A-State signs five D linemen, 24 total, in Anderson's second class
DARVEON BROWN, WARREN
JONESBORO – Fresh off leading Arkansas State to its fourth consecutive bowl game appearance, head football coach Blake Anderson announced Wednesday that 24 players, including seven midyear transfers, from 11 different states have signed with the Red Wolves.
Arkansas State’s second recruiting class under Anderson consists of 17 high school players, six junior college transfers and one NCAA FBS transfer. The class features five players from Arkansas, four from Mississippi, three from Oklahoma, two from Alabama, Georgia and Kansas and one from Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas.
The Red Wolves signed five interior defensive linemen, the most among any position and 11 of the 24 players inked are expected to play on the defensive side of the ball. Also among the signees are two defensive ends, two linebackers and two defensive backs. Including four offensive linemen, three running backs, three wide receivers and two quarterbacks, A-State signed 12 offensive players.
“This class is kind of in two phases. There was a December push to create some depth and to fill some holes that we identified throughout the season,” said Anderson. “Those seven guys are here and working. All indications are that they will be very helpful, whether they’re in a starting role or backup role in the rotation.”
A-State’s seven midyear signees available to participate in spring practices are juniors Joseph Bacchus (OL), Brandon Berg (OL), Cody Brown (DB), Waylon Roberson (DL), Allen Sentimore (DB) and Jake Swalley (DL) and senior Robert Mondie (DL).
“We took a little different approach to this February signing class,” Anderson said. “We had all these guys committed in the summer except for one. We identified them early, and we wanted speed, length, athletic ability, strong character and guys that love to play ball. We wanted guys who won’t shy away from hard work, and I think that is exactly what we found.”
While the 2015 class rankings are not final, Arkansas State’s class could possibly finish rated the highest in the Sun Belt Conference considering it entered National Signing Day among the league’s top two teams by Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com.
Among the 24 newest Red Wolves are 18 players rated at least three stars by one or more of the major recruiting sources, at least 10 who were named high school all-state and six who gained collegiate all-conference honors in some capacity. Additionally, 12 A-State signees are ranked among the top 50 players in their respective home state and 15 are rated among the top 150 players in the country at their position by either Scout, Rivals, ESPN or 247Sports.
Including back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2011 and 2012, eight more in 2013 and seven last year, the Red Wolves have recorded 35 victories for their most over a four-year span since winning 37 from 1984-87 as an NCAA I-AA (now FCS) member. The Red Wolves’ 35 total wins over the last four seasons also ranks among the top 30 programs in the nation over that time period.
JOSEPH BACCHUS • OL
6-5 • 285 • SOUTHAVEN, MISS. • ITAWAMBA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The 6-5, 285-pound Bacchus earned second team All-Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) recognition in 2014 as a sophomore, helping lead Itawamba (Miss.) Community College to 3,214 yards total offense for a 351.1 average per game. Rated a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com, which also ranks him as the No. 5 junior college guard in the nation, Bacchus was also recruited by schools such as Georgia Southern, Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette and Southern Mississippi. Before starting his collegiate career, he played at Southaven (Miss.) High School.
BRANDON BERG • OL
6-2 • 275 • TULSA, OKLA. • NEO A&M COLLEGE
Berg, who stands 6-2 and weighs 275 pounds, was a two-year starter at center for NEO A&M College, earning honorable mention All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) honors as a freshman in 2013 before receiving first-team accolades in 2014. He was a three-year varsity starter at Tulsa (Okla.) Union High School, where he also played rugby.
CODY BROWN • DB
6-2 • 205 • INDEPENDENCE, KAN. • INDEPENDENCE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Brown spent the last two seasons at Independence (Kan.) Community College as a safety, earning All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) honors both years. His sophomore campaign saw him register 39 tackles (32 solo), 1.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, two interceptions and nine pass break-ups. He was responsible for two touchdowns, including one on a fumble return and the other on an interception return. He ranked 20th in the nation in pass break-ups and his 32 solo stops ranked 20th in the conference.
ALLEN SENTIMORE • DB
6-1 • 190 • SCOOBA, MISS. • EAST MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE
A four-year varsity letterman at Bellville High School, where he was an all-district choice and also a three-sport letterman, Brown is rated as a three-star recruit by 247 Sports and Rivals.com. He is listed as the No. 14 junior college safet in the nation by 247Sports and was also recruited by schools such as Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and North Texas.
WAYLON ROBERSON • DL
6-2 • 340 • ROSWELL, N.M. • NEW MEXICO MILITARY INSTITUE
A 6-2, 340-pound defensive lineman transferring from New Mexico Military Institute, Roberson was named second team All-Western States Football League (WSFL) as a sophomore after recording 37 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and one blocked kick. A former first team All-District 2-5A choice at Midland Lee High School in Midland, Texas, Roberson posted a season-high six tackles and five more in six contests this past season for NMMI.
JAKE SWALLEY • DL
6-2 • 283 • HIGHLAND, KAN. • HIGHLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The 6-2, 285-pound Swalley will come to A-State after helping lead Highland (Kan.) Community College to a 6-5 record in 2014 when he was named an honorable mention All-KJCCC pick. He registered 25 tackles, four sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one pass break-up and one block for Highland this past season. Swalley is listed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com, which also lists him as the No. 14 junior college defensive tackle in the nation. He was a Class 6A All-State selection at Blue Valley Northwest (Kan.) High School.
ROBERT MONDIE • DL
6-2 • 300 • MEMPHIS, TENN. • UAB
Transferred to Arkansas State midterm and is eligible to participate in spring camp . . . Played in 11 games for UAB in 2014 . . . Recorded eight tackles, had three pass breakups, and one quarterback hurry . . . Attended Coahoma Junior College in Clarksdale, Miss. . . . Was Coahoma's leading tackler in 2013 with 49 stops, including 23 solo tackles . . . Recorded three tackles for loss (-10 yards) and one sack (-8 yards) . . . Attended Melrose High School in Memphis . . . Brother of A-State junior offensive lineman Devin Mondie.
TAJHEA CHAMBERS • QB
6-2 • 215 • MILLEDGEVILLE, GA. • TIFT COUNTY
3-star recruit by Scout and 247Sports . . . Rated the No. 6 quarterback in the state of Georiga and No. 106 quarterback in the nation by Scout . . . Rated the No. 41 dual-threat quartberack in the nation by 247Sports . . . Three-time all-region player and was selected to participate in the Rising Stars All-Star game in Georgia before the start of his senior season . . . Chambers has the ability to lineup at any skill position on the offensive side of the ball and has played multiple positions during his high school career . . . Began his freshman season as a wide receiver and then moved to quarterback at the start of his sophomore campaign . . . Also seen time on defense at the linebacker and safety positions . . . Also recruited by schools such as Troy.
D.J. PEARSON • QB
6-2 • 190 • DULUTH, GA. • NORTHVIEW
3-star recruit ranked as the No. 4 quarterback in state of Georgia, No. 25 in South region and No. 86 among all quarterbacks according to Scout.com . . . A 3-star recruit by 247Sports as well, ranked as the nation's No. 22 pro-style quarterback . . . ESPN 3-star recruit rated as the No. 31 dual-threat quarterback in the nation . . . Second team All-Region 6-AAAAAA in 2014 . . . Threw for 2,013 yards with a 57.8 completion percentage . . . Averaged 201.3 passing yards per game and finished with a quarterback rating of 100.8 . . . Recorded 17 touchdown passes and five interceptions . . . Rushed 40 times for 201 yards . . . Named Offensive Player of the Year in Region 7-AAAAA in 2013 after completing 60 percent of his passes for 2,531 yards . . . Finished his junior season with 19 touchdowns and had a season-best 392 yards in a 35-28 loss to Creekview . . . Moved from wide receiver to quarterback during his sophomore season . . . Threw for over 1900 yards and 17 touchdowns in six full games as a quarterback his sophomore season . . . Also a left-handed pitcher clocked at 85 miles per hour with his fastball . . . His father, Daryl, played at Alabama State and two years with the New York Jets as a wide receiver . . . His cousin was drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of high school and eventually played seven years with the San Diego Chargers . . . Also recruited by teams such as Georgia State, Troy and Southern Mississippi.
DARVEON BROWN • WR
5-11 • 176 • WARREN
3-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN . . . Ranked as the No. 90 wide receiver in the nation and the No. 11 player in the state of Arkansas by 247Sports . . . 2014 ArkansasVarsity.com First Team All-State selection . . . Ranked as the No. 8 recruit in the state of Arkansas by Hootens.com . . . Rated the No. 21 player in the state and No. 210 wide receiver in the nation by ESPN . . . Four-year starter for the Lumberjacks, who helped lead the team to a 4A state championship in 2014 and 4A state runner-up finish in 2013 . . . Recorded 36 catches for 593 yards and five touchdowns and ran 28 times for 219 yards and four touchdowns as a senior . . . 8-4A All-Conference as a sophomore, junior, and senior . . . Named to the Pine Bluff Commercial All-Southeast Arkansas team as a junior and senior . . . Earned 4A All-State honors after junior season.
JAVIER CARBONELL • DE
6-2 • 285 • BENTONVILLE
3-star recruit by Scout and 247Sports . . . Rated the No. 105 defensive tackle in the nation and No. 26 player in the state of Arkansas by 247Sports . . . Rated as the No. 3 defensive end in the state by Scout . . . The 6-2, 285-pound defensive linemen missed all of the 2015 after suffering a torn labrum in the fall camp before the start of his senior season . . . Despite the injury, he had several offers from several FBS schools and was a pivotal part of the Tigers run to the 2014 Arkansas Class 7A State Championship . . . While in high school he played on a 3-man front at the defensive end position and racked up all-conference and all-state honors after his junior campaign . . . Also recruited by schools such as Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe.
DALTON FORD • OL
6-4 • 295 • WEBB CITY, MO. • WEBB CITY
3-star recruit by Scout and 247Sports. . . Rated the No. 3 offensive tackle in the state of Missouri and No. 128 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout . . . Rated the No. 25 overall player in the state of Missouri by 247Sports . . . Missouri Class 4A First Team All-State selection . . . An offensive lineman for one of the most successful football programs in Missouri history, Ford was anchor for a Webb City High School team that has won five straight class 4A state championships . . . Webb City was ranked as the 11th best team in the nation by USA Today and also garnered a No. 5 ranking from MaxPreps.com in the Midwest Region . . . Webb City rushed for 4,372 yards this past season and averaged 312.3 yards per game on the ground . . . The team held a 7.3 yards per rush average and averaged 391.5 yards of total offense per game . . . Also recruited by schools such as Syracuse, Illinois, Texas State, Florida Atlantic and Georgia State.
KIRK LOUIS • LB
6-2 • 230 • BATON ROUGE, LA. • McKINLEY
3-star recruit by 247Sports, which lists Louis as the No. 77 player in the state of Louisiana and No. 52 inside linebacker in the nation . . . Started at defensive end as a sophomore before moving to linebacker as a junior . . . Earned First Team All-District 5-5A honors as a senior . . . Posted 105 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery as a junior while playing both outside and inside linebacker . . . Also recruited by schools such as Tulane, Navy and Yale.
DONOVAN RANSOM • DL
6-1 • 270 • GARLAND, TEXAS • GARLAND
Rated by 247Sports as the No. 137 defensive tackle in the nation . . . Named 2014 All-District 11-6A . . . 2013 All-District 11-5A choice . . . Also recruited by schools such as Louisiana-Monroe.
WARREN WAND • RB
5-5 • 174 • EDMOND, OKLA. • MEMORIAL
3-star recruit by ESPN and Rivals, which lists Wand as the No. 13 player in the state of Oklahoma . . . Rated as the No. 16 player in the state of Oklahoma and No. 146 running back in the nation by ESPN . . . Registered over 5,500 yards of total offense in his career at Memorial High School as a four-year starter for the Bulldogs . . . Rushed for 1,769 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior . . . Also had a stellar sophomore season with 1,812 yards and 15 touchdowns . . . Ranked No. 11 on The Oklahoman's Super 30 . . . Also a varsity track and field letterman . . . Also recruited by schools such as New Mexico and Southern Mississippi.
JAMAL JONES • RB
5-9 • 185 • MEMPHIS, TENN. • TREZEVANT
3-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN . . . Rated as the No. 44 and No. 55 player in the state by ESPN and 247Sports, respectively . . . 247Sports lists Jones as the No. 46 all-purpose back in the nation, while ESPN lists him as the No. 180 running back in the nation . . . Named an all-state selection by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association following his senior campgaign . . . A two-way player, Jones developed into one of state of Tennessee's best running backs after bursting onto the scene with 1,200 yards in his sophomore season . . . The trend continued as Jones topped the 1,000-yard plateau in each of his next two seasons . . . Also spent time at linebacker and safety in high school . . . Also recruited by schools such as Louisville and Georgia State.
GRIFFIN RIGGS • DE
6-3 • 235 • AUBURN, ALA. • AUBURN
3-star recruit by Scout, ESPN and 247Sports . . . Rated as the No. 3 and No. 102 outside linebacker in the state and nation, respectively, by Scout . . . Rated as the No. 48 overall player in the state of Alabama by 247Sports . . . Listed by ESPN as the No. 31 overall player in Alabaam and No. 101 defensive end in the nation . . . Named a "Super 8 Senior" by the Opelika-Auburn News entering his senior season . . . Recorded 22 tackles, inlcuding 13 solo stops and five sacks, to go along with eight hurries and a blocked punt as a junior . . . Also recruited by schools such as Cincinnati, Appalachian State, Troy, South Alabama and Southern Mississippi.
CAMERON DAVIS • OL
6-4 • 280 • BRYANT
3-star recruit by Scout and 247Sports. . . Rated as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the state and No. 165 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout . . . Rated as the No. 18 overall player in the state of Arkansas and No. 137 offensive tackle in the nation by 247Sports . . . The son of former NFL offensive lineman Isaac Davis, the younger Davis blossomed into one of the top offensive tackles in the state of Arkansas . . . A Class 7A all-state and all-conference pick at offensive lineman, Davis has been ranked as the No. 3 lineman in the state of Arkansas by Scout and ranks at the 50th best at his position in the South region . . . He was also named to the 2014 All-Arkansas Varsity Football team and had offers from four other Division I schools . . . Also recruited by schools such as Louisiana Tech and Souther Mississippi, Louisiana-Monroe and Memphis.
EARL HARRISON • RB
5-10 • 175 • MEMPHIS, TENN. • RIDGEWAY
3-star recruit by 247Sports, which ranks Harrison as the No. 39 player in the state of Tennessee and No. 114 running back in the nation . . . 3-star recruit by ESPN, rated as the No. 34 player in the state of Tennessee . . . Named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State Team following his senior season . . . The 5-11, 175-pound running back topped 1,000 yards for the second straight season in 2014 after rushing for 1,937 yards and 20 touchdowns as junior en route to being named Ridgeway's Player of the Year . . . Began his career as a fullback and ran for 800 yards and eight touchdowns before making the switch to running back prior to the start of his junior season.
AVERY JOHNSON • ATH
6-2 • 210 • HARDY • HIGHLAND
3-star recruit by 247Sports rated as the No. 31 player in the state of Arkansas and the No. 134 safety in the nation . . . 3-star recruit by ESPN, which lists Johnson as the No. 20 player int he state and No. 203 wide receiver in the nation . . . Played at Highland High School and helped lead the team to a 7-4 record and appearance in the 4A state playoffs . . . Also helped teams to the 4A state playoffs as a junior and 3A state playoffs as a sophomore . . . Played a multitude of positions on offense including quarterback, running back, and wide receiver, while also playing safety on defense . . . Also recruited by teams such as Southern Miss.
JUSTIN CLIFTON • LB
6-0 • 207 • TUPELO, MISS. • TUPELO
3-star recruit by ESPN, which also rates him as the No. 36 player in the state of of Mississippi and the No. 130 linebacker in the nation . . . Rated as the No. 46 player in the state of Mississippi and the No. 177 outside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports . . . A strong force for Tupelo High School over the past three seasons, Clifton quietly worked his into one of the state of Mississippi's best linebackers at the end of his senior campaign . . . Earned all-conference and all-state honors in class 6A and was the Defensive Player of the Year in his conference . . . Helped lead Tupelo to the Class 6A state championship and has displayed quickness and strength at football camps over the past two seasons . . . Named to the Mississippi roster for the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic . . . Also recruited by schools such as Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee and Southern Mississippi.
OMAR BAYLESS • WR
6-3 • 190 • LAUREL, MISS. • LAUREL
3-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals . . . Rated as the No. 32 player in the state of Mississippi and the No. 154 receiver in the nation by 247Sports . . . Helped lead Laurel High School to a Mississippi Class 5A state championship . . . Recorded 70 receptions for 1,442 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Golden Tornadoes . . . His yardage total ranked second in the state and touchdown total was fourth . . . Named the conference's offensive MVP for his performance . . . Also a varsity basketball letterman . . . Also recruited by schools such as Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis and Southern Mississippi.
T.J. HARRIS • DE
6-2 • 225 • TULSA, OKLA. • BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
Rated as the 30th best player in the state of Oklahoma by The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruiting rankings . . . Recorded 68 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumbles recovered as a senior . . . Earned All-America, all-state and all-district recognition following his senior campaign . . . Earned four MaxPreps.com Defensive Player of the Game awards last season, including three games where he registered at least two sacks and one game where he finished with 11 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery . . . Also recruited by schools such as Kansas State, Missouri, Arizona State, San Diego State and New Mexico.
JAYLON MARSHALL • WR
6-2 • 190 • WARREN
3-star recruit by ESPN.com, which rates Marshall as the No. 19 player in the state of Arkansas and No. 200 wide receiver in the nation . . . Rated as the No. 39 player in the state of Arkansas by 247Sports . . . Three-year starter for the Lumberjacks who helped lead the squad to a 4A state championship in 2014 and 4A state runner-up finish in 2013 . . . Recorded 44 receptions for 832 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior along with six rushes for 64 yards and two touchdowns . . . 8-4A All-Conference as a junior and a senior . . . Pine Bluff Commercial All-Southeast Arkansas team as a junior and senior . . . Named Class 4A All-State as a senior.