Idaho coach Paul Petrino loves the mid-year signing period. Mostly, it gives him an ability to bring in junior college players who have the ability to participate in spring ball. But he's also inked an early-graduating high school player.
Read on below for the names.
Arie Anderson, Defensive tackle
Jones County Junior College (Mississippi)
Measurables: 6-1, 300
Offers of note: None.
The scoop: Idaho has yet to make this official, however his junior college has indicated on Twitter that he's sent in his official paperwork. Anderson signed with Troy out high school and reportedly had offers from Texas A&M and Missouri as a high school prospect. He's spent the last two seasons at Jones County. His high school coach seemed to indicate he had a lot of SEC interest out of high school. It's unclear why he left Troy. If he academically qualifies, Anderson will fill a big void left by the graduation of Ryan Edwards and could once again give Idaho a formidable pair in the middle with Tueni Lupeamanu returning.
Noah Johnson, Offensive line
Fayetteville HS, Fayetteville, Ark.
Measurables: 6-4, 330
Offers of note: Cornell
The scoop: Johnson has been on Petrino's radar since he was teammates with his son, Mason, in ninth grade. Petrino, being friends with that coaches at Fayetteville, re-connected with Johnson his junior season and was able to close the deal. Johnson will graduate this month and enroll at Idaho for spring football. Petrino thinks Johnson will project as a center but can also play guard as well.
Petrino says: "I like that he can get out and run and pull, very athletic kid. Comes from a great program, most of the guys who come out of that program are successful in college ... He's a good center. We need to start recruiting somebody to replace (Steven Matlock) ... I don’t know if it was as much height as he’s got a great wingspan, he’s really strong and he’s also athletic and can get out and run, so that was every bit as important as his height."
Josh Herman, Fullback
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
Measurables: 6-1, 251
Offers of note: Minnesota interest (no offer)
The scoop: Herman will likely be given an ability to play right away, if not start, with the departure of three-year starter at fullback Jake Manley. Petrino expects Herman to play similarly to Manley, being an extension of the offensive line. Here is a highlight video of the fullback, which shows off some of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Petrino says: "He’s thick, he’s strong, very good blocker, very tough and aggressive. With losing Manley it’s something we needed to go out and find. He give us a great chance to continue to do the stuff we do in the running game ... Our fullback is an extension of the offensive line, they’re going to be a hard-nosed tough guy that’s going to get a lot of the dirty work. It does make it hard recruiting some individuals, Josh with his toolshed and what he does best fits right in to how we use our fullback."
Alfonso Onunwor, Wide receiver
Coffeyville Community College
Measurables: 6-1, 186
Offers of note: Troy, Bowling Green, South Alabama
The scoop: Despite interest from a 9-4 Southern Miss club which went to the C-USA title game, Onunwor inked with Idaho this signing class. He logged the second-most catches in the country for junior college players with 75, and 10 touchdowns, his sophomore season at Coffeyville Community College. Callen Hightower is likely to be entrenched as the No. 1 receiver this season, but Jacob Sannon and Dave Ungerer still have plenty to prove next season. Onunwor will be given every opportunity to start, it just depends on how quickly he acclimates to the offense. Petrino credits his success with receivers throughout his career, dating back to Harry Douglas, AJ Jenkins, Roddy White, Josh McCain and more, to his ability to recruit receivers. It gives him tape to show receivers like Onunwor showing interest in his program to demonstrate how they'll be used in the offense. Here are his sophomore season highlights.
Petrino says: "He really can go up and high point the ball, definitely a skilled player who was out there and was interested in us, it was a great get ... You can go back to when I was here as an assistant, to Utah State, to Louisville, to Arkansas, if there’s one position we feel like we can go out and recruit, that’s receiver. In this offense, year in and year out you should be one of the top guys in the conference and definitely one of the top guys in the country … I show them tape of all the guys, there’s all different size and speed and they all have different traits, and there’s a chance there is someone we can show him."
Onunwor says: "My visit, they made me feel like home, they welcomed me with open arms. The offense, how they’re going to use me, I just felt that was right for me ... He showed me, the team’s highlight, he showed me the Auburn the game, showed me a few of the guys on the team right now and how they used those guys."
- Petrino anticipates Idaho may only add one more junior college player in this signing class. Either way, Idaho will end up signing considerably less players out of junior college in this class than any of Petrino's prior three classes. Idaho added 10 new players from JC in 2015.
- Petrino anticipates adding an athletic high school quarterback in this class who has the ability to play other positions.
- Petrino isn't allowed to comment on specific high school recruits before getting their letters in February, but he dropped positions. Here is what he said ...
"We got a couple real good corners, high school corners that are committed, a couple really athletic high school safeties that we’re after. Got some good linebackers that we’re on, some big time defensive ends. Very excited about that. Then we got a chance to get two other really good offensive linemen. We’ll probably take a quarterback that’s an athlete that can play other positions, probably another receiver. Probably take one more guy. We’ll take a couple tight ends. Then we got a really good running back that’s committed."
The running back he is talking about is Damien HS RB Dylan Thigpen.