Coach Justin Fuente is busy rebuilding Memphis, and he loaded up his 2013 recruiting class with 29 players.
Six of those players already are enrolled at Memphis, and Fuente stocked up with four running backs and five defensive backs for the Tigers' switch to the Big East this year. They went 4-8 in his debut season, including winning their final three games.
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Fuente called this class another step in the right direction Wednesday.
The intriguing player may be 6-foot Sam Craft, who will get the chance to play football and basketball. Craft threw for 1,798 yards and 14 touchdowns while running for 974 yards and 16 TDs. He also helped win a Tennessee Class AAA state title in 2011 before transferring to Olive Branch High after his junior season.
Memphis Coach Justin Fuente Signing Day Press Conference Transcript
"Before I start, I want to thank a few people. I'd like to start off thanking Tom Bowen for his help and always being accessible to us as a staff. I want to thank the faculty and staff at the University of Memphis. Many of them shared their Saturday mornings with us and came over and spoke about their field of study and their experiences. Bob Baker in academics does a great job and we certainly appreciate his work. Sherri Schwartz and the girls up front do a great job. I want to thank our staff and their wives. There's a lot of work that goes into this and a lot of sacrifices on the home front.
"We're excited about this signing class. I think it's another step in the right direction to building our football program. We had a pretty big emphasis on offensive lineman and skill kids on offense and defensive backfield and linebackers on defense. We had to fill a few holes in the specialty area and the kicking game. We look forward to getting them in the program and putting them to work. "
On signing five defensive backs
"We're going to throw it out there and let guys go compete for jobs. I don't want any freshman to come in and just assume he's going to be redshirted. I want them to prepare as if they're going to go play. We'll see how it works out. We'll play them as much as they're ready to play – whether it be in the defensive backfield or at running back, quarterback or any other position. I look forward to facilitating some of the competition that comes with depth."
On the depth at running back
"We made it a pretty big emphasis for us to go sign some guys at the tailback position. I'm excited about Brandon Hayes and what he and others did for us, but we need to continue to upgrade at that spot. I think it's a very important spot. If you look at the guys we brought in, I think they all have a little different skill set, which excites me."
On quarterback Brayden Scott
"Brayden is a young quarterback, which is a good thing. He's a big kid. He has some strength and will become a very big, strong quarterback. He's also a guy that should be in high school right now. He's going through off season workouts right now and he's doing a fine job. I'm encouraged by Brayden in the time he's been here. There's a big transition for Brayden and I'm looking forward to going about it slowly and making sure we develop him the right way."
On Sam Craft playing football and basketball
"We have a special relationship with Sam and his family. His dad was a wonderful player here. Where and what he does for us, we'll just see. I think he has a large skill set that transposes well into what we would like to become offensively. He's somebody that I'm excited about, and I'm happy he chose to come to the University of Memphis. He came here for all of the right reasons."
On the signing of wide receivers Joe Craig and Adrian Henderson
"Bringing Joe (Craft) and Adrian (Henderson) in at semester has been huge for us. They've been working great. Joe can really run and Adrian is a little bit bigger guy. Replacing Marcus Rucker is going to be difficult but I look to the guys that are currently on our roster and the guys we're bringing in to go compete for playing time."
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