If the JMU recruiting class of 2013 is any indication, the Dukes might be airing it out in the near future.
Head coach Mickey Matthews addressed the program’s 16 newest recruits Wednesday afternoon, discussing the positives and negatives of the Dukes’ potential future stars. The most striking part of this year’s recruitment list is the number of wide receivers joining the squad. Including Jordan Brown, who is listed at both wide receiver and defensive back, the Dukes are adding five wide receivers.
Brandon Ravenel of Stafford leads this new class of offensive weapons. Matthews said that Ravenel, a Rivals three-star recruit, was enthralled with JMU and its campus, securing his spot with the Dukes over top Division I programs like West Virginia University and Boston College.
“He can catch the ball, [and] he does a lot with it,” Matthews said. “I watched him play basketball, he’s just a skilled player.”
The influx of receivers may be due to the whispers of Hal Mumme being added as offensive coordinator. Mumme, who just stepped down as head coach at McMurry University, helped invent the “Air Raid” offense alongside Mike Leach, former head coach of Texas Tech University. The scheme involves a passing attack with four wide receivers, a stark contrast to JMU’s recent conservative playcalling. Mumme has yet to be introduced as coordinator.
Matthews said his focus for this recruiting class was finding imposing, powerful players on both sides of the line.
“God did not make many big guys that are athletic and [are] students and can change directions and have good flexibility,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re here or at
Alabama, the guys you have to have to win with are difficult to find and that’s why our emphasis in many regards this year was finding some big guys.”
There were no quarterbacks signed in this year’s class. Matthews said that their target recruit at the position, Jhalil Mosley, decommitted from JMU less than a month ago.
“I think with Jhalil, the Birdsong thing really hung big in his decision,” he said.
Birdsong, who enters the year as a sophomore, is expected to be the starter for the next three years excluding any injury or performance issues. Had he stayed with JMU, Mosley would’ve most likely sat behind Birdsong unless he outperformed him early on. William & Mary suffered from shuffling quarterbacks throughout the 2012 season, giving Mosley a more direct shot at playing as soon as possible.
Matthews said that they still have two scholarships available for this year’s class, so his focus will be finding possible quarterbacks through transfers. He said that developing the quarterbacks that he has now, such as redshirt sophomore Lafonte Thourogood, would be key even if they find a transfer.
Discussion over linebacker Kyre Hawkins let Matthews express the way he likes to find his players, along with some problems he has with the signing system.
“So much of the big time recruiting is done prior to a kid’s senior year,” he said. “A kid can have a great senior year, like Kyre, and he’s still not going to get recruited because there’s no room for him. It’s almost an unfair system right now.”
He explained that the majority of the process could be finished as early as September, which is only a couple weeks into most recruits’ senior years.
“I’m seeing more mistakes made than I’ve probably seen in 35 years because of all the early commits,” Matthews said. “You don’t get to watch them enough … and you don’t get to know the kids as well as you did in the old days.”
Matthews and the rest of the Dukes will have time to evaluate the new recruits as they start camp this summer.
Contact Dylan Garner at firstname.lastname@example.org