Jacked Up: NAU Upgrades Speed, Skill With 2016 Class

FLAGSTAFF — Northern Arizona University football coach Jerome Souers and his staff have prided themselves on attracting some of the better in-state prep players to call Flagstaff home for their college years.

The 2016 class likely preceded even NAU’s expectations as the Lumberjacks inked 23 players to letters of intent, 12 from the state of Arizona.

“We went after what I call, ‘our kind of guy,'” Souers said from the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. “Somebody with great character. A winning attitude. Speed. Speed. Speed.”

A primary focus of this class was in the trenches as the ‘Jacks signed four linemen (three offensive, one defensive end). The trio of Steven Bailey (Centennial), Chase Laurita (Tucson Ironwood Ridge) and Luke Rudolph (Horizon) all were local standout players. All bring a unique skill set, specifically athleticism and work ethic the NAU staff craves.

“The fact that they [chose] NAU and to be here and be a Lumberjack says a lot,” he said of the three. “It’s these kind of guys who are going to get us over the top.”

NAU also signed speedy running Joe Logan from Estrella Foothills, as well as Red Mountain safety Desi Ethridge. Both players offer big upside according to the Lumberjack staff.

The ‘Jacks also inked shored up their special teams adding Nogales High punter/kicker Luis Aguilar and Agua Fria kicker Griffin Roehler.

Their out-of-state signees came from California (nine players), New Mexico (one), Utah (one) and Texas (one).

NAU, led by returning offensive stars in quarterback Case Cookus and wide receiver Emmanuel Butler, will hold their spring game April 23rd. They open the 2016 season September 3rd at Arizona State.

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.