Feb. 4, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - Fourteen offensive prospects, 11 defensive standouts and a two-time all-state kicker - including 10 Louisiana natives and four pair of prep teammates - highlight the Tulane University football team's incoming class for the 2009 season, third-year head coach Bob Toledo announced Wednesday on National Signing Day.
A total of 24 high school seniors, a prep school standout and a Division I transfer signed National Letters of Intent to suit up for the Green Wave next season - six defensive backs, five offensive linemen, five wide receivers, four defensive linemen, two running backs, two tight ends, one linebacker and one special teamer.
"When you look at this class, it is probably the best class that we have recruited," Toledo said. "We have guys in almost every position with the exception of fullback and quarterback. We wanted recruits with speed, and we think we recruited a lot of speed. Obviously, we wanted size with lineman, and we did that as well. And we got a kicker that we want to grow for the future.
"Overall, I think it was a really good recruiting class from top to bottom. You never get everybody you want, and we probably went after some guys that didn't want to go to Tulane because they wanted to get away. I think the good thing is the kids that did verbally commit to us this year, none of them changed their minds. We are very pleased with what the players we signed."
Included in that mix are Louisiana natives D.J. Banks (WR/West Monroe/West Monroe HS), Shane Delery (DL/Kenner, Jesuit HS), Devin Figaro (WR/Lafayette/Lafayette HS/Hargrave Military Academy), Mike Henry (OL/Marrero/John Curtis Christian HS), Payten Jason (RB/Waggaman/Jesuit HS), Zach Morgan (OL/Lake Charles/Sam Houston HS), Ryan Rome (K/Destrehan/Destrehan HS), Shakiel Smith (DB/New Orleans/Edna Karr HS), Jordan Sullen (WR/New Orleans/Edna Karr HS) and Ryan Travis (DB/Plaquemine/Plaquemine HS).
Toledo's third class also includes eight three-star recruits, according to the various scouting services, which is just three less than the Green Wave landed in the previous six years combined. In addition, eight Tulane signees are rated among the Top 100 nationally at their respective positions.
Brock Sanders (Johns Creek, Ga./Northview HS) is the No. 10 tight end in the nation according to ESPN.com while offensive linemen L.J. Abrams (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones HS), Morgan and Rio Mares (Corrales, N.M/Cibola HS) rank as the No. 22 offensive tackle by ESPN.com, the No. 24 center by Scout.com and the No. 79 offensive guard by Rivals.com, respectively. Linebacker Cody Ledford (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian HS) is the No. 48 rated weak-side linebacker by Scout.com, defensive lineman Devin Williams (Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch HS) rated as 56th weak-side linebacker by Rivals.com, while Stephen Barnett (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) and Austen Jacks (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS) are rated as the No. 68 running back and No. 93 defensive end nationally by ESPN.com.
"The thing that we wanted to get was defensive backs and receivers and we signed six defensive backs and five receivers, so that was a big thing," Toledo said. "Of course we wanted some linemen. We ended up with four defensive linemen and five offensive linemen. We got two real good tight ends and a couple of fast running backs too. I think, overall, we did a real good job of getting the guys we need at the positions we needed them."
Along the offensive line, Toledo and his staff added the talents of Abrams, Henry, Morgan, Mares and Hunter Howden (Lumberton, Texas/Lumberton HS).
Tulane also added five receivers with an emphasis on speed to stretch the field. In addition to Banks, Figaro and Sullen, the Wave brought in Ryan Grant (Beaumont, Texas/West Brook HS) and Wilson Van Hooser (Montgomery, Ala./Trinity Presbyterian School). Banks is the No. 41 rated recruit in the state of Louisiana by Rivals.com and the No. 145 receiver in the nation according to Scout.com. Figaro is a three-star recruit who played last season at Hargrave Military Academy following a prep career at Lafayette High, and Van Hooser sits as the No. 213 receiver in the country by Scout.com.
Barnett and Jason are the lone running backs coming to town next season, while Sanders will be joined at tight end by Kevin Burris (Watkinsville, Ga./North Oconee HS). Jason, who originally committed to Ole Miss following his sophomore season, is rated as the No. 120 running back in the country by Scout.com. Burris, meanwhile, graduated last fall and is currently attending classes at Tulane.
On defense, Smith and Travis are joined in the defensive backfield for the 2009 season by Jordan Garrett (Beaumont, Texas/West Brook HS), Derrick Strozier (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater HS) and the combination of twins Kendrell and Kendrick Washington (Brenham, Texas/Brenhan HS). Smith was rated as the No. 75 recruit in Louisiana by Rivals.com while Travis brings a sense of versatility after playing quarterback, running back, wide receiver and defensive back at Plaquemine High. Garrett averaged more than 30 tackles per season as a prepster and posted seven career interceptions, Stozier is the No. 131 rated defensive back in the nation by Scout.com. Kendrell Washington was a first-team All-District 18-4A selection as a senior while Kendrick Washington is rated as the No. 164 cornerback in the country by Scout.com.
Delery, Jacks and Williams represent the lone incoming freshmen on the defensive line recruits as the Tulane staff added the talents of Dezman Moses (Willingboro, N.J./Willingboro HS), who played the last two seasons at the University of Iowa. Delery is rated as the No. 122 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, and Moses is currently taking classes at Tulane.
Ledford is the lone linebacker on the Tulane signing class while Rome is the lone kicking specialist. Ledford set a school record formerly held by current Detroit Lion standout Ernie Sims with 522 career tackles and was tabbed a second-team Max Preps Small Schools All-American. Rome, meanwhile, is a two-time all-state selection and helped lead Destrehan to a combined 29-0 record the last two years, including a pair of 5A state titles.
Tulane Athletics has announced the 2009 Football Season Ticket Early Renewal program in which season ticketholders from 2008 will receive exciting benefits. Any fan who renews their season tickets by April 25 will be eligible to receive their choice of four sideline tickets to a 2009 home football game of their selection ($140 value) or four chair-back tickets to a 2009 home Tulane baseball game of their selection (excluding the LSU game; $60 value).
Additionally, fans who take advantage of the early renewal opportunity will also be entered into a drawing where prizes include a trip for two to an away game (including two seats on the team charter flight and a hotel room), four tickets to the President/Athletic Director's suite and four sideline passes for a 2009 football game, tickets and use of the Athletic Director's suite for a 2009 home baseball game, authentic game-worn items, autographed memorabilia, and other exciting Green Wave prizes.
Season-ticket holders receive priority seating locations, lower prices than individual game ticket purchasers, and the first opportunity to purchase additional single-game tickets. Season-ticket prices will remain the same as the 2008 prices: adult sideline seats are $180, while adult end zone seats are $90 and youth (under 18) end zone seats are just $72. Tulane also offers a "Family Four Pack" which includes two (2) adults and two (2) tickets in end zone seating for only $240.
For more information on 2009 Tulane football season tickets or to renew your tickets, contact the ticket office at (504) 861-WAVE (9283).
2009 Tulane Football Signing Class
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Cl.||Hometown/High School/Previous School|
|L.J. Abrams||OL||6-5||329||Fr.||Madison, Ala./Bob Jones HS|
|D.J. Banks||WR||5-9||175||Fr.||West Monroe, La./West Monroe HS|
|Stephen Barnett||RB||5-11||184||Fr.||Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School|
|Kevin Burris||TE||6-2||235||Fr.||Watkinsville, Ga./North Oconee HS|
|Shane Delery||DL||6-3||255||Fr.||Kenner, La./Jesuit HS|
|Devin Figaro||WR||6-2||197||Fr.||Lafayette, La./Lafayette HS/Hargrave Military Academy|
|Jordan Garrett||DB||5-11||194||Fr.||Beaumont, Texas/West Brook HS|
|Ryan Grant||WR||6-0||179||Fr.||Beaumont, Texas/West Brook HS|
|Mike Henry||OL||6-5||289||Fr.||Marrero, La./John Curtis Christian HS|
|Hunter Howden||OL||6-4||277||Fr.||Lumberton, Texas/Lumberton HS|
|Austen Jacks||DL||6-3||220||Fr.||Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park HS|
|Payten Jason||RB||5-11||193||Fr.||Waggaman, La./Jesuit HS|
|Cody Ledford||LB||5-11||213||Fr.||Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian HS|
|Rio Mares||OL||6-5||314||Fr.||Corrales, N.M./Cibola HS|
|Zach Morgan||OL||6-2||295||Fr.||Lake Charles, La./Sam Houston HS|
|Dezman Moses||DL||6-2||249||Jr.||Willingboro, N.J./Willingboro HS/Univ. of Iowa|
|Ryan Rome||K||5-9||166||Fr.||Destrehan, La./Destrehan HS|
|Brock Sanders||TE||6-3||225||Fr.||Johns Creek, Ga./Northview HS|
|Shakiel Smith||DB||6-0||185||Fr.||New Orleans, La./Edna Karr HS|
|Derrick Strozier||DB||5-8||162||Fr.||Orlando, Fla./Edgewater HS|
|Jordan Sullen||WR||5-11||181||Fr.||New Orleans, La./Edna Karr HS|
|Ryan Travis||DB||5-11||160||Fr.||Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine HS|
|Wilson Van Hooser||WR||5-11||177||Fr.||Montgomery, Ala./Trinity Presbyterian School|
|Kendrell Washington||DB||5-9||160||Fr.||Brenham, Texas/Brenhan HS|
|Kendrick Washington||DB||5-9||160||Fr.||Brenham, Texas/Brenham HS|
|Devin Williams||DL||6-2||220||Fr.||Katy, Texas/Cinco Ranch HS|