February 4, 2010

Instant Impact: Offense

With the third-ranked recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference, Kent State again has added many quality football players to its roster.

Unlike in years past, most of the 2010 recruiting class won't be counted on to make an early impact on the football field. The Golden Flashes return eight offensive and six defensive starters as well as 15 others listed on the two-deep.

Here's a look at Kent State's offense and how the newcomers might fit in:

Spencer Keith wasn't supposed to see the field in 2009. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound freshman was supposed to redshirt while redshirt sophomore Giorgio Morgan led the Golden Flashes into MAC East title contention. An early injury to Morgan forced Keith into action and he quickly seized his opportunity and ended the year as the starter, ahead of a healthy Morgan.

Both Keith and Morgan return in 2010, so incoming freshman Cedric McCloud, a 6-foot-2, 218-pounder, likely won't see action unless the injury bug reappears or both Keith and Morgan are ineffective.

McCloud, the cousin of current Flash C.J. Steward, threw for 1,217 yards and 12 touchdowns last season for Central Carolina Sports Academy. He threw for 1,639 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior at Raines High in Jacksonville, Fla.

"Cedric is a little bigger than the quarterbacks we've had in here," said Kent State head coach Doug Martin. "He has one of the better arms I've ever been around. Athletically, he's going to be fun to coach."

A lot hinges on the medical redshirt status of Eugene Jarvis. If Jarvis is granted a sixth year of eligibility the Golden Flashes are loaded at running back. Jarvis, Jacquise Terry, Andre Flowers and Dri Archer would provide the Flashes with a full stable of capable ball carriers.

Take Jarvis out of the equation and newcomer Rob Holloman likely gets his chance to flash his reported sub-4.4 speed. Holloman rushed for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns last season at Cushing Academy and at Philadelphia's West Catholic High he had his jersey retired after becoming the schools all-time record holder for touchdowns scored with 42 and rushing for 1,923 yards as a senior.

"Robert is a really explosive running back," Martin said. "He's similar to Jacquise Terry in that he has good size and tremendous speed."

The Golden Flashes passed on signing a wide receiver in the class of 2010, and that's a luxury they can afford. They return top pass catcher Tyshon Goode as well as Kendrick Pressley, third on the team in receptions last season. There's plenty of depth behind Goode and Pressley.

At tight end, starter Jon Simpson and reserves Justin Thompson, Markus Burton and Bryan Wagner return.

Kent State returns 11 of 14 offensive linemen on its roster, including six players that have a combined 47 starts up front.

That leaves little opportunity for newcomers Thomas Pizzurro and Elias Sayre.

Senior Pat Reedy and sophomore Brian Winters have a hold on the tackle spots while redshirt junior Chris Anzevino is entrenched at center. Michael Fay and Josh Kline saw plenty of action at guard, but it's on the interior where the Flashes could use some help.

Gone are backups Mike Roder, Matt Conroy and Dante Campbell, so look for Pizzurro to see plenty of game action in 2010.

"From what we've seen from Tom so far, we think he can help us right away at guard with his strength and explosiveness," said Martin of Pizzurro, who enrolled in January.

Sayre likely will play a reserve role at tackle.

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