2009 Recruiting Class Breakdown

The class is in. Toledo's 2009 football recruiting class is still fresh, with all of the NLI's coming in this morning, but Rocket Digest Managing Editor Brian Nowicki is already analyzing the class. Read on for his grades at each position.

Quarterback

The Rockets signed two quarterbacks in the 2009 recruiting class in Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens.

Dantin is a 6-2, 185 pound QB from Leon High School in Tallahassee, FL. He is a dual-threat QB with excellent speed. In fact, he's been clocked at 4.48 in the forty yard dash. He is rated two stars by scout.com and ranked the #134 QB prospect in the country. He chose Toledo over offers from Central Michigan, Army, Air Force, and Appalachian State.

Owens is a 6-3, 170 pound QB from Glenville High School in Cleveland, OH. Owens runs a 4.6 forty yard dash and is rated two stars by scout.com.

Quarterback Grade - B+


Running Back/Slot Receiver

The Rockets signed two student-athletes that will likely line up at slot receiver in Eric Page and Daxton Swanson.

Page is a 5-10, 170 pound athlete from Springfield High School in Holland, OH. He played quarterback in high school, but projects at the slot receiver and possibly a little bit of running back at Toledo. He might also return kicks and punts for the Rockets. Page has 4.49 speed. He chose Toledo over several offers from MAC schools.

Daxton Swanson is a 5-9, 160 pound athlete from La Vega High School in Waco, TX. Swanson is expected to play slot receiver and defensive back, and possibly return kicks and punts at Toledo. He runs a 4.42 forty yard dash and is rated two stars by scout.com. He chose Toledo over an offer from Buffalo.

Running Back Grade - A


Wide Receiver

Toledo signed two wide receivers in the 2009 class, Julian Bellinger and Ed Williams.

Julian Bellinger is a 6-1, 175 pound receiver from Lithonia High School in Lithonia, GA. The speedster runs a 4.35 forty yard dash. He chose Toledo over offers from Middle Tennessee, Indiana, and South Carolina State. Bellinger is rated two stars by scout.com.

Ed Williams is a 6-2, 190 pound receiver from Alonso High School in Tampa, FL. His strengths are his good speed, good hands, and quickness. He shows explosiveness after the catch. He was Alonso High School's go-to-guy this past season. Ed chose Toledo over offers from Southern Miss and Marshall.

Wide Receiver Grade - B


Offensive Line

Toledo signed two offensive lineman in the 2009 recruiting class with Zac Kerin and Manny Bell.

Zac Kerin is a 6-4, 265 pound offensive guard from Olentangy High School in Lewis Center, OH. Zac chose Toledo over an offer from Bowling Green. He is rated two stars by scout.com.

Manny Bell is a 6-6, 274 pound offensive tackle from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA. Bell chose Toledo over offers from Duquesne, Maine, Robert Morris, Seton Hill, and South Carolina State. He is rated two stars by scout.com.

While Toledo did not bring in many offensive lineman, there wasn't a need either with all of last year's starters returning.

Offensive Line Grade - B-


Defensive Line

Toledo made the defensive line an emphasis and signed five student-athletes on the line.

Christian Smith is a 6-2, 235 pound defensive end from Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma City, OK. Smith was named Oklahoma 5A-2 Lineman of the Year and will play in the Oil Bowl all-star game in June. Smith is an aggressive pass rusher with a good mix of speed and size. He chose Toledo over offers from Ohio University, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, and Sam Houston State.

T.J. Fatinikun is a 6-22, 230 pound defensive end from Perrysburg High School in Perrysburg, OH. He has 4.6 speed and could play strong side linebacker as well, but was recruited to Toledo to be a defensive end. T.J. is rated two stars by scout.com. He chose Toledo over an offer from Bowling Green.

Ben Pike is a 6-3, 220 pound defensive end from Mentor High School in Mentor, OH. Pike is rated two stars by Scout.com. He originally committed to Eastern Michigan.

Ben Steele is a 6-5, 245 pound defensive lineman from Venice Senior High School in Venice, FL. Steele can play defensive end or defensive tackle. He is rated two stars by scout.com. Ben chose Toledo over offers from Ohio University and Charleston Southern.

Johnnie Roberts is a 6-3, 285 pound defensive tackle from Pearl River CC in Poplarville, MS. Roberts is a run stopper with good size. He is rated two stars by scout.com and has two years of eligibility left. He chose Toledo over an offer from Louisiana-Monroe.

Defensive Line Grade - A-


Linebacker

Toledo signed two linebackers in the 2009 class in Robert Bell and Dan Molls.

Robert Bell is a 6-1, 225 pound linebacker from East Grand Rapids High School in East Grand Rapids, MI. Bell could play both inside and outside linebacker at Toledo. He chose the Rockets over offers from Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. He is rated two stars by scout.com

Dan Molls is a 6-1, 215 pound linebacker from Padua Franciscan High School in Cleveland, OH. Molls has great speed for a linebacker with a 4.57 forty yard dash time. He is rated two stars by scout.com and the #73 inside linebacker prospect in the country. He chose Toledo over offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), and Ohio University.

Linebacker Grade - A


Defensive Back

Toledo signed four defensive backs in Jermaine Robinson, Ricky Steele, Byron Best, and Troy Smith.

Jermaine Robinson is a 6-3, 195 pound safety from Milford Academy in New Berlin, NY. He originally signed with Toledo last season, but went to prep school fall semester. He enrolled in classes at Toledo in January and is now on campus. He has 4.5 speed and is a hard-hitting safety. He is rated two stars by scout.com, but rivals.com gives him a four star rating. He chose to stick with Toledo over an offer from Akron and interest from Minnesota.

Ricky Steele is a 5-10, 171 pound defensive back from La Salle High School in Cincinnati, OH. Ricky is rated two stars by scout.com and ranked the #126 cornerback prospect in the country. He chose Toledo over offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo, Marshall, and Ohio University.

Byron Best is a 5-9, 180 pound defensive back from Greenwood High School in Greenwood, SC. Best is a speedster with 4.37 speed in the forty yard dash. He is rated two stars by scout.com and ranked the #96 cornerback prospect in the country. He chose Toledo over offers from North Carolina, NC State, and Marshall.

Troy Smith is a 5-9, 175 pound defensive back from Pike High School in Indianapolis, IN. Smith has excellent speed with a 4.4 forty yard dash. He is going to grayshirt at Toledo, which means he will not enroll until January of 2010. He will count towards the 2010 recruiting class and be a true freshman in the fall of 2010 for the football program. He is rated two stars by scout.com. He chose Toledo over an offer from Ball State and interest from Iowa.

Daxton Swanson may also play defensive back at Toledo.

Defensive Back Grade - A


Kicker/Punter

Toledo signed one kicker in the 2009 recruiting class in Ryan Casano.

Casano is a 5-9, 180 pound kicker from Orange Coast CC in Costa Mesa, CA. He has three years of eligibility left and can kick field goals, kickoff, and punt. He is rated two stars by scout.com.

Kicker/Punter Grade - B-


Overall the Rockets did a great job of filling needs. The defensive line was the biggest need on the team, and five additions are very welcomed. Johnnie Roberts is the big defensive tackle that the Rockets need that can make an immediate impact. Ben Steele could fill into a defensive tackle as well, or play strong-side defensive end. Christian Smith looks ready to contribute right away, and T.J. Fatinikun and Ben Pike complete the call nicely.

Another key spot was quarterback. The Rockets got an absolute steal in Austin Dantin. This kid has All-MAC performer written all over him. With Aaron Opelt having just one more year left, it was important to get a couple of QB's in this class that are able to run the spread offense that Toledo will use.

All and all, the Rocket coaching staff did a great job of filling needs in just the two months they had to work with. I graded this class so high for reasons other than individual stars with high ratings. Those reasons are how well they fit our needs and the academic standing of the student-athletes that signed. There was an emphasis on speed, improving the defense, and finding quality persons with good academics.

Overall Grade - B+



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