MOSCOW, Idaho – The 2014 signing class is a big step forward for the University of Idaho football team as Paul Petrino enters his second season as the Vandals’ head coach.
The collection of players Petrino and his staff signed meets needs and creates competition throughout the ranks. Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent Signing Day announcement includes a mix of junior college and high school players who hail from as far away as Florida, Michigan and San Diego, and as close to home as Pullman and Rockford in Washington, and Coeur d’Alene in Idaho.
“It is a really good recruiting class,” Petrino said. “I’m very excited about it. Our staff did a great job. People on campus did a great job. When we got kids to campus, we were very successful.
“Overall, I’m very excited. We took care of a lot of our needs. We built a lot of competition throughout the team.”
Letters Wednesday came from seven high school seniors and eight junior college transfers. They are joined in this year’s class by seven transfers who enrolled at Idaho in January.
While there is size in the linemen signed by the Vandals, there, too, is size – to go with speed, among the receivers and defensive backs as well. And, Petrino relishes the signing of two coaches’ sons – quarterback Gunnar Amos (son of Coeur d’Alene High School coach and former Vandal Shawn Amos) and receiver David Ungerer (son of Utah State assistant coach Dave Ungerer).
“Any time I can sign a coach’s kid, that’s a big plus,” Petrino said. “They know what it’s all about to win and they understand football.”
And, they’re part of the regional trio to become Vandals. The third is Freeman High School offensive lineman Jordan Rose, a highly acclaimed 6-6, 315-pound player from Rockford, Wash.
“We had him in camp,” Petrino said of Rose. “We felt like he was one of the best high school offensive linemen we saw anywhere. He’ll be an outstanding player here at the University of Idaho.”
Another player to benefit from a first-hand view by the coaches is Marysville-Pilchunk quarterback Jake Luton, a lanky 6-6, 219-pounder, who played for a run-oriented team but impresses Idaho’s coaches with his ability to lead his team to a state title and with his ability in the Vandals’ summer camp.
“We saw him throw,” Petrino said. “He has a really live arm. He’s athletic.”
The other high schoolers in the group are speedsters out of Florida – cornerback Dorian Clark and running back Aaron Duckworth, and California – San Diego’s Michael Garner. All not only showed speed and promise on film but had earned reputations as talented, competitive players who were among their areas’ elite.
Junior college players will be adding depth and competition on the defensive front (Kaylyn Ayers), in the secondary (Chris Edwards and Dennis Rufus) and at linebacker (Ron Perry). Receivers Kenny Torrence and Jermaine Johnson, although vastly different in size and shape, should be immediate contributors, as should massive running back Elijhaa Perry and offensive lineman Jerett Olson.
DE Kaylyn Ayers, West Los Angeles College/Fremont HS (Fremont, Calif.)
CB Doran Clark, Baldwin HS (Baldwin, Fla).
RB Aaron Duckworth, Oakleaf HS (Orange Park, Fla.)
DB Chris Edwards, Butte College/Southfield HS (Southfield, Mich.)
Ath Kaden Elliss, Judge Memorial Catholic HS (Salt Lake City, Utah)
WR Michael Garner, Madison HS (San Diego, Calif.)
WR Jermaine Johnson, New Mexico Military/Ellender Memorial HS (Houma, La.)
QB Jake Luton, Marysville-Pilchuck HS (Lake Stevens, Wash.)
OL Jerett Olson, College of the Siskiyous/Amity HS (McMinneville, Ore.)
RB Elijhaa Penny, Cerritos College/Norwalk HS (Lakewood, Calif.)
LB Ron Perry, Mesa College/Baker HS (Baker, La.)
OL Jordan Rose, Freeman HS (Rockford, Wash.)
DB Dennis Rufus, Mt. San Antonio College/Charter Oak HS (Glendora, Calif.)
WR Kenny Torrence, Riverside City College/Rancho Verde HS (Moreno Valley, Calif.)
WR David Ungerer, Pullman HS (Pullman, Wash.)