The ACU football program welcomed fifteen new athletes as part of the 2015 National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Head coach Ken Collums and Associate Director of Athletics Grant Boone unveiled the new recruits as part of the ACU Signing Day recap for family and friends.
The Wildcats focused on defensive playmakers this year, after signing 29 players last year to bulk up on size with the move to Div. I. ACU signed three wide receivers, three safeties, two offensive linemen, two outside linebackers, two defensive tackles, a running back, a cornerback and a tight end.
“This class is special because it helps us fill voids where they needed to be filled,” Collums said. “Offensively, we needed an overall, broad class. We signed someone at every offensive position outside of quarterback. That was what we needed. We’ll always take a couple of linemen and we got a few guys who are big enough to play fullback if called upon. On defense, we have a lot of guys who can run and tackle. Guys who can make defensive plays and have a nose for the ball.”
Collums later stated when it comes to bringing players to Abilene, it’s not always about football.
“I’ve been saying this for years, but we bring young men here, and our primary goal is to turn them into great men,” Collums said. “We want to make these guys into good husbands, and good fathers and men of character. We always want the best from them, in both football and life.”
The list of recruits range in a variety of locations all across Texas and even into Oklahoma. Two recruits come in as transfers, defensive tackles Dewan Edmonson from the University of Texas- El Paso and Hafoka Olie from Tyler Junior College.
On defense, hard-hitting safeties Junior Henderson from Seven Lakes High School in Katy and Bolu Onifade from Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City lead the way for ACU.
Henderson was an Army All-America Top-500 Prospect and was a Texas Top-100 MVP. Collums described Henderson as a player who “plays with violence.” Onifade was one of the top defensive backs in the Oklahoma City area in 2014 and was selected to the first team District 6AI-1 as a senior.
J.R. Hall, cornerback from Dr. John Horn High School in Mesquite, signed with ACU after originally considering UTEP. Hall however was seriously injured in a car accident earlier this week that has left his playing career in jeopardy. Collums decided to honor his scholarship offer which would allow Hall to come to ACU, even if he never gets to play a single down for the Wildcats.
“J.R. is a great kid, and we’re praying for he and his family,” Collums said. “I don’t know what his future holds, but we are going to hold up our deal, even if he can’t right now. He’s such an encourager, and he has one of the most contagious smiles you’ve ever seen.”
On offense, running back Tracey James and wide receiver Justin Miller highlight the names of notable acquisitions. James, from Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, offers ACU something that it hasn’t had in recent memory: a power running back. At 5-feet-11-inches and 225 pounds, James gives the Wildcats a true power back. Miller brings a level of athleticism that is best in the recruiting class. He played running back, wide receiver, corner back and punt return in his time at David Crockett High School in Del Valle. Collums plans on using him as a receiver, but could also use him as another versatile offensive weapon, Darrell Cantu-Harkless.
“We haven’t had a power back with the set of tools that Tracey James brings to the table,” Collums said. “He can run, block and catch, and he’ll be a load to bring down. Justin Miller is an electric player. He’s very versatile and hard to tackle. Every team needs a player like this, and I’m glad we got him.”
Kalin Sadler from Lawton High School in Lawton, Oklahoma, comes to ACU as a receiver with a history with one of the quarterbacks already here. Sadler went to the same high school as ACU quarterback Dallas Sealey. The two played together in 2013 when Sadler caught 27 passes for 455 yards and four touchdowns. Last year as a senior, Sadler caught 47 passes for 915 yards and 12 touchdowns,
helping his team to a state championship game appearance.
“Kalin is the most complete receiver we’re getting in this class,” Collums said. “He’s very versatile, and he’s an explosive player with the ball in his hands.”
Collums said that the Wildcats could sign a few more players between now and the summer, but is eager to see how this next class can contribute.
“I’m excited about these guys because they’ll be the ones who will be on the field when we’re an established Southland Conference team and people are coming to watch us play in our new stadium,” Collums said. “Every one of these guys wants to be here and believes in what we’re doing, what we’re about and wants to be part of that.”
The Wildcats open their season on Sept. 5 against Fresno State in California.