Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Hendrix's third recruiting class reaches Texas

Seven players signed with Furman Wednesday upping the total number of
signees in this year's recruiting class to 16. Photo courtesy of Furman
Furman football coach Clay Hendrix believes that a college player's third year - ideally as a redshirt sophomore - typically offers the biggest chance for them to elevate their game. Following Furman's annual Signing Day Celebration Wednesday afternoon in which the Paladins' latest recruiting class was discussed with fans, Hendrix said that same belief could be applied to a head coach and staff.

Seven more players signed their national letters of intent to play football at Furman on Wednesday's traditional signing day. That wrapped up Hendrix's third recruiting class with a total of 16 players.

"I think we filled needs, but the biggest thing is the overall quality of (the class). Our coaches did a great job," Hendrix said. "I think we're finally getting to a point where we don't have to have this guy or that guy.
"Eighty percent of the kids on our roster now weren't here when we first got here counting this class. ... That's not easy to do, especially when you're not doing it with transfers and junior college guys. We've worked hard to do that and I think our depth is significantly better than it has been. We've still got a few spots so we're not there yet, but I'm really excited about where we are."

Furman added four players on defense and three on offense Wednesday. That brings this year's total class numbers to eight defensive players, seven offensive and one to be determined as Bryce McCormick is listed as a linebacker/tight end.

Among the new offensive players signing Wednesday were two skill position players from high schools 1,000 miles and 15 miles away, respectively, in running back Wayne Anderson Jr. and wide receiver Jake Kimmelman.

Anderson (5-foot-10, 185 lbs.) hails from Prosper, Texas where he played for Class 6A Prosper High. He ran for 1,524 yards and 18 touchdowns to help his team go 9-3 this past fall. He also had 314 yards receiving and caught two touchdowns. Also a member of the track team, Anderson holds the school record in the 400m at 49.33 seconds.

"You watch the tape and you think, 'how does this guy not have more (recruiting) stuff going on?' ... One of the interesting things on film is you never see him get caught," Hendrix said. "One of our young guys, (quality control assistant) Hamp Smith, found him and then is it was, 'well, will he leave Texas to come here?' ... He's just a great fit for us. He wanted what Furman could offer educationally.
"Quite honestly, we've made a concerted effort to invest out there (in Texas) and see what we can do. If you look at the Dallas metroplex, there's a lot of really good football and really good schools. ... I've also learned a little bit to see how important football really is to (players), and football's really important out there."

Kimmelman, a Greenville native, helped Southside Christian go 11-3 and reach the Class 2A Upper State championship game in 2018. Despite being limited to nine games due to injury, Kimmelman (6-2, 185) caught 40 passes for 685 yards (17.1 yards per catch). He also collected 35 tackles as a defensive back. Kimmelman's signing helped the Paladins total six signees from South Carolina this season.

"We've had him in camp for at least two years and he might have even been here when he was a sophomore. He's got a really good frame and speed, great length and is a polished receiver," Hendrix said. "He comes from a really good football program. I think they do a great job coaching kids up over there. ... Signing local kids to me is huge."

The other offensive player to sign Wednesday was offensive guard Dan Dodd III from Keystone Heights, Fla. A four-year starter at Class 4A Keystone Heights High, Dodd is the third offensive lineman in this class and the largest at 6-4 and 285 pounds. He was also a district and regional champion weightlifter as a junior.

Furman's defensive secondary got a boost Wednesday with the signings of cornerbacks Kam Brinson and Cally Chizik, as well as safety Hugh Ryan. Linebacker Josh Agbenou was the other defensive player to sign.

At Class 1A Aquinas (Ga.) High, Brinson was a three-time All-Region 7 selection and earned first team All-State honors from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution as a senior. Chizik is the son of former Auburn coach Gene Chizik and was a first team All-State performer this past fall at Class 7A Auburn (Ala.) High. Chizik is also a baseball standout and was Auburn High's leadoff man on its 2018 state championship team.

Ryan comes to Furman after helping Dutch Fork High go 41-1 over the last three seasons and capture Class 5A state championships in each of those years. He made more than 200 tackles in his prep career, including 92 as a senior. The Irmo native also had three interceptions to help earn All-State honors in 2018, which he capped with a seven-tackle and one-sack performance in the Shrine Bowl. Like Chizik, Ryan also shines on the baseball diamond, where he hit .391 last season to earned second team All-State honors. Ryan's mother was a standout golfer at Furman, while his grandfather played pro baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization.

"Guys that are used to winning are always nice to have," Hendrix said. "Guys that have had to work and put in the grind in the offseason, and also kids that are really prepared for Furman. I think these schools have done a really good job in that."

Agbenou earned second team All-State honors after posting 133 tackles in 10 games in 2018 for Class 6A Apalachee High in Georgia. The Bethlehem, Ga. native chose Furman from 14 scholarship offers, including six from FBS programs.

Bios for all of this year's signees can be found here.

2019 Furman Football Signing Class
TB Wayne Anderson Jr., 5-10, 185, Prosper, Texas
RB Dominic Roberto, 5-11, 230, Fayetteville, N.C.
WR Jake Kimmelman, 6-2, 185, Greenville
OT Pearson Toomey, 6-3, 250, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
OG Dan Dodd III, 6-4, 285, Keystone Heights, Fla.
OG Jacob Johanning, 6-3, 260, Simpsonville
C Evan Jumper, 6-4, 240, Myrtle Beach
DL Jack Barton, 6-4, 225, Alpharetta, Ga.
DL Devonte Jones, 6-2, 307, Anderson
LB Josh Agbenou, 6-2, 227, Bethlehem, Ga.
LB/TE Bryce McCormick, 6-2, 218, Franklin, Tenn.
SPUR Jalen Miller, 5-11, 200, Duncan
CB Kam Brinson, 5-10, 180, Augusta, Ga.
CB Cally Chizik, 5-9, 170, Auburn, Ala.
S Austin Jones, 5-11, 180, Tiger, Ga.
S Hugh Ryan, 6-1, 187, Irmo

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