February 10, 2007
Midyear scholarships land KSU top prospects
Kent State's turnaround under fourth-year head coach Doug Martin continued with the signing of 25 prospects last Wednesday. While most of those players will report to campus some time this summer, four-defensive end Darrius Carter, offensive lineman Chase Morris, wide receiver Aaron Robinson and tight end Jon Simpson-have already enrolled in classes and have taken part in winter conditioning.
The ability to sign midyear prospects has helped the Golden Flashes to land prospects that otherwise may have signed with bigger programs.
"We had five mid-year scholarships that we could have used and we used four of them," Martin said. "That is a great asset to have. One of the reasons we got Jon Simpson from Hargrave (Military Academy), there were a lot of big schools that recruited him but they didn't have midyear scholarships available and they were trying to talk him into staying for another semester and he didn't want any part of that. That really helped us in that recruiting process."
The availability of midyear scholarships is due to the character and work ethic of the current players. Those players have dedicated themselves, on the field and off of it, and the results have paid dividends in wins and in the classroom.
"That's another reason why our academic side of things is so important here," Martin said. "We have kids that are graduating early every year because they are doing well in school and those open up midyear scholarships for you."
Several players, including Tom Sitko, Jon Drager and Larry Brown, will take advantage of their success in the classroom to open up more midyear scholarships for next season.
"You can't underestimate the value of your academics services and what that does for your football program," Martin said.
Simpson wasn't the only top prospect the Golden Flashes landed thanks to their ability to offer a midyear scholarship. Defensive end Darrius Carter was being encouraged by several PAC-10 programs to hold out until next year, but the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder from Torrance, Calif., was ready to begin his Division I college career and enrolled at Kent State last month.
In Carter, the Golden Flashes have a defensive lineman that has the ability to play inside or outside.
"He's a very good-looking defensive lineman," Martin said. "He has weighed as much as I think 280-285 when he was playing inside in junior college and he's been as low as 235 when they wanted him to play outside. So, he's got the ability to put on weight, to lose weight and to play a variety of positions."
In his short time on campus, Carter already has impressed the coaching staff and has positioned himself to play an impact in the fall.
"He's a very bright kid (with) tremendous strength; we've been very impressed with him in our workouts," Martin said. "He's been here since January and he's very much a work-hard kid, very dedicated and very coachable. He's a guy that will be able to help us immediately."
Carter began playing football as a senior at Westchester High School and was set to give up his football career after graduation. But, his mother encouraged him to enroll at El Camino Community College where his father won a national championship in 1987. During his two years at El Camino, he helped lead the team to a 23-2 record and the 2006 California State Championship.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial