TROY, Ala. - Troy University head football coach Larry Blakeney announced the Trojans 2008 signing class today. The class includes a total of 35 players, including four who are already on campus.
The group of new players includes several who are expected to sit out the fall semester of 2008 as "grayshirts" and enroll next January. The class also includes several players who will be placed in junior colleges in order to get their academics in order.
"I think we got a good class and we filled a lot of needs across the board," Blakeney said. "Everything from quarterback to receiver, defensive back to defensive line, the whole gambit. The only thing we did not find was a true tight end, but that is the only thing we are missing.
The signing class includes 15 offensive players and 20 defensive players. The largest position group in the class is defensive line, with nine players expected to play either end or tackle. The secondary was also heavily bolstered with seven signees. Those players will have a chance to help right away with the graduation loss of corners Elbert Mack and Leodis McKelvin.
The offensive group includes five receivers, three linemen, three running backs, two quarterbacks and two players listed as athletes.
The Trojans stuck to their traditional recruiting areas for the majority of the class, with 13 of the players hailing from Florida. Alabama was represented by 10 players in the class while nine will come to Troy from Georgia. The final three members of the class come from Louisiana, Kentucky and Colorado, respectively.
"Florida has been good to us," Blakeney said. "We have always drawn from three states. Overall, we are pretty close to equal in those states in our efforts, but we always go outside when we have a chance. We have a very rich three-state area that we try to recruit."
The class includes eight junior college players, including one, defensive end Mario Addison, who originally signed with the Trojans in 2006. Three of the other signees come to Troy from prep school. One of those, defensive tackle Tim Lamb, is the brother of current Trojan Xavier Lamb.
"We filled some gap needs with the community college guys and we got some good young guys from the high school ranks," Blakeney said. "I am glad to see it come to and end, but it has been fruitful.
"Ultimately, you judge classes by championships won and now it is time for us to go back and focus on the guys we have on campus."
The complete list of 2008 signees, along with short biographical sketches of many of the players, follows.
2008 Troy University Football Signing Class
Birmingham, Ala./Tarrant High School/Northeast Miss. CC
Resigned with Troy after spending two solid seasons at Northeast Mississippi CC. During his sophomore season, in nine games, had 60 tackles, including 45 solo, with 21.5 tackles for loss of 68 yards and 3.5 sacks. Also had a pass breakup and two forced fumbles. During his freshman season he was credited with 46 total tackles, including 26 solo, with 10 tackles for loss of 53.5 yards, four sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Boyd-Anderson HS
Rushed for 971 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore. Was a second team All-State pick as a junior after rushing for 1,689 yards and 20 scores. Was a first team All-Broward County pick and was the Broward County player of the year. Rushed for 941 yards and 11 Tds as a senior, earning All-Broward County honors for a second straight year. Career totals were 3,601 yards rushing and 50 touchdowns. Was ranked as the 10th best running back in Florida and the 72nd best in the nation by Scout.com. Also runs track with a best time of 10.8 second in the 100 meters. Chose Troy over Indiana, Georgia, Kansas State, Wisconsin, UCF and Minnesota.
Belle Glade, Fla./Day High School
Was a two-time All-State pick, first team as a senior, and was twice a first team All Palm Beach County selection. Was twice named All-District and All-Area. Helped his squad to a Class 1A state title as a junior. Played in the Florida North-South All-Star game as well as the Palm Beach County All-Star game.
Auburn, Ala./Auburn High School
Recorded 60 solo tackles, eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one blocked kick, 20 assisted tackles and 10 quarterback hurries during his junior campaign. Was an honorable mention class 6A All-State pick by the Birmingham News in 2006.
Milton, Fla./Milton High School
Saw action in eight games during his senior season, playing both ways for Milton HS. Recorded 78 tackles on defense with two sacks and three fumble recoveries. On offense he had 41 carries for 220 yards and seven touchdowns as a fullback.
Baton Rouge, La./Scotlandville Magnet High School/ East Central (MS) CC
Hard-hitting defensive back who could factor in as a starter immediately. Chose Troy over Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, UL Lafayette and Middle Tennessee.
Boaz, Ala./Boaz High School
Recorded 60 pancake blocks as a senior in 2006 and graded out at more than 90 percent in every game during his final season at Boaz High School. Was rated as a two star player by Rivals and chose Troy over Vanderbilt.
Perry, Ga./Perry High School
Kanorris Davis is a two-time All-State selection and a two-time region defensive player of the year at Perry High School. He recorded 389 tackles in his career with 24 sacks, five forced fumbles and three blocked kicks in his career.
Perry, Ga./Perry High School
Tony Davis set a school record with 15 tackles for a loss, finishing the year with 65 tackles and eight sacks. He was a two-time All-Region selection at Perry High School.
Orlando, Fla./Olympia High School
In his senior season, Dorn recorded 62 tackles with nine tackles for loss and three sacks. Played in the Central Florida High School All-Star Game.
Cullman, Ala./Cullman High School
Gavin Ellis was named first team all-state as a senior after recording 82 catches for 1265 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was also named to the All-Region team and All-County for head coach Mark Britton.
Hollywood , Fla./Hollywood Hills High School
Recorded 80 tackles, including 10 sacks, during his senior season. Had four fumble recoveries and scored two touchdowns. Was a first team all-Broward County pick and was selected to play in the Dad-Broward All-Star game. Had 81 tackles as a junior with six sacks and three fumble recoveries.
Mobile, Ala./Vigor High School/Jones County (MS) JC
Tebarius Gill recorded 65 receptions and over 1700 yards receiving in two seasons at Jones County Junior College. He scored 14 receiving touchdowns, with another punt return touchdown en route to being named first team all-state.
Denver, Colo./Mullen High School/Garden City (KS) CC
Was a first-team All-State selection as a senior in high school and was named Colorado Player of the Year after rushing for 2,186 yards and 30 touchdowns. Was rated as the 10th best running back in the nation and was the number one prep player out of the state of Colorado. During his sophomore season at Garden City he rushed for 778 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Luverne, Ala./Luverne High School
Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln High School/Hargrave Military Academy
Lamb is anything but gentle, especially if you are a center who has to line up against him. He is a disruptive force in the interior of the defensive line. He is either pushing blockers back into the backfield or staying strong at the line of scrimmage, there is no backwards in his game. He has good quickness off the ball and displays a quick swim to get immediate penetration, but the meat of his game is taking on blockers and pushing people around. He is a solid tackler and his ability to get into the backfield seems to lead to a few fumbles. As a pass rusher, he can naturally collapse the pocket and at times do it in a hurry. He is also capable of using his "weapons" to work past blockers and keeps working to get to the quarterback until the ball is thrown. Originally signed with Auburn out of high school, choosing the Tigers over Clemson, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, N.C. State and Alabama.
Eatonton, Ga./Putnam County High School/Kilgore (Tx.) CC
Played in seven games as a sophomore, recording 40 total tackles, 39 solo, with three tackles for loss of 14 yards and two forced fumbles.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Hollywood-Chaminade Prep
Rushed for 927 yards and 11 touchdowns in just seven games as a senior. Was a first team All-Broward County selection. Chose Troy over Kansas State, Wake Forest and Ohio.
Citra, Fla./North Marion High School
Rated as the No. 68 player in Florida by Rivals.com. Chose Troy over Florida, Tennessee and UCF. Had 41 receptions for 651 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. Had 21 receptions for 489 yards and six touchdowns as a senior.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Hollywood-Chaminade Prep
Registered 68 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles; was 2nd team all-Broward County, Is the brother of Emeka Nwankwo who signed with Notre Dame last year. Coached by Al Lang at Hollywood-Chaminade. Chose Troy over Army and Vanderbilt.
Miami, Fla./Columbus High School
Dan Parker compiled a 22-3 record as a starter for Christopher Columbus High School. He passed for 950 yards and 12 touchdowns, also rushing for 379 yards and five touchdowns while being named All-Dade County and a starter in the Dade/Broward and Dade North/South All-Star games.
Ft. Walton Beach, Fla./Ft. Walton Beach High School
Payton was named to the Northwest Florida Daily News All-Area team after making 30 receptions for 350 yards and four touchdowns during his senior season. Was nominated to play in the Pensacola Sports Association All-Star game and was voted team captain and won the Leadership Award.
Winter Park, Fla./Lake Howell High School
Perry primarily played running back in high school, but projects as a combo back/receiver who can also return kicks. Rushed for 2,112 yards and 24 touchdowns during his senior season while also throwing for 372 yards and four scores. Was named first team all state, first team all-central Florida, first team all-conference and all-district. He was also named the Florida Class 5A Player of the Year and the Seminole County Player of the Year. As a junior he rushed for 1,150 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Waycross, Ga./Ware County High School
Was a three year starter that recorded 28 tackles, 15 assists and one interception over his final season. He also was credited with six pass break-ups. Phillips was named first team All-Region and first team All-Area following his senior year.
Stone Mountain, Ga./Stone Mountain High School
Charles "Chip" Reeves caught 43 passes for 736 yards and three touchdowns in only nine games for Stone Mountain High School. He chose the Trojans over Tennessee.
Leighton, Ala./Courtland HS/Northeast Mississippi CC
Michael Ricks over 1,900 yards of offense as a senior. He led the state of Alabama with 16 interceptions en route to being named the Class 1A MVP. He was a two-year starter at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Miss.; ACJC (Mississippi Association of Community/Junior College); All-State selection as both a freshman and sophomore. He was named First Team All-Region 23 following his sophomore season with the Tigers. As a sophomore in 2006, Ricks started at safety for Northeast as well as returned kicks, finishing the 2006 season as the fifth-best kick returner in Mississippi, averaging 24.8 yards per return with a long of 59 yards. Ricks recorded 48 tackles and six interceptions in 2005.
Sunrise, Fla./Piper High School/Garden City (KS) CC
Registered 33 tackles (24 solo, nine assisted) with two interceptions as a senior at Garden City Community College.
Paducah, Ky./ Lone Oak High School
Robinson was named Mr. Football in Kentucky following a record-setting senior season. During the season he set a national record with 91 touchdown passes while completing 383-of 520 passes with only four interceptions. He piled up 5,872 yards passing during his final season. In his three-year career, he threw for 132 touchdowns and 9,271 yards. Among his other state records are highest completion percentage career (63.7), highest completions percentage season (73.7), TD passes career (132), yards passing per game season (391.5), pass attempts career (962), pass attempts season (520), yards passing career (9,271) and yards passing season (5,872). In addition to being named Mr. Football, Robinson was named the Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year, the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team and the EA Sports and Prep Nation 101 All-America teams.
Newnan, Ga./Northgate High School
James Searcy was named All-Fayette County by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as a junior. Was plagued by injuries during his senior season. He recorded more than 100 career tackles and nine sacks in two seasons at Northgate High School. Participated in the U.S. Army junior combine in 2006.
Ashburn, Ga./Turner County High School/Garden City (KS) CC
Recorded 72 tackles (68 solo and four assisted) with one forced fumble and two interceptions for 33 yards as a senior safety for Garden City Community College.
Mobile, Ala./Murphy High School
Ranked as the number 37 linebacker in the nation by Scout.com. Recorded 125 tackles and five sacks as a junior.
Valley, Ala./Valley High School
Thompson recorded 144 tackles, one interception and three fumble recoveries as a junior for Valley High School.
Newnan, Ga./Heritage High School
Prattville, Ala./Prattville High School
Williams was a two-year starter for the state champion Lions and was named All-Metro as a senior. Williams recorded 79 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks and 10 quarterback hurries as a senior.
Columbus, Ga./Shaw High School