Let the record show that on National Signing Day 2015, head coach Blake Anderson either did extremely well, according to 247 Sports, or well enough to be ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference, per Rivals.
Naturally, because I am an A-State beat writer, I hereby chose to side with Rivals and declare that at least, A-State is No. 1 at something! It's true. We may not have won the Sun Belt title like we wanted to, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to gloat about Anderson's 2015 signing class because #FunBelt.
Want to thank our great faculty at ASU that gave up their Sat's to help us recruit the #1 ranked class in the SBC. pic.twitter.com/8aUb9N4JzT— Dan Dodd (@CoachDanDodd) February 4, 2015
... Alright alright but seriously, is there a way to figure what this might mean for the Arkansas State Red Wolves? A good recruiting class isn't the only way to find success, especially considering that the Red Wolves have been good at overperforming their recruiting ranks recently, but surely we can all agree that it is better to be near the top than the bottom, right?
Power in numbers
There is indeed power in numbers and, with 24 recruits, Anderson is showing a strong hand. Only ULM has more players, but we don't care about the Warhawks. (It's never the off-season for trash talking.) But of course, not all players come with equal talent and here again, it seems like the coaching staff went after players who were well worth it-A-State has between six and 12 three-star recruits. This, too, appears to be tops in the Sun Belt.
Address team needs
Now, all the talent and three-star players in the world do nothing if they don't improve the team. That is to say, they do nothing if they don't address pressing needs.
Upon first glance, we can probably very cautiously say that the 26 players do fix some areas of concern. Especially, the six players Anderson signed from the junior colleges, and another one from UAB (#FreeUAB), will build instant depth along the defensive and offensive lines, and the secondary. The A-State head coach admitted this was part of the strategy. "There was a December push to create some depth and to fill some holes that we identified throughout the season," Anderson said. "Those seven guys are here and working. All indications are that they will be very helpful."
(FYI, I may or may not have identified these three position groups as areas of concern a week ago. Yay me!)
Projecting how well a teenager will play in a few months/years is silly, but that doesn't mean that we can't play the game. And life among the G5 teams means a coach has to constantly look for gems where others see a player too small to compete.
The Red Wolves could have found one in tiny running back Warren Wand, he of the 48 career rushing touchdowns and 5,085 rushing yards-and that's while playing one season at quarterback for Edmond Memorial. He's only five-foot-seven and 170 lbs., (and is listed as five-foot-five and 179 lbs.) but who cares? I can't wait for the trick plays coach Anderson will have him run.
Otherwise, most of us love to overreact and promptly say that player X will be the star of the class-and in 2015, it seems like Griffin Riggs is that player for A-State. Riggs is apparently versatile enough to play anywhere on the defensive line while also stepping up and being a rushing outside linebacker.
You can see it, too. Teach him how to run defend and tackle properly, and there's no way he can't help the Red Wolves defense. (Unless he actually can't, because #recruiting.)
Do you know what the best part about Signing Day is? It really is just a beginning, not a deadline. It's not the day recruits need to have signed by, it's only the first day they can sign a letter of intent.
Technically, this madness could continue on and on and on... Though let's at least agree on the following-whatever happened with your favorite prospective recruit had nothing to do with whether you sent him a tweet or not. So never do it-let them tweet on their own, because they are good at it.