A weakness in 2007 is Grambling’s strength today

An exodus of players during the transition that brought Rod Broadway to Grambling left the talent cupboard spotty and, in some positions, bare. That made for a frantic effort, early in his tenure, to restock — but it also gave a number of young players a chance to take the field.

After consecutive SWAC Western Division titles, and 2008 wins in both the Bayou Classic and SWAC Championship Game, those freshmen aren’t freshmen any more. That changed the focus in the run up to National Signing Day in ’09.

“It’s always good when young guys play well,” Broadway told me, explaining with confident resolve how his youthful squad allowed the staff to recruit with a long-range plan: “We’re just trying to address our needs.”

Broadway said, going in, he was searching for talent at defensive line, wide receiver, linebacker and offensive line. He needed a kicker, a big back and — with the departure of backup J.P. Tillman — perhaps another quarterback to compete behind starter Greg Dillon.

Grambling got them all — and the staff isn’t done yet. Broadway on Thursday added three names to his initial haul of 17 signees, and said he would continue evaluating players throughout the signing period. Some, presumably, will be non-qualifiers — but the idea, clearly, is to build for the future in many of these spots.

“You feel better every year in the program,” Broadway told me. “You learn about your team, then what you need to get better. It’s a puzzle. We’re just trying to keep filling in the different parts.”


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