Published February 10, 2014
In Sunday's Vindicator, I detailed how area recruits have fared under Youngstown State coach Eric Wolford. Now it's time to look at his overall recruiting classes. While it's hard to evaluate the 2013 class (much less the 2014 class), we know enough to say that, of his first three, the 2011 class was his best.
This list only includes players added on National Signing Day.
Recruits: Nate Adams, TE; Patrick Angle, QB; Jamarious Boatwright,, CB; Ali Cheaib,, LB; Donald D’Alesio, DB; Chris Elkins,, OL; Eric Franklin,, OL; Allen Jones, RB; Zach Larson,, OL; Meiko Locksley, QB; J.P. May,, OL; Grant Mayes,, CB; Stephen Page, DE; Michael Shope,, OL; Thomas Sprague,, LB; Marc Stevens,, OL; Jordan Thompson, RB; Kevin Watts,, WR
Left program: Angle, Franklin, Jones, Larson, Locksley, May, Mayes, Shope, Sprague, Stevens, Thompson.
Used up eligibility: Cheaib, Elkins, Sinko, Watts
Analysis: Just three of the 18 players remain from Wolford’s first recruiting class, which was hastily assembled after Wolford was hired in late December. Elkins was the best of the bunch, breaking into the starting lineup as a freshman and earning first team all-conference honors each of the last two years. He could be in an NFL camp this summer. D’Alesio has started 31 games at safety and will likely be a team captain this fall. Sinko was a starter on the line last fall. Knee injuries have hampered Boatwright, while Adams earned honorable mention all-conference at tight end last season.
Recruits: Tahir Blount, CB; David Brown, PK; Christian Bryan, WR; Nick Buonavolonta, CB; Zach Conlan, DL; Nick DeKraker; Kintrell Disher, WR; Jeremey Edwards, S; Josh Fenderson, DL; Brandon Ferguson, OL; Ian Folmar II, DL; Demond Hymes TB; Emmanuel Kromah, DE; Lamar Mady, OL; Jordan Markota, LB; Jimmy May, Jr., DB; Aaron Morgan, LB; Eric Myers, DE; Dante Nania QB; Blake Novotny, DE; Dubem Nwadiogbu, LB; Mark Pratt, OL; Luis Quinones, DE; Davion Rogers, LB; Aronde Stanton, DT; Trevor Strickland, DE; Andre Stubbs, WR; Sir Aaron Taylor, S; Brandon Thomas, WR/CB; Mike Thomas, CB; Andrew Williams, WR; Teven Williams, LB; Justin Yuran, LB/LS; Steve Zaborsky, DE
No longer with program: Blount, Conlan, DeKraker, Ferguson, Folmar, Markota, May, Morgan, Novotny, Rogers, Taylor, Mike Thomas, Yuran
Used up eligibility: Brown, DeKraker, Edwards, Fenderson, Mady, Pratt, Quinones, Stanton
Analysis: Wolford’s best recruiting class was heavy on impact junior college transfers, which is a big reason why only 14 of the 34 recruits are still on the roster. Bryan and Teven Williams have been starters the past three years, while Stubbs is a two-year starter and Andrew Williams started last fall. Mady spent most of last season on the Oakland Raiders’ active roster, while Pratt, Stanton and DeKraker played at an all-conference level. The jury is still out on several players, particularly on the defensive line, but there were more hits than misses in this class.
Recruits: Matt Bell, DL; Kevon Caffey, LB; Chris Charles, S; Julius Childs, CB; Jamar Clark, WR; Dylan Colucci, OL; Brandon Davis, DL; Brock Eisenhuth, OL; Jordan Feeser, TE; Twin Fernandes, S; Dana Harris, OL; Terry Johnson, LB; Chavien Nolcox, LB; Byron Pringle, WR; David Rivers, DB; Jameel Smith, FS; Anthony Szymczak, DL; Austin Trgovcich, DL; Nick Wargo, QB; Michael Wheary, WR; Mac Wightman, OL; Terrell Williams, DE; Christian Wilson, OL
No longer with program: Charles, Clark, Davis, Feeser, Fernandes, Pringle, Szymczak, Trgovcich, Wightman
Analysis: This was the first class where Eric Wolford was able to redshirt the majority of the players and while there are some solid contributors (particularly Julius Childs and Jameel Smith, both starters), there are still a lot of mysteries. Nine of the 23 players have already left (or never arrived on campus in the first place).
Recruits: Kenny Bishop, S; Damarius Brinson Jr., CB; Octavius Brown, DT; Derrick Burgess, WR; Joey Cejudo, PK; Vince Coleman, DE; Nate Cox, DE; Ricky Davis, QB; Rickey Hagood II, DT; Jaylin Kelly, LB; Cole Kochman, LB; Connor McFadden, PK; Ryan Mosora, RB; Cole Newsome, OL; Anthony Parente, OL; Derek Rivers, DE; Martin Ruiz, RB; Justin Spencer, OL; Eric Thompson, CB; Bryant “B.J.” Welch, LB; Desmond Williams, DE; Jacob Wood, TE.
No longer with program: Cox.
Analysis: YSU hit a home run with Ruiz, the Missouri Valley’s freshman of the year, and Rivers and Wood have both shown flashes of being impact players. Cejudo has the best leg of any of Wolford’s kickers. But junior college transfers Brown and Coleman had lackluster first years and most of the younger players are still unknown, including Davis, who many believe has the best shot of replacing Kurt Hess.