GVSU football inks 35 recruits to join the program

GVL / Robert Mathews
GVSU Head Football Coach Matt Mitchell speaking with the media during National Signing Day.

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews GVSU Head Football Coach Matt Mitchell speaking with the media during National Signing Day.

Bryce Derouin

While the games may be won on the field, a major part of the battle came to an end on Wednesday, as 35 student athletes have decided to play football for Grand Valley State University on national signing day.

Wednesday was the first day that recruits could sign national letters of intent and be announced to the public.

“For us here at Grand Valley, this recruting process for a lot of these kids has been done for awhile,” said head coach Matt Mitchell. “A large majority of this class verbally committed early in the process. Today is just more about the formality, than necessarily some last minute recruiting decisions.”

GVSU’s 2013 class consists of 26 players from Michigan, four from Indiana, four from illionios, and one from Ohio. 32 of the 35 athletes took part in the postseason, with some of them making it all the way to the state finals at Ford Field.

“There’s a lot of players on this list that were apart of great teams that had postseason play experience and are very competitive,” Mitchell said. “That’s what we want at Grand Valley. We want competive kids that want to win and want to achieve on the field.”

Many of the 35 incoming freshman will most likely be redshirted for their first year, letting them grow and adapt to GVSU’s system. During Mitchell’s nine years at GVSU, only four freshman have came in and played right away.

One player who Mitchell did mention he could see helping this year’s team is place-kicker Joel Schipper from Grand Rapids Christian. Schipper converted all 72 extra points and made 14-of-17 field goals, including the field goal that sent the state championship into overtime, and the field goal that won the state championship.

“I’m excited about him,” Mitchell said of Schipper. “He made a lot of high pressured kicks at Grand Rapids Christian. We need help with the extra point field goal thing. If there’s one kid possiibly on this list who can help right away in 2013, it might be him. Just from the standpoint of extra points and field goals.”

Going into the recruiting season, Mitchell and his staff made it a point to build their defensive line with the 2013 class. GVSU managed to sign six defensive lineman.

“Long term, we wanted to make sure we never got in a position where we were at a little bit this year, where we were lacking for bigger body kids, especially inside,” Mitchell said. “So we tried to actively address that and go out there and find some kids. Interior defensive lineman from Indiana, Ohio, and an offfensive tackle from Illinois. We branched outside the state of Michigan in an attempt to find some bigger bodied athletes, which I think you need to have in order to win in college football.”

One of the most important factors for Mitchell and his staff during the recruiting process, was how the players would fit within the GVSU system. Both on-and-off the field.

“In recruiting process anywhere, but specifically at Grand Valley, it’s all about fit,” Mitchell said. I think that’s the unique thing about this class. This class of 35 is a great fit for Grand Valley. In the recruiting process, we had to make sure that the prospects we were taking a look at could fit in from an academic standpoint. I definitely feel that this class fits that.”
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