February 6, 2013
Curtis Johnson's second recruiting class another positive step
Coming off a 2-10 debut, Tulane coach Curtis Johnson and his staff accomplished most of their goals for their second recruiting class. That's a huge victory in itself.
The Green Wave did not get that eye-popping late commitment (barring an about-face by unsigned Warren Easton linebacker Edward Williams) like last year with four-star recruit Darion Monroe. Johnson also chose not to pursue talented Walker High products Corey Smith and Lyn Clark when they continued to take official visits after committing to Tulane.
But this 23-player class, which for the third consecutive year had no defections on signing day, will place higher in the final Rivals.com rankings than any Green Wave group in several years.
Johnson has to sell recruits on bucking history.
"This is a miracle class being that we weren't very successful on the scoreboard and a lot of teams really knocked us about all the stuff we went through this year," he said. "This is probably far behind my imagination that we could put together this class."
Wearing a green and white tie with a Wave insignia on his white-collar shirt, Johnson started by reading the names of the parents of every signee, thanking them for trusting in the future of the program. That future is loaded with quality offensive and defensive linemen, the heart of the 2013 class.
Four of Tulane's six three-star recruits play up front -offensive linemen Brandon Godfrey of River Ridge John Curtis, Kenneth Santa Marina of McDonough 35 in New Orleans and Chris Taylor of Zachary plus defensive tackle Tanzel Smart of Baton Rouge Scotlandville.
"I was a receivers coach, but I've always believed from day 1 that you win in the trenches," Johnson said. "Our offensive line recruits are fantastic. All of them are big. All of them are strong. They are very, very physical, and they are all smart kids. The defensive linemen are very athletic kids."
Even the lower-rated defensive linemen have tremendous potential. Johnson said Quinlan Carroll, a Belle Chasse product, power cleans 250 pounds, more than anyone on the team. Co-defensive coordinator Jon Sumrall said Ade Aruna, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound Nigerian native who came to the United State in 2010 and had played only one year of football, would learn on the field as a freshman because he was too talented to keep on the sideline.
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