National Signing Day; Akron football program recruits 21 new members

By: Parker Perry

The University of Akron football program announced the 21 members of the 2012 recruiting class Wednesday night.

The class included student athletes from several different states, though the most (10) come from Ohio. Other states include Florida (six), Pennsylvania (two), Michigan (one), New Jersey (one) and West Virginia (one).

In the conference, Akron Head Coach Terry Bowden mentioned that he was proud of his staff and program for doing an excellent job with a limited amount of time.

“We only had two and a half weeks,” Bowden said, “so I think we did a pretty good job.”

Most of the class is his own, though he mentioned that he honored all previous commitments from athletes who were recruited by previous head coach Rob Ianello. However, he did not honor all previous offers, as he felt that it was a way for a school to stay relevant and not the best way to build the program.

Bowden also said that one of the major factors of deciding on a player was if his previous high school team had been successful. He recited different players who had won or competed for championships while playing in high school. Bowden said that to rebuild a program, he needed winners.

Highlighting the class are four offensive linemen.  The offensive linemen include Curtis Black, Quaison Osborne, Kevin Mills and Michael Casimos.

Bowden mentioned several times during his press conference when he received the job in late December that he had hoped to own this area of Ohio, and while he did bring in a couple local recruits, five of the Ohio athletes are from Southwest Ohio.

Bowden said that “the bottom line is every area [of Ohio] is good,” and that to be competitive, he felt that UA would have to reach out to coaches and players form all regions of the state.

Local players who signed to the Zips are wide receiver Andrew Pratt out of Green High School and Mills of Canton McKinley. In a broader span, Akron signed local recruits Osborne from Hudson and Black from Kent Roosevelt.

And though the offensive side of the ball was well covered, Bowden made a point to say that he felt defensive coordinator Chuck Amato would be satisfied with the players coming to him on defense.

Ten players who signed were defensive players, many of them with speedy, attack-oriented styles of play, something Bowden said would work perfectly in the defensive scheme Amato likes to run.

After losing Brian Wagner to transfer, the Zips needed an inside linebacker who can help be an anchor of the defense. They hope they found him in the four linebackers who signed.

Signed were linebackers Dylan Evans (Pa.), John Rachal (Fla.), Jatavis Brown (Fla.) and Keionne Baines (Fla.).

The University of Akron is still currently in a rebuilding process, Bowden said, explaining why he decided against bringing in players from junior colleges or transfers. He said that though he appreciated the interests, it would be better for the program to have players for four years coming out of high school than one or two from another college.

Akron opens their season Aug. 30 at Infocision Stadium against the University of Central Florida Knights. Before that, Bowden will get a good look at his current and new players during spring ball in April.