Feb 042009
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

With National Signing Day in the bag, the CSU football team received signatures from 23 young men that head coach Steve Fairchild believes will help take his team in the right direction.

“If we resource this thing the right way,” Fairchild said, “and we have the best people in place on our staff and put in an honest day’s work, which I believe we have, I see very clearly that we’re firmly on the best path. If we get the whole CSU nation behind us, we can be as good as anyone in the United States.”

The Rams got signatures from players at every position other than kicker, an area that Fairchild believes Ben DeLine will carry CSU for the next three years. There is a chance that CSU will invite a preferred walk-on to be DeLine’s backup in case an injury occurs during the season.

The only signature that the Rams couldn’t lock up but were expecting was from defensive end turned linebacker Jared Koster, who made a last minute switch and signed at UCLA.

The biggest surprise in CSU’s recruiting class comes from linebacker Mike Orakpo from Sugar Land, Texas. He is the younger brother of Texas Longhorn defensive end Brian Orakpo, who won the Rotary Lombardi Award this past season, an honor given to the best linebacker or defensive lineman in college football each season.

“(Orakpo) is very athletic, very rangy, Ricky Brewer type of body on him right now. He’ll smack ya. A very impressive guy on tape, moving his body around, not always getting guys on the ground, but you’ll see him play-in and play-out, ball-hawking guys down and being very aggressive,” Fairchild said.

While signing day may be officially over, Fairchild and the Rams coaching staff plan to keep recruiting the class of 2009 until they fill all of their needs. The linebacker position is a spot that they’d still like to add another player or two.

Football beat writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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