Ball State Class of '09: Justin Cruz will continue the tradition of highlighting each player that signs a letter of intent for a given class. This time around it is the class of 2009. Here is a brief scouting report on each of the 22 players in the class. Today we have the fifth of those 22 installments.

Justin Cruz, 5-11 195 MLB, Orange Park, FL (Fleming Island)

What he brings: Good speed and a nose for the ball. Cruz is a warrior. He is undersized, but makes up for his deficiencies with determination and heart. You can see that this kid loves to play the game by watching his film and that he loves contact, even if he might be going against a much bigger guy. Cruz moves well in space and in the wash and is effective at finding the ball and chopping down the carrier quickly. Justin is a down hill guy that will attack a ball carrier at the point of attack and will split the gap well in order to take down his man.

Areas of improvement: Justin will never be 6-2, so we can go ahead a highlight other areas. One being his weight, Justin will have to beef up to over 210 in order to effectively stay at the MIKE spot or to thrive at the WILL, which I think is his better position. Justin will also have to adapt his play to seeing more passing situations and the recognition skills it takes to decipher what is coming at him with the speed in which the college game is played. grade: Cruz is a joy to watch on film. He does a lot of things right and is a very physical and tough kid. He doesn't blow you away in any one area, but he seems to have a lot of pieces that he can excel at which will make him an effective LB at this level. Look for Justin to add additional weight and strength and find his niche as a very good run stopping LB for Ball State.

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