The 61 newest members of the Wittenberg Tigers football team will be the first to enjoy The Steemer, the school’s new $50 million indoor practice facility, for their entire careers. It opens this fall, possibly on homecoming weekend in October.
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The players witnessed the rise of the building during the recruiting process. Coach Joe Fincham has seen the effect of the facility in recent recruiting classes.
“I think progressively they’ve become more and more affected by it,” Fincham said. “You have an announcement, and you walk out in recruiting with a bunch of pictures laying there and that perks up interest. The next year when they start coming on campus and they see bulldozers and backhoes, that helps. Coming in this year, they got to see the structure when they came in on first visits, and by the end of it, they got to be able to walk into the thing and see the size of it. Really the cycle started back up again because we had our prospect camp last week, and the kids walking into the stadium, they’re starting to get the full effect now.”
Two years after an 89-member class, the size of Wittenberg’s recruiting group has returned to normal. The Tigers had 71 last season. Fincham shoots for a class in the 60s.
The 2019 group includes 12 players from Florida, an area Wittenberg has recruited hard for years. The recruits join a program that finished 9-1 last season and shared the North Coast Athletic Conference championship with Wabash and Denison. The Tigers have won or shared the title six times in the last seven years.
“I think it’s a well-rounded group,” Fincham said. “There’s some balance in how the talent’s dispersed. They’re from good families. The incoming GPA of the group is right around 3.4 or something like that. It’s a good bunch of guys. I think they’re going to be good Wittenberg guys.”
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Included on the list are two recruits from Clark County schools: Mykah Eichie. a defensive back from Catholic Central; and Levi Morrison, a defensive end from Greenon.
Five quarterbacks join the Tigers, including Hillard Bradley’s Griffin Veil, a first-team All-Ohio selection, and Grayson Timms, of Worthington Kilbourne.
As for what the coaches focused on in recruiting this year, Fincham said, “We need running backs. We’ve got four seniors on our team right now. We felt we needed linemen, which you almost always do in Division III. The other side of it would be our kicking game. We lost almost all of our specialists from last year, whether it’s our kicker, our punter, our longsnapper, our returners. All those guys graduated. Our specialists were certainly important to us.”
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