Head football coach Joe Prud’homme says the Rams have the right balance in the recruiting class for the fall season.
The team is loaded up at the running back position and has some outstanding receivers, but he’s still concerned about the lack of depth regarding defensive backs.
“Will they play right away?” he asked. “I hope not, but there will be some guys in this class that force our hand.”
The team has added quality depth and will have a couple of impact players emerge from this recruitment class, he said.
“You just have to see how they fit,” he said, “and translate to what we do here at Wesleyan.”
The Rams have a scrimmage at Southwestern University on Aug, 22 and open the season at home against Midland University on Aug. 27, according to ramsports.net. The team has five home games in 2020, one more than in 2019, and the season finishes on Nov. 14 with a visit to West Texas A&M University.
Of course, that’s all if the season happens at all. The Sooner Athletic Conference suspended all practices and competitions on March 16, according to soonerathletic.org, and while the plan was to “revisit the conference-imposed suspension prior to May 15,” there have been no further announcements as to when practice and play might return.
Prud’homme said the Rams recruited eight running backs to help replace five lost to graduation, but have returning players capable of handling the load.
“It all depends on their maturation,” he said. “They are trying to replace some all-conference performers.”
From this recruiting class, Petr Svoboda, a defensive lineman from Brook Hill School in Bullard, just south of Tyler, is a big, talented nose guard who weighs about 340 pounds and plays goalie for his high school soccer team, Prud’homme said.
“That tells you the kind of agility he has for his size,” he said.
Wesleyan was able to sign Svoboda because he had told other coaches looking to sign him last season that he would be going back home to the Czech Republic, Prud’homme said.
“This was one of the main reasons we were able to sign him,” he said.
Shortly after signing with the Rams in January, Svododa wrote on Twitter account that the process of recruitment had been long and hard decision. He thanked the many people in his life that had helped make this dream a reality.
“I have become only the second player,” he wrote, “in my country’s history to ever sign with a college program in the US and the first with an NAIA program.”
Offensive coordinator Kyle Cox thinks the school was able to sign a lot of playmakers to this recruitment class, without those new players having the pressure of making an immediate impact.
“This is the first class here,” he said, “that will not all be forced to play immediately.”
Cox said this is because the roster now has some depth with seniors and juniors, and this class was more about finding pieces that fit in the puzzle, instead of trying to build the puzzle during the season, as has been the case the past several years.
“While last year’s recruiting focused on building an offensive line, this year was about adding depth,” Cox said, “signing seven wide receivers and eight running backs in a class of 65 recruits.”
Cox said the competition at running back will be one to watch going into next season because not a single player on the roster has ever scored a touchdown at the college level.
“Hopefully, we can have the first and second team all-conference running backs again this season,” he said.
Cox said the top of the receivers recruited this year are Alex Taylor from Boyd High School in McKinney; Ross Loth from Rockdale High School, 41 miles west of College Station; and A.J. Bobb from Atascocita High School just north of Houston.
“We have a really talented set of receivers coming in with this class,” he said.
Athletic Director Ricky Dotson wrote in an email that the uncertainty about the season is the biggest challenge the Wesleyan Athletic Department faces because, without guidelines, all plans of contingency for any situation must be addressed.
“We remain committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our student-athletes, our fans, and our community,” he wrote.
Prud’homme wrote in an email that his players are now focused on their “academics, health, and working out at home,” while also having the ability to build momentum from this off-season and recruitment class.
“Everything at this point for the fall, is a go,” he wrote. “We are excited for next season.” For a complete list of next season’s schedule please visit https://ramsports.net/sports/football/schedule.