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'Big-game hunting' bags 4 new Falcons

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Bowling Green State University football coach Mike Jinks discusses incoming recruits during a news conference Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at the Sebo Center. The Falcons added four more players in February's recruiting class.

BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge

BOWLING GREEN — In December Bowling Green State University football coach Mike Jinks said he was going “big-game hunting.”

Wednesday he said he bagged some of that “big game.”

At the point when Jinks talked to the media Wednesday, the Falcons had signed three players on National Signing Day: defensive linemen Karl Brooks, tight end Presley Motes and offensive lineman Cameron Stage. Later in the afternoon, BG added a fourth player in running back Ra’veion Hargrove.

“What we meant by ‘big game’ was that we were bringing in guys who could contribute right now,” Jinks said. “We looked at our class as a whole to find out what our ‘immediate’ needs would be — our needs for the 2018 and ’19 season.”

RELATED: National Signing Day hub

That is certainly the case with Motes, who played tight end at Eastern Arizona College. That is a position of need for Bowling Green, which lost Hunter Folkertsma and Leonard Skattebo to graduation. Jinks said he was happy to sign two high school tight ends, James Lachey and Jake Papez, during the first signing period in December but was looking to add an experienced player for added depth at that position.

“He’s a grown man who bring a lot of leadership,” Jinks said of Motes. “We can’t wait to get him out here and get him with us.

“He’s a very physical player and an impressive man, both on and off the football field. The moment he walks into this facility he’s going to help us.”

Brooks is an athletic defensive lineman who played linebacker and wide receiver at Lansing (Mich.) Sexton High School, while Stage was receiving offers from Power Five schools before an injury wiped out his senior season at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“This is a 6-4, 250-pound kid who can run sub-15 [seconds] in the 110 [hurdles],” Jinks said of Brooks. “And Cameron Stage is a big, skilled young man who can play guard or tackle and who had a lot of offers late in his junior year.”

Hargrove ran for 7,163 yards in his high school career at Trotwood-Madison High School in suburban Dayton, leading the Rams to the Division III state title this season. He was named first-team All-Ohio in Division III each of the past three seasons and was named the Gatorade player of the year for the state of Ohio this past year.

Hargrove originally committed to the Falcons last summer, but then decommitted in October.

RELATEDClick here to read bios on all four players the Falcons signed Wednesday.

Jinks said the four new players complete the “balance” that this year’s 23-man recruiting class will bring to BG’s roster.

“What we looked to do in this class is to bring in some bodies from an offensive line standpoint,” Jinks said. “We felt we addressed the defensive line and our lack of size up front in last year’s class, and this year we talked about building this roster the right way.

“Next year, our number is 17 [available scholarships]. That’s when you feel good as a coach, because you’re not losing kids because of grades or trouble. You’re laying the foundation of a program.”

Jinks admitted that recruiting has been tougher following a 2-10 season.

“It’s not easy, so hats off to our coaching staff — they’re in front of those young men and their parents more than I,” he said. “They’ve done a good job building relationship and helping kids see our vision.

“When I get them here, their foot is already halfway into the boat. My job is to get them to jump all the way in.”

Contact John Wagner at jwagner@theblade.com419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

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