Murray State’s football program added 28 new players on Wednesday from across the country – the biggest recruiting class in recent memory and the largest in the OVC.
Head Coach Mitch Stewart had been up since 6 a.m. on National Signing Day watching fax after fax reel in. When explaining the reason behind this immense recruiting class Stewart said it was about setting the tone for the line of scrimmage.
“If you can’t win ball games in the trench then you won’t win them at all,” Stewart said.
The 2016 class includes seven defensive linemen and wide receivers, four offensive linemen, four safeties, three linebackers, two cornerbacks and one quarterback. “From an explosive standpoint this is one of the most talented groups I’ve been around – since the 2010 team with all of those wide receivers we had that year,” Stewart said. “This is the most talented and fast group of wide receivers we’ve had.”
Stewart made it clear the spots he was filling weren’t just spots to fill. The coaching staff evaluated each team member individually on their personality, mentality and physical abilities. All but two of the recruits are coming to the team as multi-sport athletes.
These multi-talented recruits come from all over the country, the most being 11 from Alabama. Missouri followed in second with five, Tennessee with four, Mississippi and California both with two, then Illinois and Kentucky being represented by one.
Five are transfers from junior colleges. Stewart believes he doesn’t feel a team can be built on more transfers than newcomers. Stewart’s plan is to work the young players their first year and prepare them for field time the following season.
“I never thought you could build the camaraderie and the pride of that logo if you’re rolling over your roster every two years,” he said.
Though 28 recruits have been signed, there are eight scholarships left. Stewart said he plans to keep these open for possible summer transfers.
In Stewart’s two years he’s committed 53 of 56 offers. Stewart says this is because of how special the town of Murray is to the university.
“There is only a handful of guys who have I’ve brought here that have walked away and not said ‘I’m committed,’” Stewart said. “I think that’s a great compliment to those who have helped us on these weekend visits.”