After searching practically the entire east coast for quarterback prospects, James Madison coach Mickey Matthews decided to turn his attention to his home state.
"We were just not satisfied in late November in some of the candidates we had," Matthews said Wednesday at his annual National Signing Day press conference. "So I contacted some of my friends in Texas. Got a lot of lists, and went through a lot of film evaluations."
Matthews said the JMU coaching staff settled on a pair of Texas prep quarterbacks, Jace Edwards and Henry Hunter, as the team's top two targets.
On Wednesday, the Dukes got Letters of Intent from both.
"We decided to take two, to make sure we get one down the road," Matthews explained.
"We recruited them hard. When we decided that's the two we wanted, we assaulted them," Matthews added. "We got after them that we wanted them to come to school at James Madison."
Listed at six-foot-two-inches, 185 pounds, Edwards spent the last three years as the starter at Robert E. Lee H.S. in Midland.
"I think he was a guy who was kind of off the radar," Matthews said, blaming a change in offensive philosophy between Edwards' junior and senior seasons, and surgery on his non-throwing shoulder earlier in his career.
"I think everyone was amazed that Jace was not more heavily recruited," Matthews said. "Which was good for James Madison, because he's got a chance to be a very good quarterback."
Matthews also agreed with comparisons between Edwards and former JMU quarterback Justin Rascati, as well as parallels between Hunter and another ex-Duke, Rodney Landers.
Hunter also had an offer from North Texas and was heavily recruited by the service academies, Matthews said.
"He was a guy that wasn't surrounded by a great cast," Matthews said. "He had one receiver that was okay, and then they had a lot of injuries on their offensive football team."
Matthews said quarterback was the JMU staff's top recruiting priority this signing period. He also mentioned defensive line and cornerback as two other positions of need.
"You never stop recruiting defensive linemen and corners," he said. "Because as I like to say, God only made so many. He leaves it up to us to go find them."
The Dukes signed three players listed as defensive linemen: Erik Buchholz (6-5, 240, Malvern, Pennsylvania); Josh Hogan (6-3, 220, Fairfax); and Anthony McDaniel (6-1, 250, Upper Marlboro, Maryland)
Corey Davis (5-9, 175, Union, New Jerssey) was the lone corner listed among the Dukes' recruiting class.
The class also included Turner Ashby product Kyle Linn, who originally verballed to JMU this past weekend.
Linn was listed as a defensive back. Matthews said he envisioned Linn eventually moving to linebacker, but the coach conceded Linn was "a little skinny right now."
"I told Kyle, he's just a football player. He is just a football player," Matthews said. "When you watch any of the local film, he makes tackles. He's a tough son-of-a-gun."