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      Homegrown: QU football welcomes 4 familiar faces in a class of 29

      QU football welcomed in its first full recruiting class under Tom Pajic this past week, as 29 new players faxed in their letters of intent for the 2013 campaign. Of those 29, 4 come from the Tri-States. Pajic believes the time for homegrown products to contribute in his program begins on day one, but that doesn't mean he won't also go out and fetch a few prized recruits from outside our region. Here's an introduction to some of the new Hawks you may know, and one who may very quickly introduce himself this fall.

      "I think our biggest strength in this recruiting class of 29 guys is our athleticism, we found a lot of guys that can play a lot of different positions. We might get a lot of mileage early out of a lot of these young men that can not only play offense and defense, but can really make a difference in our special teams play,"

      Within his first full recruiting class as head coach of QU football, Tom Pajic believes his 29 guys are a well-rounded bunch. And part of that stems from the local ties that will grace his sidelines next season. One of which is Central-Southeastern star Dalton Heubner, who will take on a much different role in the Hawks system.

      "We're going to play him on defense, and he had a stellar career in the high school ranks on offense. We had a chance to work him out and watch him in person, and he's a special young man. He hard-nosed, a tough kid, coached well and may be that difference maker. Quick and explosive, a tough, physical player when he puts the pads on, so he could be that guy,"

      Heubner is joined by teammate Drew Miller, who proved his value at the high school level as a workhorse in the trenches. Something that translates to the next level.

      "We're trying to run the football and do a great job in what we do with the rushing attack, and Drew is a guy that will help us build depth. He's very athletic for 275 pounds, when you see him walk in the door, he doesn't look that way,"

      The 2013 season will also be a welcome-home, of sorts, for former Pittsfield Griggsville Perry standout Dillon Butler, who plans to transfer in from McKendree University.

      "He adds to our depth at the wide receiver position, and he can run. After watching what he did in high school, he can move a little bit,"

      And one guy who will get to stay home is Ethan Rockhold of QHS.

      "Coach Little had him at defensive end, he had him at inside linebacker, outside linebacker and special teams, there's a place for him in our program, and we're expecting him to come in here and do just that,"

      And just over 13 months into the job, Pajic and his staff have a solid jumpstart on building their reach throughout the entire region. That's proven best by the signing of Chris Harris of Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin, a running back who Pajic believes the Hawks fanbase will enjoy getting to know.

      "We've identified Chris Harris since day one of recruiting out of Sacred Heart Griffin, and athletically, he's phenomenal, he'll have a great career here. Great quickness, elusiveness, fits in to what we do offensively. He's a top prospect for us and a great kid, but I think the GLVC and the people in our community will really have a chance to see a dynamic player before its all said and done,"