New recruits show promise
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore is no different. Moore feels the incoming class of 2012 is the best that has come to Boone in his 23 years at Appalachian State. He'll get a chance to see them practice this week, beginning Thursday.
Recruits and veterans will go through two practice days of wearing just helmets, jerseys and shorts. The Mountaineers will add shoulder pads to their practice routine the following two days before being allowed to work out in full pads on the fifth day.
Moore already got a glimpse of the quality of his recruiting class when freshman running back Tysean Holloway enrolled early and participated in spring workouts. Holloway was impressive during the spring after rushing for 4,844 yards and 77 touchdowns during a three-year prep career at Asheville High.
“I'm as excited about this class as I've ever been,” Moore said at the Southern Conference football meetings with the media Thursday. “I'm sure I'm going to hear good things about them I can't wait to see them.”
“All of the freshmen don't look like freshmen,” senior linebacker Brandon Greer added. “When they get on the field, they do not act like freshmen. It's not going to be hard for our coaches to coach them at all.”
The Mountaineers return nine starters on defense and five on offense from a team that finished 8-4 and reached the playoffs for the seventh straight season. The good feeling didn't last long as visiting Maine powered past Appalachian State 34-12 in the FCS playoffs. It was the first time the Mountaineers did not win at least one playoff game since 2002, when ASU lost to Maine 14-13.
Though it is impossible to say which recruit will make the biggest impact, Moore left little doubt that they will be counted on to not only provide depth, but possibly crack the starting lineup.
“There are two or three guys who can start,” Moore said. “They're all good. I could go right down the list. There's not any one that I can say is a year away. All of those guys are capable of playing right away.”
Appalachian State is bringing in 19 new players this fall. Included are Covington, Ga., defensive back Dante Blackmon, who is a three-star player according to rivals.com. Atlanta linebacker John Law is a two-star recruit, according to rivals.com, and has already impressed Brandon Greer, who was also at the media event Thursday.
Greg Hall, a linebacker from Bogart, Ga., was a two-time first-team, all-state honoree who finished with 18 sacks his senior year at North Oconee High School. West Meckenburg linebacker Tashion Singleton led his team with 136 tackles.
“I think all of them are capable of playing,” Greer said. “John Law, he's a natural athlete. You could tell the first day he stepped out there it was right. Dante Blackmon is like a junior in a freshman's body. He's a guy you have to look for.”
It can be argued, at least to a point, that Appalachian State's coaching staff is comprised of its share of freshmen. After four assistant coaches left for Western Carolina, and two were released from staff, the Mountaineers brought in seven new assistant coaches on staff by spring.
One of those coaches was a familiar face in assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield. Also the team's quarterbacks coach, Satterfield played quarterback at ASU from 1992-95, and was an assistant on the Appalachian State staff from 1998-2008.
Appalachian State also brought in Bryan Brown to coach cornerbacks, Chris Foster to coach running backs, Mark Ivey to coach the “Bandit” position (the defensive player that can play linebacker and defensive end depending on the formation), and Dewayne Ledford to coach the offensive line.
Former Furman receiver Justin Stepp was brought in to coach the receivers.
“I don't really think of any of them as new coaches now,” Moore said. “We've been together now since January and went to spring practice. Everybody's had some input into s