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Samuel Peterson

On national signing day Wednesday, Tulane head coach CurtisJohnson enjoyed one of the most fruitful recruiting classes inrecent memory, signing 16 recruits.

The most notable of this year’s crop of recruits is corner backDarion Monroe. The East St. John High School product has beenranked as high as the No. 5 player in the state, according to ESPN.Monroe represents a coup for Johnson’s new staff, since he waspreviously verbally committed to Texas A&M before visitingTulane’s campus.

Monroe is part of the new coaching staff’s focus on bringingin-state talent to Tulane. Of the 16 signees, 11 are from Louisianaand come from within 70 miles of campus. One of the key reasons forhiring coach Johnson was his proven record of signing New Orleansarea talent such as Marshall Faulk and Ed Reed. at Miami, Fla.

The recruiting class contains five players listed as offensivelinemen – Bob Bradley, Colton Hanson, Nathan Shienle, Todd Jacquetand Alex Paul. Calvin Thomas will join the defensive side of theline, while Royce LaFrance looks to be a strong addition to thelinebacking corps.

Tulane also put an emphasis on defensive backs. Monroe, JordanBatiste and Devon Breaux should all add depth to the secondary.Batiste is another steal for Tulane, after originally committed toOle Miss. He has also already enrolled with Tulane and can alreadytake part in team activities.

The Green Wave’s stable of running backs will enjoy theadditions of Josh Rounds, Lazedrick Thompson and Kedrick Banks.Banks, listed as an athlete, has experience at both wide receiverand running back and could contribute as an undersized satelliteback by running the ball and catching passes out of thebackfield.

Rounding out the Green Wave’s signees are wide receiver LorenzoDoss as well as quarterbacks Devin Powell and Walker “Fudge” VanHooser. Van Hooser will be joining his brother Wilson, who isalready a wide receiver with the team.

The overarching theme of the class is athleticism and theversatility of its players. Nearly every player, from Van Hooser toMonroe, has the chance to play in multiple areas of the field.Johnson acknowledged this fact recently.

One sure thing is that the players will have the opportunity toplay right away. Johnson laid out his plan to win now.

“I am not redshirting anybody,” Johnson said. “This is not aredshirt university.”

The annual signing day party at The Rat took place Wednesdaynight. Johnson kicked off the event, publicly introducing his newcoaching staff. Coach Jason Rollins received the loudest ovation byfar.

“He just about signed the entire recruiting class by himself,”Johnson joked.

The new coaching staff is highly experienced, easing somepeople’s anxiety over Johnson’s youth.

The university was infused with an enthusiasm lacking in recentyears. Players and observers clapped loudly as highlight films ofeach recruit played. Tulane fans can only hope that this positiveoutlook translates into on-the-field success next year and in theyears to come.