Twenty-three high school athletes signed with Miami University Wednesday, marking new head football coach Chuck Martin’s first recruiting class. Martin also added three transfers from the University of Notre Dame.
Quarterback Andrew Hendrix, tight end Alex Welch and cornerback Lo Wood will spend their fifth and final year of eligibility at Miami after spending four years with Martin at Notre Dame.
Hendrix is a 6-foot-2, 226-pound QB who saw limited action in 16 games at Notre Dame. He completed 25 of 58 passes for 360 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also chipped 229 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Martin praised Hendrix’s ability as a dual-threat quarterback.
“He can make every throw you want and he can run the football and he is big and strong, and not only can take hits but deliver hits,” Martin said. “He is a super-smart kid. Very unique when it comes to his well-roundness … He is one of the more intelligent kids you will ever be around. I’m looking forward to him potentially having a monster year for us.”
Welch is a 6-foot-4, 251-pound tight end and caught just one pass during his time at Notre Dame. He was stuck behind current or future NFL players Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert and Troy Niklas at Notre Dame. He also suffered a knee injury during his junior season that caused him to miss the whole season.
Martin praised Welch’s pass-catching ability.
“Alex has NFL hands,” Martin said. “There is not anybody that has better hands than Alex Welch. The first time you see him catch a pass you’ll know what I’m talking about. There are certain guys that just catch a pass differently and he is one of them.”
Martin said that if Welch was not hurt during his junior season, things may have turned out differently for him.
Wood is a 5-foot-11, 194-pound corner who also suffered an injury during his junior season. He spent most of his time as a reserve at Notre Dame, but Martin said Wood can be a lockdown corner for Miami.
“Lo is a lockdown corner,” Wood said. “He is a great man-coverage guy, not saying he’s not great in zone, but that is his forte. He has the speed and the strength and the toughness. He’s been trained a long time to play man-coverage and loves to play man. We really feel like he can be a lockdown corner.”
Martin said Miami needed size, power and depth in the trenches.
“The trenches are everything,” Martin said. “The skill guys are awesome if the guys in the trenches are doing their job … It is a major need for us. Not only depth, but upgrading the size and the power of those positions. We’re not very big up there right now, that is just the way it is.”
Martin said patience would be important as the RedHawks build their lines.
“And that is a tougher fix … it is a process,” Martin said. “You’re not going to play a bunch of young guys and be a dominate football team … We’re going to have to be patient as a staff and the people that want us to fix it in a day are going to have to be patient.”
Martin said depth was especially key, as Miami was short on bodies on both lines.
“In the trenches, were short on numbers, not necessarily talent,” Martin said. “Just short on numbers on the offensive and defensive front sevens so we had – just to function next fall – we had to add numbers there just so we could have a two-deep and a scout team and to be able to prepare like everybody does for games.”
Depending on position changes, Miami signed as many as seven or eight players who could play on the offensive or defensive line.
Martin signed seven recruits from the state of Ohio, excluding Welch and Hendrix, who went to high school in Ohio. Martin said recruiting Ohio is a priority.
“Local and the whole state of Ohio is going to be our bread and butter … ” Martin said. “We will recruit the daylight out of the state. I have recruited all over the country the past four years at Notre Dame and they play as good of football in the state of Ohio as they do anywhere in the country.”
Miami was in a battle for wide receiver Sam Martin, who flipped his commitment from Miami to Rutgers and then back again in the week leading up to signing day.
Miami has just two three-star recruits in Gus Ragland and Zach Hovey, according to Scout.com. Ragland is a quarterback from Moeller high school in Cincinnati and Hovey is a tight end who could have walked-on at Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Scout.com has Miami’s class ranked 105th in the nation and seventh in the Mid-American Conference. However, Scout’s site doesn’t have an up-to-date and accurate list of Miami’s commits as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
An in-depth breakdown of Miami’s recruits can be found here.