EKU signing day coverage
RICHMOND, Ky. – New Eastern Kentucky University Head Football Coach Mark Elder announced his first recruiting class on Wednesday.
“We feel outstanding about the recruiting class,” Elder said. “Considering the late start, I really feel very positive about the young men we have coming into this program. We brought in a number of guys that are outstanding football players, come from winning programs, are leaders and will help us move forward as a football program.”
Elder’s first class includes six defensive linemen, five linebackers, four offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three quarterbacks, two wide receivers, one running back and one long snapper.
Twelve states are represented in the recruiting class, including five from Kentucky, four from North Carolina and three each from Florida, Ohio and Tennessee. Among the class of 26, 10 received all-state honors in their respective home states. The group consists of 20 players that signed National Letters of Intent, five mid-year transfers and one recruited walk-on.
“We tried to address needs across the board,” said Elder. “We signed three quarterbacks that all won a state championship in high school, a couple of wide receivers that are electric with the ball in their hands, an all-state running back and one of the best long snappers in the country. We signed four big physical offensive linemen. We added several defensive linemen, which was a big emphasis for this class. We wanted to add size and length on the defensive line. We added several linebackers, a position that we were a little thin at. Then there are four defensive backs that can play man coverage and be very physical against the run.”
There will be a football signing day event on Wednesday at Gillum’s Sports Lounge in Richmond. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and is open to all fans. Elder will introduce his coaching staff and the new assistants will speak about each signee and show highlights of the newest Colonels.
The following is a complete profile of the 2016 recruiting class.
Jackson Bardall – OL, 6-3, 280, Cumming, Ga. (North Forsyth High School)
Attended North Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia … was a first team all-region and first team all-county selection as an offensive lineman as a senior … picked up second team all-region and second team all-county honors as a junior … also wrestled, finishing second in the region his junior season and capturing the region championship as a senior.
Malik Bell – DB, 6-0, 180, Miami, Fla. (Miami Palmetto Senior High School)
Played at Miami Palmetto Senior High School … earned All-Dade County honors as a senior.
Josiah Bennett – DL, 6-3, 297, East Stroudsburg, Pa. (Lackawanna College)
AS A SOPHOMORE IN 2015 AT LACKAWANNA COLLEGE
Played in six games … had 10 tackles, including three sacks.
Jay Boyd – S, 5-11, 165, Melbourne, Fla. (Viera High School)
Earned first team all-state honors as a safety after leading Viera High School to the state championship game his senior season … led Florida in interceptions.
Logan Butler – LB, 6-1, 193, Louisville, Ky. (St. Xavier High School)
Played at St. Xavier High School.
Alex Cabrera – WR, 6-0, 175, Melbourne, Fla. (Viera High School)
Finished his senior season with 1,200 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns … helped Viera High to a district title and a spot in the state finals in 2015 … passed for 570 yards and rushed for 1,410 as a junior.
Nick Cavinee – OL, 6-7, 260, Newark, Ohio (Newark Catholic High School)
First team All-Ohio selection as a senior … first team All-LCL … chosen third team all-state as a junior … also first team all-district and second team all-conference … starting first baseman on Newark Catholic’s 2015 state championship team.
Dillon Denault – DL, 6-2, 250, Lancaster, Ohio (Lancaster High School)
Earned second team all-state honors as a senior after finishing with 68 tackles, 24 tackles for a loss and nine sacks … also earned first team all-conference, all-district and Columbus Dispatch All-Metro team honors his senior season … chosen as the Lancaster Eagle Gazette Player of the Year … had 48 tackles and four sacks as a junior in 2014.
Connor Foos – DL, 6-4, 256, Louisville, Ky. (Trinity High School)
Earned first team all-state honors from the Associated Press and second team all-state recognition from USA Today as a senior at Trinity in 2015 … also chosen first team all-metro and all-district … finished senior season with 48 tackles, 14 of which were for a loss, and 9.5 sacks … garnered first team all-state honors from the Associated Press as a junior, finishing with 56 tackles, 16 of which were for a loss, and 10.5 sacks … helped the Shamrocks capture the 6A state title in 2014 … honorable mention all-state as a sophomore after posting 63 tackles, 17 for a loss, and 13 sacks.
Ben Hoffman – LS, 6-2, 225, Farragut, Tenn. (Farragut High School)
Under Armour All-American and earned a spot in the Under Armour All-American Game … No. 2 rated long snapper in the nation … earned All-PrepXtra second team honors as a senior … started at defensive end and long snapper his senior season, helping Farragut High School to a district championship … was the starting center and long snapper as a junior.
Caperton Humphrey – LB, 6-2, 215, Ona, W.Va. (Cabell Midland High School)
Earned second team all-state honors after rushing for 1,700 yards as a senior … also chosen second team all-tri state and first team all-conference his senior season … helped Cabell Midland to a 12-1 record in 2015 … honorable mention all-state as a junior when he rushed for 1,345 yards on 136 carries and scored 13 touchdowns.
Roy Hunter – LB, 6-4, 210, Nashville, Tenn. (Hillsboro High School)
Earned first team all-region, first team all-metro and second team all-mid-state as a senior at Hillsboro High School.
AJ Jackson – DB, 5-11, 175, Nashville, Tenn. (Cane Ridge High School)
Earned all-region and all-city honors as a senior at Cane Ridge High School.
Quinton Locklear – LB, 6-1, 210, Sanford, N.C. (Southern Lee High School)
Damon Lowe – LB, 6-2, 235, Louisville, Ky. (Trinity High School)
Daryl McCleskey Jr. – RB, 5-9, 178, Dayton, Ohio (Wayne High School)
First team All-Ohio as a senior … first team all-division, first team all-conference, first team All-Southwest District, first team all-region and team MVP his senior season while helping Wayne High School reach the state finals … earned all-city, first team All-Southwest District and second team All-Ohio after rushing for 1,204 yards on 113 carries his junior season … had 954 yards on 74 carries as a sophomore on his way to all-city and All-Southwest District honors.
Nathan Murray – OL, 6-7, 325, Pineville, Ky. (Bell County High School)
Earned first team USA Today All-Kentucky honors as an offensive lineman his senior season … all-state selection by the Associated Press … SEKC Offensive Lineman of the Year … second team all-state honors as a junior … honorable mention all-state recognition as a sophomore … started every game at offensive tackle for his final three seasons at Bell County High School.
Austin Scott – QB, 6-1, 215, Moore, S.C. (Spartanburg High School)
First team Parade All-American, Max Preps first team All-American, Gatorade Player of the Year for South Carolina, High School Sports Report South Carolina Mr. Football, finalist for Parade All-American Player of the Year, finalist for Max Preps All-American Player of the Year, USA Today South Carolina Offensive Player of the Year, first team USA Today All-USA Team, Spartanburg Herald Journal Offensive Player of the Year and Max Preps Regional Player of the Year as a senior at Spartanburg High School in 2015 … selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … broke 10 SHS school records … set state record for most yards in a game with 703 … tied the state record with nine touchdown passes in a 76-34 win over Wade Hampton, going 37-of-47 for 686 yards … threw for 5,144 yards and 63 touchdowns as a senior while leading the Vikings to a 12-2 record and a region championship … earned all-state, all-region, Spartanburg Herald Journal Player of the Year as a junior after throwing for 4,401 yards and 52 touchdowns … helped Spartanburg High capture the 2014 state championship … passed for 2,370 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore.
De’jour Simpson – OL, 6-3, 320, Charlotte, N.C. (Mallard Creek High School)
Was an all-state selection as a senior after leading Mallard Creek High School to a 14-2 record and a state championship … chosen to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas … also named all-conference and All-Charlotte Observer as a senior … chosen all-conference and All-Charlotte Observer as a junior after helping the Mavericks to a 15-1 record and a state title.
James Smith Jr. – QB, 5-11, 170, Charlotte, N.C. (Mallard Creek High School)
Led Mallard Creek to the state championship and earned MVP honors at the championship game … passed for 3,346 yards and threw 35 touchdown passes his senior season … rushed for 1,197 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground in 2015 … also led the Mavericks to the state title as a junior, earning championship game MVP honors … chosen as the Charlotte Observer Player of the Year and the conference player of the year in 2014 … threw for 3,357 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for 1,350 yards and 25 touchdowns his junior season.
DJ White – DL, 6-5, 210, Liberty, Ky. (Casey County High School)
Recorded 117 tackles, five sacks and one interception as a senior at Casey County High School … earned all-district, all-region and all-area honors in 2015 … participated in the Border Bowl and was player of the game for the National Guard Bowl.
Tim Boyle – QB, 6-4, 225, Middlefield, Conn. (University of Connecticut)
AS A JUNIOR IN 2015 AT UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
Played in 11 games, making five appearances at quarterback … threw for 281 yards and completed 31-of-60 pass attempts … started the final regular season game of the season against Temple (Nov. 28), going 12-for-20 for 121 yards … played from the mid-first quarter on in a win over nationally-ranked Houston, finishing 12-for-22 for 110 yards … also saw duty at end of Central Florida game (Oct. 10) and was 2-of-2 for seven yards … was also UConn’s holder.
AS A SOPHOMORE IN 2014 AT UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
Played in nine games at quarterback, starting the final three … finished the year 43-for-82 for 335 yards and a touchdown … tossed his first career touchdown, a career-long 39-yard connection, at Memphis (Nov. 29) … finished 12-for-24 for 160 yards in that game … completed 13-of-21 passes for 70 yards against Cincinnati (Nov. 22) … was 6-for-9 for 33 yards against Boise State (Sept. 13).
AS A FRESHMAN IN 2013 AT UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
Started four games at quarterback, seeing time in five games total … completed 59-of-133 passes for 621 yards … was the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UConn since 2003 … made his first career start against South Florida (Oct. 12) and had a season-high 19 yard rush in the game … tossed for 310 yards on 22-of-39 passing in his second career game at Cincinnati (Oct. 19) … was 14-for-29 for 113 yards, including a season-best 36-yard completion, against No. 18 Louisville (Nov. 8).
Was named Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association Player of the Year … named first team all-state by the New Haven Register and All-Hartford Courant … named All-Southern Connecticut Conference as a senior … threw for nearly 2,500 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior as team won state Class LL championship for the third-straight season … also rushed for 295 yards on 60 carries for five touchdowns … was one of three finalists for the Walter Camp Football Foundation Connecticut Player of the Year Award … as a junior, shared starting duties and threw for 850 yards and 15 touchdowns in six games … played in the Hall of Fame Classic Military Bowl all-star game for the state of Connecticut … had two touchdown passes leading his team to a 15-14 win … was 12-of-24 in the air for 134 yards.
Xavier Garcia – DE, 6-3, 260, Austin, Texas (New Mexico Military Institute)
AS A JUNIOR IN 2015 AT NEW MEXICO MILITARY INSTITUTE
Earned all-conference honors … played in 10 games … had 29 tackles, including 5.5 sacks and a total of nine tackles for a loss … forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles … had three pass break-ups … blocked two kicks … had a season-high six tackles against Eastern Arizona (Oct. 24) … credited with 1.5 sacks at Glendale (Sept. 19).
AS A SOPHOMORE IN 2014 AT NEW MEXICO MILITARY INSTITUTE
Earned all-conference honors … played in eight games … made 31 tackles including two sacks and a total of 5.5 tackles for a loss … had two pass break-ups.
AS A FRESHMAN IN 2013 AT TEXAS LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY
Played in seven games, made one tackle.
Earned all-district honors as a defensive end and tight end at Anderson High School.
Jeremy Hodowanic – DT, 6-1, 285, Forney, Texas (Naval Academy Prep School)
Signed with the Naval Academy in February 2015 … attended Naval Academy Prep School in the fall of 2015 … earned all-district honors and was named team defensive player of the year as a senior at North Forney High School … registered 60 tackles, 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles his senior season … had 48 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one blocked punt and one blocked field goal as a junior.
Khylil Miller – DB, 6-1, 175, Thomasville, N.C. (Fork Union Military Academy)
Attended prep school at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia during the fall of 2015 … attended North Davidson High School in Thomasville, N.C. … earned all-conference and all-county honors in 2014 … offensive player of the year, all-conference and all-county as a junior in 2013 … had 1,800 all-purpose yards and scored 18 touchdowns his junior season.
Malik Stanley – WR, 6-3, 210, Topeka, Kan. (Coffeyville Community College)
AS A FRESHMAN IN 2015 AT COFFEYVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Played in 11 games … totaled 15 receptions for 152 yards and scored two touchdowns … averaged 10.1 yards per catch … caught two passes, both touchdown catches, for 24 yards in a 49-7 win at Iowa Central Community College (Sept. 26) … returned a kickoff for 30 yards at Hutchinson Community College (Oct. 3) … had six receptions for 69 yards in the final two games combined.
Played at Shawnee Heights High School … recorded 671 receiving yards and caught eight touchdown passes as a senior … helped the Thunderbirds to district, regional and sectional championships.