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2006 MAC Football Recruiting - Toledo Rockets

The Rockets signed 23 players from six states but concentrated heavily with in-state recruits as 13 come from the Ohio, three from Florida and Pennsylvania, two from Illinois and one each from Michigan and New York. UT continues to bring in balanced classes as ten players are slated for offense with a heavy emphasis on the line, twelve slated for defense with four players each at DL, LB and DB, and one kicker. The majority of this class earned some sort of all-state honors and fourteen of the recruits will play within their respected state’s all-star game.

Position Name Height Weight School
QB Aaron Opelt 6-2 205 Fremont (OH) Ross
RB Bruce Frieson 5-8 180 Cleveland (OH) Glenville
RB Dontae Jones 5-11 211 Orlando (FL) Evans
WR Joe Shuler 6-5 205 Apopka (FL)
TE Jerome Jones 6-7 230 Youngstown (OH) Ursuline
TE Matt Fought 6-4 210 Ottawa (OH) Glandorf
OL Jan Gewont 6-5 305 Palos Hts (IL) Stagg
OL Chris Meehan 6-7 320 Wooster (OH)
OL Jared Dewalt 6-5 292 Cleveland Lyndhurst Brush
OL Levi George 6-1 302 Warren (OH) Harding
DE/LB Joe Underwood 6-3 240 Youngstown (OH) Ursuline
DE/LB Douglas Westbrook 6-3 215 Pompano Beach (FL) Ely
DL Skylaar Constant 6-4 265 Bedford (OH)
DL Nate Cole 6-2 285 Dayton (OH) Trotwood Madison
DL Maurice Hill 6-2 265 Bolingbrook (IL)
LB Archie Donald 6-2 223 Pittsburgh Penn Hills
LB Derrick Summers 6-2 235 Southfield (MI)
LB Alex Johnson 6-2 230 Philadelphia North Penn
DB Mark Jackson 6-0 195 Canton (OH) McKinley
DB Greg Harris 6-0 185 Mt Vernon (NY) Trinity-Pawling
DB Desmond Marrow 6-3 195 Youngstown (OH) Cardinal Mooney
DB Barry Church 6-2 210 Pittsburgh Penn Hills
K Alex Steigerwald 5-11 170 Cleveland Benedictine

Opelt was the ‘District Offensive Player of the Year’ and earned first team All-Ohio honors. One recruiting service had him listed as the 14th best quarterback in the Midwest. Opelt is also a very good athlete who can beat you with his legs as well as his arm. Ohio High Magazine lists him as a top-50 player in the state as he threw for 2,148 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. He amassed 5,340 total yards and 35 touchdowns for his career. Choose Toledo over Cincinnati and others.


Running Backs
Jones rushed for over 900 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior earning 2nd team All-Orange County honors. Rated the #22 running back in the South by and also an Orlando Sentinel Top 100 prospect in Florida. One service rated him as the #88 running back in the nation - chose Toledo over Colorado State, New Mexico and Hawaii. Frieson is a speedy runner who totaled 1,600 yards and 25 TDs as a senior, is rated the #6 RB prospect in the state by


Shuler earned 2nd team All-Orange County honors as a senior playing DB & WR. Also had offers from Mississippi and Temple. Jerome Jones is a physically gifted TE prospect who was rated as the #32 TE prospect in the nation by one recruiting service and chose UT over Kansas. Fought excelled as both a LB and TE earning all state honors as a senior. A lightly recruited prospect from a small school, Fought also is a very good basketball player and has reported 4.6/40 speed.


Offensive Line
The highlight of the class is the quality offensive linemen signed by UT. Gewont is one of Toledo’s top overall rated prospects - rated as a top-25 prospect in Illinois and earned all-state honors. Gewont picked UT over offers from Kansas, Iowa State, UConn and others. Meehan is a monster at 6-7 320-pounds and earned 2nd team all state honors. He has two uncles who played for Woody Hayes at Ohio State in the 1960s. George earned all state honors as a senior and will likely play center in college and has been chosen to play in the Big 33 Football Classic against the stars of PA. George reportedly bench presses 475 pounds. Dewalt originally committed to UT in December, then decommitted for Akron in early January, before recommitting to Toledo again. He earned all state honors and is rated the #60 offensive guard in the country by one recruiting service and a top 50 prospect in Ohio - he had several offers including WVU, Cincinnati and Indiana.

Defensive Line
Constant earned 1st team all state honors and will participate in Ohio’s North/South all-star classic after recording nine QB sacks as a senior. Constant also excels at basketball and received several other MAC offers. Hill is a three-year starter who posses a 400-pound bench press and recorded 10 QB sacks as a senior. Cole was rated the #9 defensive tackle in the Midwest by one recruiting service. Westbrook is a speed DE prospect who earned all area honors in south Florida and recorded 18 ½ QB sacks as a senior.


Toledo is bringing in an impressive group of LB prospects. Underwood originally committed to Miami (OH) but decommitted to UT. He is a first team all-state performer at ILB and league defensive POY award winner. Johnson was named first team All Southeast PA by The Philadelphia Inquirer and second team All-State by the Associated Press – is selected to play in the Big 33 All-Star Game. Johnson picked UT over Duke and Michigan State. Donald is a first team all-state player from Pittsburgh who will also participate in the Ohio/PA Big 33 game. Summers is the younger brother of UT QB Brandon Summers and is a top-50 prospect from Michigan. Derrek recorded nearly 200 tackles during his junior and senior years.


Defensive Backs
Church is the gold star prospect of a very impressive class. Church is rated the #42 safety in the nation by and #63 rated safety in the nation by - selected to all-state second team as a defensive back and was named to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Terrific 25 team. He is scheduled to play in the Big 33 All-Star Game and had reported offers from Maryland, NC State, Iowa, Indiana and West Virginia. Jackson was a second team Division I all-state pick and was selected to play in the Ohio North-South All-Star Game. From his cornerback position he recorded 72 tackles and five INTs, also excelled as a receiver averaging 13-yards per catch. Jackson chose Toledo over offers from Miami (OH), Akron and Vanderbilt. Harris was named the 2005 All-New England Player of the Year by the Boston Globe and has reported 4.4/40 speed. Harris ran for 1,033 yards with 18 touchdowns and an average of 9 yards per carry and also had three interceptions. Marrow was the Division IV co-defensive player of the year award winner in Ohio, recorded 18 INTs during his high school career. His father played at Wisconsin and his uncle, Vince, was a TE for Toledo during the early 1990s and later with the Buffalo Bills.


Steigerwald helped his team to the 2004 Ohio Division III state championship and made 19 of 21 field goals as a two-year starter. Second team all-state as a senior and had a 47-yarder as his career long FG - Averaged 43-yards per punt as a senior.


Final Analysis
This is by far Tom Amstutz’ best and most complete class during his successful tenure. Toledo signed solid players at every position to build depth and a few will likely play as true freshmen. The strength of the class is at offensive line, linebacker and the defensive backfield. Landing Barry Church and the entire group of offensive line prospects was a real coup for this program and the MAC. Toledo out-recruited several Midwest BCS programs and a few Big Ten schools. Overall this class rates as OUTSTANDING compared to other MAC programs this year.


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