Feb. 7, 2013
Bearcats strengthen program with complete class
By David Boyce
Nearly every year, Northwest Missouri State football program signs a highly touted quarterback who could be the next Chris Greisen, Blake Bolles or Travis Miles.
These former Bearcat quarterbacks paid their dues, battled other talented teammates for the starting spot and eventually led Northwest to a NCAA Division II title.
They embraced competition and their competitive fire lifted the Bearcats to championships.
A year ago, Kyle Zimmerman signed out of Blue Valley High School, knowing that quarterbacks Trevor Adams and Brady Bolles had several years of eligibility left.
On Wednesday, Northwest landed another highly decorated quarterback in Brad Strauss out of Lawrence. Strauss was a Simone Award finalist. The award recognizes the top football player in the Kansas City area.
“Yes, we are very excited to sign him,” Dorrel said. “He is a young man who makes plays. I hate the term gamer, but when his team needed a big play the last two years, he consistently made those plays.
“He has great instincts. He is a dual-threat guy. He is a phenomenal student. With what we do with quarterbacks and all the things we put on them mentally that is a prerequisite to have.”
At 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, Strauss possessed the athletic ability to earn all-state honors three times at defensive back in addition to all the quarterback honors he received.
Still, with so many good quarterbacks ahead of him, it might take a few years before Strauss sees the field.
Adams will be a senior next season, Bolles will be a sophomore and Zimmerman will be a redshirt freshman.
“The one thing that has helped us is our history of playing multiple quarterbacks,” Dorrel said. “Kids really do their homework these days. They have seen what we’ve done with Blake Bolles and Joel Osborn and even this year with Trevor Adams and Brady Bolles. And Blake Christopher, in his sophomore and junior years, we were playing him at other spots other than quarterback.
“We can show that to kids that if you are good enough, we will find a way to get you on the field.”
It all comes down to competition and the players’ makeup.
“The other thing is it speaks a lot is their character,” Dorrel said. “They are not afraid of the competition. If we recruit a kid and they say, ‘you just signed Kyle Zimmerman last year’ that is that is not the kid I want.
“The kid I want is Kyle Zimmerman is a real good player and Brady Bolles is a real good player, but I’m a real good player.”
Dorrel believes all the players signed Wednesday are good. The skill position players usually garner the most attention, but this year Northwest focused on the defensive and offensive line.
“It is a really good class,” Dorrel said. “It could possibly be the best defensive line class I’ve ever had. If you are good on the defensive line, you are going to be good. It is a complete class. I feel like we got size and speed. I feel we filled the needs we needed to. We filled our needs on the offensive line.
“After that, I feel we did really well in the defensive backfield. We did bring in some good skill position players last year and we did this year, too. The D-Line, we signed eight kids and not just warm bodies, they have the measurable.”
Most likely, all the high school players Northwest signed Wednesday will spend the fall of 2013 as redshirts. The Bearcats redshirted all the high school players they signed last year.
The signing class of 2013 will have time to develop in the weight room and the practice field and acclimate themselves to college life.
Dorrel is pleased with the academic success of many of the incoming players have achieved in high school. He figures the incoming high school players averaged a 22 on the ACT and a 3.1 GPA.
“We did a great job of going out and identifying quality students,” Dorrel said. “Our mission statement at Northwest is to graduate kids and win football games.
“At Northwest Missouri State, our president wants us to graduate our players. We are committed to that. I know Dr. John Jasinki enjoys seeing it. I have had numerous professors talk about last year’s class. It makes me feel good because we are truly committed to recruiting student-athletes and not just athletes.”
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