Vandals sign 24 recruits to 2012 class

THE 2012 RECRUITING CLASS FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO includes 24 athletes, with 16 from the high school ranks and eight reporting from junior colleges. Offensively Idaho hauled in 13 recruits (including high school lineman KYREE OLIVER), 10 new defenders, and a kicker. The class also includes three of the gem state's top prospects, led by Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year QB Chad Chalich.

The following is an official press-release from the University of Idaho.

To view the original press release, as well as links to the Official Idaho website with bios and videos for each player,

There are times when a little of this and little of that make the perfect blend. The 2012 University of Idaho Vandal football signing class is one of those times.

Coach Robb Akey and his staff found a blend of players who represent just about every position on the field, have a robust Northwest presence but with a nationwide and even international flair, strong family ties – biological and to the Vandal Family, and tout some of the top talent the state of Idaho has seen.

"We were able to meet a number of our needs in this class," said Akey, whose staff signed 10 defensive players, 11 offensive players, one kicker and one athlete who could be a bonus on either side of the ball. "They are a big part of our future – for a number of those guys that future could be right now."

When Akey announced the class Wednesday morning he was able to talk with pride about landing Coeur d'Alene's Chad Chalich and Deon Watson, and Eagle's Jace Johnson – a trio of in-state players who have performed at championship levels on championship teams. Watson's ties are deeper – his dad, Deon, etched his name in history as one of the top basketball players to take the court for the Vandals.

For Jayshawn Jordan and Matt Neal, the ties to Idaho are a little looser but ties nevertheless. Jordan's uncle Jeff is one of the top defensive backs in school history and Neal's dad was a college teammate of Akey's when both were at Weber State.

The strongest familial tie goes to Hawai`i's Russell Siavii, whose older brother Robert is a senior linebacker for the Vandals with one of the sort-of ties going to quarterback Austin DeCoud, who is another in a long line of Vandals who hails from Redlands East Valley High School.

Three of the class of 2012 – running back James Baker, offensive lineman Nick Von Rotz and receiver Najee Lovett, already are on campus along with 2011 grayshirt Camryn Harris. Joining those with post-high school experience are junior college transfers Elijah Sala (linebacker), Toapasi "Pasi" Toki (defensive tackle), Semisi Tupou (offensive line), Kyren Watts (receiver) and Matthew Willis (linebacker).

Akey's crew found size – 6-4, 380-plus Tupou, 6-5, 292 Kyree Oliver from Heritage High School (Brentwood, Calif.), and 6-8, 320 Mason Woods, an offensive lineman who will have a bit of a learning curve as he makes the transition from Canadian secondary school football to American football.

They also found some of the fastest and most versatile players available with the do-all Ma'ne Manaea from Lakes (Wash.) High School and speedster Trae Armstrong, who ran a 10.3 100 meters as a junior at Arizona's Deer Valley High School.

Idaho's staff was intent on keeping a strong presence at tight end and landed Eric Lemke of Issaquah to fill the bill in 2012. Adding vital depth defensively are linebacker Addison Palomino (Pinnacle High School, Phoenix), defensive end Antonio Perez (Sheldon High School, Elk Grove, Calif.) and safety Andrew Williams (Cosumnes Oaks High School, Elk Grove, Calif.).

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