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Thursday, Feb. 8

ISU football inks 'The Dandy Dozen'          Send a link to a friend

[FEB. 8, 2007]  NORMAL -- Illinois State's Denver Johnson announced the newest additions to the Redbird football team, as the head coach formally unveiled the 12-man recruiting class on National Signing Day at a public event in Redbird Arena on Wednesday.

The 12 high school recruits join Illinois State's three midyear signees to bring the total number of players in the 2007 recruiting class to 15.

"We are extremely excited about this class," Johnson said. "This is a relatively small class, since we did not have a large senior class leaving us this year. With the three midyear guys combined with the February signees, I think it is an extremely talented class full of outstanding prospects. As this class matriculates through the program, I think it is going to prove to be a really marquee group of players."

Johnson and his coaches addressed some key needs, while also bolstering the depth on both the offensive and defensive lines. Including the three midyear signees, the Redbirds added four defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, two linebackers, two defensive backs, a quarterback, a running back, a tight end and a wide receiver.

"We didn't have a lot of room to maneuver because we didn't have a lot of scholarships to work with," Johnson said. "We had to be very deliberate about what we did. We felt like we had to invest in our offensive and defensive lines, and then we targeted players at the skill positions.

"Also, as excited as we are about these 12 signees today, we are also looking forward to adding some talented non-scholarship players to the team that have a chance of becoming scholarship players in the future."

As expected, the Redbirds added players from the state of Illinois and from the Midwest, but also maintained their recruiting success in Florida, Texas and California.

"We are really beginning to reap great dividends from our tenure here," Johnson said. "For a long time, we have been cultivating our local, in-state and Midwest recruiting ties, while also continuing our inroads with California, Florida and Texas, and we are starting to get great dividends from our credibility and longevity."

With Johnson beginning his eighth season at Illinois State and the Redbirds coming off an elite eight appearance in the 2006 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, the ISU staff noticed the results of success and continuity.

"Obviously success never hurts," Johnson said. "The record attendance and the trip to the playoffs obviously helped, but the general feeling about this program has been that last season was a prelude to even bigger and better things to come."

For the second straight year, Johnson and his staff added a pair of players from right in Illinois State's backyard, with the addition of Marcus King (Normal Community) and Cody White (Normal West).

"I think the high school football in the Twin Cities is outstanding with outstanding coaching staffs," Johnson said. "We certainly covet those great players who come out of the Twin Cities' high school programs, and I think it is going to be a great thrill for people in this community to be able to continue to follow these guys."

2007 Illinois State football signing class
(Copied from file provided by Illinois State)

Eric Brunner ● DL ● 6-2 ● 260 ● Greendale, Wis. (Greendale)

Greendale HS: Rated as a one-star recruit by ... only player in the state of Wisconsin to earn first team all-state honors on both sides of the ball in 2005 and 2006 from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ... a MaxPreps first team All-American as an offensive lineman ... named the Wisconsin Player of the Year by the Associated Press ... 2006 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Year ... Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Lineman of the Year ... Woodland Conference Player of the Year ... Suburban Player of the Year ... two-time all-region, all-area, all-suburban and all-conference selection ... helped lead Greendale to a 22-4 record over the last two seasons ... played in the East Meets West All-America game in Celebration, Fla. ... coached by Rob Stoltz ... also lettered in baseball ... a four-year member of the honor roll. Data: Full name is Eric Adam Brunner ... born on Sept. 15, 1988 in West Allis, Wis. ... son of Tony and Mary-Ellen Brunner ... one of two children ... his cousin, Brian Brunner, is a quarterback at Central Michigan ... his uncle, Dan Brunner, is the head football coach at Hartford Union (Wis.) High School ... also recruited by Northern Illinois, Ball State, Central Michigan and North Dakota State.

Charles Dennis ● OL ● 6-3 ● 290 ● San Antonio, Texas (East Central)

East Central HS: A two-year starter ... second team all-region selection his senior season ... also named first team all-district in 2006 ... a team captain and voted as the team's offensive lineman of the year ... played tight end as a junior with 17 catches for 238 yards and one touchdown ... earned second team all-district honors as a junior ... coached by Robert Walker. Data: Full name is Charles T. Dennis ... born on Nov. 13, 1988 in San Antonio, Texas ... son of Charmin Dennis ... second of three children... also recruited by North Texas, Utah State, Louisiana-Lafayette and West Texas A&M.

Tyler Doering ● OL ● 6-5 ● 290 ● Barrington, Ill. (Barrington)

Barrington HS: Rated as a two-star recruit by both and ... played in the East Meets West All-America game in Celebration, Fla. ... honorable mention all-state selection by both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times ... member of the Midwest Suburban League Academic All-Conference ... coached by Joey Sanchez ... lettered in both football and track and field ... member of the honor roll. Data: Full name is Tyler Douglas Doering ... born on Nov. 22, 1988 in Elk Grove, Ill. ... son of Rick and Cindy Doering ... youngest of three children ... his brother, Dan, is an offensive lineman at Iowa ... his dad (football) and mother (golf) were each student-athletes at UW-Whitewater ... also recruited by Colorado State, Iowa, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Eastern Illinois.

Jarrett Karn ● OL ● 6-4 ● 260 ● Spring, Texas (Klein)

Klein HS: Started all 11 games at center his senior season ... offense averaged 259.9 rushing yards per game, while scoring 28 points per contest ... a first team all-district selection ... voted as the team's top offensive lineman by his teammates and coaches ... his team qualified for the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, while also earning a No. 24 state ranking midway through the season ... coached by Stan Labay. Data: Full name is Jarrett Thomas Karn ... born on March 2, 1989 in Houston, Texas ... son of Jeff and Joann Karn... younger of two children ... also recruited by Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe.

Drew Kiel ● QB ● 6-3 ● 212 ● Columbus, Ind. (East)

East HS: Rated as a two-star recruit by both and ... led his team to a No. 1 state ranking for the first nine weeks of the season and a 13-2 overall record after losing in the 2006 semifinals ... passed for 27 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions during his senior season ... named the Midwest Publishing 4A Offensive Player of the Year ... Indiana's Mr. Football at quarterback ... named to the Bloomington Herald Telephone Top 33 ... a member of the Indiana Football Coaches Top 50 ... rated as one of the nation's top 100 quarterbacks by Student Sports ... Super Prep Magazine All-Region ... two-time all-area, all-conference, all-region and all-state selection ... threw for 18 touchdowns as a junior ... coached by Bob Graddis ... lettered in both football and baseball ... member of the honor roll every semester. Data: Full name is Drew Augustus Kiel ... born on March 16, 1989 in Elkhart, Ind. ... son of Kip and Aleta Kiel ... oldest of three children ... his dad played football at Butler and his uncle, Blair Kiel, played at Notre Dame and had a seven-year career in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts ... also recruited by Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Iowa, Louisville, Purdue, Bowling Green, Miami (Ohio), Western Michigan and Eastern Illinois.

[to top of second column]

Marcus King ● WR ● 6-4 ● 195 ● Bloomington, Ill. (Normal Community)

Normal Community HS: Rated as a two-star recruit by ... caught 43 passes for 600 yards and six touchdowns as a senior ... as a team captain, helped lead the Ironmen to an IHSA Class 6A State Championship in final season ... first-team all-area and All-Big 12 Conference selection ... as a junior, caught 12 passes for 200 yards and scored a touchdown ... helped team to a second-place finish in the IHSA Class 6A State Championship game ... coached by Hud Venerable ... also ran track for three years. Data: Full name is Marcus Irving King ... born on Aug. 8, 1989 in Elmhurst, Ill. ... son of Irving and Wanda King ... has an older brother, Tim ... high school teammate of Redbird offensive lineman Michael Cross ... also recruited by Georgia Tech, Missouri, Northern Illinois and Eastern Illinois.

Mark Martin ● LB ● 6-0 ● 235 ● Milwaukee, Wis. (Riverside University)

Riverside University HS: Rated as a one-star recruit by ... recorded 132 total tackles, including 30 solo stops as a senior ... added eight sacks and 22 TFLs ... intercepted three passes and deflected seven more, recovered six fumbles and forced five fumbles ... scored two touchdowns on defense, one on a 45-yard interception return and the other on a 35-yard fumble recovery ... helped team to a conference championship (6-0), a city championship (8-0) and the state playoff semi-finals ... named the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wisconsin Player of the Year ... MaxPreps First Team All-American pick ... first team all-state, all-conference, all-region and all-area selection ... notched 156 tackles and eight sacks as a junior ... also recorded 28 tackles for loss that season ... coached by Patrick Wagner. Data: Full name is MarkAnthony T. Martin ... born on Feb. 25, 1989 in Milwaukee, Wis. ... son of Edward and Cynthia Guyton ... has a younger brother, Edward II ... also recruited by Minnesota, Wisconsin and Miami (Ohio).

Antwan Ryles ● LB ● 6-0 ● 215 ● Orlando, Fla. (Edgewater)

Edgewater HS: Totaled 80 tackles his senior season to lead the team ... played in the Central Florida All-Star game ... named first team all-metro, second team all-Orange County, second team all-Central Florida and honorable mention all-state ... a three-year varsity letterwinner and two-year starter ... team posted a 39-6 record in his three seasons ... coached by Bill Gierke. Data: Full name is Antwan Demarcus Ryles ... born on Nov. 30, 1988 in Orlando, Fla. ... son of Reginald and Tracy Ryles ... oldest of four children ... prep teammate of ISU recruit Keenan Wimbley ... also attended the same high school as Illinois State's Jarek Thomas ... also recruited by Eastern Kentucky and Youngstown State.

Raymond Sankey ● DE ● 6-2 ● 222 ● Maywood, Ill. (Proviso East)

Proviso East HS: Posted 60 tackles and seven sacks as a senior ... also forced two fumbles and broke up one pass ... caught three passes and scored a touchdown on offense ... honorable mention all-state selection and all-conference selection in final season ... had 50 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior ... coached by Aaron Peppers ... named to the honor roll and was an academic all-conference selection. Data: Full name is Raymond Alex Sankey ... born on Nov. 10, 1988 in Bellwood, Ill. ... son of Barry and Belvise Sankey ... has an older brother, Chris ... also recruited by Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Akron and Western Illinois.

Cameron Thompkins ● DB ● 6-0 ● 175 ● Sanford, Fla. (Winter Springs)

Winter Springs HS: Rated as a two-star recruit by and received one-star from ... set school records for most interceptions in a season (7) and career (12) ... recorded 32 tackles and eight pass break-ups as a senior ... first team all-conference and an all-district selection ... played in the Central Florida East vs. West game and the North vs. South game... had three interceptions as a junior and 17 tackles ... coached by Steve Katz. Data: Full name is Cameron C. Thompkins ... born on June 19, 1989 in Sanford, Fla. ... son of Calvin and Towanna Thompkins ... one of three children ... his cousin, Jeff Blake, was a 15-year NFL veteran quarterback ... went to the same high school as Redbird linebacker Pat Cucci ... also recruited by Youngstown State and Florida A & M.

Cody White ● TE ● 6-5 ● 240 ● Bloomington, Ill. (Normal West)

Normal West HS: Rated as a one-star recruit by ... three-year starter ... caught eight passes and two touchdowns as a senior ... also recorded 53 solo tackles and 23 tackles for loss on defense and served as the team's punter... Pantagraph All-Area team selection and all-state honorable mention selection in final season ... had 22 receptions for 305 yards and six touchdowns as a junior ... coached by Darren Hess ... four-year starter on the basketball team as well ... holds the school's single-season and career scoring basketball records. Data: Full name is Cody J. White ... born on July 1, 1988 in Columbus, Ohio ... son of Jim and Therese White ... has a younger sister, Krista, who plays soccer at Normal West ... also recruited by Purdue, Louisville, Michigan, Wyoming and Miami (Ohio).

Keenan Wimbley ● DE ● 6-2 ● 255 ● Ocoee, Fla. (Edgewater)

Edgewater HS: Rated as a one-star recruit by ... as a senior, led his team in sacks, fumble recoveries and tackles for loss ... named first team all-county and second team all-Central Florida as a senior ... played in the 2006 Metro All-Star Game ... as a junior, named second team all-county ... coached by Bill Gierke ... placed seventh in the state in the shotput. Data: Full name is Keenan O. Wimbley ... born on July 8, 1989 in Orlando, Fla. ... son of Keenan Wimbley and Renet Mells ... oldest of three children ... his father played football at Central Florida ... prep teammate of ISU recruit Antwan Ryles ... also attended the same high school as Illinois State's Jarek Thomas ... also recruited by Cincinnati, UAB, Youngstown State and Western Kentucky.

(Text copied from file received from Todd Kober, assistant athletics director, media relations, Illinois State University)

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