
On the successful recruiting of New Orleans
"I think that it is really positive. One of the things we set out to do was recruit more Louisiana kids, particularly kids from the New Orleans area. Jason Rollins, our coach that recruited this area, did a fantastic job. Also, the thing that most people don't realize is that you only have so many scholarships. We only had 22 scholarships this year to get to 85. So we'll go out and we look at six or seven quarterbacks, offer four or five of them and the first two, since we only have two (scholarships) open, that commit are what we get. That is what happens to some positions in the state. They will ask, `why did you recruit this guy' or `why didn't you recruit that guy'. We can only recruit so many guys at each position and what we do is we go out early and we offer guys and, if they are all in the same category, we say `the first guy that commits is who we are going to take'. Sometimes guys are left out because they don't commit early enough. "
One area he wishes could have been addressed more
"I would have loved to get more offensive linemen, because, what happened was, we had Hunter Howden who was declared medically unable to play anymore due to a concussion. He played as a freshman a year ago, we redshirted him this year and the doctor said no. It looks like Ian Wiggins, with a concussion last year, appears that he might now make it and I dismissed one player from the team. So that's guys we're down right there. We lost one (recruit) right at the end. We wanted to get three or four and ended up with two, in the end. We don't have a lot of depth or as much depth as I would like."
On only having one de-commit
"I am a big stickler for making sure a kid wants to commit. I tell the kids, `do not commit unless you are really coming'. I liken it to getting engaged, you know. Once you get engaged you don't keep dating. That is what a commitment means to me. I am a man of my word and I want those kids to be men of their word. I tell them upfront, `don't commit unless you really going to come here' and if you commit you can't take any more trips or talk to any more people, because this is where you are going. In the time that I have been here, I have lost one player that committed and then went somewhere else to play, and I told him to go, but we have lost two guys in the past that went to other schools at the last minute.
On the different styles of the two quarterbacks that were signed
"Yeah, they do have different styles. Blouin is a kid out of Baton Rouge that we saw in our camp. We got to see him run and throw a lot. I think he has an extremely strong arm, a quick arm and is very accurate. He is in an offense that doesn't throw the ball a lot, so he didn't have to showcase his ability as a passer. I think he can throw the ball well. I know he has great mobility and can run the football and he had a very successful year, even though he didn't throw as many passes as he would have like or as many as he will throw once he gets here. Then, SanGiacomo, a young man out of the New Jersey area is more of a (Ryan) Griffin. He is a pro style quarter back that isn't going to run a lot of option or beat you with his legs, but he has a very good arm and is a very smart kid."
"We were looking for the best guys available that were going to fit our needs. We just felt that those were two of the guys that we like that committed to us early. We had to tell other quarterback no, because they were what we were looking for."
On incoming running back Robert Kelley
"He's a little bigger than you think. When they come in here, we get to weight and measure them. I'll tell you what, he's a strong kid. He is big enough, and is definitely fast enough and can run with power, has good speed and can catch the ball. We are really excited about him. He gave us a little scare there towards the end, because I guess that Minnesota was pounding on him pretty hard. All you have to do is look at the weather report. You can hardly fly a plane in there right now because the weather is so bad, so I think he made a good decision."
On effects of the contract extension
"It probably (helped). That is always a question, `how long you are going be there' or `what is going on' and when you have a long term contract it is a little easier to sell guys. One of the things I try to do is tell kids to not come to school because of me. I could go out here and walk across the street and get hit by a car. They should go to school because it is where they want to be, where they want to get their education and want to play football. I try to down play (my contract length) a little bit."