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Sports / Recreation

Rams secure top football talent

February 5, 2009

Steve Fairchild's second recruiting class as head football coach includes 20 true freshmen, one junior-college player, and several players who have already enrolled and will begin practicing with the Rams in March.

Momentum and energy

The Rams are building strong momentum and kinetic energy coming out of Steve Fairchild's first season as head coach. The team finished the most successful campaign in school history for a squad with a first-year coach, and ended with a resounding exclamation point - CSU's first bowl win since 2001 and first winning season since 2003.

Now, the Rams have taken another strong step forward with what many are already calling a solid 2009 recruiting class.

"We don't have this program back to where it was in the 1990s and earlier this decade," Fairchild said, "but with our season last year and this recruiting class, we've taken strong steps in the right direction. Now, we want to take the next step."

First-team All-American

The most highly decorated member of the 2009 class is Pete Kontodiakos (cunn-DOH-DEE-aack-iss), a rare consensus first-team All-American who was offered by both Florida and Georgia among several others.

Already enrolled

Several members of the class announced by the Rams Wednesday have already enrolled at Colorado State and will compete for playing time in March when the team opens spring practice.

Grayshirt 2008 signees Justin Becker, Jordan Gragert and Matt Weems are included in that group.

Jon Eastman, who theoretically could start in the Rams' backfield when they open the regular season at Colorado, is also in the group. Eastman is a native of Fort Morgan, Colo.

The other member of that club is C.J. James, who graduated from Orlando's Colonial High School early and will be in uniform this spring.

Connections with football history

Three members of the class have interesting connections to the history of the game. 

Offensive lineman Jared Biard, from Clear Creek High School in Texas, is a descendent of gold medalist and football pioneer Jim Thorpe, a Pro Hall of Famer.

In addition, Dru Taylor's school, Lincoln High School in Dallas, also produced Abner Haynes, the legendary American Football League player who made significant contributions toward establishing the league and paving the way for the eventual AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Also, linebacker Mike Orakpo has a household name, thanks to his older brother, Brian. In December, Brian became one of the most honored defensive players in college football history, sweeping the Lombardi and Hendricks awards, as well as taking the Nagurski Trophy to complement unanimous first-team All-America honors.

Three Colorado players

The Rams feel like they got a tremendous addition for years to come in running back Chris Nwoke (WOH-kay) out of ThunderRidge High School in suburban Denver.  Other Colorado players include recruits enrolled at Colorado State for Spring 2009, Justin Becker (OL, Highlands Ranch, ThunderRidge) and Matt Weems (DE, Centennial, Arapahoe).

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For the full details, including a complete list of the Class of 2009, visit Signing Day Central.