[Vandal] Vandals Bring In 13

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Fri Dec 21 10:44:09 PST 2018


>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoThursday, December 20, 2018
Vandals Bring In 13, Some Of Whom May Start Immediately
By Colton Clark
MOSCOW   It might feel like the most wonderful time of the year, but an impression reportersgot on Wednesday afternoon in a recruiting-talk sit down with Idaho coach Paul Petrino suggeststhat the merriment is yet to come.
To him, it seems spring can’t arrive soon enough.
Then, he’ll get to test out his 13 new Vandals, all of whom inked with UI on Wednesday duringthe initial day of the early signing period, which runs until Feb. 6. Five of them  will competeto be (starters),  Petrino noted, while a few others expectedly won’t be with the first unit, butmay see in-game action in 2019.
Perhaps most imperative this offseason for UI and impending seventh-year boss Petrino wasgaining a foothold in the immediate proximity   that, along with bolstering the secondary,trenches and linebacking core.
Just a month back, Petrino acknowledged that a top priority of the Vandal staff was to nab  guysfrom right around here. 
UI procured three of them   Noah Gunn, a former Coeur d’Alene Viking and most recently, afigure on Air Force’s Prep team; Nick Romano, Idaho’s MVP at the 5A level, and TannerBrooks, one of the top defensive products out of Spokane.
 We were recruiting (Gunn) about as hard as you can,  Petrino said.  That’s just a great get.With all the linemen we’ve got coming back, then you add him to that group, it should give ourline a chance to be really good next year. 
Petrino cited Gunn’s  pad level,  size (6-5, 290) and athleticism as reasoning for the skipper’sgiddiness; he said he  might be as excited about him as anybody in the class,  and Gunn couldpotentially start.
On running back Romano, arguably the state’s top player, Petrino readdressed the importance ofscouring Idaho for talent, and praised assistant Bobby Daly for his recruitment of the formerRocky Mountain High state champion.
 It’s real important,  Petrino elucidated.  It’s something you always wanna do, and hopefullywe’ll get some more Idaho kids. We wanna get the best ones, first of all. 
Petrino likened the play of Brooks   from Mt. Spokane High   to that of all-Big Sky brothersKaden and Christian Elliss at younger ages. Brooks, who has  great, big hands  and  outstandingpotential,  might be a two-way player at some point, but Petrino said he’ll begin his collegiatecareer at linebacker.
Talking priorities    Getting a big safety that can play the ball in the air.   Getting a couplethat can come off the edge,  were paramount for a defense that erred in the secondary andoftentimes lacked a consistent pass rush.
In Scottsdale Community College transfer Satchel Escalante, UI may have secured some rangein the defensive backfield. Escalante, a 6-footer, will  compete to be a starter,  via his  highfootball IQ,  bell-ringing abilities and ball-hawking tendencies.
Considering UI’s travail at containing speedster signal callers this season, the edges of thedefensive line were addressed. The Vandals got two bucks   to compete with or buttress CharlesAkanno   in Coleman Johnson (all-American guard Noah’s brother) and juco transfer AustinHolt.
Johnson’s received a load of all-American game invites and playfully claims  he can outlift  hisbrother. He was also recruited by  bigger schools,  but some advantageous family nudging didthe trick for the 240-pound end with  great hands  and a tendency for sacks (20 on his career).
Holt, a Florida native who played at College of the Desert, clocks in at 250, but on film, he looksabout 30 pounds lighter. Petrino said he’ll vie for a starting nod.
 He’s long-armed (with a) big wing-span,  Petrino said.  He does weigh that, too. I was worried  on film, he looked about 220, just ’cause of how fast he plays and how he comes off theedge. 
What about the heart of the defensive line? For reinforcement, Siliveinusi  Vei  Tomasi, a310-pounder, was scooped out of Laney College, where UI offensive coordinator Kris Cinkovichhas connections (UI’s Bruce Burns and Brian Robinson attended Laney).
 Big run stopper, but has good movement,  Petrino said, perhaps alluding to Tomasi’sbackground in rugby.  We tried to work hard on getting both a big guy that could get push upthe middle and   (players) coming off the edges. 
Rounding out the defenders is Jalan Jenkins, an inside backer with a  great motor  andpersonality. Petrino said Jenkins’ presence   he may start   could allow mike backer ChristianElliss to return to his natural sam position.
 He’s just got something about him, a leadership about him,  said Petrino on Jenkins, who livednear Paradise, Calif.  (He has) super speed, and can really run around and make plays. 
Rounding out the group are three running backs, a wideout/safety and quarterback   althoughone of those ball-carriers, Petrino ensured, will be predominantly catching passes.
Sean McCormick  catches the ball really well with his hands  and elicits comparisons to formerUI mainstay David Ungerer. Petrino said he’s  mature and strong enough  to have a chance tosee gametime early on, and that’ll most likely come out of the slot.
Then there’s Marquese Albert, a scatback of sorts who prepped at one of the nation’s best highschools in John Curtis Christian of New Orleans, where he earned himself high regard as a topprospect for 2018, despite a senior-season injury.
 His highlights are real impressive,  Petrino said.  He’s more like (Aaron Duckworth) than a true,little back. He’s short, but muscular and strong. 
Additionally, Petrino sees Kiahn Martinez   an  explosive,  190-pounder   developing into aplaymaker and proving effective out of the backfield on passing downs.
 Those three guys   can take short little runs or short catches and turn them into longtouchdowns,  said Petrino, who also mentioned that the three might  play right away. 
Nate Cisco, a  big-armed  quarterback, and Camren Thomas, a tall and sturdy widereceiver/safety two-way player, cap the class of early commits.
Petrino said UI probably won’t sign as many at the next interval, but certified that he’s fond ofthe early signing period    you find out if they’re really committed (to the program). 
And you get that ahead-of-schedule groundwork: six signees plan to be in Moscow for springball.
 I’m excited to see the growth of the young guys (from last year) and add this group with ’em, Petrino said.  You almost wish spring was starting the minute they got back. 
NOTES   According to 247Sports, UI's recruiting class is the best in the Big Sky (though thesite does not feature a complete list of commits). ... Signees planning to arrive for spring  Albert, Gunn, Holt, Jenkins, Tomasi, Johnson. ... Petrino said the running back position will bea wide-open competition starting in spring (Dylan Thigpen was injured last year, but is slated toreturn as well). At quarterback, he said each will be prepared like a starter, given the prevalenceof QB injuries in the Big Sky last year. ... Learning to stop running quarterbacks and preventingchunk-gainers in spread formations are two offseason priorities. ... Petrino said some of UI’srecruiting targets were as follows: Big nose guard, inside linebacker, tall safety and a defensiveend. He said he feels as though the bunch addressed UI’s needs.
HIGH SCHOOL SIGNEES
SEAN MCCORMICK   wide receiver, 5-10, 180, Churchill County High, Fallon, Nev.  Nevada 3A state champion, All-Nevada, two-star 247Sports prospect, reigning wrestling statechampion and two-time 3A Northern League MVP.   Rushed for 1,800 yards and 23touchdowns as a senior.
MARQUESE ALBERT   running back, 5-8, 185, John Curtis Christian High, New Orleans, La.  Three-star 247Sports prospect; ranked the No. 29 all-purpose back in the class of 2018(highest-ranked to sign with an FCS school).   Rushed for 887 yards and eight scores in juniorseason, but was sidelined with injury as a senior.
KIAHN MARTINEZ   running back, 5-8, 190, Regis Jesuit High, Denver, Colo.   First-team5A all-state as senior, three-star 247Sports prospect.   logged 4,069 all-purpose yards and 49touchdowns on his career.
NICK ROMANO   running back, 5-11, 201, Rocky Mountain High, Meridian.   Idaho 5APlayer of the Year, two-star 247Sports prospect, led Rocky to a 12-0 state championship season,carries 4.0 grade-point average.   Rushed for 2,211 yards and 32 touchdowns (led all Idahoclassifications) as a senior.
TANNER BROOKS   linebacker, 6-4, 217, Mt. Spokane High, Spokane, Wash.   First-teamAll-Greater Spokane League as senior; helped Wildcats to state tournament.   Had 56 tackles(13 for loss) and 7½ sacks in 2018.
NATE CISCO   quarterback, 6-4, 180, Independence High, Franklin, Tenn.   two-timeTennessean Player of the Week, two-year starter at quarterback.   passed for 2,280 yards and15 touchdowns as a junior.
COLEMAN JOHNSON   buck, 6-0, 240, Fayetteville High, Fayetteville, Ark.   Youngerbrother of UI all-American Noah Johnson; 7A all-state player, two-star 247Sports prospect.  Had 119 tackles (47 TFLs) and 20 sacks on a career that included a state championship in 2016.
CAMREN THOMAS   wide receiver/safety, 6-1, 185, San Pedro High, San Pedro, Calif.  led San Pedro to CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I championship.   Three-star 247Sportsprospect who had 629 yards and seven touchdowns (ran for 82 yards).
TRANSFERS
NOAH GUNN   offensive tackle, 6-5, 290, Coeur d’Alene High, Coeur d’Alene, Air Force PrepAcademy.   2017 5A Idaho first-teamer, All-Inland Empire League, No. 6 Idaho prospect(247Sports).   Aided in Coeur d’Alene High’s 2017 state title game appearance.
JUNIOR COLLEGE TRANSFERS
AUSTIN HOLT   buck, 6-3, 255, College of the Desert (Calif.), Palatka, Fla.   First-teamAll-Mountain Conference, three-star 247Sports prospect, two-time Southern California Player ofthe Week.   Had 84 tackles (15½ TFLs) and 8½ sacks in 19 games for College of the Desert.
JALAN JENKINS   linebacker, 6-1, 209, Butte College (Calif.), Evanston, Ill.   All-Nor CalLeague, two-time All-Central Suburban League in high school (CSL Defensive MVP in 2015).  had 87 tackles and 6½ TFLs at Butte, a team he helped to the No. 1 ranking in the region.  Played freshman season at Indiana State in 2017.
SATCHEL ESCALANTE   safety, 6-0, 182, Scottsdale CC (Ariz.), Casa Grande, Ariz.  Second-team All-Western States and second-team all-region at Scottsdale; led the Arizona CCAthletic Conference with 12.3 tackles per game.   Had double-digit tackles in all 10 games in2018 and finished with three interceptions.
SILIVEINUSI  VEI  TOMASI   defensive lineman, 6-1, 310, Laney College (Calif.), Oakland,Calif.   Helped Laney win the 2018 California Community College Athletic Associationchampionship.   had 22 tackles (3½ TFLs) and a sack.   four-year starter at California’sFremont High, where he was a four-time all-city selection.   Competed for USA Rugby U20.
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