Kent State may have struggled on the field each of these past two seasons, but if the Golden Flashes' 2015 recruiting class offers any sign of what's to come the struggles could be over soon.
On Wednesday Kent State announced the addition of 20 new Golden Flashes (plus three early enrollees) to its roster, including some high-impact players who could hit the field as freshmen.
(The table is sortable!)
|Juantez McRae||Reisterstown, Maryland (Franklin)||S||3-star||5'10''/170||Y|
|Alex Hoag||Venice, Florida (Venice)||DT||2-star||6'4''/255|
|Troy Dipre||Lakewood, Ohio (St. Edward)||LB||2-star||6'1''/217||Y|
|Conor Brumfield||Acworth, Georgia (Allatoona)||OL||3-star||6'4''/235||Y|
|Nick Faulkner||Canton, Ohio (McKinley)||LB||2-star||6'2''/210||Y|
|Bryce Gibbs||Wellington, Ohio (Wellington)||OL||2-star||6'4''/300|
|David Smith||Charleston, West Virginia (George Washington)||OL||2-star||6'5''/295||Y|
|D'Andre Smart||Miami, Florida (Norland)||CB||2-star||5'11''/180||Y|
|John Henry Bronczek||Massillon, Ohio (Washington)||CB||NR||5'9''/172||Y|
|Carlos Pickett||Brunswick, Georgia (Brunswick)||S||3-star||5'11''/175||Y|
|Anthony Johnson*||Pasadena, California (Pasadena Community College||DE||NR||6'4''/210||Y|
|Jim Jones||Tallahassee, Florida (Amos P. Godby)||LB||3-star||6'2''/216|
|Johnny Woods*||Smith Station, Alabama (Smiths Station)||WR||NR||6'3''/205||Y|
|Mike Marinelli||Allison Park, Pennsylvania (Hampton)||OL||2-star||6'4''/280|
|Myles Washington||New Orleans, Louisiana (John Curtis)||RB||2-star||5'10''/185||Y|
|P.J. Simmons||Tallahassee, Florida (Amos P. Godby)||RB||3-star||5'10''/181||Y|
|Theodore Eboigbe||Lithonia, Georgia (Arabia Mountain)||DE||3-star||6'2''/239||Y|
|Chase Van Hoef||Grand Haven, Michigan||OL||2-star||6'4''/275||Y|
|Dominic Hill||Saginaw, Texas (Boswell)||DT||2-star||6'1''/275||Y|
|Mylik Mitchell||Cleveland, Ohio (John Jay)||QB||2-star||6'4''/186||Y|
|Darryl Marshall Jr.||Hyattsville, Maryland (DeMatha)||ATH||NR||5'11''/170||Y|
|Antwan Dixon||Fort Myers, Florida (South Fort Myers)||WR||3-star||5'7''/160||Y|
|Will Matthews||Destrehan, Louisiana (Destrehan)||RB||NR||5'9''/210||Y|
Kent's class is surprisingly rich with talent. I say surprisingly because all the attention will be paid to a certain group of Broncos, Rockets and RedHawks, but the coaching staff in Kent assembled a nice crop of talent and they did it by going outside the midwest. Fifteen of the Flashes' signees hail from outside the Midwest. Twelve of those from the deep South (five from the state of Florida).
Kent State knows where to go to find overlooked talent, and with players such as high 3-star safety Juantez McRae, 3-star cornerback Carlos Pickett and explosive athlete Antwan Dixon, Kent State has plenty of talent in this class.
Dixon, especially, is exciting for the comparisons he draws to Dri Archer. Don't believe me? Just watch:
His impact on special teams should be felt immediately.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT PLAYERS:
Anthony Johnson is a skilled edge rusher who could boost the MAC's worst pass rush from 2014. Kent totaled just nine sacks in 11 games (*the Golden Flashes' game vs. Buffalo was canceled due to weather). Johnson is lean, long and explosive. A natural edge rusher with a nose for the quarterback, he's probably the most likely to make an immediate impact out of this haul. Originally from Miami, Florida, Johnson spent a season in California at Pasadena Community College and will have three years of eligibility remaining (he's eligible right away and is already enrolled on campus).
Theodore Eboigbe, a 3-star defensive end, gives Kent a nice pair of bookends to work with for the next few seasons.
Another player that I think should give Kent State a boost right away is wide receiver Johnny Woods. A non-qualifier in 2014, Woods has four years of eligibility left. Coming out of high school, this 6-foot-3, 200-plus pound wideout had received attention from some high major programs. He's quick, athletic and knows how to stretch the field.
Kent's passing offense struggled (it's whole offense struggled) in 2014, so the addition of an option such as Woods should open things up for quarterback Colin Reardon in 2015. Head coach Paul Haynes is "... looking for him to come in and compete for playing time right away." Expect that to be the case this fall.
While the MAC media may gush over WMU and other schools this week, don't sleep on this Kent State class. Haynes and recruiting coordinator Ben Needham have been stockpiling talent with tremendous upside. Several of these signees could see the field in 2015, and not out of desperation, but because they're good enough to step into Division I football and play.