Vandals Sign 21 Recruits

This afternoon first-year Idaho Head Coach ROBB AKEY announced a recruiting class of 21 athletes. For his first class, Akey and staff did a remarkable job recruiting a group which - for the second year in a row - is ranked among the Top 3 in the Western Athletic Conference according to Scout.com. Inside is an introduction to this year's recruits.

The 2007 University of Idaho football recruiting class is comprised of 21 National Letter of Intent signees: Six from the junior college ranks and 15 high school seniors. The class is drawn from California (8), Texas (4), Washington (5), Nevada (3), and Hawaii. Overall the class is balanced, with virtually every position being recruited, including several recruits who could contribute at numerous positions. Included are a couple players ranked nationally by Scout.com and others (Andre Ferguson #39 SLB, Corey White #58 RB). There were LOI day surprises with the class, as QB/DB/ATH Quin Ashley changed his commitment from TCU to Idaho, TE Jim Reuber was reported to be committed to Tulsa then signed with Idaho, and LB/DE Andre Ferguson changed his commitment from Arizona State to Idaho.

The class is not "flashy", but it certainly compares well within the WAC. Currently, Idaho's class is ranked #85 by Scout.com, which is 3rd in the Conference behind Boise State (#52) and Fresno State (#67). Coach Akey and staff went head-to-head in recruiting battles with teams from the Mountain West Conference, Conference-USA, and within the WAC, and came away on top on a number of occasions.

Below is a link to Idaho's OFFICIAL Press Release on the class:

CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL IDAHO PDF

Below is a summary of the class, with information on each player drawn from Scout.com reports, the Official UI Press Release, and other sources. The junior college signees are presented first, followed by the high school recruits (both groups are organized in alphabetical order).



JUNIOR COLLEGE TRANSFERS
Idaho received letters of intent from 6 junior college athletes, with two of them currently enrolled and in Moscow preparing for spring drills. In addition to this group, we know that 3-star JC quarterback Luke Tracy is at the University of Idaho and is expected to be working with the team during spring drills.

Marcus Pedro
6-1, 255, Defensive End
Fullerton College
Western High School (Anaheim, CA)
ENROLLED, ON CAMPUS

"The Idaho Vandals are getting a diamond in the rough in Marcus," Fullerton defensive line coach Brian Crooks told Scout.com. "He is strong, fast, and physical." Described by Fullerton head coach Gene Murphy as a "zone-blitz kind of guy", the head coach went on to simply describe Marcus as "a great athlete." He also apparently flew under the radar screen, although he was reportedly getting interest from a number of colleges, including Oregon State, UTEP, San Jose State and Idaho State. His numbers shouldn't disappoint either. In the weightroom his max bench was 425 (one rep), 25 reps of 225, and a max squat at 500 pounds. He also reportedly clocked a hand-held 4.79 second 40. On the field he finished second on the team with seven sacks and 35 tackles, with 11 tackles for loss and a couple pass breakups. At Idaho is he is expected to project at defensive end, but he has the strength to move inside if needed and the speed/agility to line up at outside linebacker if needed as well. Versatility was his staple at Fullerton, and he should have what it takes to make an immediate impact at Idaho.

Jim Reuber
6-3, 254, Tightend
Tyler Junior College
Plano West High School (Plano, TX)
Changed verbal commit from Tulsa to Idaho

He may be one of the most well-traveled signees in the 2007 Idaho recruiting class. Reuber signed with Kansas of the Big 12 out of high school (offered by Kansas State as well, among others) and spent his redshirt freshman year in Lawrence. For a variety of reasons he chose to leave the Jayhawks, and went first to Santa Monica JC in 2005, then transferred again to Texas JC powerhouse Tyler Junior College in '06. He worked as part of a deep TE/H-Back rotation at Tyler, recording just a few receptions on the season, but his potential wasn't overlooked. He was recruited early by several programs, including Washington State, then was expected to sign with Tulsa out of Conference USA. Instead, he pulled a "surprise" and instead chose to sign with former Coug coach Robb Akey and the Idaho Vandals. "How fast I can get on the field is the most important part," he told Scout's Barry Bolton in December. "I'm not the tallest tight end but I've got speed," he went on to say. "I think I'm pretty strong and I've got good size. For a tight end, I can do whatever you ask me to -- I can block and I can catch the ball." Football runs in the Reuber blood, as Jim's older brother Alan Reuber is an offensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals, and played collegiately turn at Texas A&M. With an extremely young Vandal depth chart at TE this spring, chances are good he'll get his opportunity to earn playing time this fall.

Cory Rhoane
6-1, 202, Wide Receiver
Cerritos College
Gahr High School (Cerritos, CA)

ENROLLED, ON CAMPUS
With a strong, young offensive line growing in depth, a solid stable of runningbacks, and a battle at quarterback anticipated for next season (two talented freshmen QB prospects in Jon Tobin and Nathan Enderle headline a chart that is currently 5-deep), Idaho is in a position to focus on restocking the wide receiver depth chart. Enter Cory Rhoane. Rhoane's sophomore season at Cerritos was a successful one, as he led the team with 39 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns. The effort earned him First Team All-Mission Conference National Division honors this season. As a freshman he caught 12 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown. He runs a reported 4.53 - 40 and has a 36-inch vertical leap. "I can do everything," Rhoane told Scout's Scott Eklund earlier this year. "I play on the outside and I love to go deep, but I would probably say I'm more of a possession receiver. I like to go across the middle and make the catch and then split the defenders. I love eating up zone coverage." Everything came together this season and got him noticed. He received a scholarship offer to Iowa State back in October (before their recent coaching change), and he also held offers from Sacramento State and Charleston Southern, with interest picking up from other schools, before he ultimately committed to Idaho. "My biggest strength is that I can go up and get the ball," he told Scout. "I like it when the quarterback throws it up and I can jump over DB's and get it; and I'm exceptionally fast too. I like to run 'streaks', but I also run pretty crisp routes too." The 3-star JC prospect with 3 years to play 2 transferred to Idaho this winter and will be working with the team during spring drills.

Kevin Small
6-3, 261, Tightend
Palomar Community College
Escondido High School (Escondido, CA)

Small is one of two JC tightends signed in this class. As a starter he was used primarily as a blocking tightend, but he was instrumental in several key passing situations, including a 27-yard touchdown reception against Pasadena when he was a freshman in 2005. He's was also a two-sport athlete at Palomar, playing on the basketball team during the 2005-06 season. FROM THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO PRESS RELEASE: Said coach Joe Early: He's a total team guy ... He loves the game ... He takes as much enjoyment out of making a great block as he does scoring a touchdown ... He takes great pride in his blocking."


T.J. Taylor
5-11, 187, Cornerback
Diablo Valley Community College
Skyline High School (Sammamish, WA)

"I think I can play as a physical corner or a finesse corner," Taylor told Scott Eklund of Scout.com earlier this month. "I like to play man-to-man. What corner doesn't like to play that style? But I also know that teams play a lot of zone nowdays so I can do that too." Set to graduate in May, Taylor will have three years to play two...but he can be expected to get a shot at playing time immediately. Last season he recorded five interceptions on the year, broke up 8 passes and recorded 25 tackles on the year, including two sacks. His father, Terry Taylor, played professionally for 12 seasons with Seattle, Detroit, Cleveland and Atlanta. T.J. earned all-Golden Gate Conference honors as a freshman and was a unanimous all-conference selection as a sophomore. "Whoever I sign with will be happy because I'll work as hard as I can," Taylor want on to tell Scout. Either on the football field or in the classroom -- I'll do what I have to do to help my team and in the long run that will help me too."


Breyon Williams
5-9, 183, Safety
Pasadena Community College
Muir High School (Pasadena, CA)

Despite Pasadena Community College winning just three games this season, Breyon was a First Team All-Mission Conference selection. On the year, Williams finished #2 on the team defensively with 53 tackles (40 solo), 3 tackles for loss, one interception and 8 pass breakups. He also forced a fumble. Out of Muir High School Williams signed with Northern Arizona and spent two years in the program before transferring to Pasadena CC. FROM THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO ATHLETICS PRESS RELEASE: Said coach Kenny Lawler: "The best thing about him as a corner is he's physical ... He's a very good tackler ... He's mentally tough ... He has really great timing of the ball when it's in the air ... He plays with a lot of intensity ... He has an extremely high passion for the game ... The game is very important to him, which makes him very determined when he's out on the football field ... He just knows how to play the position ... He knows how to put himself in the proper position to make a play on the football ... He has an innate ability to play the cornerback position."




HIGH SCHOOL RECRUITS
Idaho received letters of intent from 15 high school seniors, including the state of Texas' Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year, a nationally ranked Top 40 linebacker, and nationally ranked Top 60 runningback.

Justin Allen
5-11, 207, Linebacker
Cedar Park High School (Cedar Park, TX)

Talk about a "sleeper" recruit. This season, Justin Allen was named a First Team AP All-State selection at linebacker in the 5A Classification in Texas. In addition, he was also named to the Class 5A Academic All-State Team. He registered 166 tackles last year, six sacks, 14 tackles for loss, an interception and four fumble recoveries. On special teams he averaged more than 29 yards on 11 kick returns last year, and was the team's top goal line back with 21 carries for 117 yards and four touchdowns. In addition to the All-State honors, he was named the Class 5A Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the state of Texas, District 14-5A Defensive Player of the Year, and was named the Hill Country News' Dazzling Dozen Defensive MVP. In the Official UI Press Release, his coach, Chris Ross, stated: "He's extremely explosive on the football field ... He has great speed for any position – much less a linebacker ... He's a linebacker who runs like a safety ... He's extremely intelligent ... He can diagnose a play one step into it ... He's a team guy ... As great an athlete as he is, he's a better person ... He's absolutely unselfish."

Quin Ashley
5-11, 192, QB/DB
Paris High School (Paris, TX)

Changed verbal commit from TCU to Idaho
OFFERS: TCU, Colorado State
A dual-threat quarterback for Paris High School, Quin Ashley rushed for 902 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year, including a long of 68 yards and an average of 6.18 yards per carry. Through the air he completed 48% of his passes (69 of 143 attempts) for 993 yards, with 11 touchdowns and just five picks. The effort earned him unanimous First Team All-District honors, as well as being named to the All-Red River Valley First Team. He was named to both teams as a junior as well. The effort paid off for him as he was offered by Idaho, TCU and Colorado State. He committed to TCU in January, while teammate Dewey Hale (bio below) committed to Idaho. In the days leading up to LOI, Quin changed his commitment to Idaho, and will join the Vandal program with the opportunity to play a number of positions. His physical strength will be an asset, with a 425 squat, 4.59-40, and 30-inch vertical jump.

Matt Cleveland
6-4, 307, OL
Kentwood High School (Kent, WA)

A 2-way starter for Kentwood, Matt had an outstanding High School career. Among his many honors this year was being named a First Team All-SPSL North League selection at offensive line and Honorable Mention defensive lineman. From his post as the team's starting Left Tackle, Cleveland helped pave the way for runningback Demetrius Bronson rush for over 1,400 yards and score 14 touchdowns. He also earned recognition as one of the state of Washington's top 100 prospects for 2007.

Michael Cosgrove
6-4, 250, DT
Desert Pines High School (Las Vegas, NV)

New Vandal boss Robb Akey and staff hit the recruiting trail hard this year for defensive linemen, and appear to have found a gem in Desert Pines two-way starter Michael Cosgrove. Defensively he recorded 89 tackles as a senior, including four sacks, two deflected passes, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Among his many honors this year, Cosgrove was named to the Class 4A All-Sunrise Region First Team as both an offensive and defensive lineman, All-Northeast Division First Team offensive and defensive lineman, and the Northwest Division Co-Defensive Player of the Year recipient. He was also named a Second Team All-State selection on offensive line, and Second Team All-State selection on the defensive line. He's a tremendous athlete who will get his first look at defensive tackle but could flip to the O-line if needed.

Joseph "Jojo" Dickson
6-1, 202, LB
Baldwin High School (Wailuku, HI)

[From the Official Idaho Press Release] First team all-Maui Interscholastic League as a senior ... also earned all-state (honorable mention) recognition as a senior ... two-year letterman ... helped team advance to state semifinals. Said coach Jimmy Morimoto: "He has great determination ... He's very coachable ... He'll make any team better ... He's always hustling ... He's more a lead-by-example guy ... His biggest games were probably in our state tournament. He was just all over the field; always around the ball ... He has real good hands, even as a defensive player ... I remember one game when the pass was over his head and he just reached up and one-hand grabbed it."

Andre Ferguson
6-3, 205, LB / DE
East Valley High School (Redlands, CA)
- Changed verbal commit from Arizona State to Idaho
- Ranked #39 strongside linebacker in America
- Ranked #6 SLB in state of California
- OFFERS: ASU, UTEP, SDSU, Colorado State

Andre may be the most highly regarded recruit in the 2007 Vandal recruiting class. As a junior at East Valley he recorded 98 tackles and seven sacks. His teammate and fellow linebacker Darrell Acrey, a senior then, went on to Boise State, and the middle of the field would be his to roam alone. By July he had seven offers, including the schools listed above plus UNLV, Colorado and Wyoming. He committed to ASU in October, in a season in which he hit triple digits in tackles. But with the coaching change this winter, Andre changed his mind late in January and decided to reopen his recruitment. Asked why he chose Idaho by Scout.com West Recruiting Analyst Brandon Huffman, Ferguson replied, "The integrity they show."

Eric Greenwood
6-6, 196, WR
Edmonds-Woodway High School (Edmonds, WA)

OFFERS: UNLV
A 6-6, 200-pound target out of Edmonds-Woodway High School just north of Seattle (WA), Greenwood had a stellar senior season in 2006. Named to the Seattle Times All Area Team, he led all receivers in the Seattle area with 14 receiving touchdowns and also returned a kickoff and punt for a TD. For the season, Greenwood recorded 44 receptions for 838 yards while also posting 30 tackles and two interceptions from his free safety position, all of which helped the Warriors earn a spot in the Class 4A state semifinals. His best effort this season included a six-catch, 122-yard, three-TD performance against Mountlake Terrace that lifted Edmonds-Woodway to a 56-7 win. In the State Championships semi-final, Greenwood flew past Bothell's secondary while being hit in stride on a perfect pass to score a 71-yard touchdown. He was known this season as Edmonds-Woodway's biggest playmaker. Eric was named an Honorable Mention Class 4A AP All State selection this year (AP only names 1st Team and honorable mention), and was also named a Second Team Washinton Preps All-State selection. He was named a First Team All WesCo selection this season, and also was named a First Team selection in 2005 as a junior.

Dewey Hale
5-10, 173, WR
Paris High School (Paris, TX)

Paris High School, which went 6-4 this season with a young team, runs a spread offense and tries to utilize a balanced running and passing attack. Hale is described by his coach as the team's "go to" receiver. In 10 games this season as a starter at wide receiver, free safety, and punt returner, his offensive stats include 512 yards on 36 receptions (both team highs) with 5 touchdowns and an average of 14.22 yards per catch. On the ground Hale rushed for 226 yards on 23 carries with 3 touchdowns (9.83 yards per carry). As the team's starting punt returner, Hale returned 12 punts 194 yards for an average of 16.17 yards per return (long of 51 yards). He also returned 7 kickoffs for 74 yards and a 10.57 yard per return average. In the season opener Hale returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown. Defensively as the team's starting free safety, Hale recorded 48 tackles and picked off 5 passes as a senior.

Bilal Liggins
6-2, 249, OL
Lakes High School (Lakewood, WA)

The Vandals landed three offensive linemen in this class, including Bilal Liggins, who reportedly never missed a down as a two-year starter for the Lancers. A dominant force up front, Liggins was named an Honorable Mention AP All-State Class 3A selection this season, as well as a being named to the Tacoma News Tribune All-Area Team and the Washington Preps Class 3A All-State Second Team. He earned All-Western Cascade Conference honors this year, and is considered one of the area's top offensive line prospects. Lakes Coach Dave Miller told Scout.com, "Bilal has great feet and is very athletic for a big man. He is very durable and mentally tough. He is an old school linemen all the way down to the visegrip handshake. Bilal is a hard worker and has huge upside potential."

Tyrone Novikoff
6-7, 306, OL
Curlew High School (Curlew, WA)

It's not often that an athlete makes the jump from 8-man football to Division 1A competition, but Novikoff will do that this fall as one of the biggest recruits in Idaho's 2007 class. At 6-7, 306-pounds, the two-way starter will get his first look on the offensive line at Idaho. Was named a First Team District 7 B1 offensive lineman and defensive lineman as a senior, and was an Honorable Mention selection on the Washington Preps All-State Team. A multi-sport athlete, he plays on the basketball team and will reportedly compete in track this spring.

Kenneth Patten
5-9, 172, DB
Crenshaw High School (Los Angeles, CA)

[From the Official Idaho Press Release] Two-year first-team all-conference selection ... as a senior, had 29 tackles, 17 assists and three interceptions ... as a junior, had 12 tackles, nine assists and one interception. Said coach Robert Garrett: "He's coachable ... He has a good attitude ... He's an extremely hard hitter ... He does all the fundamentals right ... He never makes the same mistake twice ... He has a great attitude ... He's an asset to any program."

Fonomanu Sekona
6-4, 250, DE/LB
Desert Pines High School (Las Vegas, NV)
OFFERS: San Jose State

It's not everyday that you see 6-4, 250-pound high schoolers starting at quarterback, outside linebacker, and defensive end. But that's exactly what Leuzinger High School (CA) product Fonomanu Sekona (nicknamed Fono)did last fall (Vandal DE Ben Alexander graduated from Leuzinger in '04). Defensively Sekona had had 85 tackles, seven sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles last fall. He earned All Bay League honors as a defensive lineman. He could project to several positions defensively, but he will likely get his first look at defensive end with the possibility to move inside to tackle.

Maurice Shaw
6-2, 188, WR
Colony High School (Ontario, CA)

OFFERS: UNLV
Defensively Shaw earned most of his post-season honors from his position as the team's starting safety. Named to the prestigious All-CIF Southern Section Team (Central Division) as a defensive back, he led the Mt. Baldy League with SEVEN interceptions on the season (including one returned for a touchdown to seal a first-round 14-6 playoff victory), and recorded 35 tackles on the year (23 solo). For good measure, he also recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown. In addition to earning All-CIF honors, he was named a First Team All-Inland Valley selection, and a First Team All-Mt. Baldy selection, all at defensive back. Offensively Shaw was a scoring machine. He finished second in the Mt. Baldy League in scoring this season with 114 points on the year, finishing behind teammate Omar Bolden, a runningback who scored 160 points. Not only did Shaw end the season as the League leader in receiving yards on the season (1,036), he recorded an eye-popping 14 touchdowns through the air in the process. Both marks were tops in the league this season. Overall, he averaged 79.7 receiving yards per game, with a long of 82 yards. If all that wasn't enough, he returned 5 punts for 62 yards in a game against Cajon High School, which Colony won 14-6. Mid-way through the season, Shaw returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in a game Colony won in a 55-0 route. A prototypical wide receiver, he's a big target and was his team's primary deep threat. Exactly the combination most college teams are looking for in an athlete.

Korey Toomer
6-3, 210, LB
Shadow Ridge High School (Las Vegas, NV)

A two-way starter for Shadow Ridge last year at linebacker and tightend, Korey earned First Team All-Northwest Division and First Team All-Sunset Conference honors from his linebacker position. He led the city with seven sacks and recorded 98 tackles on the year. From the Official UI Press Release: Said coach J.D. Johnson: "He has great speed and athleticism ... He's very explosive off the line ... He has a tremendous knowledge of the game ... He's very instinctual on thefield ... He's a great young man, who comes from a great family ... He has tremendous character."

Corey White
5-9, 199, RB
Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, NV)

Ranked #58 RB in America by Scout.com

Listed as one of the top runningbacks for 2007 by Fab50. Was a three-time all-Sunset League All-Conference selection at running back. Named to the All-Southern Nevada selection as a junior. Gained 2,875 career rushing yards on 351 carries. Scored 28 career touchdowns. As a senior, carried the ball 191 times for 1,314 yards (12 TDs, 6.87 yards per carry), and as a junior recorded 68 carries for 865 yards (10 TDs, 12.7 yards per carry). White describes his running style: "I have really good vision and a great combination of quickness, speed and power. I'm also really elusive. I want to improve my hands and bulk up so I can play more physical." Bishop Gorman Head Coach David White on Corey White: "Corey is an explosive runner. He has a great combination of quickness and power. As the backup to the No. 1 running back in the nation (DeMarco Murray), he still rushed for over 800 yards with a 12.7 average. He is a tremendous competitor both on the field and in the classroom. He is the leader of our team in 2006 and the best person you could meet."


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