Feb 21

Mercer Class of 2015 Wrap-up

Mercer has the unique advantage this year and next of adding talent without the detraction of outgoing seniors. This group of incoming recruits can only make the Bears better by adding talent where needed and pushing current starters by providing competition where already solid. I think Donte Maxson could be the best incoming RB in the SoCon this season; it will be interesting to see if he plays immediately or redshirts behind an already deep and productive group of backs. Staying on offense, I believe one of the reasons the Bears have been so competitive so quickly is the focus on the offensive line and they continue to add depth in this class; I picked out Mathes and Mitchell as “Gems” but Dawson Ellis or Stanley Smith could just as easily have made the list. Defensively, the Bears added a number of potential future starters, but I really think Destin Guillen could step in right away at DE. He just fits the scheme really well and already has the frame to play in college. A very good class for the Bears who are clearly going to be a factor in the SoCon.

SoCon Recruiting Gems

RB Donte Maxson
OL Mitch Mathes
OL Chad Mitchell
DE Destin Guillen
DL Dorian Kithcart
LB Jonathan Ward

Mercer Bears Signings (21)

RB Donte Maxson (5-11 200 4.4) Largo, FL – Perhaps one of the top SoCon signings of the season. Tremendous running back with a stellar high school career despite missing much of his senior season with an emergency appendectomy. Also had offers from Furman and Wofford.
WR Marquise Irvin (6-4 200 4.55) Gurley, AL – Big, strong, and athletic receiver who can make plays in traffic.
TE Chase Westfall (6-4 225) Dalton, GA – Great size and good hands
TE Trey Peppers (6-3 228 4.8) Canton, GA – very solid football player, he has good hands and blocks well. Also a pretty good defensive end. Will add depth at TE and could also help on special teams.
OG Mitch Mathes (6-3 284) Lagrange, GA – A like Mathes a lot, he’s a big strong guy who should be a great run blocking OG for the Bears.
OL Chad Mitchell (6-4 270) Nashville, TN – I don’t see all these good young lineman staying at guard. Mitchell is a likely candidate to play OT, he’s got the size and quick feet to be good on the edge.
OL Dawson Ellis (6-4 280) Sharpsburg, GA – A very nice all around offensive lineman, could play inside or outside.
OL Stanley Smith (6-3 285) Opelika, AL – Another big mauler offensive lineman, Smith is quick off the snap and has the quickness to pull when needed so he may stay at OG.
OL Truett Moss (5-11 235) Calhoun, GA – Undersized, but plays hard and gets after it, you need these guys to build depth
DE Destin Guillen (6-6 250 4.8) Berea, SC – Just a perfect fit for the Bears’ 3-4 defense. I could see Destin playing right away at a very high level.
DL Blake Jones (6-1 263) Hamilton, GA – Very active with quick feet, he could contribute anywhere on the defensive line
DT Dorian Kithcart (6-0 276) Norcross, GA – A steal for the Bears, he’s a big motor, plays with a lot of emotion, and as a two time state champion, he’s a winner.
LB Jonathan Ward (6-1 210 4.6) Macon, GA – You can’t watch this guy’s film without missing football, he plays hard, hits hard, and genuinely seems to love the game. I expect Jonathan to be a crowd favorite.
LB Will Coneway (6-0 207 4.6) Atlanta, GA – A very physical linebacker with good quickness. He’s aggressive in pursuit and hits hard. Just a good football player.
CB Stephen Houzah (5-10 167 4.42) Evans, GA – Terrific speed with good cover skills, could play immediately.
CB Eric Jackson (5-8 170 4.5) Powder Springs, GA – Really solid cover skills from a great high school program. Will compete with Houzah to play immediately.
Ath Jimmie Robinson (5-8 160 4.32) Bunnell, FL – elite speed, he could play corner or receiver plus help out Chandler Curtis in the return game.
Ath Jake Brooks (6-3 225) Thomson, GA – Has the size and speed to play a number of positions on either side of the ball.
K Cole Fisher (6-1 185) Lawrenceville, GA – Strong leg; 8-14 on FG with a long of 55 in 2014; consistently put kickoffs 5 yards deep
P Matt Shiel (5-11 205) Doncaster, Australia – big leg, quick motion
LS Steven Nixon (6-0 225) Kennesaw, GA – very solid long snapper who can help on the offensive line in a pinch

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/2015-mercer-wrapup/

Feb 16

Samford Class of 2015 Wrap-up

I truly believe every team in the SoCon had an excellent recruiting class this season and this could be the best of them all. This class has it all with playmakers on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs beat out FBS programs for 14 of the 16 members of this class with the 2 that did not have FBS offers having offers from programs ranked in the top 10 in FCS.

SoCon Recruiting Gems

RB Justin Curry
WR Kelvin McKnight
DE Justin Foster
LB Aaron Harris
CB Jarek Taylor
CB Jamond Glass

Samford Signings (16)

RB Justin Curry (5-11 201 4.56) Fort Smith, AR – Hits the hole and gets 5 yards down field as fast as anyone you’ll ever see. Really explosive off the snap, impressive looking back.
RB Roland Adams (5-10 202 4.5) Florence, AL – Great vision with a fluid, effortless looking running style.
WR Andrew Harris (6-0 172 4.4) Canton, GA - Terrific speed with good hands and is an excellent route runner. Chose the Bulldogs over rival UTC.
WR Kelvin McKnight (5-9 183) Bradenton, FL – Explosive with ball in his hands. He makes good adjustments on the ball in the air and is tough to bring down. Will be an impact player at receiver and in the return game.
WR Vaquan Small (6-2 170 4.6) Miami, FL – terrific size and great hands, he’s the kind of receiver you look for on 3rd down when you need a reliable play down field.
TE Kevin Marion (6-3 220) Spanish Fort, AL – A big, physical pass catching tight-end with excellent ball skills. Kevin will be a match-up nightmare in passing situations.
OL George Grimwade (6-7 275) Miami, FL – Giant frame with good footwork, his ceiling his phenomenally high.
OL Hayden Naumann (6-5 278) Decatur, AL- Transfer from UAB (1 Year Remaining) – Was listed as the starting RT for UAB in 2014, he should step and add depth across the offensive line for his final season of college football.
OL Matthew Pittarelli (6-6 281) Marietta, GA – Big mauling run blocker, played guard in high school. Could stay there or move to tackle. As with Grimwade, great frame with a high ceiling.
DE Justin Foster (6-4 240 4.59) Anniston, AL – One of my favorites from this class, Justin is a big time athlete with the size and speed to be a beast in the Southern Conference.
DT Alfred Brown (6-3 250 5.0) Moultrie, GA – played a lot of o-line in high school, but signed as a defensive tackle. Has the physical skills, we’ll see how he translates to defense.
DL Horace Roberts (6-3 270) College Park, GA – Very quick off the ball, has the skills to be a disruptive force on the defensive line.
LB Dorsett Johnson (6-3 205) Memphis, TN – Common theme in this class, great athlete, good tackler with a great frame. Could be an exceptional player in the Southern Conference.
LB Aaron Harris (6-0 225) Norcross, GA - Transfer from Southern Miss (4 years remaining) – I thought Aaron was one of the top commitments in the SoCon last season before flipping to Southern Miss. Big, strong, quick, and smart as well as a great tackler and big hitter, everything you want in a MLB. Potential defensive captain, all-conference caliber player.
CB Jamond Glass (5-11 170 4.4) Atlanta, GA - Over Georgia Southern, great athlete with good cover skills, but what really jumped out was how physical he is with receivers off the line and coming up to make plays against the run.
CB Jarek Taylor (5-11 190 4.4) Madison, AL – One of the more high profile commits in the SoCon this season. Jarek is strong and fast with excellent cover skills.

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/2015-samford-wrapup/

Feb 16

VMI Class of 2015 Wrap-up

This class for the Keydets indicated a definite effort to get faster on both sides of the ball. VMI added a strong armed QB with a pair of complimentary receivers along with a trio of runningbacks with complimentary skill sets. LB Tyler Fedison and S Uzoma Kpaduwa bring much needed speed to this defense. This is a very solid class with several potential impact players.

SoCon Recruiting Gems

QB Austin Coulling
RB Chris Gavin
LB Tyler Fedison
S Uzoma Kpaduwa

VMI Commitments (13)

QB Austin Coulling (6-4 196) Salem, VA – Coulling has a solid arm with terrific touch down field. He will compete in the next few years to be the heir apparent to Al Cobb.
RB Destin Brown RB (6-0 185 4.5) Altavista, VA – Tough runner with good speed, also could have added weight and played LB
RB Chris Gavin (6-2 210 4.6) Sykesville, MD – Terrific field vision, makes quick decisive cuts and gets up field. Has the makeup of a workhorse type back.
RB Quan Myers (5-9 170 4.38) Lynchburg, VA – Speedy, change of pace back; he’ll compliment Gavin and Brown very well
WR Dontae Mauck (6-1 170 4.4) Winchester, VA – Speedy receiver with good hands, perfect compliment to fellow receiver signee Isaiah Parker
WR Isaiah Parker (6-0 186 4.6) Salem, VA – Terrific possession receiver with deceptive speed. Played HS football with QB signee Austin Coulling
OL Cole Brummitt (6-5 257) Glen Allen, VA – Solid blocker with a good frame, should add 20-30 pounds in the next couple of years
DE Casey Phillips (6-5 232 4.9) Pomfret, MD – The 4.9 speed is deceptive, he’s quick off the snap and gets good position. He’ll need to add weight if the Keydets are staying in the 3-4, but also could be a really good edge rusher in a 4-3.
DE Jarrod Richmond (6-3 218 4.8) Bluefield, VA – Very active player and quick off the ball. Looks like a solid DE, but could also play linebacker in the 3-4.
LB Arnold Roots (6-1 220 4.8) Richmond, VA – Prototypical 3-4 OLB with good quickness to rush the passer and physicality against the run.
LB Tyler Fedison (6-1 204 4.55) Salem, VA – A speedy, athletic linebacker who can play in space against the spread and triple option offenses so prevalent in the Southern Conference.
CB Tyriuq Trotman (5-10 155 4.48) Virginia Beach, VA – A great athlete with good cover skills. He fills need for the Keydets who allowed a conference high 26 passing TD’s in 2014.
S Uzoma Kpaduwa (5-11 190 4.5) Purcellville, VA – The first commitment of the season for the Keydets could be the best. Uzoma is a big hitter who can be moved around the field to cause problems for the opposing offense.

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/2015-vmi-wrapup/

Feb 07

Western Carolina Class of 2015 Wrap-up

The Catamounts took a major step in 2014 finishing 5-2 in the Southern Conference. The next step for Coach Speir and his staff would be a conference championship and a trip to the playoffs. To reach those goals the Cats must continue to add and develop talent. In a season where Western Carolina returns the vast majority of their starters, the Cats add a terrific recruiting class full of talented guys who look like a great fit for their system.

SoCon Recruiting Gems

QB Kalen Whitlow
OL Walker Lanning
OL Ryan Matson
LB Hassan Belton

WCU Signings (15)

QB Kalen Whitlow (6-1 187 4.56) Dothan, AL – A perfect fit for this offense with the athleticism to run the ball and great touch on those fade routes the Cats run so well.
RB Jeremiah Young (6-0 230) Franklin, NC – A physical runner who will add depth and a bulky, shortage option in the backfield.
WR Brad Swan (6-2 185 4.56) Dallas, GA – Tall, physical with 4.55 speed. He is really good at high pointing the ball which again fits the Cats’ system
OL Walker Lanning (6-3 280) Arden, NC – A powerful blocker, quick off the snap; I could see him playing anywhere on the line.
OL Zac Saalweachter (6-3 300 5.48) Winston Salem, NC – Another big offensive lineman who gets a great push off the snap, most likely will stay at center.
OL Ryan Matson (6-7 330) Concord, NC – (Not announced on signing day release, but reports are he signed) The size alone is notable, but the quickness on the field makes Ryan a prototype LT. A real gem if his signing is confirmed.
DE Myreon Bennett (6-5 220) Augusta, GA – Hudl lists Bennett as 6-6 240 and he does look bigger than 220. Has a big frame to work with in a college strength program.
DE Tra’von Ricketts (6-5 225 4.6) Charlotte, NC – Great frame, good quickness. As with Bennett, he should add weight and could become a ferocious pass rusher.
LB Mitchell Chancey (6-1 205 4.4) Asheville, NC – explosive speed at linebacker and a really good tackler
LB Jay Gibbs (6-4 230 4.62) Matthews, NC – A terrific tackler with great instincts.
LB Hassan Belton (6-1 215 4.6) Blythewood, SC – Plays with a ton of confidence, he’s just a very smooth, natural linebacker who can hit and tackle.
CB Bryce Wilson (5-10 170 4.5) Atlanta, GA – first commitment of the season for the Cats, talented corner with good speed and instincts
DB Marvin Tillman (6-2 192 4.6) Durham, NC – Athletic with good size, he has a nose for the football.
DB Mikey White (6-3 180 4.62) Johnson City, TN – Flipped from ETSU late, ball hawking safety that plays like a linebacker.
K Logan Howard (6-0 195) Kernersville, NC – Very solid leg, good accuracy

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/20-15-wcu-wrapup/

Feb 07

Wofford Class of 2015 Wrap-up

Wofford signed the deepest class outside of start-up ETSU with 25 players including 13 on defense. This is one of those classes that looks solid as its put together, but really opens yours eyes when you view it as a whole. The Terriers added some speedy weapons and line depth on offense with a very strong class on defense along with a pair of special teams guys. I am not ready to rank the classes, but I expect this group will fall in the top half of the SoCon.

SoCon Recruiting Gems

LB Weston Rountree
DL Thad Mangum
DL Jordan Perlotte
OL Justus Basinger
CB Noah Able
TE Nick Karas

Offense
  • RB – A pair of Tennessee backs with similar styles. McAfee and Marshall are both tough runners with great balance and good speed.
  • WR – Added a trio of receivers including hometown Jason Hill along with a pair of 6-2 speedsters in Cole Cleary and Armani Helligar. This is 5 receivers signed in the last two classes, could Coach Ayers be looking to move to a more spread option attack?
  • TE – Nick Karas…wow, I understand highlights are by definition the best he has to offer but this guy has big time upside as a receiver and the frame to put on weight and be an effective blocker.
  • OL – Justus Basinger comes in with a college ready body and could contribute right away. Michael Ralph, Liam Ronan, and Jacob Milam all have upside but I expect the staff will try to redshirt them to add 15-20 pounds to their frame.
Defense
  • DL – The Terriers added 4 big defensive linemen: Brandon Zamary, Jordan Perlotte, Miles Brown, and Thad Mangum. I really like this group particularly Mangum and Perlotte who have the combination of strength and quickness to be really special!
  • LB – Alex Horlak, Weston Rountree, and Billy Hinton. I like Hinton and Horlak, I love Weston Rountree, I think he’s the prize of the class for the Terriers. He’s got good size, excellent speed, and plays with a tenacity that Terrier fans are going to enjoy.
  • CB – Corner was clearly a target position adding highly regarded George Gbesee fairly early followed by in-state star Dominique Lemon and Ohio native Noah Able down the stretch. Gbesee and Lemon had the stars and justifiably so, but something about Noah Able stood out to me on film. I could be way off, but I’m calling him the dark horse of this class.
  • S – Brandon Loudermilk, Jo Jo Tillery, and Devin Watson were all somewhat late additions to the class. All three could be really good, but Watson looks like the a beast on film, a big hitter and good tackler.
Specialists
  • K – Luke Carter and Buddy Anderson – I was surprised to see the 2nd kicker sign, both look to have good legs. It will be interesting to see how the coaches use these guys in coming years.

Wofford Signees (25)

RB Lennox McAfee (5-8 170 4.5) Nashville, TN
RB Seth Marshall (5-8 180) Knoxville, TN
WR Cole Cleary (6-2 190 4.4) Hendersonville, NC
WR Jason Hill (5-11 175)
WR Armani Helligar (6-2 170 4.4) Kissimmee, FL
TE Nick Karas (6-4 212) Waxhaw, NC
OL Jacob Milam (6-4 255) Greenville, SC
OL Liam Ronan (6-3 255) Lexington, SC
OL Justus Basinger (6-4 285) Altamonte Springs, FL
OL Michael Ralph (6-5 250) Loveland, OH
DL Brandon Zamary (6-0 250) Aurora, OH
DL Thad Mangum (6-1 280 4.9) Greenville, SC
DL Miles Brown (6-1 260) Washington, DC
DL Jordan Perlotte (6-2 240 4.7) Buford, GA
LB Weston Rountree (6-1 210) Lebanon, TN
LB Alex Horlak (6-3 210 4.8) Nashville, TN
LB Billy Hinton (6-1 220 4.7) Franklin, OH
CB Dominque Lemon (5-10 175) Blythewood, SC
CB George Gbesee (5-9 173 4.45) Murfreesboro, TN
CB Noah Able (5-11 165 4.5) Cincinnati, OH
S Brandon Loudermilk (6-3 190 4.6) Plant City, FL
S JoJo Tillery (6-2 190 4.6) Chattanooga, TN
S Devin Watson (5-11 181) Gainesville, GA
P/K Luke Carter (6-1 225) Florence, SC
K Buddy Anderson (5-9 150) Clover, SC

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/2015-wofford-wrapup/

Feb 01

Samford Commit Jarek Taylor

Madison, Alabama athlete Jarek Taylor has committed to play college football at Samford. Taylor is 5-11 190 with legitimate 4.4 speed. He could play a number of positions, but will stay at cornerback for the Bulldogs. Jarek notched 100+ tackles from his sophomore season forward and was 2nd team Rivals All-State. He had a number of other offers including California and Memphis but chose home state Samford: “I’m gonna give it my all on the field and in the classroom. I thank Samford for this world class education. And look forward to this season.” Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/samford-commit-jarek-taylor/

Feb 01

RB Deon Sanders is Committed to Furman

RhapsodyFranklin, TN running back Deon Sanders has committed to Furman. Deon is 6-0 215 with 4.59 speed and is also a standout baseball player. He racked up over 4,000 total yards and 44 touchdowns in high school choosing the Paladins over fellow SoCon members UTC and ETSU as well as several others including New Mexico State, Austin Peay, and Tennessee-Martin. What made Furman the right choice? Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/2015-deon-sanders-furman/

Jan 31

TE Jared White Commits to ETSU

6-6 230 Jared White has committed to play tightend at East Tennessee State. The Halls HS prospect has 4.8 speed and could also play defensive end. Jared was a NUC All-American and was also being recruited by Tennessee Tech, Alabama A&M, and North Texas. “ETSU is where my heart is and I look forward to my next 4 years there on and off the field. Go Bucs!” Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/2015-jared-white-etsu/

Jan 31

OL Jon Bockhorst Commits to Furman

Gotta Go to Mo’s! - THE online store for All Your Footwear Needs! Modells.com – Shop Footwear, Running Gear, Sporting Goods, Licensed PRO apparel. Find hats, t-shirts, and collectibles from your favorite teams!Click Here!Cincinnati, Ohio offensive lineman Jon Bockhorst is headed south to play college football for the Furman Paladins. Jon played center in high school, but could also see time at guard for Furman. The 6-3 270 St Xavier prospect visited last weekend and chose the Paladins over numerous other offers, but had narrowed the field to the Paladins or the Air Force Academy. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/2015-jon-bockhorst-furman/

Jan 25

OL Michael Ralph is Headed to Wofford

Loveland, Ohio offensive lineman Michael Ralph has committed to Wofford. Ralph is 6-5 250 playing guard and center in high school. He was 1st Team all-league and honorable mention all-district for Southwest Ohio. Michael chose the Terriers over Columbia. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://soconrecruiting.com/ol-michael-ralph-is-headed-to-wofford/

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