Stokes Looking Hard at GVSU

With Todd Carter graduating, kicker is one of the key spots GVSU needs to address this offseason. On Saturday, Ryan Stokes, one of the top kicking prospects in the Midwest was in town and talked about his first time in Lubbers Stadium and his interest in Grand Valley.

#1 Grand Valley State hosted #23 Ashland in a big GLIAC conference battle on Saturday. The Lakers pulled out a thrilling 48-42 victory. Ryan Stokes, Merrillville (Ind.)'s outstanding kicker was at the game on an unofficial visit and saw a better game than he expected.

"I loved it," he said, "It was a great game. I thought I was bad luck for a second! I kept thinking, the game I come to, they're going to lose when they hadn't lost a regular season game in like five years."

In the end, Stokes saw a Laker victory and also saw a lot more as it was his first time at the school.

"I really liked it. They showed us around. I saw the indoor facility, which I loved and the weight room."

While he was impressed with the facilities, it was actually a speech from head coach Chuck Martin which stuck with Stokes with most.

"What I really liked about Grand Valley was that they believe in exactly what I believe in. The head coach was talking to the group about things they believe in and one of the things was being competitive. They don't like anyone who's not and I'm the most competitive person anyone could meet. They also believe in academics and football and he said, I believe that academics are important, but football comes first and they were one of the only schools I ever heard that said academics are important but football comes first. I really liked that. I met with some of the coaches, my recruiting coach, Coach Koehler. I really liked the atmosphere of the game, I enjoyed it."

Stokes, who has visited several FBS programs, says he saw very little talent difference between the Division 1 and Division 2 ranks and that the main difference was size, not skill or execution. He also found that the gameday environment at GVSU was also on par with schools from higher divisions.

I didn't know what to expect, I didn't come in expecting too much because I've never been to D2 school," Stokes admitted, "I expected less than a D1 school, but it was definitely a lot better than I expected. The atmosphere was just as good if not better than D1 schools I've been to. Everyone was into the game and it was amazing."

Stokes is still receiving interest from Michigan State, Eastern Illinois, Stanford, Oregon State and Michigan, with the recent decommitment of Anthony Fera, has also sent some mail. As usual with specialists, Stokes expects recruiting for him will pick up as the season winds down and decisions are being made. Grand Valley should have an opening for him, but details are still being worked out.

"I talked to Coach Koehler and I've talked to him a lot, we talk about once every week. He's been talking about how their kicker's a senior and he's almost positive that they'll spend some money on kicker. I don't know how much, but they really are looking at me and like me. He told me he was going to be coming up to my school and I'll possibly be coming on an official visit in January. "

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