August 10, 2010

D-Line raises the bar




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KENT, Ohio-Kent State's recruiting class of 2010 included seven
defensive linemen, one of which already has been moved to the offensive line.
It was that group that helped the Golden Flashes finish with the third best
class in the Mid-American Conference.


It's also the group that helped raise the bar for the entire Kent State
defense.


"Not being in pads yet I don't want to over speak, but athletically
I'm very excited about them," said defensive line coach Matt Edwards. "They bring some size and some speed and they're
from some tremendous programs. I think that they have the opportunity to be
as good as they want to be."


Leading the way in the recruiting class of 2010 is defensive tackle Jerome Davis, a 6-foot-2, 255-pounder from Buford, Ga. Davis, ranked by Rivals.com
as a three-star prospect and the No. 68 defensive tackle in the country, held
several offers from BCS schools before choosing to sign with Kent State.


The Flashes also signed defensive tackles Terrell Johnson, Roosevelt Nix and Robert Kearney and ends Mark Fackler, Richard Gray and Zach Hitchens].


Kearney, a three-star prospect from Durham, N.C., came to
Kent State as a defensive lineman but has since moved to offensive tackle.
Gray, a 6-foot-2, 248-pounder from Pittsburgh, Pa., was the Pennsylvania team's
defensive MVP in this summer's Big 33 Classic game.


The newest of Kent State's defensive linemen bring size and athleticism
rarely seen in a Kent State uniform.


"We're very excited about that incoming class," said Edwards,
who works primarily with the outside guys. "They do look a little bit
different than some of the players we've had in the past. We're
very excited about them."


Edwards is also eager to see the off-season improvements made by the returning
starters and contributors.


"We have some pretty talented guys that were starters last year, guys
that were in backup roles that are really stepping up and showing a lot of
positive things," Edwards said. "I'm as excited about the
defensive line as I've ever been here at Kent State."


With returning sack leader [db]Monte Simmons, a senior, at Buck End and
several other experienced players filling up the two-deep, Kent State's
pass rush unit should again help to threaten the school sacks record.


Last fall the Golden Flashes recorded 33 sacks, just one off the school mark.


"I feel like we've always held them to pretty high expectations
but there is a certain raised level that comes with being a senior and more
so it's in leadership," Edwards said. "Those guys need to
be more than just football players. They need to be great leaders and great
ambassadors for the program."


















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