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February 9, 2013
Warhawks Inside Slant
ULM announced a class of only 16 players signing letters-of-intent, but the small size of the class-nine under what NCAA rules allow-doesn't bother coach Todd Berry.
"As I just mentioned in our luncheon, I'm probably as comfortable with this class as any I have been a part of," Berry said. "Part of that as to do with the numbers in the class. Obviously, this is a smaller class, which we are excited about because that means we are retaining the players in our program."
Berry said the program's first bowl appearance last season was a factor in keeping commitments committed.
"The season we had certainly gave us a boost," Berry said, "but where I think it had the big boost this year was the fact the group that was committed to us in the summer all stayed with us. We didn't lose a one commitment. That's difficult to do."
The group that includes nine on offense (five linemen, two quarterbacks, one running back, one wide receiver) and seven on defense (two linemen, two linebackers, three defensive backs) fills needs, Berry said, but "not necessarily for this year but for down the road."
Being able to look beyond the immediate season and to the future is a first-time luxury for Berry, who is looking at his fourth campaign coming up.
"While we want all of our young people to always be competitive, including this upcoming freshman class, which I think they have the opportunity to do," Berry said, "the reality of it is we think we have a pretty good football team coming back. So consequently because of that we are looking at numbers down the road in terms of building a program."
Top Of The Class
OL Brandon Bridgers (Robertsdale, Ala.)-Bridgers (6-4, 290) was a three-year starter and served as team captain his senior year at Robertsdale. He could provide valuable depth up front this fall.
DL Everett Anderson (C.E. King, Houston, Texas)-Anderson was a three-year letter winner and two-sport athlete at C.E. King, earning second all-district honors as a defensive end as well as in basketball as a junior.
DL David Ellis (Dutchtown High, Prairieville, La.)-Ellis (6-3, 263) is the other defensive lineman the Warhawks signed and likely will spend a redshirt year.
• ULM has reached an agreement with Wake Forest for a home-and-home series with the first game Sept. 14 at Winston-Salem. The rematch will be the 2014 season opener for the Warhawks. The Warhawks will open their 2013 campaign at Oklahoma.
• Jerry McManus has been named tight ends coach. He served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at New Mexico State in 2012.
Practice priorities: Coach Todd Berry and his staff will have little rebuilding to do on defense with nine starters back on the unit, but the main goal is to get improved play out of the secondary. Mistakes back there proved costly at times in 2012. The offense looks set.
Quote To Note: "I think the best recruiters that you have are your current players. If they're having good experiences, they tend to share that with other people they know."-Coach Todd Berry, on establishing so-called pipelines from certain high schools.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Key Losses: WR Brent Leonard, LB R.J. Young, LB DaCorris Ford.
Players To Watch In 2013:
QB Kolton Browning-Browning has experienced as a three-year starter and is a threat to run as well as pass. Not only did he throw for over 3,000 yards this season, he became the No. 1 weapon in the running attack when injuries hit the running back position.
RB Jyruss Edwards-Edwards was having a fine season until going down with an injury just past the season's midpoint. In eight games, he rushed for 438 yards. He also can catch the ball out of the backfield.
WR Je'Ron Hamm-At 6-3, he presents a nice target for Browning. He was the No. 2 receiver with 62 receptions for 915 yards in 2012.
C Josh Allen-Moved from guard, Allen was named second-team all-Sun Belt in his first stint as the anchor in the middle of the offensive front. Berry praised his ability to make calls in the offensive line up front to solidify blocking.
• NG Emmanuel Jefferies is moving back to tight end after playing nose guard the past three seasons. This move is contingent on the return of Harley Scioneaux who missed the end of the 2012 season while fighting cancer.
• Elliot Hilliard will move back to the defensive line, where he was signed, after spending last year on offense to help with depth issues.