Eagle Football Receives 30 Commitments
STATESBORO, Ga. Georgia Southern University Football received commitments from 30 student-athletes on Wednesday (February 4) to play in 2009. Head coach Chris Hatcher announced the newest additions to Eagle Football during an afternoon press conference in the Parrish Football Center.
The Eagles signed 16 on offense, 11 on defense, one all-around and two for special teams. In all 19 are from Georgia, eight from Florida, two from Alabama and one from South Carolina.
In addition, Hatcher announced that four of the announced signees are currently enrolled. Three were part of the 2008 signing class that grayshirted (began classes in December) and one is a junior college transfer.
The Eagles lost 17 seniors from last year’s 6-5 team, including All-Americans Chris Covington (linebacker) and Dakota Walker (defensive end).
“When we were evaluating our needs for this recruiting class, both sides of the line were our biggest concerns. Between high school and junior college transfers I felt we addressed those needs. Similar to last year we needed to sign players that are capable of stepping in and helping out immediately,” said Hatcher. “Our goal every year is to win a Southern Conference championship and get to the point of competing for a national championship. Time will tell how good of a signing class this will be, but we think this group can help us accomplish our goals.
“I want to commend my coaching staff. They worked hard and did a great job signing these players. I also want to thank the entire Georgia Southern administration and the community really helped sell the city of Statesboro and the traditions here at Georgia Southern,” said Hatcher.
2009 GEORGIA SOUTHERN FOOTBALL SIGNING CLASS
Patrick Barker (WR, 6-2, 185) Ponte Vedra, FL (Nease HS)
Named to the Florida Times Union Super 24’... St. John’s County Player of the Year’... ranked as the number one wide receiver prospect in Florida... First Team All-State in 2008... All-First Coast and twice named All-County (junior and senior year)... made 81 catches for 1,301 yards (16.1 ypc) and 14 touchdowns his senior year... also averaged 19 yards per punt return and twice returned a kick for a touchdown... helped Nease HS make the state playoffs three consecutive years... was the 2006 and 2007 Region champ and eventual state runner-up.. played for coach Danny Cowgill.
Graden Bozeman (PK, 6-1, 165) Statesboro (Statesboro HS)
A two-sport standout for the Blue Devils... two-year letterwinner in football... member of two state playoff teams, including the 11-2 squad in 2008 that advanced to the state quarterfinals... named All-Region in 2-AAAA and was the Region’s Special Teams Player of the Year’... made 23-of-28 extra points... hit 4-of-6 field goals, including a 48-yarder as time expired to beat Thomson HS last fall... at wide receiver caught 17 passes for 300 yards... played for coach Steve Pennington... last season in soccer was named Defensive Most Valuable Player’... named Honorable Mention All-Region 3AAAA... started final 13 games of the season on defense after returning from an ankle injury... scored two goals in regional play... helped the Blue Devils advance to the state playoffs... his Freshman year was named Varsity Most Improved Player’... started 48 games during his first three years... played soccer for coach Chad Prosser.
Anthony Brown (TE, 6-2, 215) Cairo (Cairo HS)
Earned First Team All-Region and First Team All-Area honors... averaged four pancake blocks per game... played linebacker on defense and finished with 52 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and four sacks... helped Cairo HS win the 2008 state championship... one of two from Cairo to sign with Georgia Southern... played for coach Tom Fallaw... joins current Eagle Chris Teal in coming from Cairo HS.
Willie Burden (DE, 6-1, 230) Statesboro (Statesboro HS)
A three-year starter for the Blue Devils... twice named Region 2-AAAA All-Region... recorded 81 tackles, six sacks and nine tackles for a loss last season... helped SHS advance to the state playoffs all four years... was on the 2005 State Championship team... during his senior year Statesboro finished 11-2 and advanced to the state quarterfinals... two-year member of the baseball program... played for coach Steve Pennington.
Andrerel Coleman (DL, 6-2, 290) Tampa, FL (Middleton HS)
First Team All-Hillsborough County... selected to play in the Hillsborough County All-Star game... Honorable Mention All-Conference... 53 tackles and four sacks during his senior year... also lettered in wrestling... played for coach Harry Hubbard.
Drexel Copeland (WR, 6-0, 180) Riverdale (Mt. Zion HS)
First Team All-Class AAAA by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution... First Team All-Clayton News Daily... First Team All-Region 4-AAAA... last fall made 53 catches for 1,031 yards and 13 touchdowns... voted team Most Valuable Player’... three-year starter on the baseball team... played for coach Jarett Laws.
Darius Eubanks (DB, 6-2, 185) Harlem (Thomson HS)
Lettered three years for coach Luther Welsh... played mainly wide receiver until midway through his junior year when injuries to the team forced a move to free safety... twice named First Team Augusta Chronicle/WJBF All-Area at defensive back... two-time All-State pick by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, earning First Team honors his senior year and was Honorable Mention in 2007...recorded six interceptions in just five games in 2007, for 128 return yards and one touchdown... finished with 23 tackles... recorded 55 tackles and four interceptions his senior year... set up game-winning touchdown against rival Washington-Wilkes after returning a fumble 18 yards... averaged 24 yards on three punt returns... caught 11 passes for 389 yards and two touchdowns in limited time at wide receiver... also lettered in track and basketball... clocked a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash.
Jake Gambino (OL, 6-3, 295) Coral Springs, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
Helped St. Thomas Aquinas HS win the Class 5-A state title... First Team All-Broward County... averaged six pancake blocks per game his senior year... also lettered in wrestling... played football for coach George Smith.
Cole Gordon (WR, 6-7, 205) Naples, FL (Naples HS)
During his senior year named All-District... All-County All-Star member... caught 10 passes for 273 yards (27.3 ypc) and five touchdowns... helped the 2007 team win the state championship and in 2008 advanced to the third round of the playoffs... four-year letterwinner in football... lettered once in basketball... played for coach Bill Kramer.
Taylor Johnstone (OL, 6-4, 315) Douglasville (Chapel Hill HS)
Lettered in football, basketball and track... during his senior year graded out at 83 percent and recorded 42 pancake blocks... earned All-Region 4AAAAA honors at left tackle... two-time All-Douglas County... voted team Offensive Lineman of the Year’... served as a team captain on Chapel Hill’s first-ever winning season, playoff season and playoff win... played for coach Chris Parker.
Eric Key (ATH, 5-9, 175) Ellerton (Colquitt County HS)
First Team All-Region his senior year... 20 rushes for 84 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to 31 catches for 510 yards and 10 touchdowns... 12 kickoff returns for 381 yards and scored a TD... also lettered in basketball and track... played for coach Rush Propst.
Lawrence Martin (OL, 6-3, 280) Ormond Beach, FL (Seabreeze HS)
Earned All-State, All-Region and All-District recognition his senior year... named Volusia County Offensive Lineman of the Year’... averaged 3.5 pancake blocks per game... team advanced to the state semifinals in 2008 and regional finals in 2007... lettered two years in football and three in basketball... earned 2007 All-Area honors in basketball... played for coach Marc Beach.
Arlestor McKinnon (DE, 6-0, 240) Quitman (Brooks County HS)
First Team All-Region and First Team All-State his senior year... finished 2008 with 52 tackles... 15 tackles for a loss and eight sacks... also saw time on offense at fullback, totaling 547 yards and seven touchdowns... also lettered in basketball and track... played for coach Maurice Freeman.
Bryant Meeks (OL, 6-3, 280) Blue Ridge (Fannin County HS)
Two-time All-State selection... selected to play in the North-South All-Star Game... graded out at 86 percent in his career (32 games)... holds the Fannin County record for bench press and squat... became the first player at Fannin County HS to sign a Division I football scholarship... played for coach Clark Drennan.
Javon Mention (DE, 6-3, 245) Tampa, FL (Plant HS)
First Team All-Hillsborough County... First Team All-Conference... helped Plant HS win the Class 4A state championship... set a county record with 24 sacks... finished with 88 tackles of which 33 went for a loss his senior year... played for coach Robert Weiner.
Larry Murphy (DB, 5-10, 165) St. Petersburg, FL (Gibbs HS)
Enrolled in January and will have four years of eligibility remaining... First Team All-Pinellas County... received All-State honors... Honorable Mention All-Suncoast... recorded 55 tackles, eight pass break-ups and of his five interceptions returned two for a touchdown... blocked six kicks on special teams... offensively caught 21 passes for 293 yards and scored a touchdown... named Defensive Most Valuable Player’ following the Pinellas County All-Star game... played for coach Yusuf Shakir.
Brandon Nolley (WR, 6-0, 225) Sparta (Hancock County HS/GMC)
Will have two years of eligibility remaining... AT GMC: A two-year player at GMC... helped GMC to a 9-2 record last year and No. 9 national ranking... during his sophomore year had 24 receptions for 420 yards (17.5 ypc) and five touchdowns... rushed 15 times for 85 yards and two scores... played for coach Bert Williams... HIGH SCHOOL: Started in the 2006 Georgia North vs. South All-Star game as a running back... three times earned All-State honors at quarterback... two-time All-State basketball player... played for coach Wilbert Simmons at Hancock Central.
Brent Osborn (QB, 6-4, 215) Valley, AL (Valley HS)
Led the Rams to the Class 5A state playoffs three consecutive years, compiling a record of 26-9 in that span... went 10-2 his senior year, including a perfect 7-0 mark winning the 5A Region 2 championship... named to the Opelika-Auburn News Super 8’ team, joining fellow signee Josh Rowe on the elite squad... selected to the Valley-Times News Super 25’ team that encompasses East Alabama/West Georgia... First Team Class 5A All-State... tabbed Honorable Mention at the National Underclassmen Combine in Florida, and was eventually invited to participate in the National Underclassmen Ultimate 100 Camp in Newark, New Jersey... last month played in the Army National Combine in San Antonio... passed for 787 yards and completed 54 percent of his passes in a run-oriented offense... rushed for more than 100 yards his senior year... passed for 12 touchdowns and ran for another six... averaged 41 yards per punt last season... four-year letterwinner in football and baseball, three in basketball... rated as a 2-star prospect on Rivals.com and Scout.com... played for coach Roger McDonald.
Hunter Poole (OL, 6-5, 315) Tallahassee, FL (Lincoln HS)
Started at tackle, guard and center throughout his high school career... named to the 2009 All-American Bowl Game participant... All-Area... two-time First Team All-Region 1-AAAA... in the GACA Coaches Combine performed in the Top 10’ percent... in 2007 placed fourth in the All-Area Georgia HS Weightlifting competition, with a total weight of 1,170 pounds... in 2006 placed second in the All-Area competition and qualified for state... that year set a World, USA and Georgia State record of 402.2 pounds in the bench press, with the World Association of Bench Pressers and Dead Lifters... also set a World, USA and Georgia State record of 540 pounds in the dead lift... in 2005 took First Place in the Southeastern Cup Powerlifting Championship and First Place in the Thomasville YMCA Big Boy’ Competition... qualified for state wrestling in 2006, placing fourth in the regional competition... in spring 2008 named Lincoln HS MVP for Field events... placed sixth in state in the discus... won the district competition in the discus and placed second in the shot put then finished fourth in the discus and seventh in the shot put in Region 3A competition... FSU Relays shot put champion and runner-up in the discus... MVP for the Field events in 2007 at Thomas County Central... third place in the shot put and discus in the 2007 State AAAA championship while finishing fifth in the discus in 2006... broke the Thomas County Central HS discus (159-1) and shot put (53.3) records... won the Region 1-AAAA titles in the shot put and discus... played for coach Kyle Rice.
Darreion Robinson (RB, 5-9, 185) Bishop (Clarke Central HS)
Enrolled in January and will have four years of eligibility remaining... originally signed with Georgia Southern last February... Two-time First Team All-Region... twice named First Team All-Northeast Georgia... Honorable Mention All-State... finished his stellar career with a Clarke Central HS record 4,045 yards on 626 carries, a 6.5 career yards per rush average, and 47 touchdowns... caught 41 passes for 667 yards... senior year tied a school record with a 90-yard touchdown run versus Decula HS... rushed for 1,376 yards last fall on 190 carries... 13 rushing TDs... named team’s Most Valuable Player’... averaged more than seven yards per carry... junior year registered 1,249 yards on the ground on 177 carries... 13 touchdowns while averaging 7.1 yards per rush... eight kick returns, averaging nearly 40 yards per return and scored two touchdowns... selected to play in the GACA All-Star game... older brother Dunta Robinson is a defensive back with the Houston Texans... turned in a 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash... played for coach Leroy Ryals.
Josh Rowe (LB, 6-0, 200) Opelika, AL (Opelika HS)
Three-year starter at linebacker... twice earned All-State Class 6-A honors, First Team his junior year and Honorable Mention as a senior... All-Area honors and was a member of the Opelika-Auburn News Super 8’ along with fellow signee Brent Osborn... led the team with 108 tackles his senior year, in addition to four sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumbles recovered... during his junior year finished with 107 tackles, four fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles, six sacks and three pass break-ups... his high school coach Spence McCracken called Rowe, “The best linebacker I’ve coached in 35 years and has excellent grades.”... joins current Eagle K.R. Snipes in coming from Opelika HS.
Laron Scott (DB, 5-9, 170) Warner Robins (Warner Robins HS/Butler CC)
Will have three years of eligibility remaining... AT BUTLER CC: Redshirted his first year... last fall started in all 12 games... helped team win the Kansas Jayhawk State Championship and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship... made 57 tackles (48 solo/nine assisted)... two tackles for a loss... four interceptions totaling 84 yards and a touchdown... broke up 10 passes... forced a fumble and recovered a fumble... also averaged 26.3 yards on 15 kickoff returns and scored a TD... played for coach Troy Morrell... HIGH SCHOOL: Helped the 2004 team win a Class AAAA state championship and the 2006 team advanced to the state Class AAAAA semifinals... First Team All-Region 1-AAAAA... First Team All-Houston County... Second Team All-Middle Georgia... made 68 tackles his senior year (52 solo/16 assists) and intercepted three passes for 35 yards... broke up 13 passes... returned 21 kicks for 542 yards and two touchdowns... had 11 carries for 96 yards and a score... caught a 58-yard TD reception... during the 2005 season recorded 34 tackles, two interceptions (17 yards), two tackles for a loss and four pass break-ups... averaged 24.9 yards on 10 kickoff returns... during his senior year in track won the regional title in the 100 meters (10.65 seconds), 400 meters (48.1), long jump (22-3) and 4x100 relay.
Jamical Tatum (OL, 6-1, 325) LaGrange (Troup HS/GMC)
Will have four years of eligibility remaining... AT GMC: Redshirted last season at Georgia Military College, and was part of a team that finished 9-2 overall and ranked ninth nationally... originally signed with Georgia Southern in February 2008... played for coach Bert Williams... HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year starter at Troup HS... twice named to the LaGrange Daily News All-Area team... two-time Valley News All-Area... All-Region 2-AAA... selected to the GACA All-Star game... named Most Valuable Lineman’ at Troup HS... played for coach Bubba Jeter.
Jamere Valentine (WR, 6-0, 205) Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach HS)
Named Myrtle Beach Sun News Player of the Year’ his senior season... earned All-State honors and was a Max Prep All-American... Mister Football finalist... State AAA Player of the Year’... named to the Toast of the Coast’ his final two years... twice earned a spot on the All-Zone, All-Blitz and All-Region teams (junior and senior year)... over the final two years he finished with 174 receptions for 2,448 yards (13.9 ypc) and recorded 49 total touchdowns... caught 98 passes for 1,515 yards (15.5 ypc) his senior year with 19 TDs... accounted for another 13 touchdowns on the ground, rushing 67 times for 286 yards... also a basketball standout, earned All-Region and All-State honors last season... earned a spot on the State All-Tournament Team in 2008, scoring 28 points in the title game... played for coach Scott Earley.
Darryl Walker (DB, 6-2, 176) LaGrange (Callaway HS)
Enrolled in January and will have four years of eligibility remaining... originally signed with Georgia Southern last February... A nominee for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award... twice named First Team All-County by the LaGrange Daily News... earned Second Team All-Region 5-AA accolades his final two years... senior year helped Callaway HS to a school record 8-3 record and second consecutive playoff appearance... recorded 54 tackles, eight pass break-ups, and one interception his senior year... received Defensive Back of the Year’ award... a standout track runner, won two region titles in the 4x100 relay (sophomore, junior years)... finished fourth and sixth in state, respectively, the past two seasons in the 4x100 relay... earned six Player of the Week’ awards in basketball his junior year... averaged 12.3 points per game, finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer... recorded 56 tackles and one interception his junior year as Callaway returned to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus... an accomplished musician as well, he was named Best Instrumental Player’ for the LaGrange orchestra and Most Outstanding Musician’ for the high school concert band... played for coach Pete Wiggins.
Calvin West (LB, 6-1, 205) Mableton (Pebblebrook HS/GMC)
Enrolled at Georgia Southern in January and will have two years remaining... AT GMC: GMC finished 9-2 overall and ranked ninth in the nation... Honorable Mention All-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association... overall made 48 tackles (30 solo/18 assists), including eight for a loss and three sacks... three forced fumbles, one interception... twice last year made eight tackles in a game against Troy JV (three tackles for a loss) and Nassau CC... recorded seven stops, including two tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles against Navarro... played for coach Bert Williams.
Jack Whittle (DE, 6-6, 225) Dublin (Dublin HS)
During his senior year at Dublin HS recorded 57 tackles (37 solos/20 assisted)... three quarterback sacks and four pressures... forced two fumbles and recovered one... intercepted a pass and broke up another... played for coach Roger Holmes.
JJ Wilcox (WR, 6-0, 190) Cairo (Cairo HS)
A First Team All-Region and First Team All-Area wide receiver... helped Cairo HS win the 2008 state championship... recorded 22 catches for 400 yards and five touchdowns... also a standout on defense, recording 77 tackles, three forced fumbles and one interception his senior year... one of two from Cairo that signed to play at Georgia Southern... played for coach Tom Fallaw... joins current Eagle Chris Teal in coming from Cairo HS.
Chris Williamson (P, 6-2, 185) Roswell (Marist HS)
The only punter selected to the 2008 Georgia Top 150’... First Team All-DeKalb County, First Team All-Region 6-AAAA... First Team CSS All-Chevy Football team... twice named Special Teams Player of the Week’... averaged 40 yards per punt last season with a net average of 38... had one punt with a return in 11 games... put 20 of his 33 punts inside the 20-yard line... played for coach Alan Chadwick.
Mitchell Williford (WR, 6-3, 187) Duluth (Peachtree Ridge HS)
First Team All-State at wide receiver (Gwinnett Daily Post)... Honorable Mention All-State by the Associated Press... First Team All-Region 7AAAAA... First Team Gwinnett County All-Stars as selected by the Gwinnett County coaches... Second Team All-State at defensive back by the CSS All-Chevy Football Team... received the Team First Award by the Gwinnett Touchdown Club and was named Player of the Month’ by that organization... U.S. Army and state Academic Honor Roll for Class AAAAA in 2008... started at wide receiver, punter, kicker, kickoff return team and punt returner... also started playing in the secondary midway through the year... caught 48 passes for 772 yards and eight touchdowns his senior year... TD receptions led the county... made 61 tackles... recorded four interceptions (third-most in the county)... averaged 34 yards per punt and had only two punt returns for positive yards... in the All-Star game caught four passes for 70 yards and a TD... played for coach Bill Ballard.
- Category: Football
- Published on Wednesday, 04 February 2009 10:28