Georgia Southern University signees
DL Dequan Clark (6-1, 275) Buford
WR Montay Crockett (6-0, 175) Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe
FB James Dean (6-1, 195) Glynn Academy
DL Deonte Dempsey (6-3, 245) Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian Academy
QB Matt Dobson (6-0, 205) Monticello (Fla.) North Florida Christian
QB Kevin Ellison (6-0, 180) Habersham Central
LB Patrick Flowe (6-1, 210) Parkview
OL Darien Foreman (6-4, 285) Dunwoody
DB Deshawntee Gallon (5-11, 190) Madison County (Fla.) Madison County
ATH Nardo Govan (6-2, 230) Savannah Christian
DL Tre Griffin (6-2,235) North Cobb
QB Vegas Harley (6-0, 185) Mount Dora (Fla.) Mount Dora
TE Daquan Heard (6-3, 245) Washington-Wilkes
DB Tay Hicklin (5-10, 175) Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe
FB Irving Huggins (6-1, 215) St. Cloud (Fla.) Hargrave Military Academy
DL Jamal Johnson (6-3, 240) Southeast Bulloch
DL Jermaine Morris (6-1, 235) Archer
DB Corey Neely (6-1, 190) Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe
DB Corey Redding (5-11, 190) Cocoa (Fla.) Cocoa
OL Diego Rodriguez (6-3, 250) Dacula
OL Wintz Terrell (6-2, 297) Hardee (Fla.) Hardee Senior
AB Shun Tribble (5-9, 170) Enoree (S.C.) Woodruff
AB Devonte Wheaton (5-9, 170) Etowah
OL Michael Young (5-11, 265) Tucker
Georgia Tech signees
RB Marcus Allen (6-2, 210) Hilliard (Fla.) Senior
QB Dennis Andrews (6-0, 190) Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby
DB Anthony Autry (6-2, 180) Norcross
OL Freddie Burden (6-3, 290) Statesboro
DE Roderick Chungong (6-3, 250) Silver Springs (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel
DT Pat Gamble (6-5, 275) Central-Carrollton
DL Adam Gotsis (6-5, 300) Abbotsford, Australia
S Lynn Griffin (6-0, 200) Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian
LB Beau Hankins (6-1, 230) Birmingham (Ala.) Jackson-Olin
WR Travin Henry (6-4, 227) Cook County
DE Francis Kallon (6-5, 245) Central Gwinnett
OL Chase Roberts (6-3, 285) Greater Atlanta Christian
P Ryan Rodwell (6-2, 210) DeLand (Fla.) DeLand
LB Tyler Stargel (6-3, 250) Orange Beach (Ala.) Gulf Shores
WR Michael Summers (6-1, 190) Statesboro
QB Justin Thomas (5-11, 185) Prattville (Ala.) Prattville
CB DJ White (5-11, 188) Union Grove
University of Georgia signees
DT John Atkins (6-4, 300) Thomson
P Collin Barber (6-2, 191) Cartersville
QB Faton Bauta (6-3, 225) West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer
OL Mark Beard (6-4, 290) Adamsville (Ala.)
LB Josh Dawson (6-4, 225) Tucker
ATH Sheldon Dawson (5-11, 180) Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway
LB James DeLoach (6-3, 260) Jenkins County
LB Leonard Floyd (6-4, 215) Dodge County
RB Todd Gurley (6-1, 195) Tarboro (N.C.) Tarboro
FB Quayvon Hicks (6-2, 245) Pierce County
LB Jordan Jenkins (6-3, 245) Harris County
RB Keith Marshall (5-11, 190) Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook
PK Marshall Morgan (6-3, 195) Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage
OL Greg Pyke (6-6, 315) Baltimore (Md.) Boys Latin School
TE Ty Flournoy-Smith (6-3, 228) Colquitt County
DL Jonanthan Taylor (6-4, 315) Jenkins County
OL John Theus (6-6, 292) Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles
WR Blake Tibbs (6-2, 185) M.L. King
Georgia Southern signed 24 football players, including three quarterbacks, to national letters of intent on Wednesday, National Signing Day.
“It’s a large class,” GSU head coach Jeff Monken said during an afternoon news conference at the Parrish Football Center. “We are losing 22 seniors this year off of our football team, some key players, some guys that we’re really going to miss. And with those positions that are being vacated, we really tried to make an effort to fill those spots with young guys, as well as kind of go heavy in some areas where we didn’t have as many as we’d like.”
Vegas Harley, a 6-foot, 185-pound quarterback from Mount Dora (Fla.) High School, kept Monken and his assistants guessing Wednesday morning. The three-star recruit by Rivals.com and ESPN chose GSU over Football Bowl Subdivision school Memphis.
“We battled even this morning on Vegas Harley,” Monken said. “He hadn’t made up his mind … Vegas was just kind of going back and forth between us and another school, and we’re very fortunate that he chose Georgia Southern … He was being recruited by some other schools to play a different position, and I think he chose Georgia Southern with the hope that he could play quarterback, and we certainly think he can.”
Harley finished his career with 7,910 yards of total offense in three years at quarterback. He ran for 1,384 yards and 16 touchdowns and threw for 1,328 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior.
GSU also signed quarterbacks Kevin Ellison (6-foot, 180) from Habersham Central High School in Cornelia, and Matt Dobson (6-foot, 205) from North Florida Christian in Tallahassee, Fla. Ellison tallied 5,100 yards and 83 touchdowns rushing, and 1,412 yards passing and 15 touchdowns during his career. Dobson, rated by Rivals.com as a three-star prospect, finished his career with 4,297 yards passing and 42 touchdowns. He also ran for 1,415 yards and 20 touchdowns.
The Eagles are losing senior starting quarterback Jaybo Shaw to graduation and only signed one — Prince McJunkins — in last year’s class. This year’s signees will join McJunkins, Jerick McKinnon and Ezayi Youyoute on the quarterback depth chart.
“In terms of scholarship quarterbacks, we felt like we needed to get some more guys there,” Monken said “and we feel like we got three really good quarterbacks.”
If Harley, Ellison and Dobson don’t succeed at quarterback, Monken said he hopes they can play another position. McKinnon, for example, has played slotback and defensive back for the Eagles.
“We feel like he can play about every skill position on the football team,” Monken said of McKinnon. “And we’d like to get as many guys like that as possible. Where these three guys fit in, I’m not sure. Each one of them is different.”
The secondary was another area of concern because of the loss of senior cornerbacks Laron Scott and Hudson Presume, and freshman cornerback Riyahd Jones, who is no longer enrolled. The Eagles signed four defensive backs. GSU also added transfers Tevin Thomas (6-1, 205) from Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College and Valdon Cooper (5-11, 170) from the University of Illinois to play cornerback.
Grady Redding (5-11, 190) of Cocoa (Fla.) High School will get a chance to play at safety, Monken said. Monken called the two-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals.com “a smaller version of Josh Rowe,” GSU’s middle linebacker.
“We really felt like we needed to help our numbers at quarterback and in the secondary,” Monken said. “I’d say those two positions were ones that we really targeted to try to get some guys. We also felt a need at B-back. We have a couple of young guys there but just not a lot of depth. We moved Robert Brown to A-back, which we think is a really good move for our football team, as well as for him.”
One of GSU’s more intriguing signees, Monken said, is Savannah Christian’s Nardo Govan (6-2, 230). Govan was a two-way player at linebacker and running back for the reigning Class A state champions.
“We feel like he’s one of the best skill players in Savannah and the Coastal Empire,” Monken said. “We have no idea where we’re going to put him when he gets here. But we’re going to find a place for him to play."
GSU signed five defensive linemen, four offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three quarterbacks, two A-backs, two B-backs and a linebacker, wide receiver, tight end and athlete. The Eagles’ signing class included Glynn Academy fullback/linebacker James Dean, who spurned Air Force for Georgia Southern.
“I really felt like we helped ourselves on the defensive line with some outstanding athletes, players we think may be able to come in in the fall and make an impact for us as freshmen,” said Monken, who must replace seniors John Douglas and Roderick Tinsley. “And we really tried to shore up each position. We took guys at each position. There was no position, with the exception of specialists, that went unfulfilled in this class, so we’re excited about the group we have.”
GSU is searching for players to replace seniors Adrian Mora (field goals, extra points), Billy Greer (kickoffs), Charlie Edwards (punter) and Carter Jones (long snapper).
“Very few kickers, punters and long snappers are being taken on full scholarship,” Monken said. “And there’s going to be a lot of those guys looking for a home in the coming days and weeks."
GSU finished last season 11-3, advancing to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals for a second consecutive season. The Eagles won their first Southern Conference championship outright since 2002, and their first league title since 2004, when they shared with Furman.