National Signing Day: WIU's Nielson continues to build with late - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

National Signing Day: WIU's Nielson continues to build with latest class

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Western Illinois head coach Bob Nielson speaks to the media on National Signing Day in Macomb. Western Illinois head coach Bob Nielson speaks to the media on National Signing Day in Macomb.

MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- Wednesday marked the first National Signing Day following a complete season for second year Western Illinois football coach Bob Nielson.
 
Nielson announced 32 recruits would be joining the program as part of the 2014 class.

He expressed that a major focus in his philosophy has always been to stockpile talent by position a year ahead of time in order to continuously build toward the future.

"What you always want to try to be is a year ahead in recruiting," Nielson said. 
 
"We look at our position groups where this year were going to have a number of seniors that will be finishing their eligibility. You're trying to be in a position where you're bringing in a group of athletes this year that will be allowed to develop in your program and be in a position where they can hit the ground running."

A strength for the Leathernecks will be in the defensive backfield, a majority of which is upper class players.

Nielson isn't waiting until that talent runs out before reloading the position.

"You'll notice a bunch of defensive backs for example in the freshman recruiting class when we're going to be a senior dominated group at that position group this fall," he said.

"That's what good programs do. Good programs are able to have guys developing in their system a year in advance and we're certainly moving in that direction here."

Nielson and his staff signed a total of 17 players on offense, 14 on defense, and one special teamer.

Over half of the position players signed came up front in the trenches.

Nielson also emphasized the importance of establishing depth across the board at all positions that would enable his team to compete for a Missouri Valley Football Conference championship.
 
Here's the complete list:
 
Name                          Pos         Ht.      Wt.     Hometown (High School/JUCO)
Jaelon Acklin                WR          6-2     180     Mountain View, Mo. (Liberty)
Michael Bishoff            LB            6-2     190     Elk Grove Village, Ill. (Elk Grove)
Brock Broughton          RB           5-11   190     Kearney, Mo. (Kearney)
Brody Carls                  OL           6-5     255     Pana, Ill. (Pana)
DeVante' Clark             DB           6-1     195     Jacksonville, Ill. (Jacksonville)
Aaron Diggs                 DB           6-1     190     Goodyear, Ariz. (Millennium)
David Griffith                DB           5-11   190     Avon, Ind. (Avon)
Brenden Jostes           OL           6-4     265     Farmington, Ill. (Farmington Central)
James Kalfas               DE            6-3     255     Wheaton, Ill. (St. Francis College Prep)
Grant Kasal                  DL            6-5     225     Westmont, Ill. (Downers Grove North)
Thomas Kirsch             OL           6-6     275     Hartland, Wis. (Arrowhead)
Isaiah Lesure               WR          6-3     175     Mount Horeb, Wis. (Mount Horeb)
Sean McGuire              QB           6-3     205     Franklin, Wis. (Franklin)
Cale McMakin               LB            6-1     205     Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley West)
Luke Otto                     P/K           5-11   215     Normal, Ill. (University)
Drew Patterson           RB           6-0     205     Sussex, Wis. (Hamilton)
Jordan Robinson          DE            6-2     245     Jefferson City, Mo. (Jefferson City)
Xavier Rowe                DB           6-0     185     Oak Park, Ill. (Oak Park-River Forest)
Khalen Saunders         DL            6-2     280     St. Louis, Mo. (Parkway Central)
Luis Sharpe                 DB           6-2     195     Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Point/Glendale CC)
Macae Skaggs             TE            6-3     230     Farmington, Ill. (Farmington Central)
Tyler Slamans              TE            6-3     226     Sugar Grove, Ill. (Kaneland)
Stacey Smith, Jr.          ATH         5-8     160     Schaumburg, Ill. (Schaumburg)
Timothy Smith               DB           6-1     185     Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park)
Pete Swenson             TE            6-3     225     Mason City, Iowa (Clear Lake)
Robert Young              OL           6-4     295     St. Louis, Mo. (Kirkwood)
Nick Ziegenbein           OL           6-9     335     Phoenix, Ariz. (Pinnacle/Glendale CC)
 
Enrolled in January
Tyler Bode                   OL           6-7     305     Fountain Hills, Ariz. (Fountain Hills/Scottsdale CC)
Cole Griffin                   TE            6-4     255     Yorba Linda, Calif. (Yorba Linda/Santa Ana CC)
Kris Harley                   DL            6-1     270    Indianapolis, Ind. (Warren Central/Virginia Tech)
John LaChapelle          DL            6-1     290    Apache Junction, Ariz. (Apache Junction/Glendale CC)
Martin Woods               OL           6-3     280    Glendale, Ariz. (Independence/Glendale CC)
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