Tommies football signs eight Minnesotans in 20-player recruiting class

posted in: News | 0

St. Thomas football coach Glenn Caruso officially welcomed 20 players to the Tommies family on Wednesday at the end of the early signing period.

There are eight Minnesotans in the class, including 6-foot-7 offensive tackle Ethan Simms from Eden Prairie, whom Caruso called one of the Tommies’ top recruits. Aiden Horel, an offensive tackle from Prior Lake, also was a highly sought after player, Caruso said.

Quentin Cobb-Butler from Woodbury was added as a return specialist. Mounds View’s Ben Hoiland joins the Tommies as a punter/kicker.

The Tommies signed four linebackers, including Taran Blasy from Park High School, Charles Bern from East Ridge and Roman Johnson from Minnetonka. The Tommies took a big hit at the position, with two starters graduating and Jonathan Bunce and Seth Bullard entering the transfer portal.

There’s a chance at least one of the incoming linebackers will see considerable playing time. The 6-4 Bern is a “huge dude,” Caruso said, who played on both sides of the ball in high school.

Walker Owens, who played his high school football at Wheaton North in suburban Chicago, is one of the Tommies’ top recruits, Caruso said.

“A year ago we said we needed to get more out of Illinois,” Caruso said. “The Chicago area was a focus. That was the directive, and it came to fruition.”

The three other signees from the Chicago area are quarterback Ryan Jackson from Lyons Township High School, who was his conference’s offensive player of the year; Marc Coy, a
running back from Marist; and Rocco Dileonardi, a defensive lineman from Geneva.

Caruso pointed out that while Jackson is on the small size for a quarterback at 5-10, he is a dynamic player who is extremely competitive. Philip Jones (5-11) from Chandler, Ariz., is the other quarterback in the class.

Caruso said the plan is to add seven or eight more players during the late signing period in February. He anticipates that there will be a couple of transfers among that group. The focus for the second signing period will be to shore up areas deemed to be in need of reinforcements.

“A year and a day ago we had either zero or one defensive lineman signed,” Caruso said. “We ended up bringing in three defensive linemen. A lot of it is not what we want; a lot of it is what the market bears.

“So, for right now, there seems to be a large delay in the offensive skill category. There are some positions we won’t have to focus on, but that doesn’t mean that if we find a really good fit we wouldn’t take him.

“We definitely want to find another tight end. Corner and slot nickel (defensive back) are a couple of others we are going to take a look at.”

The Tommies lost two key starters on offense, with wide receiver Andrew McElroy and running back Shawn Shipman entering the transfer portal, with adding another wide receiver appearing to be the more pressing need.

Looking at each of the past three freshmen classes, Caruso said half the class got on the field as freshmen while also being able to redshirt, while six to eight players appeared in every game.

“I would think that this year wouldn’t be much different,” Caruso said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.