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Published: Thursday, 2/7/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Rockets battle BCS schools to secure top MAC class

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
University of Toledo recruits Boston Mathews, 17, of Illinois, left, and Logan Woodside, 18, of Kentucky, listen as head coach Matt Campbell announces his team's recruiting class to fans Wednesday at Savage Arena. Woodside may have the inside track on the backup quarterback spot to Terrance Owens based on his participation in spring ball. University of Toledo recruits Boston Mathews, 17, of Illinois, left, and Logan Woodside, 18, of Kentucky, listen as head coach Matt Campbell announces his team's recruiting class to fans Wednesday at Savage Arena. Woodside may have the inside track on the backup quarterback spot to Terrance Owens based on his participation in spring ball.
BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge

Those among the University of Toledo faithful relieved to see the era of the two-quarterback system go to pasture might be unnerved to learn coach Matt Campbell is tossing around the idea of bringing it back.

That bad news — if it even qualifies as such — was overshadowed by a day filled with positives, as the Rockets snatched four commitments Wednesday to finalize a recruiting class that already was expected to rank atop the Mid-American Conference.

The ribbon that tied together the 23-player haul came early, when acclaimed Florida receiver Rodney Adams picked Toledo over Cincinnati. Adams, a one-time Florida commit, reported 12 offers from BCS programs, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida State, and Miami (Fla.).

Though bigger programs soured on Adams amid academic concerns, Toledo stayed in the mix.

That loyalty paid dividends a month ago when Adams, a three-star prospect who attended the same high school as Toledo’s Bernard Reedy, secured a test score needed to qualify.

"Next thing you know everyone in the country’s back in there," Campbell said.

Campbell, who said Adams must maintain a certain grade-point average through the rest of this school year to remain qualified, added: "I think him and his mother felt extremely comfortable that we were going to take care of him, and he was a great fit for what we do offensively."

Also committing on Wednesday were Kenston, Ohio, receiver Darryl Richards and Maryland defensive backs Kennedy Frazier and Jordan Martin. The Rockets outdueled non-BCS programs in all three situations.

Following Adams, the most touted prospect arguably is Michael Julian, one of two quarterbacks in the class. The product of Hilton Head, S.C., chose Toledo two weeks ago over five BCS schools. Campbell told a story of boarding a flight to visit Julian, turning and seeing Boston College coach Steve Addazio and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, and "you kind of laugh and say, ‘Oh man, do we really have a chance with this kid?’ "

The answer, as was the case many times Toledo squared off against a bigger program, was yes. Eight members of the class — about one-third — fielded at least one BCS offer for a total of 32 BCS offers.

"We are relentless in recruiting," Campbell said. "I’m not afraid to say that, and I’m not afraid to act that way. We are going to work day and night in the recruiting process."

This is the fourth year in a row Rivals.com and/or Scout.com tabbed Toledo’s class the best in the MAC.

There is a chance the backup quarterback next season will come from this class. Enrolling in school last month was quarterback Logan Woodside of Kentucky, whom Campbell said "is probably as good of a competitor as I’ve been around as a true freshman." Woodside may have the upper hand on Julian based on his participation in spring ball.

Also competing to back up senior Terrance Owens will be redshirt freshman Brian Blackburn and perhaps Dwight Macon, who will split time in the spring at receiver and quarterback.

Campbell said Woodside and Julian have long ranked No. 1 and No. 2 — though not necessarily in that order — on the staff’s wish list at quarterback.

"Did we know we were going to take two right away? Campbell said. "Probably not. But I think as we saw what the future looks like at the quarterback position, and knowing Logan was going to be a mid-year enrollee, we really felt it was important to get two and have the opportunity to get the top two for us."

And could Woodside and Julian stage a battle mirroring Owens and Austin Dantin the past three years? Sounds like it.

"I think it can be successful," Campbell said. "I think we know how to make that work."

Local players to sign were Whitmer defensive lineman Marquise Moore and Findlay linebacker Austin Niswander. Whitmer linebacker Jack Linch and St. John’s receiver Liam Allen are among six preferred walk-ons expected to arrive in the fall.

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @AutulloBlade.



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