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UMass head coach Kevin Morris will be unveiling the 2011 UMass Football Signing Class right here on UMassAthletics.com via a live chat. Please send your questions and comments to the coach and he will answer them.
Coach Morris: Good morning, hopefully everyone is handling the weather. We are off to a good start despite the weather. Send your questions along and we will discuss the 2011 recruiting class.

Dalton: Coach, in recent years, UMass QB's have not been "fleet of foot." Do you prefer not to have QB's who can run?
Coach Morris: Both Coen and Havens were not true runners. In our league leading offensive scheme, you need to be able to throw the ball. If you can be a true double threat, then I am interested. Mike Wegzyn is our QB in this class and he is similar to those guys. 6'4 pocket passer from Knoxville Catholic, TN who can move well enough to make plays. He has a live arm and fits what we do. Welcome Mike.

Big Shot Bob (Lowell): Any new recruits in the return game(PR,KR), Nelson will be missed,but he wasn't in that role until the end of season. The others...not so much. Sorry to be so truthful.
Coach Morris: Nelson certainly had an impact. We have a number of athletes coming in that will try to fill that void. Brian Dowling, Wayne Hills HS, NJ his NLI just came in. He is one of those guys who can do it all. All-State NJ who will look to provide big plays in the return game. Welcome Brian.

Jim Senatore (Oakmont): Did you guys go looking in Florida? Always lots of talent there. Good luck.
Coach Morris: We have had great success in Florida and this year is no different. We will sign at least 5 Florida guys in this class. Anddy Moas is a 6'4 295 OL West Broward HS, Andre Ortiz 5'7 Kicker Kings Academy, Jamal Wilson 5'10 190 RB St. Thomas Aquinas, Marken Michel 5'10 185 WR American Heritage Plantation. These guys are already in, congrats.

Chuck (Leominster): Coach, so glad you are chatting again. Do you think this year's class will be deep? What areas did you target?
Coach Morris: This years class will be deep. We targeted the WR position but tried to fill needs in across the board. We always want more, but this is an exciting class with an offensive emphasis to create depth and impact guys to compete immediately.

Mort (Boston): Coach, I saw you had a signing day even set for Boston. Is it rescheduled? Will you show videos of the signees at the event?
Coach Morris: Yes I will. We will feature all the signees and I will answer any questions regarding this class. February 16th at the UMass Club in Boston. See everyone there for the luncheon.

worcester: When will we hear an announcement about a move to the FBS
Coach Morris: When I hear it you will hear it. We stated that we were investigating the move and we are in that process. Unfortunately, that is all I have for now on that topic.

boris (amherst): w/ news of 1A pending arrival...are u looking forward to stealing all the top mass talent away from b.c.??
Coach Morris: Right now we will be competing with BC on the field this fall, September 24th at their place.

Marcus (NJ): So happy you are adding Dowling. He;s a stud!
Coach Morris: Yes, we are happy to have Brian as a great addition for UMass he can be an impact player.

Howard (Dallas): I remember a great player from Texas on your team L.A. Love, a tough LB.. Any chance of adding some Texas talent?
Coach Morris: Stay tuned, the storms down there may delay that announcement, hopefully later today

Frank (Jaffrey, NH): Coach, will we be recruiting a fullback this year?
Coach Morris: Not officially but our TE's like Emil have taken that role as H-back. John McGrath 6'3 255 Kent School is one of those guys coming in. Welcome John

EVan (Boston): Hey Coach, How much local talent (from Mass.) Do you expect to sign today?
Coach Morris: We are very excited about signing 6 Mass players today. Jamie Casselberry 6'6 280 OL Philips Andover was the first NLI in this AM. Randall Jette 5'10 170 DB Marthas Vineyard, John Wallace 6'4 275 OL Somerville have sent their NLIs in and Greg Hilliard 6'3 200 LBer Brockton through Suffield academy is already enrolled. Couple more coming.
Coach Morris: Jarvis Bentley 6'4 WR from Carver HS in Columbus GA has just faxed in the NLI. Big play receiver with great hands. Welcome Jarvis

Don (Hampton, NH): Coach, with our young secondary a year older, do you anticipate a more aggressive defensive scheme this year? It seemed we played a lot of soft coverage, understandably to protect a couple of freshmen CBs.
Coach Morris: Whatever it takes. We will be older but are still adding young talent. Iric Harris 5'8 175 DB from Va has signed. He is also a returner. Welcome Iric

Speedzone Recruits Inc.: Hey coach great pick up with Marken Michel he is my nephew and i am very pleased he signed with UMASS
Coach Morris: We are excited as well. Great kid and great worker. Already a 300lb bench press guy as a WR that is outstanding

Pete (Amherst): What kind of kid are you looking to recruit. I have heard you talk about being UMass Tough, what exactly does that mean?
Coach Morris: I am looking for guys who want to take on challenges on the field and off. That takes both mental and physical toughness. #1 characteristic I was looking for and found with this class of student-athletes.
Coach Morris: TE Dan Foesel, Depaul HS, NJ hot off the fax. Runs well, great hands and is physical. Welcome Dan

Talley (Atlanta): Nice signing with Bentley. he was a real playmaker at Carver.
Coach Morris: Carver has great football and we now have Jarvis and Ryan Campbell the transfer DB from Ole Miss both from Carver. Great pipeline in the making.

Pittsfield: Could you tell us about this year's schedule? BC has us playing there on Oct. 1, and Old Dominion has us playing there on the same date.
Coach Morris: Not sure about that. We will be at BC on the 24th. Open on the road at Holy Cross, bye week than URI at home. Unusual opening sequence.

Umass fan: Hey Coach take a look at Safety Brian Fifita from Oaks Christian. This kid is a sleeper recruit looking for a offer. Look for his tape on youtube.
Coach Morris: Will do. Thanks for the heads up and keep them coming. We picked up Chase Danska WR at the midyear from Diablo Valley JC in CA and will have one more CA announcement in this class.
Coach Morris: Jordan Broadnax 5'9 175 RB VA in the class. Fast RB who was also a DB and returner. Welcome Jordan

Steve (Ramsey NJ): Coach, Saw both those North Jersey kids this fall. Outstanding Players! With your possible move do you consider red shirting them or others in preperation of the future?
Coach Morris: We want guys to come in and want to play right away. The reality is that it is tough for true freshmen to play because of the demands required both physically and mentally. We have played only 3 frosh in the last two years. McIntyre at LBer, Tharpe at DB and Andre on special teams/LBer.

Bob (Boston): I think you play ODU on Oct. 1. Is that right?
Coach Morris: I don't have it in front of me but I believe so.

North Reading: Coach, can you talk about the FBS & JC transfers? Also, if UMass announces a move to FBS after they transfer, will they avoid having to sit out a year?
Coach Morris: Chris Burns, outstanding RB from Pitt and already proven to have leadership skills. Kellen Pagel, QB from Bowling Green will compete right away for the QB position. Live arm and runs well. Ryan Campbell DB from Ole Miss. Runs well and also will compete immediately at corner. Chase Danska, WR Diablo Valley JC, same as Havens. Runs well and does a lot on the field from the wr, slot and backfield positions. Quality group athletically and character-wise. Any D1 to D1 transfer has to sit a year unless they graduate and get a waiver. These guys are all eligible immediately.

Marc Slam, Whitehouse Station (NJ): Coach, did you and your staff have much susess recruiting in Jersey?
Coach Morris: We are excited about Beck, Foesel and Dowling. New Jersey has been good to us.

Brendon(NY): Coach, how much do you like to look at players from JUCOs. You seems to have added a few more than Coach Brown did.
Coach Morris: Its a time and a place. We go out there for a specific piece to the puzzle and try to find it. We have been fortunate with guys like Kurt Filler, Kyle Havens, Mike Omar and now Chase Danska to do just that.
Coach Morris: Brandon Howard TE 6'5 2250 from Worcester Academy just came in. Former QB who runs well from the TE spot. Welcome Brandon

Gary (Chelmsford): I saw on some websites that you had a few more recruits from Florida. Are they just not arrived yet? Or are they not coming?
Coach Morris: Not sure of the sites but we may have more to add from fla. Moas, Wilson, Michel, Ortiz is a great start.

Go UMass!!: Are you still on the hunt for more FBS transfers? or is that window already closed?
Coach Morris: Closed for the mid year enrollment but always looking to improve the squad.

Anthony (Mass): It looks like you made two great signing with Chris Burns and Brian Dowling at RB. Do you feel both these guys can contribute right away in your backfield? Thanks and GO MASS!!
Coach Morris: Really excited about the Tailback position. Hernandez returns along with Jamar Smith. Burns brings experience and Dowling, Wilson, Broadnax all can fly. We like great tailbacks as you know. Hernandez, Griffin, Nelson, Zardas, Lawrence, Baylark, Shipp creates quite a lineage.

Steve (Amherst): coach your defense was ranked at the bottom of the caa. will this incoming class address some of those needs?
Coach Morris: We are improving our offense, defense and special teams with the midyear and fall class.

Marcus (NJ): Who is Beck?
Coach Morris: Beck, is Derek Beck a 6'3 Wr from Bridgewater-Raritan, NJ. Great hands and actually returned kickoffs as well. Welcome Derek if I failed to say that earlier.

Ignatowski - Boston: Are you going to consider putting names on the jerseys this year?
Coach Morris: Iggy, names on the back of the jerseys can be earned with off the field accomplishments in the classroom and the community.

Top Row Sec 16 Pittsfield: Coach any word on who the non leage games will be w/ this year? I know we play BC and Holy Cross but that would seem to leave one opening or are we playing another league game w/ ODU now in the CAA>
Coach Morris: The other out of conference game is Central Connecticut

Mike Brockton (City of Champions): Coach any luck with the DL recruits.
Coach Morris: Stay tuned. Looking to sign one today to add to the young group already on the roster.

Homer Simpson (Springfield): Is the Commissioner of the Northeast Conference (Noreen Morris) your sister?
Coach Morris: Homer, yes. We are very proud of the Commish.

Shelton (South Amherst): This is very cool to see you chatting with the fans. Its great to interact with us. Would you say any of these signees would play this season?
Coach Morris: As I mentioned earlier, it is hard to play as a freshmen. You just can't take the freshmen out of the freshmen. But this year I do see more frosh getting on the field than in the past.

Pete (Boston): Hey Coach, how do you think the QB situation is looking thus far, are you confident in the guys you have. Is it one of your major concerns this year?
Coach Morris: Excited and confident with Hill going into his second year and the additions of Pagel and Wegzyn to the group of Shultis, Pendagast and Hunt we should be able to run the offense at a high level.

Dave ,(Quincy: With most successful programs in the CAA that are making the playoffs each year are making a run for the Championship having a dual threat athlete at QB why has UMass stayed with the prototype dropback QB?
Coach Morris: 2010 Delaware made the championship game with a drop back QB. Villanova won with a QB that ran, average thrower but had Szur an all-american wildcat that was the difference at QB. As I mentioned earlier if the guy is truly a dual threat, than great. We have had a lot of success with the pro-style offense, lead the league this past season and not for the first time. Just our way to skin the cat.

Top Row Sec 16: Any success on finding a replacement for Mr Do Everything Scott Duggan who played LB/ FB and on Specials?
Coach Morris: Hard to replicate a Scott Duggan.

Rydog #1 fan: What do you look for in your leaders on and off the field?
Coach Morris: To keep it short, just that. Leaders have to lead on and off the field. It is not something you can turn on and off. The guys are looking to leaders for leadership always. We talk about getting it right the first time and holding the guys accountable when they do not. Great question.

Tom, Worcester: Any WR signees? Your passers have always had great weapons.
Coach Morris: Yes, biggest position group in the class. Beck, Bentley, Michel, Danska (mid-year) all in with a couple more coming.

Tom: Attleboro: Coach: great job with the recruiting this year. Some excellent talent from strong programs. Any luck finding some D-lineman with more size?
Coach Morris: Always a tough find but we will bring in one more today. Our D-line is filled with Sophomores who really need to make hay this fall for us to be successful at a high level on defense. A bunch of those guys played this year so they have gotten a taste of it.

Sam (Brockton): Coach, looks like a great class! 16 offensive recruits should add a great foundation, but with only 4 defensive recruits how to you plan on improving that side of the ball?
Coach Morris: Recruiting is always a game of numbers. We will be dominant on offense in this class because we are young on defense. We will return 9 starters on defense in 2011 and only lose 3 seniors for 2012. Our improvement defensively will start with the guys on the roster getting better. Campbell and Hilliard mid-year will help as well. Again, dont count out these freshmen.

Max (Boston): How do you feel about the conference champions this year? With all of the new players do you think you can pull it off?
Coach Morris: Yes.

Jim (South Deerfield: Did the potential move to the FBS help or hinder your recruiting efforts?
Coach Morris: We made the statement about investigating FBS and the word was out there. It gave UMass a lot of buzz in the recruiting circles, that always helps.

Dan ( Hoboken): Excited to see you're bringing in Dowling and Foesel. What role are you looking to have them in and do you expect for them to make an impact soon?
Coach Morris: Looking forward to the New Jersey guys having an impact. Foesel will fit our 2 TE schemes. Dowling does a lot from a lot of positions on the field and Beck is an imposing receiver. Again hard for freshmen to figure it all out, but these guys have a shot.

Dan ( NJ): Brian Dowling is a jack of all trades, there isn't anything he cant do, what will his role be with Umass?
Coach Morris: Thats the beauty of Brian, he will find a role. We will start him on offense but he could help defensively and will on special teams. We have a number of guys that are dual threat players. Broadnax, Harris, McGrath, Michel, Jette can all impact the team in all three phases.

Big Shot: Coach please work on increasing season tix holders,during off season.. Start on Route 2 corridor Leominster/Gardner,etc Full houses will help!!
Coach Morris: Our crowds have been great and I appreciate it. The marketing department is on full go to continue the great tradition of the home game experience at McGuirk (I will alert them to the Rte 2 corridor but I am sure they ar on it). The boys love playing in front of the home crowd keep attending.

FL: Congratulations getting Marken Michel!! Great kid and a great player.
Coach Morris: Yes, very impressed with Marken and looking forward to seeing him in maroon.

Rene in Orlando: I saw you mentioned all the great TBs at UMass, what about a guy named Rene Ingoglia? Great class coach!
Coach Morris: Rene, an all-time great RB at UMass but unfortunately that post dated only to 1999.

Mark (CT): Are there games planned in the future for Gillette Stadium and does playing in larger venues, BC included, help with recruiting at the FCS level?
Coach Morris: We are playing in Gillette again for one game in 2011. Any time you do something to enhance the experience for the student-athlete it makes recruiting easier at any level.

gwendolyn: do you talk to the recruits moms a lot during the process?
Coach Morris: As much as possible. The moms always ask the best questions.

Top Roww Sec 16: who is the funniest player on the team?
Coach Morris: Subject to much debate.
Coach Morris: some weather delays on the final NLI's.

Kevin Wayne NJ: will the incoming class address your issues in the secondary?
Coach Morris: With our young secondary all returning and the additions of Campbell, Jette, Harris and one more we will have great internal competition, which leads to high caliber play on Saturdays.

belladunno hadley: Very few DL recruits every year. Don't kids like the position?
Coach Morris: Only one this year but two years ago we signed 6 Dlinemen.

Matt Stolte: Hey just checking up UMass Football. Good luck today and this season!!
Coach Morris: speaking of Dl, Matt great to hear from you, hope all is well Thanks.

Matt (NH): UNH fan here. It seems that things have been easier recruiting wise for Umass, UNH, and Maine with the losses of NU and Hofstra. Would you say there is a big difference?
Coach Morris: There are enough kids out there that you can find the kids that fit your program to answer your first question. Recruiting is never an easy venture but the losses of those programs just took slots away from prospective student-athletes. The competition for those athletes from like schools is always there. Sorry about your unh fan thing.

Great Barrington: Hi Coach, the last couple of years UMass has been at or near the bottom of the CAA in sacks. Do we have the personnel to improve in this area?
Coach Morris: I talked earlier about the D-line youth and expectations. Ryan Delaire and Matt Heilig are frosh that will also factor in that equation coming off the edge.

Richard (Beantown): Coach, you mentioned the weather is holding up NLI's. How many more prospective student-athletes are you waiting on?
Coach Morris: Holding out for one more right now. The weather has forced some school closings from here to Texas so we may have to wait until tomorrow for the final few NLI's. Thank you to everyone for supporting UMass football. These recruits will add to the quality core players now on the roster. The guys are working very hard to maximize their off-seasons in attempt to make 2011 season a memorable one. Have a great winter season. Talk to everyone soon. February 16th at the UMass Club in Boston for the final review and video of the 2011 class. Welcome to UMass to all the incoming commits. Have a great off day Ryan.

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