The Troy University football program continued to build on the success of four consecutive Sun Belt Conference titles by signing 25 players to National Letters of Intent on National Signing Day.
The crop of new Trojans included a heavy emphasis on stocking the defensive secondary, with nine of the incoming players expected to play defensive back. On the offensive side of the ball, the highest percentage of newcomers for a second straight year will play on the line, where there were seven signees.
“We were very thin in the secondary last year in terms of depth and we took major steps to address that problem,” Trojans head coach Larry Blakeney, who will be in his 20th season at Troy in 2010, said. “We signed some young players with ability. It will be exciting to see how they do when they get here, and how they fit in with the returning players we have back there.”
In addition to the defensive backs and offensive linemen, the Trojans added three receivers, three defensive linemen, a linebacker, a running back and a quarterback.
The Troy coaching staff stuck to its traditional recruiting area, with all 25 players hailing from Alabama (11), Florida (11) and Georgia (3). Only three of the new Trojans will arrive on campus from a junior college, but all three are originally from Alabama.
“We have a process that we go through here that has proven to be successful for us, and we certainly don’t need to change it,” Blakeney said. “There was a lot of talent in the immediate area this year, so we were able to focus our efforts closer to home.”
Even in Florida, where the Trojans normally cover the state from border to border, nine of the 11 players are from the panhandle region from Tallahassee west, including a trio of teammates from Marianna.
Two of the incoming junior college players are among the seven offensive linemen in the class. Included in that group is Luverne, Ala., native Stoney Jackson, who signed with Troy as a defensive lineman two years ago, but bulked up to 275 pounds during two seasons at Garden City (Kan.) CC. He will have three years to play for Troy after redshirting as a freshman.
The other junior college lineman is Tuscumbia native Demarkus Underwood who, at 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, is expected to push for a starting job right away.
“Offensive line is an area where you can never have too many good players, and we are excited about this group,” Blakeney said. “We have to replace two very experienced starters, but have three returning starters who played well. These new guys will have a chance to compete with our other returnees for playing time right away.”
The third junior college player in the class is defensive back Ladarrius Madden of Leighton, Ala., who played with Underwood at Northeast Mississippi CC.
The Trojans will open spring practice the week of March 15. The squad will hold scrimmages on March 27, April 3 and April 10.
The Troy football program is slated to open the 2010 season in search of a fifth consecutive Sun Belt Conference title on September 4 against Bowling Green of the Mid-American Conference in a rematch of the 2009 season opener. Troy is also slated to face Oklahoma State (Sept. 11), UAB (Sept. 18) and South Carolina (Nov. 20) in non-conference play this fall.
(Troy Media Relations Release)