Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Furman football completes recruiting class

After 10 high school football players signed with Furman in the new early signing period in December, six more faxed in their commitment letter on the traditional February signing day Wednesday.

Along with three transfers that are already on campus and currently participating in spring practice, the total class size for this season is 19. In his first recruiting campaign with a full season of head coaching under his belt, Furman coach Clay Hendrix is a fan of the new earlier period.

"I love it. I would've loved to have had all of them in December. I don't think that will ever happen, but I think we can sign a good corps of kids going forward in December," Hendrix said. "We've had these six settled for a couple of weeks, so it was a nice January. We weren't doing a lot of babysitting trying to hold on to guys. Our kids have been solid."

Following a successful 2017 season that saw Furman win eight games and advance to the second round of the FCS playoffs, success seems to have continued in this recruiting season. Of course, that will ultimately be determined over the course of the next few years.

During Furman's annual National Signing Day Celebration Wednesday at the American Burger Company in downtown Greenville, Paladin fans heard from every assistant about the newly signed players at their position. Recruiting coordinator/outside linebackers coach Duane Vaughn said that out of all the players who made official visits to Furman's campus, only one didn't sign.

The newest Paladins include the sons of three former NFL players. Linebacker Jax Hackett is the son of former Pro Bowl and All-Southern Conference linebacker at Appalachian State, Dino Hackett. Wide receiver Zack Peterson is the son of Todd Peterson, who was a placekicker in the NFL for 12 years. Cornerback/return specialist Amir Trapp, a junior transfer from Clemson, is the son of James Trapp. Trapp was a defensive back for 11 years in the NFL and also an Olympic sprinter. 

This year's class focused on defensive needs. The Paladins signed four defensive backs, three defensive linemen and three inside linebackers.

"We were really thin at inside linebacker and that's a quality group we added. They're a little bigger and more athletic," Hendrix said.

Offensively, the Paladins signed three wide receivers, two quarterbacks, two running backs, an offensive tackle and a tight end. Quarterbacks was a focus following the graduation of P.J. Blazejowski.

While senior Harris Roberts, redshirt freshman JeMar Lincoln and others are taking the snaps at quarterback currently in spring ball, Hendrix said new signees, Hamp Sisson and Conway's Darren Grainger, will get their chance to compete when they arrive in July.

"We told them we will give them every opportunity to compete for the job," Hendrix said. "I'd be really surprised if that decision (on a starting quarterback) doesn't go well into August. There's no preconceived redshirt plans at that quarterback position. We're going to find out who our best one is."

Bios for all the new players can be found here.

2018 Furman Football Signing Class
QB Darren Grainger, 6-4, 190, Conway
QB Hamp Sisson, 6-0, 185, Birmingham, Ala.
RB Devin Abrams, 6-1, 205, Pensacola, Fla.
TB Corey Watkins, 5-9, 185, Evans, Ga.
WR Dejuan Bell, 5-9, 160, North Augusta
WR Louis Hall, 6-0, 180, Canton, Ga.
WR Zach Peterson, 6-2, 180, Roswell, Ga.
TE Ryan Miller 6-1, 205, Jackson, Tenn.
OT Anderson Tomlin, 6-5, 275, Birmingham, Ala.
DE Melton Brown, So., 6-3, 264, Louisville, Ga. (Georgia Southern)*
NG Cameron Coleman, 6-3, 285, Elizabethton, Tenn.
DT Taylor Hodge, 5-9, 255, Tyrone, Ga.
ILB Braden Gilby, 6-2, 220, St. Petersburg, Fla.
ILB Jax Hackett, 6-2, 205, Greensboro, N.C.
ILB Cooper Hardin, So., 6-1, 228, Chattanooga, Tenn. (Navy)*
CB Travis Blackshear, 5-10, 175, Savannah, Ga.
DB Jonah Griffin, 5-11, 180, Savannah, Ga.
CB Amir Trapp, Jr., 5-8, 170, Clemson (Clemson)*
S Dae'one Wilkins, 6-0, 200, Spring Hope, N.C.

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