DEMAREE: Brooks talks about freshmen

One almost never hears anything negative on February signing day as it relates to the players the staff were able to sign. The most cynical of critics waits to see the fruits of their labor on the field. Coach Rich Brooks talked about the freshmen and their progress since signing day.

"We've have some young players emerge to be factors for us not only in the first game, but as the season goes along," coach Rich Brooks, in talking about his true freshmen, explained. ""Paul Warford would be one at corner (cornerback) who had a very, very good fall camp."

Justin Jeffries, 6-foot-5, 298-pounds, was one who initially had a desire to try the defensive side of the football but was subsequently moved to his more natural position in the offensive line. "Justin has done a very, very good job." Brooks explained. "He's currently running No.2 behind Hayden Lane. I fully expect him to see action in the game. He is a more natural, physical player than lots of the guys we have had that played as true freshmen. He's still in a learning curve, if you will, assignment wise and once he gets comfortable with all the assignments, I think you are going to see a pretty good football player."

High school phenom Micah Johnson, for now, will come off the bench. Brooks said that last year they went into the season with true freshman Braxton Kelly and he did some good things but also did some bad things. And the coach said that now he's more ready to do all the right things. "Micah had a much improved scrimmage Saturday night than he did a week ago Saturday," Brooks said. "Still, you can see the wheels turning – what gaps do I have on this pass – what area do I drop in – what zone do I get – what man do I have? They are now not tuning quite as slowly as they were a week ago. I expect him almost daily or weekly to get better and better at that and I expect to see him in the game at some point at middle linebacker. And he will be involved in some of the other phases in our kicking game as well. I think he's had a pretty good camp."

Brooks said that wide receiver Michael Strickland has done a very, very good job. "He's the only receiver that doesn't wear gloves," Keenan Burton said in describing his teammate. "I don't remember him dropping a pass." He's described as a throwback to the yesteryear receiver.

Another freshman that is likely to play early is fullback Maurice Grinter. "Saturday we had Maurice Grinter running as Michael Bush," Brooks said. "Now, he's not as fast, not as experienced, and not quite as big, but he's big!"

Brooks talked about his true freshmen defensive linemen that will play. "Corey Peters has had a very good week. He's gotten more reps because Myron Prior has had a little turf toe that we rested for a few days. Ricky Abren had a little tweak in his ankle that we rested for a few days. So Corey Peters took a lot of reps and took real good advantage of them. Again, he will be a factor and as the year goes along he'll be a lot bigger factor. "Jamil Paris kind of disappeared for five or six days and kind of was lost until Saturday night and he just showed up with his speed and particular his pass-rush ability."

Throughout the camp, other freshmen seemingly deserving play is tight T.C. Drake, cornerback E. J. Adams and Lones Seiber as he gets more in the kicking groove. "Ashton Cobb has been a pleasant surprise," Brooks said. "He's made several plays in this camp."

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