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Viator scrambles to add 19 new Warhawks

ULM went from just 10 commitments two weeks ago to nearly doubling that by signing day.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

New ULM head coach Matt Viator only had about a month to go from settling in at Monroe to signing day. He basically had to build his class from scratch, as there were only a handful commitments at that point to begin with, and he had to re-build relationships with all those players, who had committed to former head coach Todd Berry.

So while 19 - including four juco transfers - is one of the lowest total number of commitments of any team in the Sun Belt, the fact that he was able to pull together what was the last-ranked class in the conference up to a respectable eighth is impressive. He was able to go into Texas and steal five recruits from in-state rivals while also securing Louisiana with another six recruits. Perhaps most importantly, he grabbed some potentially instant-impact players, especially on offense, where the Warhawks ranked 111th in scoring offense at just 21 points per game and 121st in yards per play. Here are three to look out for in 2016.

TJ Fiailoa - OL - 6'4" - 330 lbs - Lawton, OK

Fiailoa, the highest-rated recruit in the class, committed to ULM despite offers from Arkansas State, Utah State, and North Texas. He was an all-state lineman in Oklahoma and should be able to step in and start at guard right away. He's still pretty raw, but as long as Warhawks OL coach teaches him to keep his head up on his run blocks, he can make an immediate impact in the running game. He's one of the only players in the class that has a college-ready body.

Josh Pederson - TE - 6'4" - 210 lbs - Overland Park, KS

Pederson is the son of former ULM QB and current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. While he's light for a tight end at 210 lbs, he brings an element to the offense that was sorely missed last season: an athletic option that can stretch the field down the middle. If he does earn playing time early look for him in the slot, while Alec Osbourne slides into being the first in-line TE option.

Kayin White - RB - 5'11" - 220 lbs - Baton Rouge, LA

Kaylon Watson and Ben Luckett split time at RB last season and they both showed flashes. But White brings an element that the other two don't: hard-nosed running between the tackles. Luckett and Watson are both under 220 lbs, while White is already there, with the frame to add another 10 pounds once he's in a college strength program. His patience and vision is noticeable on tape, and he also shows a second gear once he gets free.