Story by Calvin White / Contributing Writer
MTSU welcomed 14 new signees to its 2022 recruiting class on national signing day. A Blue Raider signing class that saw most of its signees come via the transfer portal has head coach Rick Stockstill excited about this year’s recruiting class.
“I’m fired up about this year’s class,” Stockstill said. “Signing day has changed here in the last couple of years with early signing day in December. The transfer portal has really changed recruiting probably more than people realize on the outside. We’ve signed 14 guys, and we’ve got five or six in the boat right now that we cannot talk about because they’re going to be transfer graduates this spring.”
In a recruiting class that produced 12 out of 14 offensive players, the Blue Raiders completely reloaded on the offensive side of the ball in hopes of continuing to put points on the board in bunches. What really sticks out about this class are the six new offensive linemen; four coming from the Junior College ranks that offensive line coach Rick Mallory will work with when spring practice eventually rolls around. Mallory discussed how skilled his new linemen were, but what he is especially impressed with is their size.
“This group of kids brings something that we have lacked in the past and that’s size and strength. So, I’m really excited about these guys,” Mallory said. “They’re all good football players and they all play a tough physical style of football, and you take those kids that can bite, and we give them the tools that they need to go out and play the game that they are capable of playing.”
All six of Mallory’s new linemen measure in at over 6 feet 4 inches tall. With that size and skill, the Blue Raider offensive line will look to be a force in the 2022 season.
Offensive lineman are widely considered as the most underappreciated players on the football field. Mallory discussed what he looks for in the ideal offensive lineman beyond the physical aspect and also what he looks for in their character off the field.
“We want to know that they love football because if you don’t love football, especially being an offensive lineman, it’s probably going to be a little miserable. We look for guys that want to be part of a group, who love to compete, who like to rally with each other, and compete against each other. We want good guys off the field. We want them to be good students. People don’t believe me when I say that but it’s true and it all fits. That group should never be on any list as far as not going to class or not going to study hall. Usually that’s the group of guys that take care of business off the field and that’s a huge part of this too because they’re accountable for their actions and we want guys who want to be held accountable for their actions. We want guys who take pride in this and not just getting by because that is a direct correlation of what they do on the field.”
The remainder of MTSU’s class consist of two running backs, two quarterbacks, one cornerback, one linebacker, and two wide receivers. A melting pot of players from high school and Juco ranks as well as some out of the transfer portal. 14 players will look to make an impact on the field for their new home in Middle Tennessee.