The Cardinal football team welcomed 26 incoming freshmen to their squad on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
The span of the team’s recruiting for next season reached further than the state of Michigan, which made up 19 of the 26 commits, as players from Ohio (4), Wisconsin (1), Illinois (1) and even Florida (1) will be joining the program this fall.
Head coach Jim Collins met with media on signing day as they welcomed the new Cardinals and discussed next season’s outlook.
When asked of the specific priorities that the team was looking for this coming season, Collins explained that they look for the same types of players each year.
“We’re looking for guys that are high-character individuals – that’s really important for us,” Collins said. “And that’s why it’s really critical that we have a coaching staff that does a great job of recruiting. I thought our staff did a great job of finding guys that fit what we’re looking for at Saginaw Valley – high-character guys that we know can compete in the classroom and then obviously guys that are going to make a difference on the playing field.”
Collins highlighted the needs of the team, pointing out the need for speed at the skill positions, more depth on the offensive line and physical, athletic players on the defensive side of the ball.
Discussing the new additions to the team one-by-one, Collins identified just what this new class is bringing to the table for the Cardinals.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Cardinals welcome a new quarterback – Mike O’Horo out of Boardman High School in Ohio.
The Cardinals also bring on two new running backs – Dante Barthwell from Westland John Glenn and Caleb Oyster from Eisenhower High School.
The goal of added depth on the offensive line was achieved, as six offensive linemen committed to Saginaw Valley.
Krzysztof Baran and Zach Petkoff, both of Eisenhower High School, Jack Coisman of De Pere High School in Wisconsin, Avery Eastman of Gull Lake High School, Michael Sarabyn of Dowagiac High School and Joe Schnorberger of Monroe High School will all be joining the Cardinals in the fall.
The team added four wide receivers, signing Martice Bunting of Chippewa Valley High School, Devon Frenchko of Saint Joseph High School, KeOndre Glass of Battle Creek Central High School and Jerry Tucker IV of Martin Luther King High School.
Defensively, the 2019 commit class features four defensive linemen.
Azonte Burks of Beecher High School, Andrew McClellan of Canton McKinley High School in Ohio, Victor Nelson of Detroit Central High School and JaiJavante Reid of Eisenhower High School rounded out the defensive frontline.
As the Cardinals lose the GLIAC leader in tackles and tackles per game in linebacker Michael Alexander to graduation, Collins believes they’ve done a great job in recruiting linebackers.
“Linebackers I think may be the most athletic group in terms of the total number that I can remember,” Collins said.
This oncoming linebacker list consists of Micah Cretsinger of Jackson High School, Alfred Dailey Jr. of Toledo Central Catholic High School in Ohio, Leonard Henry of Grand Blanc High School, Chase Sager of Edwardsburg High School and Jackson Shreve of Millington High School.
The defense also gains the support of four new defensive backs, welcoming Colton Alexander of Grand Blanc High School, Josh Ohiku of Lincoln-Way East High School in Illinois, Harold Sims III of Plantation High School in Florida and Tyler Tiggs of High School in Ohio to their program.
Overall, Collins believes that this group possesses the necessary abilities to make a big impact with the Cardinal football program.
“I feel very confident that these are the type of young men that Saginaw Valley as an institution is going to benefit from,” Collins said. “We’re extremely excited about them. They’re going to represent our university well and we’re looking forward to working with them and helping them become better over the next four to five years.”
Reporting from Thomas Gallagher, Vanguard Reporter