Signing Day has come, and just like that, it has gone. For the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, it was a hectic time. Up until just two days before Signing Day, the commit list was looking a little bare.
GoMiddle.com was able to dig up a few more commitments in the final hours before Signing Day, but even we went into Tuesday morning with many question marks left unanswered.
Those questions were answered for the most part, but it appears as if the staff will need to plug a few more holes, mainly at wide receiver, before the start of next season.
Head coach Rick Stockstill made the comment during Wednesday's press conference that the Blue Raiders lost two WR commitments at the last minute to other schools. Recruiting can be a double-edged sword at times. Coaches pull offers from players, and players change their mind sometimes as often as the wind changes directions.
It can all get pretty messy.
As we take a look at the offensive commitments that the Blue Raiders secured, we know that there are still a few wide receivers out there that the Blue Raiders will be hunting for.
What we do know now is that the Blue Raider coaching staff put an emphasis on the offensive line. MT signed five new offensive linemen.
Here is a look at your newest Blue Raider beefcakes:
Adam Stickel - Stockstill had a lot of praise for the 6'5, 320-pound lineman from Kissimmee's (Fla) Osceola HS. Stickel plays with a mean spirit, and can be downright nasty when it comes to laying blocks. Stickel earned first team All-State, All-Conference, All-County and All-Central Florida honors as a senior this past season. Stickel never allowed a sack during his senior campaign, an impressive feat without question.
Nick Nunez - Transferring in from Hartnell C.C. after two seasons, Nunez will definitely be looked to as a contributor in 2012 season and beyond. While at Hartnell, Nunez was named to the 2011 All-Coast Conference first team. Nunez will also bring a winning mentality to the Blue Raiders. His Hartnell team won the Coast Conference and Southern Division Championship in 2011.
Hunter Rogers - One half of what GoMiddle.com has dubbed the "Beastly Boys", Rogers is a massive 6'7", 310-pound blocking machine. Rogers possesses good athletic skill-sets, having lettered in football, basketball, and track as well. Rogers won the 2011 state title in the shot put. Graded out at 90% as a senior and 94% as a junior. As a senior, he garnered All-State and All-District honors.
Alex Jauregui - The second half of the "Beastly Boys" is Jauregui. Another 6'7", 300-pound lineman, Jauregui chose MT over Illinois. He also had heavy interest from SEC schools Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Ole' Miss, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt to go along with a slew of other BCS programs. Jauregui might end up being the steal of the class. He earned All-State and All-County honors as a senior and graded out at 86%. For the year, he tallied 31 knockdowns and 19 pancakes. He'll need some time to learn some tricks of the trade, but with Jimmy Ray Stephens coaching him up, he should have no problem adjusting to college ball.
Josh Chester - Primarily a defensive lineman at Northside HS in Warner Robins (GA), Chester is projected to be an offensive lineman for the Blue Raiders. As a DT, Chester was named second team All-State by the Georgia Sportswriters Association and first team All-Region. He has good hands to go with his size, and should adapt well to switching to offense full-time. He will also need some hands on coaching from Stephens, but is athletic enough to where that will not be a problem in his development.
Also on the offensive side of the ball, the Blue Raiders individual commitments from players at the quarterback, running back, tight end and wide receiver positions. Here is a breakdown of the future playmakers of Middle Tennessee:
Austin Grammer - The 3-star QB became available to MT late in the recruiting process. A former long-time commit to Houston, Grammer reopened his recruiting after Houston underwent a coaching change. Houston's loss was Middle Tennessee's gain. Grammer brings many attributes to the table that fall in line with what MT does offensively. For starters, he can run a spread/air raid offense effectively. Grammer has above average accuracy and a limited turnover history - something Middle fans are very happy to hear about. Aside from that, Grammer has a keen ability to escape pressure and turn nothing into something - ala Ben Roethlisberger or Tim Tebow. He may not have world-class speed, but Grammer has displayed the ability to shake defenders and be very elusive on the run. Time will tell what the future holds for Grammer, but in this class, he may be the pickup of the year.
Jordan Parker - Coach Stockstill made the comparison Wednesday to Phillip Tanner when talking about Parker. The 6'1", 195-pound bruiser comes in slightly smaller than what Tanner did when he arrived at Murfreesboro, but after looking at his highlight film, it is easy to see why Stockstill made the comparison. Parker does not have the best breakaway speed in the game, but punishes defenders trying to tackle him regularly. He is a physical back, and should be able to contribute significant time down the road in the Blue Raider backfield. Parker can also be a reliable receiver out of the backfield. As a senior at Collins HS, he tallied 450 receiving yards to go on top of his Gwinnett County leading 1700 yards on the ground. Parker also reached paydirt 21 times this past year.
Marcus Henry - Henry comes from the prodigious HS program of South Panola out of Batesville (MS). He qualified just fine out of high school, but never really got the offers he was looking for, so he opted to go the JUCO route. That decision landed him at NW Miss C.C., where he excelled on the field. In his lone season, Henry hauled in 46 receptions for 745 yards and nine touchdowns. At one point in the season, he produced four straight 100-yard receiving performances. With three years of eligibility left, Henry is in a good spot to see the field right away. He is already on campus, learning the playbook and working out with his teammates. Keep an eye on him in 2012 and beyond.
Terry Pettis - When the rare combination of size, speed and ability come together, you have to act on it. That is what the Blue Raider coaching staff did with Terry Pettis. Flying under the radar for most of the recruiting season, Pettis could be the "sleeper" of the class this year. At 6'6" and already around 220 pounds, Pettis is a guy who could actually make an immediate impact on the offense next year. Pettis will be utilized as a hybrid TE/WR, where he will line up on the line of scrimmage, or spread outside to take advantage of defensive schemes. Pettis is definitely a little wet behind the ears, but in time he could develop into one of the more potent playmakers Middle has had in recent history.
Be sure to check out GoMiddle.com's breakdown of the defensive players of the 2012 Signing Day class. Only at GoMiddle.com