FOOTBALL: Ball State adds impact players on Signing Day

Parrish expects quarterback recruit to compete right away

As Stan Parrish announced Ball State University's 2010 recruiting class Wednesday afternoon, he didn't shy away from heaping big expectations on his future players.

Ball State signed 21 high school seniors on National Signing Day, a group that Parrish is very confident in.

He is especially excited about quarterback Keith Wenning, from Coldwater, Ohio. Wenning committed to Ball State in the fall, but Parrish was afraid a bigger school would swoop in late in the recruiting period.

"Many of the BCS schools will do that late in the recruiting," he said. "He was a bonus for us. We didn't think we could get him, and we got him."

Wenning is immediately expected to compete with Kelly Page and Aaron Mershman for playing time.

"I fully think we'll have a tremendous competition amongst those three," Parrish said. "All the positions on our team are open. We didn't win any championships last fall."

The opportunity to compete right away helped draw Wenning to Ball State. He started just one year in high school, but led the Cavaliers to the Division V state championship game this year. Wenning thinks the lack of exposure may have caused him to fly under the radar of BCS schools.

"I know how good I am, but in one year I didn't get that much exposure," Wenning said. "Ball State knows what they got."

Parrish compared Wenning to Nate Davis, especially because he is a multi-sport athlete. Wenning plays baseball and basketball in addition to football.

"I see a lot of the same mannerisms when they play football and basketball that I saw with Nathan," Parrish said. "I think he picked us because he could come here and kind of do what Nate did."

Wenning is still playing basketball and will play baseball in the spring. He was an All-Ohio baseball player last year, and has a chance to continue his baseball career as well.

Wenning said he has been told if he puts together another season like last year's, he likely will be take in the MLB Draft this June. But Wenning isn't thinking about that possibility.

"My mindset is on Ball State football," he said. "I'll just have to wait and see."
Ball State signed three cornerbacks, and Parrish expects contributions from them next year.

"I think they can all play, much like the linebackers I stood here and talked about a year ago," he said. "We needed help at corner[back] desperately, particularly from a depth standpoint."

According to Scout.com, Jeffery Garrett, a cornerback from Ben Davis High School, is the highest rated Ball State recruit. During Garrett's senior year, only three passes were completed to the receiver he was covering. The Indianapolis native is expected to make an immediate difference next year.

"Given what they did last year and the amount of freshmen they played, if they're going to do that again, he's a guy that can play right away," said Allen Trieu, Scout.com Midwest regional manager. "I thought early on he would wind up in the Big Ten."

After a disappointing season on the field, Parrish is pleased the Cardinals got through recruiting with what he considers a quality class.

"I was worried we were struggling so [much] that we were going to lose some of these guys," Parrish said. "But they looked at it in just the opposite way. The glass might be half-empty right now, but it's going to be half-full quickly."


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