AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - UMass football coach Kevin Morris has announced the signing of 17 future Minuteman football players to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. These incoming freshmen should be joined by a few more additions that had their NLI process delayed by the weather issues across America. Look for several more signings in the next few days. The 17 that signed today join five mid-year additions that enrolled at UMass last week and will be eligible to play for the Minutemen in Spring Football practice and the 2011 season.
"The class is not yet complete due to the weather delays but we are very excited about announcing the guys who have signed with us," said head coach Kevin Morris. "We always begin with character and this group has it. Mike Wegzyn starts the class at the quarterback spot. His height, arm strength and football mind fit very well into our pro-style offense. We also looked for speed. The wide receiver, running back and defensive back group are flush with high end speed and talent. The tight end spot is strong with the three athletes there and they will get put to the test right away in our multiple tight end sets. In the trenches, we filled in with some big and physical bodies. The depth of the class stands out as well as the quality. When the weather breaks and the final signees come in we will have a core group of student-athletes that will be the foundation of the future for UMass football."
2011 UMASS FOOTBALL NEWCOMERS
Signee Players Pos. Yr. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Previous School
Derek Beck WR Fr. 6-3 190 Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan H.S.
Jarvis Bentley WR Fr. 6-4 195 Columbus, Ga./Carver H.S.
Jordan Broadnax RB Fr. 5-9 175 Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown H.S.
Jamie CasselberryOL Fr. 6-6 280 Chicago, Ill./Phillips Andover Academy (Mass.)/De La Salle Institute
Brian Dowling RB Fr. 5-9 190 Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills H.S.
Dan Foesel TE Fr. 6-3 240 Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic H.S.
Iric Harris DB Fr. 5-8 175 Woodbridge, Va./Hylton H.S.
Brandon Howard TE Fr. 6-5 250 Wrentham, Mass./King Phillip H.S./Worcester Academy
Randall Jette DB Fr. 5-11 175 Oak Bluffs, Mass./Martha's Vineyard H.S.
John McGrath TE Fr. 6-3 255 Hamden, Conn./Hamden H.S./Kent School
Marken Michel WR Fr. 5-10 185 Plantation, Fla./American Heritage H.S.
Andddy Moas OL Fr. 6-4 295 Pembroke Pines, Fla./West Broward H.S.
Andrew Ortiz K Fr. 5-8 160 West Palm Beach, Fla./The King's Academy
Quayshun Smith DB Fr. 5-9 160 Tallahassee, Fla./Godby H.S.
John Wallace OL Fr. 6-4 275 Somerville, Mass./Somerville H.S.
Mike Wegzyn QB Fr. 6-5 215 Knoxville, Tenn./Knoxville Catholic H.S.
Jamal Wilson RB Fr. 5-10 190 Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas H.S.
Mid-Year Pos. Yr. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Previous School
Chris Burns TB RJr. 5-10 190 Wilmington, Pa./Wilmington H.S./Pittsburgh
Ryan Campbell DB RSo. 6-0 180 Columbus, Ga./Carver H.S./Mississippi
Chase Danska WR Jr. 5-9 170 Pleasant Hill, Calif./College Park H.S./Los Medanos JC/Diablo Valley JC
Greg Hilliard LB Fr. 6-3 215 Brockton, Mass./Brockton, H.S./Suffield Academy (Conn.)
Kellen Pagel QB So. 6-3 200 Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville H.S./Bowling Green
NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT SIGNEE PROFILES
Wide Receiver • Freshman • 6-3 • 190
Martinsville, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan H.S.
Before College: Starred at Bridgewater-Raritan High School ... All-County and All-Conference as a junior and senior ... Named a Top 10 receiver in the Tri-state area (N.Y., N.J., Conn.) ... Hauled in 37 catches for 631 yards and six receiving touchdowns ... Compiled 921 return yards and two return TDs.
Wide Receiver • Freshman • 6-4 • 195
Columbus, Ga./Carver H.S.
Before College: Lettered as a receiver at Carver High School in Columbus, Ga. ... Made 32 catches for 520 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns ... Also ran for 140 rushing yards.
Running Back • Freshman • 5-9 • 175
Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown H.S.
Before College: Four-year Team MVP at Landstown High School ... Honored as an All-Virginia Beach as a senior ... All-District selection as a junior and senior ... Honored with Best Running Back Award in the 757 area code ... Ranked as the 88th best player in Virginia by the Roanoke Times ... As a senior, ran for 869 yards and 10 touchdowns ... Also had 320 receiving yards and two sacks on defense ... As a junior, ran for 756 yards and six rushing TDs ... Hauled in 248 receiving yards and two touchdowns ... On defense, had a fumble recovery for a TD, a pair of interceptions as well as two kickoff returns for scores ... Also a star in track & field, being part of Virginia State Champion team in the 4X100 relay team ... That team placed second in the Penn Relays.
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-6 • 280
Chicago, Ill./De La Salle Institute/Phillips Andover Academy (Mass.)
Before College: Played the 2010 season at Phillips Andover Academy and earned a letter ... Graduated from De La Salle Institute in Chicago ... Lettered as
a junior and senior Team captain as a senior ... All-Conference as a senior.
Running Back • Freshman • 5-9 • 190
Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills H.S.
Before College: Decorated running back at Wayne Hills High School ... Honored as an All-State, All-Country, All-Area and All-League selection as a senior ... An All-Metro MSG Varsity pick ... Chuck Mound Tri-State Running Back of the Year ... Passaic Country Offensive Player of the Year ... Also received weekly honors by The Record and WGHT ... Finished eighth in the state in rushing yards with 1,804 on 233 carries ... Scored 23 touchdowns while gaining 7.7 yards per carry ... Set school career record in rushing yards with 5,478 All-Purpose Yards and 74 overall touchdowns ... Scored five touchdowns in a game on two occasions ... Piled up 3,493 career rushing yards ... Made 75 catches for 1,151 yards in his career ... Also had 26 punt returns for 376 yards and 18 kickoff returns for 458 yards ... On defense, intercepted seven passes for 91 yards ... Also punted 25 times for a 34.5 yard average with a long of 52 yards and 11 punts into the 20-yard line.
Tight End • Freshman • 6-3 • 240
Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic H.S.
Before College: Tight end at DePaul Catholic H.S. in New Jersey ... Posted 84 catches for 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career ... As a senior, racked up 48 catches for 654 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensive Back • Freshman • 5-8 • 175
Woodbridge, Va./Hylton H.S.
Before College: Had eight interceptions including two returned for touchdowns as a senior ... All-State AAA Second Team ... Named AAA Cardinal District Defensive Player of the Year ... Named a first-team AAA receiver and first-team defensive back ... All-Metropolitan Honorable Mention ... AAA All-Region Defensive Back ... On offense, hauled in 412 receiving yards with four touchdowns ... Also scored a rushing touchdown and punt return score ... Honored as the Roanoke Times Top 100 Recruits "Sleeper of the Year."
Tight End • Freshman • 6-5 • 250
Wrentham, Mass./King Phillip H.S./Worcester Academy
Before College: Played both tight end and defensive end at Worcester Academy in a postgraduate year ... Racked up 18 tackles, two sacks and three pass break-ups on defense ... Made 10 catches for 257 yards with one touchdown on offense ... In final game, had five catches for 105 yards and a score ... Played quarterback at King Phillip High School and led team to a 9-2 record as a senior ... Named to Boston Globe Eastern Mass All-Star Team as a senior and junior ... Hockomock League All-Star, Sun-Chronicle Football All-Star Team as a junior and senior ... Massachusetts Football Division 2 All-Star in 2009 ... Team Offensive MVP as he threw for 1,038 yards and 13 touchdowns ... Also carried 40 times for 100 yards and seven touchdowns ... As a junior, led Eastern Mass quarterbacks in passing touchdowns (17) ... Threw for 1,071 yards and rushed for 252 yards ... Named Old Spice Red Zone National Player of the Year for Leadership and Performance ...
Defensive Back • Freshman • 5-11 • 175
Oak Bluffs, Mass./Martha's Vineyard H.S.
Before College: Named to Boston Globe First-Team All-Defense ... ESPN Boston MIAA All-State Defensive Back ... Honored as an Old Spice Player of the Year in Massachusetts ... Eastern Athletic Conference All-Star as a junior and senior ... Four-time Air Force National Player of the Week ... Named Great American Rivalry Series MVP for games vs. Nantucket in 2010 ... As a tailback, rushed for school single-game record 247 yards ... Holds school for high jump with a mark of 6-foot, 2-inches.
Tight End • Freshman • 6-3 • 255
Hamden, Conn./Hamden H.S./Kent School
Before College: Prepped a year at The Kent School in Connecticut ... Played both tight end and defensive line ... Made 16 catches for 270 yards with two receiving touchdowns ... On defense, posted eight sacks while making 24 total tackles .... Team captured NEPSAC Championship ... Graduated from Hamden High School, where he was a three-year starter ... Posted 12 career sacks along with 94 tackles, three fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles ... Made 35 catches with two touchdowns on offense ... Starred in lacrosse, playing both attack and defense ... Two-year lacrosse team captain and four-year starter ... Played for Yale Bulldog AAA Team.
Wide Receiver • Freshman • 5-10 • 185
Plantation, Fla./American Heritage H.S.
Before College: Two-way starter at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla. ... Second-Team All-County Sun-Sentinel ... Played in Private vs. Public All-Star Game ... Named a Broward Bowl All-Star ... As a receiver, had 27 catches for 607 yards and eight receiving touchdowns ... Started at safety in the secondary.
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-4 • 295
Pembroke Pines, Fla./West Broward H.S.
Before College: Three year starter at West Broward High School ... Team captain as a senior ... Honored
as a Broward County All-Star ... Played in the Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game ... Played both center and guard.
Kicker • Freshman • 5-8 • 160
West Palm Beach, Fla./The King's Academy H.S.
Before College: Starting placekicker and punter at The King's Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla. ... Palm Beach Post First-Team All-Area ... Named Second-Team by the Sun-Sentinel ... Converted all 43 extra point attempts ... Made five field goals with a long of 45 yards ... 80 percent of kickoffs reached the end zone ... Punted 28 times for a 42.4 yard average ...
Defensive Back • Freshman • 5-9 • 160
Tallahassee, Fla./Godby H.S.
Before College: Star cornerback at Amos P. Godby High School in Tallahassee, Fla. ... Ranked No. 77 cornerback in the country by ESPN ... Lockdown defender as he finished with 46 tackles, two sacks, 18 passes defense, two forced fumbles and two interceptions as a senior in 2010 ... State finalist in the triple-jump in track & field.
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-4 • 275
Somerville, Mass./Somerville H.S.
Before College: Two-time Greater Boston League All-Star on the offensive and defensive line ... Projected to play guard or center in college ... Made 68 tackles and posted five sacks as a senior ... Named to ESPN Boston's All-State Team on the offensive line ... An athletic lineman, also was an All-League defenseman for the school's hockey team.
Quarterback • Freshman • 6-5 • 215
Knoxville, Tenn./Knoxville Catholic H.S.
Before College: Quarterback at Knoxville Catholic High School in Tennessee ... Began high school career at Northville H.S., in Michigan ... Named All-Conference as a junior at Northville ...Named quarterback MVP of the National Underclassmen Combine's Midwest Ultimate 100 Camp in Nashville ... Placed second among a tough quarterback competition at NUC's exclusive Top Prospect Camp in Norman, Oklahoma ... Played in the NUC's All-World Gridiron Classic Game on New Year's Eve ... Threw for 1,281 yards as a senior as Irish posted a 7-5 record ... Threw for eight touchdowns and rushed for 394 yards on the season ... Threw for season-best 255 yards against William Blount ... Older brother Matt is a tight end at the University of Tennessee.
Running Back • Freshman • 5-10 • 190
Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas H.S.
Before College: Team captain of the No. 1 high school team in the nation St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as a senior ... Squad captured Florida 5A State Championship with a 15-0 record ... Team went 43-1 in three years ... Named second-team by the Florida Sun-Sentinel ... As a senior, rushed for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns with 6.4 per carry average ... Also made 20 catches for 293 yards with four receiving scores.