Jeff Reed – Red Wolves Recruiting Simple Plan: Defensive Linemen


Jeff Reed Author PageTo somewhat sorta paraphrase a longtime gone football coach in the state it would not take a rocket surgeon or surgeon rocket to figure out what most needed to be fixed about the Arkansas State Red Wolves’ football team.

Just think back to Appalachian State, Texas State, Toledo… There are several examples of one of the things that went wrong and finally ended the Red Wolves’ conference title string at three. Straight ahead running attacks were an issue.

And we let A-State defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen, already a fan favorite for his straight-forward style, explain: “We got sick of people running it down our throats.”

Stocked with inexperience and walk-ons on the defensive interior, the Red Wolves struggled late in the season and in the bowl game where a senior offensive line from Toledo paved the way for the Rockets’ victory.

So the Red Wolves recruiting plan was simple. Load up on defensive linemen. And they did.

With the December signing period for junior college players the Red Wolves added 340-pound nose guard Waylon Roberson and 285-pound tackle Jake Swalley.

After the demise of the UA-Birmingham program, the Red Wolves added Robert Mondie, the brother of Red Wolves offensive tackle Devin Mondie. Robert is a 300-plus pound senior nose guard.

Two days ago the team added Donovan Ransom, a 308-pound nose guard, and Javier Cabronell, a 275-pound tackle, to the group up front. They are added to hometown Chucks Ota, who logged some starts at nose as a true freshman, and Texans EJ Sutton and Marcus Hudson, who were both redshirted this year.

So as we go forward the numbers up front are more manageable and prompted defensive coordinator Cauthen to say “next year we start working on the back 7.”

There is still a need at the middle linebacker (Mike) and that could be the spot the Red Wolves work on until practice starts in August. Blake Anderson said the team would continue to look around for a “game changer” that might be a late qualifier, or transfer, or a signee who does not qualify at his school but would fit at A-State.

The folks around Jonesboro are hoping to help form a bridge with the seven mid-year guys, and the two defensive backs and two offensive linemen who are already in place, that allows the younger pups to mature. Anderson and staff have shown they are not against playing freshmen, but would love to have more maturity in the players when they hit the field.

With several all-conference caliber skill people in place the hope is that bridge is a good, strong one that leads the Red Wolves back into the title chase.

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Jeff Reed is editor of

Jeff Reed Red Wolves Recruiting Simple Plan Defensive Linemen


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