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