Missouri Southern Announces 2012 Football Recruiting Class

Joplin, Mo. -- Missouri Southern head football coach Daryl Daye has announced the addition of 17 young men as part of his 2012 recruiting class. 

The group of individuals includes players from the states of Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas and Georgia. The group of athletes includes 15 high school players and two junior college transfers. 

"First and foremost, I'd like to thank the entire support staff here at Missouri Southern that helped us in this process," Daye said. "Kelly Wilson, Julie Wengert, Tommye Geredine, Clay Deem, Karesa Burr and Jared Bruggeman, just to name a few. Without them, I'm not sure how we'd have recruited such an impressive group of players.

"I'm extremely excited at whom we've brought in today. I'd also like to give credit where it is due and that's to my assistant coaches. They assembled what I think is a premier recruiting class in a little less than two weeks and that effort needs to be commended. I've never heard of having that short of a timeline to recruit and I think it's an incredible feat." 

A short synopsis of the athletes that were added today follows below: 

Kenneth Armant – Vacherie, La. – St. James HS – RB – 5-9, 175
Armant comes to Southern from St. James High School in Louisiana ... He was a first-team All-District selection at both running back and wide receiver, and was the first-team All-District selection at specialist, as well ... An All-State and offensive MVP selection, Armant was a team captain and named one of the Top 100 players by LA Magazine ... This past season, he rushed for 687 yards on 79 carries for an average of 8.7 per rush and nine touchdowns ... he also caught 14 passes out of the backfield for 150 yards and a score ... He averaged 47 yards on punt returns and 21 yards on kickoff returns.

Adrian Brownlee – Friendswood, Texas – Clear Brook HS - OL – 6-2, 255
Brownlee was a two-time All-State and All-District selection at Clear Brook HS in Friendswood, Texas ... He was a team captain this past season and won the Lanier Hammer Award.

Dillan Dent – Destrehan, La. – Destrehan HS – ATH – 5-10, 185
Dent comes to Southern after a stellar career as a quarterback at Destrehan HS in Destrehan, La. … Named one of the Top 100 players by LA Magazine … A four-year letterwinner in football, basketball and track, he has been clocked at 4.45 in the 40-yard dash … This past season, he played in ten games where he completed 42-81 passes and threw for 683 yards with seven touchdowns … he also rushed for a touchdown, had one kickoff for a touchdown and three punts returned for a touchdown … Dent also played corner back where he recorded 31 tackles and 10 pass break ups. 

JaVonte Edwards - Milledgeville, Ga. – Georgia Millitary College – FB – 5-10, 230

Edwards played two seasons at Georgia Millitary College ... this past season, he rushed for 498 yards and four scores in ten games, averaging 49.8 yards per game from the fullback position ... He also had 52 yards in the kick return game ... in high school, Edwards was a two-time All-State, All-Rregion, All-County, named one of the top 100 players in the state of Georgia ... he was also a team captain, the team's leading rusher his junior and senior seasons and won the Team Offensive MVP award his senior season.

Kyle Factor – Oklahoma City, Okla. – Westmoore HS – DT – 6-0, 275
An All-Conference, All-District and All-State selection at Westmoore High School ... Factor was chosen All-State by three different organizations ... This past season as a senior, Factor helped lead the team to a 7-4 record where he had 75 tackles, averaging 6.8 per game and was the team MVP ... He had eight sacks on the season, including five in a single game in a 55-42 win over Mustang ... He was the district Defensive Player of the Year.

Gireese Forchu – Forney, Texas – North Forney HS – RB – 5-10, 180
Forchu played for coach James Brown at North Forney High School in Forney, Texas ... A first-team All-District and All-Area selection, he was a team captain and was named one of the top 200 players in the state of Texas ... He led the Dallas-Fort Worth Area in rushing this past season, running for 1,648 yards on 226 carries ... He averaged 7.3 yards per rush and scored 15 rushing touchdowns ... He was also the district Offensive Most Valuable Player ... He was an All-State selection as a senior and was the Conference and District Offensive MVP.

Marcus Hall – La Place, La. – St. Charles HS – RB/KR – 5-9, 180
Hall played running back at St. Charles Catholic High School where he was a two-time All-State, All-Metro and All-New Orleans selection ... He gained 2,600 all-purpose yards in his career where he was a three-time All River Parish and All-District selection ... He was also the MVP of the State Championship game ... rushed for 1,800 yards in his career ... helped lead his team to a perfect 15-0 record and a state championship ... named one of the Top 100 players by LA Magazine.

Dana Hendrix – Ponchatoula, La. – Ponchatoula HS – FB – 6-0, 230
Hendrix played under coach Hank Tierney at Ponchatoula where he was a three-time letterwinnner ... This past season as a senior, he rushed for 1,090 yards on 130 carries, averaging 8.3 per carry and scoring 15 touchdowns ... he was named to the All-District team and helped the Greenwave to the playoffs in three of his four seasons, earning the Bi-District Championship this past season ... as a junior, he rushed for 778 yards on 94 carries and scored 12 times ... he was also named All-District as a junior ... named one of the Top 100 players by LA Magazine.

Thomas Jespersen – Rogers, Ark. – Rogers HS – OL – 6-3, 270
A two-time all-state pick at Rogers (Ark.) High School ... He was a two-year member of the KURM – Radio Dream team and was the recipient of the Hammer award this season ... He was also a two-time All-District selection, earning District MVP honors this year.

Josh Lannum – Cassville, Mo. – Cassville HS – OL, 6-3, 260
Lannum was an All-Conference, All-District and All-State selection at Cassville High School, helping the Wildcats to a Big-8 Conference Title and a trip to the playoffs this year as a senior.

John McDowell – Covington, La. – Covington HS – QB – 6-2, 190
McDowell comes to Southern after helping lead Covington (La.) High School to a 7-4 record this past season and a trip to the Louisiana State High School Playoffs ... this past season, McDowell rushed for 498 yards and threw for 356 yards ... in his career, he has 908 yards passing and 1062 yards rushing at Covington ... an All-District selection at quarterback and athlete, he was a team captain and named his team's Offensive MVP ... He was also named one of the Top 100 players by LA Magazine.

Ricky Nichols – Cassville, Mo. – Cassville HS – QB – 6-2, 185
Nichols was coached by David Large at Cassville High School where he was a coaches association first-team All-State athlete as a senior ... he was an Associated Press second-team All-State pick, while being named the Big 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year ... He was a first-team All-Conference pick as a quarterback and a second-team pick by the Southwest Missouri Coaches Association as a quarterback ... He rushed for 1,100 yards and 20 touchdowns, while throwing for 700 and 10 passing touchdowns ... He also returned two kickoffs for a score ... As a junior, he was a second-team All-Big 8 quarterback pick, rushing for 809 yards and 12 scores, while throwing for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns ... he was also a first-team All-State pick as a shortstop on the baseball diamond and holds the school record for batting average.

Gatlin Ridgway – Danville, Ohio – Highland (Miss.) JC – LB/Safety – 5-10, 205
Ridgway is a three-time All-State pick at linebacker with 512 career tackles in high school ... In 2009 he was Ohio's Defensive Player of the Year and played in the Ohio McDonald's all-star game, being named MVP ... Ridgway went to Highland Community College and played linebacker and safety ... In 2011 he was named a second-team All-Conference pick at safety ... he finished his two-year career with 197 tackles.

Nick Shanks – Pratteville, Ala. – Pratteville HS – WR – 6-1, 190
Shanks helped his team to a 12-2 record this past season, while averaging 12.5 yards per catch ... He caught 21 passes for 261 yards and two scores ... Shanks was an All-County and All-Metro selection, while also being named to the All-Academic Team ... He helped his team to a 6A Alabama State Championship and had two different state championship appearances.

Molik Slade – Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Plantation HS – LB – 6-3, 222
This past season, Slade tallied 107 tackles, while adding two interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries for Plantation High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. ... He was named the team's Most Outstanding Linebacker ... He was a second-team All-Broward County pick, as well as a second-team All-Miami Herald section.

Anthony Thayer – Neodasha, Kan. – Butler CC – FB – 5-10, 230
Thayer comes to Southern after sitting out a season at Butler CC ... Originally from Neodasha, Kan. Where he played at Neodasha High School and coach John Black ... a 2011 graduate of Neodasha, Thayer rushed for 1,833 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior in 2010 ... He helped the team to a 7-4 mark.

Chris Williams – New Orleans, La. – Brother Martin HS – DL – 6-3, 270
Williams played at Brother Martin High School for coach Mark Bonis, helping the team to a 8-4 record this past season … named one of the Top 100 players by LA Magazine … A two-year starter, Williams was a mainstay on the defensive line, recording 43 tackles, five sacks, five quarterback hurries and seven tackles for a loss … he also played in the Lake Ponchartrain All-State Game.