One Last Look at the 2009 Class

With the 2009 recruiting class officially in the books, the Cajun RedZone breaks down this years class with some final analysis.

Now that the 2009 recruiting class has been revealed and the staff has begun to set up athletes for Junior Day, the RedZone will break down the class with final analysis.

Offensive Signees

Skilled Positions

*WR- Vernon Wolfe 6-1, 180
*WR Rico Joseph 5-9, 170
*WR Javone Lawson 6-0, 175
*Ath Andrew Hebert 6-2, 205
*RB Robert Walker 5-7, 183
*TE Ian Thompson 6-4, 210
*TE Jacob Maxwell 6-4, 215

Needs targeted in this class-1.) Several wide receivers in this class to come in and, compete immediately with the departures of Jason Chery and Derrick Smith.2.) Fill in depth at RB and TE positions from the 2008 class.

Analysis
Vernon Wolfe, Rico Joseph and Javone Lawson give the Cajuns three options to look at for the spread offense. Wolfe and Joseph will get looks early in spring practices to show they can contribute this season. Lawson will come in the fall and may force the staff to play him early. But having Joseph on campus early is a luxury for the staff, because he will be given the opportunity to return punts and maybe kick offs. If Lawson comes in and performs like Hill or Green, then he will be in the rotation.

Robert Walker gives the Cajuns depth behind 2008 signees Yobes Walker and Draylon Booker. Walker also gives the offense a different look then either back; he is more of a jitter bug in the open field and possesses more speed. Robert Walker will be given every opportunity to learn the system and compete for time in the rotation.

Ian Thompson, Andrew Hebert and Jacob Maxwell are very similar in stature, Hebert being the smallest of the bunch. There is no question that Thompson and Hebert come in with tremendous credentials catching the football. But with the depth at the slot position, Thompson or Hebert will get the chance to play much early. While Thompson and Maxwell fit more of the TE/H-Back position in the spread offense, neither is considered good blockers nor have the size to help block inside. While both are good athletes, these two signees will need time in the weight room to contribute on goal line situations. At this time, both of Maxwell and Thompson fall short in filling the immediate need for another blocking TE on the Cajun roster.

Offensive line

*OT Ashton Tyler- 6-6, 270
*OG Robert Robinson- 6-4, 265
*OG/C Danielle Lamelle- 6-3, 260

Ashton Tyler is the most recognized name in this small group of lineman. All three have good athletic ability, and will need several years in the program before they are ready to contribute. Tyler is extremely tall and lanky; he has a 6'10" wingspan and could easily grow into the 6-7, 320 OL that he is projected to be in the future. Robinson and Lamelle give the Cajuns some flexibility inside for the future.

Final Word On Offensive signees

Clearly, this is not a glamour class with the recognizable names of the 2008. Walker, Tyler and Lawson could be as good as any athletes in the 2008 class when it is all said and done. With the exception of Wolfe and Joseph, most of the offensive signees will not have to contribute right away in this class.

Defensive Signees

Defensive Line

*DE Justin Anderson- 6-3, 240
*DT Tyrell Gaddies- 6-3, 270
*DT Brandon McCray- 6-4, 290
*DE/DT Jordan Topp- 6-3, 280

Needs targeted in this class.1.) Defensive linemen that can come in and compete right away in the rotation. 2.) Several good defensive back prospects to help in the secondary.

Analysis After last year's class of Dean, Day, Wilson and Onyenekwu, the Cajun staff needed to step it up this year in recruiting. While Dean had his moments as a true freshman and was a solid contributor, the rest of this group is far from competitive at this point. The lose of Ryan Glazer to personal problems was a major blow to this group and the staff was unable to find a quality late qualifier to replace him. The 2009 class comes in higher rated and it ready to contribute immediately. Justin Anderson and Brandon McCray bring in the type of ability that the staff must recruit for this program to compete against the upper echelon of the Sun Belt, Troy and FAU. Both of the athletes have the opportunity to come in and play ahead of last years signees, with the exception of Dean. McCray has the ability to play the one Tech or Three Tech inside, while Anderson could play at strong or weak defensive end. JC recruits Jordan Topp and Tyrell Gaddies add some athletic ability to the defensive line. Topp is very similar to 2008 signee Ryan Glazer, has the flexibility to play all positions on the line. Tyrell Gaddies is very athletic, but a bit raw in his technique. Gaddies will have time to come in during the summer and workout with the rest of the defensive line. Overall, this group of signees is a step in the right direction towards improving the defensive front.

Linebackers

* LB Brandon Nash 5-11, 220
* LB Jewell Ratliff 6-1, 230

After last years class of Benoit, Lewis-Buchannan, and Broadnax, the Cajuns really didn't need more then one signee in this class. Nash will come in the fall and Ratliff looks to be a gray-shirt candidate for next year's class. Both are solid prospects and once again, higher rated then last years class. The good thing about both of these athletes is, the staff doesn't need them to come in and play immediately. Once again, I think linebacker is a solid position on the Cajun roster, but Nash and Ratliff improve the talent level in the program.

Defensive back
* DB Winston Burnette 6-2, 190
* DB Melvin White 6-2, 185

While the staff would have liked to sign another defensive back, the two athletes signed are tall, rangy athletes, with good speed. Burnette played safety in high school and at times, inside the box. He has good range and speed, but will need to work on his technique at cornerback. Melvin White is a gray-shirt from the 2008 class, but one of the better athletes in that class. White will have time to learn the defense this spring, which will help him get on the field the fall. Safety will be an interesting position to watch in the spring, with White and Chris Richard participating in the rotation. These two athletes help improve to the overall talent in the secondary.

Final Word This class isn't ranked high on Scout.com or Rivals, but the talent on the defensive side of the ball is improved over that past several years. If Cajun football is going to compete with Troy and FAU, the talent of the defensive side of the ball must improve. The 2009 recruiting class is a step in the right direction. While the talent on the offensive side of the 2009 class doesn't wow you, there are some very good athletes in the skilled positions. This group, with the exception of the wide receiver position will be groomed for the future and have time to develop.

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