Official Release From Missouri State Athletics:

Bears Head Coach Terry Allen The emphasis is on defense in the 2008 football recruit class at Missouri State University as Bears’ head coach Terry Allen and his staff look to anchor the area of greatest need from last year’s ballclub. There are 10 defensive players among 16 prospective gridders who committed Wednesday to attend Missouri State and play football for the Bears.

The group includes six Missourians and 10 athletes coming from six other states. The recruit class consists of one junior college transfer and 15 freshmen. Of the freshmen, quarterback Jake Morse of Columbia, Mo., has enrolled at Missouri State at the start of the current spring semester, while the other newcomers will join the squad at the start of preseason camp next August. The lone transfer is defensive lineman Michael Daniels of Leesburg, Ga., who will come to Missouri State from North Iowa Community College. Daniels will be a junior during the 2008 season.

On the defensive side of the football, MSU is adding four linemen, four linebackers and two defensive backs. Offensively, there is a tight end, a quarterback, a wide receiver, two lineman and a kicker.

The Missourians on the list include two area products, both offensive linemen, Garett Wade of Lebanon and Harrison Menke of Joplin.  The rest of the Bears’ in-state crop includes Morse, defensive lineman Joseph Day of O’Fallon, linebacker Rodney Kelly of Lee’s Summit and defensive lineman James Moore of Florissant.

Of the out-of-state newcomers, there are three each from Florida and Oklahoma and one each from Arkansas, Illinois, Georgia and Kansas.

The 2008 season will be the third year at Missouri State for Allen and his staff. Missouri State had the program’s best improvement in 20 years last fall as the Bears went from a 2-9 mark in 2006 to a 6-5 season last fall. The Bears will compete in the newly-expanded Gateway Football Conference, with North Dakota State and South Dakota State joining the seven existing conference members for a nine-team league in the coming campaign. Missouri State is slated to open the new season Sept. 4 against Washburn University at Plaster Field.