Racers sign 16 for next season

Ed Marlowe
Staff writer

The first fax came through at 7:19 a.m. and by the end of the day, 15 more faxes had arrived.

At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Head Coach Chris Hatcher announced the signing of 16 letters of intent for the 2012 football season.

Along with 16 commitments to the Racers, Hatcher confirmed the addition of seven players joining the team for spring training.

“We’re really excited about this year’s signing class,” Hatcher said. “We feel we were able to get the players that we were targeting and fill the needs we have heading into next season.”

Hatcher said he believes this recruiting class has the ability to influence playoff implications, or at the very least improve the team moving forward.

“This group has the potential to make an immediate impact as we push for a conference championship in 2012,” he said.

The class, which touts three three-star recruits and three two-star recruits, is heavily laden with running backs as four of the 23 recruits work from the backfield.

“We needed a replacement for running back after losing Mike Harris with only one scholarship running back on the roster in Duane Brady,” Hatcher said. “They’ll be mighty fine players for us, but they’re athletic enough to play some other positions for us, too.”

Harris finished his Racer career with 1,974 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in two seasons as one of the OVC’s premiere backs.

“Some guys are going to be able to battle for playing time first day,” Hatcher said. “I think that was one of the selling points to those guys, to have the opportunity to come in and play right away.”

The defensive line was also a major concern heading into the new season, but Hatcher said the need was addressed both with mid-season and fall commits this year.

“That’s a position that you can never have enough of them,” he said. “We lost some good ones last season.”

Hatcher said his recruiting plan for this season started in-house and then expanded outward until finding the best talent available for the system.

“I’ve got guys that work hard and go find those diamonds in the rough,” he said. “This year we were able to do that.”

Mid-season acquisitions are buying into the Racer system, Hatcher said, and molding well with the team.

“One of the things that has pleased me most is that all of the guys already here have jumped right in, bought in and fit in right away,” he said. “The boys in this class are good boys.”

Overall, Hatcher believes this is the best recruiting class to come to Murray State since he took the head coaching position in 2010.

Said Hatcher on Murray State: “The school sells itself.”