For the seventh time in eight years FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW has ranked the top 10 HBCU FCS recruiting classes. This week, we look at the other half of the rankings, from six to 10. The rankings are based on the talent that was brought in and research that we did based upon school releases, local newspaper articles and recruiting boards. This is not an exact science, but an opinion.
Brian Jenkins and his staff had a solid recruiting class. The Wildcats signed 23; four of those players had previous college experience at JUCOs.
The Wildcats placed a major emphasis on offense signing 19. Quarterback Larry Brihm (Delray Beach, FL/Village Academy) is a two-star recruit and is one of three quarterbacks that signed, potentially giving the Wildcats a total of five quarterbacks when summer camp opens. Former Mr. Football in Florida Quentin Williams ultimately became the starter for the Wildcats last year, but Jenkins is very impatient with and demanding of his quarterbacks, sometimes playing all three in games last year.
All-MEAC running back Isidore Jackson returns while Rodney Scott is lost to graduation prompting the Wildcats to add a pair of two-star backs in Dre’Sean Nelson (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard) and Nathaniel Pryor (Sebastian, FL/Sebastian River). Jenkins and staff also placed an emphasis on the offensive line signing six, highlighted by two-star recruit Dazzie Morris (Apopka, FL/Apopka), as well as wide receiver signing four including two-star recruit Devonte Washington (Jacksonville,
Fla./Raines). Defensive lineman Anthony Green was the Wildcats highest rated recruit with three stars and could play immediately. Green was virtually unblockable in high school and while only 6-1, 245, could start out playing end for the Wildcats, put on some weight and eventually move to his naturally position of tackle.
He was offered by Cincinnati and Western Kentucky. The Wildcats signed only one player from the Daytona Beach area which is rare.
7. Florida A&M
FAMU son Earl Holmes, who took over for the legendary Joe Taylor, who abruptly retired with two games remaining in the 2012 season, took on the same philosophy as Taylor to recruit in the home State of Florida. Each year, Taylor and his coaches visited every school in the state. Holmes, who had the interim tag removed last month, stuck with that philosophy of recruiting Florida, signing 13 of 20 from the Sunshine State, including five from Tallahassee schools.
Speaking of Tallahassee, three of the Rattlers two-star recruits are Tallahassee products including linebacker Luke Helms (Godby), who turned down 10 offers including from Memphis and Western Michigan to stay at home, offensive lineman Chole Sims (Lincoln) and defensive back Craig Mackey (Rickards). Linebacker Curtis Alexander (Quincy, FL/East Gadsden) wasn’t highly recruited, but put up some big numbers last year with 76 tackles, 9 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks. The Rattlers should get some immediate help at running back with Arizona JUCO transfer Lemond Buice who originally signed with Clemson, was a two-time finalist for Mr. Football in the State of Alabama and the No. 40 running back in the nation. Offensive lineman Keonte Cash (Miami, FL/Belen Jesuit Prep) was a first team All-Area performer in Miami and at 6-1, 300 the two-star recruit has the ability to play fullback. In all the Rattlers signed eight offensive players, 10 defensive players and two athletes.
8. Alcorn State
Head coach Jay Hopson had the decked stacked against him a bit coming into last season. He was trying to turn around a traditionally proud Alcorn State program that has fallen on hard times.
The problem was he wasn’t hired until May. The Braves showed some promise last year and for his first recruiting class Hopson signed 26 players, 16 from the State of Mississippi. The prized recruit has to be two-star quarterback Khadarel Hodge (Mendenhall, MS/Mendenhall). Because of his athleticism, other schools wanted him to play other positions.
But Hodge will have a chance to compete for the starting job. Hodge says the late Steve McNair is his cousin and he wants to break his records at ASU. There will be a battle at the position in the summer as the Braves signed another quarterback in
Lenorris Footman (Monticello, FL/Jefferson County) who is also a two-star recruit and also brings tremendous athleticism to the position.
Footman was first team All-State out of the Tallahassee, FL area. Linebacker Stacey Garner (Brooklyn, MS/Forrest County) is another two-star recruit and one who could come in and have an immediate impact.
Also highlighting the Braves signings are two big offensive linemen from Hinds Community College in Ronald Perry (6-5, 290) and Jeremy Toines (6-5, 300).
9. Jackson State
There were some gems in Rick Comegy and his staff’s class. The coaches are high on linebacker Stacy Noble (Ft. Pierce, FL/Ft. Pierce Central), who they feel can come in and play right away.
The Tigers have had some good linebackers over the years (2008 Boxtorow Defensive Player of the Year Marcellus Speaks comes to mind) but none with the speed the two-star recruit possesses. The Tigers added another linebacker in Marquis Parker (Lithonia, GA/Martin Luther King) another two-star recruit.
Another player that Comegy and his staff really like is ATH Jarious Moore (Terry, MS/ Terry) who played quarterback but will move to another position – at
least from the onset. Linebacker Javancy Jones (Macon, MS/Noxubee County HS), a two-star prospect, was a first team All-State selection and is also one that could have an immediate impact.
10. Delaware State
DSU head football coach Kermit Blount signed just seven players but filled needs. The most glaring need was at the quarterback position where MEAC Offensive Player of the Year Nick Elko is lost to graduation. The Hornets staff signed two quarterbacks including Garrison Duncan (Kernersville, NC/East Forsyth), a two-star performer who passed for 1,505 yards and 17 TDs and rushed for 1,410 yards and 18 scores and Emmett Hunt of Coatesville, PA who completed 157 of 247 passes (63.6 percent) for 3,123 yards and 44 touchdowns. Elko also played as a true freshman and one of these guys will be the quarterback of the future for the Hornets. DSU also signed a receiver in Marquel Knight a two-time Delaware All-State selection at Indian River High School. Knight tallied 73 receptions for nearly 1,200 yards in 2012 for the Indians. He also rushed for 1,800 yards and 30 touchdowns during his senior season. Hopefully Knight can play right away and try and fill one of the voids left by Travis Tarpley and Justin Wilson.
Running back was a need also and Jamaal Jackson was a former three-star recruit at Hodgson, rushed for 1,577 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior and transferred from Nassau Community College.
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