What a start it has been for first-year head coach Jason Candle and his coaching staff. Following the Rockets' June summer camp schedule, recruiting has really begun to heat up around Northwest Ohio. So what does the future look like around Toledo with the current look of the Class of 2017?
"The past week has been huge," Toledo quarterback commit, Caleb Martin stated, "The guys we've been getting the past few days were guys that were on the top of our board for a long time now. After camp last Sunday, I talked to Kelvin Ateman and knew that these were the guys we need for our program to succeed. With the other guys, we knew that we needed athletes on both sides of the ball and I think we got a lot more than just athletes."
Quarterback commit, Caleb Martin has been the anchor of the class thus far as he continues to recruit for his program.
"The future of Toledo Football is very bright," he added, "I know that the 2016 class is full of tremendous athletes and Toledo type guys and that's who we've been looking for in this 2017 class as well. I know with guys like Coach Candle at the helm, the future can only keep getting brighter for us."
So, let's take a look at the seven players who have given Coach Jason Candle and the Rockets their verbal commitment in the past week alone. Plus, there's no telling if this streak is even over yet.
"It has been a big week, obviously," Scout.com's Allen Trieu stated on Toledo's 2017 class, "It isn't just filling up on numbers though, these are quality gets (for the Rockets)."
Let's take a look one by one:
Safety, Saeed Holt - Woodland Hills High School (Pittsburgh, Penn.)
The hot streak began on Friday, June 17 with the commitment of Pittsburgh native Saeed Holt. Holt, who is six-foot, 190-pounds is an underrated defensive back who wasn't receiving much interest on the recruiting trail. However, Toledo has a long history of turning under-recruited athletes into immediate playmakers at the collegiate level. Holt has the ability to play up in the box as a linebacker and is tremendous in run support. Holt also plays runningback at Woodland Hills and holds an elusive ability with the ball in his hands. Holt plays well in zone coverage and has a knack for finding the ball.
Offensive Tackle, Kevin Ateman Jr. - Detroit Cass Technical High School (Detroit, Mich.)
Toledo has a pipeline in the Motor City with Detroit Cass Tech High School. Players such as Kishon Wilcher and DeJuan Rogers have had successful careers in the Midnight Blue & Gold after coming out of Cass Tech as well as 2016 signee, Edrick Mathews who is also a former Technician. On Sunday, June 19 following camp, Kelvin Ateman became the next Cass Tech prospect to commit to the Rockets. Ateman, a six-foot-five, 300-plus pound tackle held offers from Iowa State as well as several other Mid-American Conference programs prior to committing to Toledo. Ateman was also receiving interest from Syracuse and Tennessee but says he found a home with the Rockets.
"Getting to know everyone in the 2017 class has honestly been amazing, they are the best group of people to get to know and I can't wait to meet them all to start our brotherhood," Ateman Jr. added.
Ateman Jr. is a big body who is quite athletic and can move quite well for someone his size. He will look to work under offensive line coach, Mike Hallett in order to better his footwork and perhaps play quite early in his Toledo career.
Wide Receiver, Trent Cloud - Bedford High School (Bedford, Ohio)
Three-star wide receiver, Trent Cloud was a large verbal commitment for the 2016 Rockets. As Corey Jones gets set to graduate following this season, the Rockets will be looking for the next slot receiver in the Midnight Blue & Gold, Cloud may be just that. Cloud, who runs a 4.53 40-yard dash had offers from Bowling Green, Marshall, Wisconsin and several others. However, Cloud wants to be a Rocket.
"We have a lot of great commits," Cloud stated on the current class for the Rockets. Cloud also stated that he has been talking to the current commits quite a bit and they are really looking forward to their time at Toledo.
When you break down his game, Cloud has the ability to take any ball the distance and has spent a lot of time at kick returner for Bedford High School as well. Cloud, who has the ability to play in the slot or outside even has tremendous hands and the vertical to go up and get any ball. At six-foot-one, 190-pounds Cloud has the size and reach to play outside receiver but the speed and agility to play inside, which Toledo will love to have on their roster. Watch for Cloud to compete right away once he steps on campus and perhaps, you'll see him on the field during his freshman campaign.
Linebacker/Safety, Letayveon Beaton - Boca Ciega High School (Gulfport, Fla.)
Florida native Letayveon Beaton was another prospect who was a bit under-recruited coming out of Boca Ciega High School. Despite recent offers from Bowling Green and Buffalo, Beaton had his eyes set on Toledo. The five-foot-eleven, 195-pounder translates to a safety at the collegiate level but has also seen time at linebacker as well.
Beaton says hitting and filling gaps are his best attributes on the field, which may result in him becoming a linebacker before it's all said and done with the Rockets. Beaton says Toledo is now home because he feels that the coaching staff can get him to the next level of the NFL and that the program is about to do great things.
Beaton runs very well, with a 4.60 40-yard dash, which gives him the ability to play all over the field. Beaton is a hard hitter as well and isn't afraid to make a big hit. Beaton has great instincts and has a knack for finding the ball carrier, another reason why he could be a bit of a versatile signee in the 2017 class.
Offensive Tackle, Vincent McConnell - Washington High School (Massillion, Ohio)
The offensive line is being strengthened in the Class of 2017 under Jason Candle. On Wednesday, June 22, Vincent McConnell of the east side of Ohio committed after a recent visit to ensure that's where he wanted to be for the next few years.
McConnell, a six-foot-six, 255-pound athletic lineman was near the top of the Rockets' list all spring at offensive tackle. McConnell would ultimately choose Toledo over offers from Cincinnati and Syracuse, as well as several Mid-American Conference offers.
McConnell moves very well along the offensive line as a left tackle at Washington High School but possesses extreme strength in run blocking situations, which makes him a vital asset to the class of 2017.
Linebacker, Anthony Crider - South Side High School (Hookstown, Penn.)
Anthony Crider of South Side High School in Western Pennsylvania also committed on Wednesday, June 22 over an offer from Army. Despite only having two FBS offers, Crider's stock was on the rise as he was named a linebacker MVP at a reason Nike camp, resulting in a lot of interest from several programs. The six-foot-one, 210-pound linebacker possesses playmaking skills at runningback, which should serve him well on the defensive side of the ball as well moving forward.
Crider, who made 56 total tackles in 2015 as a junior uses great technique on the defensive side of the ball when making tackles and takes solid routes to the ball carrier making him a vital run stopper on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive Back, Jamal Allen - Churchill High School (Livonia, Mich.)
Perhaps the biggest piece of the 2017 class so far for Toledo is Jamal Allen, who provides versatility, speed, and playmaking in the class for the Rockets. Allen, who committed on Friday, June 24 was favoring Toledo throughout his recruiting process.
"Jamal Allen is a really good prospect," Scout.com's Allen Trieu stated on Allen, "He had a Kentucky offer and did really well at the Michigan State camp. He's a nice sized kid who can run, I think he'll be a really good player for the Rockets."
Allen, a six-foot, 195-pound defensive back runs a 4.45 40-yard dash and will have a chance to play right away with the Rockets. His athletic ability could make him a cornerback at the next level but there's a chance he could be moved to safety as well.
"The rest of the guys in this class are great," Allen said on his future classmates, "They're fun to talk to and constantly joking around. The future of this program will be great, we have a special class coming in and signing in 2017, I'm really looking forward to it," he added.
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