Football recruits start to roll in

By Joe Ragusa

Saluki football is mum on the topic of mid-year transfers, but that hasn’t stopped any of the recruits from saying they’re coming to Carbondale.

The mid-year transfer deadline was Jan. 15, which means players who signed before then are enrolled for the spring 2012 semester. Sports information director Tom Weber said the coaching staff wants to wait until National Signing Day, Feb. 1, to officially announce and comment on their recruits, when the regular period for recruits to sign for the fall 2012 semester officially begins.

But several athletes have announced their intent to play football for SIU. The void left by outgoing running back Jewel Hampton has two new players to fill it, with former Iowa running back Mika’il McCall and former Indiana running back Antonio Banks.


McCall, the younger brother of SIU thrower Jeneva McCall, left Iowa after he was suspended indefinitely for breaking an unspecified team rule in November.

“I don’t want to say what happened. It’s time to move on,” McCall said Jan. 14 to the Des Moines Register, when he announced his decision to come to SIU.

The Indiana Daily Student announced Banks left Indiana Oct. 5, and the SIUC online directory confirmed he’s registered for the spring 2012 semester.

Banks is a junior while McCall is a freshman.

The new running backs will have at least one new offensive linemen to run behind with 6-foot-5-inch offensive guard Nate Haremza, who verbally committed to SIU from Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kan., according to

Haremza will help fill in for the departures of five seniors on the offensive line, including All-Americans David Pickard and Bryan Boemer.

SIU will have another former Hoosier on the defensive side of the ball with defensive tackle Marlandez Harris. He left the team Oct. 5, according to the Herald Time of Bloomington, Ind., and is registered for spring 2012 according to SIUC’s online directory.

The linebacker corps will get a boost from inside linebacker Victor Burnett and outside linebacker Tyler Williamson. Burnett, as a redshirt freshman, was kicked off Washington’s football team Aug. 11 after police forced him to leave his dorm for an undisclosed reason, according to the Daily UW.

Williamson comes from Highland Community College in Highland, Kan., and is verified as a student on SIUC’s online directory.

NCAA regulations are strict regarding coaches talking about recruits who haven’t signed a Letter of Intent, the official binding document between an athlete and a school, but once they’ve officially signed such as these players, the coaches can discuss the athletes.

Running backs coach Steve Crutchley said he wouldn’t confirm the recruits until National Signing Day to protect their interests with underclassmen recruits who haven’t officially signed yet.

“If we’re recruiting against, say, Missouri State, and there’s a corner (back) that we’re recruiting out of high school,” Crutchley said, “(If) we took a mid-year guy, they could use that against us.”

Coach Dale Lennon told Saluki broadcaster Mike Reis Jan. 18 the recruiting class should have around eight mid-year transfers and 20 athletes overall.