Courtesy of Elon Athletics
ELON, N.C. â€“ Fifth-year Elon Phoenix head coach Pete Lembo announced that his program has signed 14 high school seniors to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The class includes eight players who played their prep ball in North Carolina. Four of the 14 enter with two-star ratings.
Along with the eight North Carolina players, the 2010 class also includes three players from Georgia and one each from Florida, New Jersey and Tennessee.
â€œFrom the day our coaching staff set foot on this campus, one of our primary recruiting goals has been to build great relationships with the high school coaches in North Carolina and to sign quality student-athletes from the Tar Heel State,â€ said Lembo. â€œWe were fortunate to get some excellent results this year in our own backyard as well as in some primary outlying areas like Georgia.â€
The group is comprised of a quarterback, two wide receivers, two offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, a linebacker and five defensive backs.
Added Lembo, â€œWe needed to address the defensive line and defensive back positions, among others, in this signing class due to our losses to graduation and our overall depth at this time. I am pleased with the quality of these newcomers and hope that some can challenge for playing time early in their careers.â€
The Phoenix posted an overall record of 9-3 and made the programâ€™s first-ever FCS Playoff appearance in 2009. Elon ended the season ranked in the top-10 of both of the major FCS polls. Elonâ€™s 7-1 ledger in Southern Conference play was the best for the program in its tenure in the league and was good enough for sole possession of second place in the SoCon.
â€œAs our credibility continues to grow, we can be more and more selective in choosing the right players that fit in well at Elon,â€ stated Lembo. â€œWe made far fewer offers this year and still had 11 verbal commitments prior to the holidays. The entire process is more accelerated for us now than it was when we arrived four years ago.â€
Lembo and the Phoenix will welcome the following student-athletes to the team in the fall:
Kierre Brown (WR â€¢ 5-9 â€¢ 162 â€¢ Charlotte, N.C. â€¢ Independence)
Juan Burnett (DB â€¢ 6-1 â€¢ 184 â€¢ Duluth, Ga. â€¢ Peachtree Ridge)
Edward Burns (DB â€¢ 5-10 â€¢ 166 â€¢ Sylvania, Ga. â€¢ Screven County)
Steven DeCarlo (DL â€¢ 6-3 â€¢ 248 â€¢ Acworth, Ga. â€¢ Kennesaw Mountain)
Phillip Dobbins (OL â€¢ 6-3 â€¢ 275 â€¢ Elm City, N.C. â€¢ Southern Nash)
Sam Fulginiti (OL â€¢ 6-3 â€¢ 288 â€¢ Matthews, N.C. â€¢ Charlotte Christian)
Jeremy Inglesi, Jr. (DB â€¢ 6-1 â€¢ 177 â€¢ Charlotte, N.C. â€¢ Independence)
Tevin James (DL â€¢ 6-1 â€¢ 261 â€¢ Newton, N.C. â€¢ Newton-Conover)
Akeem Langham (DB â€¢ 5-10 â€¢ 177 â€¢ High Point, N.C. â€¢ High Point Central)
Mike Quinn (QB â€¢ 6-3 â€¢ 183 â€¢ Wayne, N.J. â€¢ Wayne Hills)
Danny Sellers (WR â€¢ 6-3 â€¢ 183 â€¢ St. Augustine, Fla. â€¢ Bartram Trail)
Austin Sowell (DL â€¢ 6-5 â€¢ 242 â€¢ Knoxville, Tenn. â€¢ Knoxville West)
Jonathan Spain (LB â€¢ 6-3 â€¢ 229 â€¢ Greensboro, N.C. â€¢ Page)
Chandler Wrightenberry (DB â€¢ 5-11 â€¢ 205 â€¢ Asheville, N.C. â€¢ T.C. Roberson)
Wide receiver Kierre Brown (Charlotte, N.C./Independence) helped lead coach Tom Knotts squad to a 2007 state finals appearance as well as a 2008 conference title. Brown was selected as an all-league performer in both 2008 and 2009. In his senior campaign, Brown caught 48 balls for 1,186 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also returned one kickoff and three punts for touchdowns in 2009. Brown posted 44 grabs for 800 yards and four touchdowns as a junior. Independence was rated as the top high school program in the state of North Carolina by ESPN.com entering the 2009 season. He has maintained a 3.5 GPA while earning a scholar-athlete award in 2008. In 2008, Brown was chosen as the MVP/Best Receiver at both the Schuman Combine and the Brad Hoover Camp. Brown is also an all-conference track performer where he was the 2009 conference long jump champion and a member of the league title 4x100 relay squad. The 5-9, 162-pound receiver is the son of Kerrick Williams and Tamara Atwater and sports a 3.14 Elon GPA.
Juan Burnett (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) is a 6-2, 190-pound defensive back who helped lead Bill Ballardâ€™s program to a 41-14 record over the past four seasons. As a senior, he was the second-leading tackler on the team and an honorable mention all-county choice. During that span, the team earned a co-state title, was a state runner-up and claimed a region crown. Burnett has earned all-county and all-region accolades in track while also claiming that teamâ€™s Mr. Consistency Award. On the track, Burnett was part of the state runner-up 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams for two consecutive seasons. Juan is the son of Juan and Kim Burnett and boasts a 3.00 Elon GPA.
A 5-10, 166-pound defensive back, Edward Burns (Sylvania, Ga./Screven County) was an all-region cornerback for coach Pat Collins. Burns, a team captain, was also an all-region receiver and was named his squadâ€™s receiver of the year. He has lettered three years in football and twice in track. As a member of the track team, Burns placed first in the region in both the 100-meter (10.7 seconds) and 200-meter (21.8 seconds) dash. Edward is the son of Edward and Linda Burns.
Defensive lineman Steven DeCarlo (Acworth, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain) was a two-way three-year starter at Kennesaw Mountain. He served as a team captain as well as being named a team MVP and receiving the Coke Golden Helmet Award. The 6-3, 248-pounder posted 67 tackles, including 17 for a loss and five sacks. DeCarlo was named all-county and was a participant in the Cobb All-Star Game where he served as a team captain. Steven is the song of Steve and Antonia DeCarlo and holds a 3.36 Elon GPA.
Offensive lineman Phillip Dobbins (Elm City, N.C./Southern Nash) was a starter in the 2009 Shrine Bowl as well as a first-team All-Big East Conference pick by the leagueâ€™s coaches. A team captain, Dobbins was chosen as the academic athlete of the year. The 6-3, 275-pound lineman helped Brian Fosterâ€™s team to the fourth round of the North Carolina 3-AA playoffs. The squad posted its best season in 20 years in 2009, going 11-4. Phillip is the son of Terry and Jeanette Dobbins and currently has a 4.47 Elon GPA.
Sam Fulginiti (Matthews, N.C./Charlotte Christian) comes to Elon after collecting all-conference, all-state and second-team All-Mecklenburg County accolades on the gridiron. During his senior season, the 6-3, 288-pound offensive lineman did not allow a sack and tallied 27 pancakes. He also saw time on the defensive line where he posted six quarterback hurries, five sacks and 52 tackles. Fulginiti helped lead Jason Estepâ€™s squad to a 2009 league title as well as a 2008 state crown. Also a standout on the baseball diamond, Fulginiti hit .380 with eight homers and 35 RBI as a junior. Sam is the son of Michael and Sandy Fulginiti. His brother Zach is a 2006 Elon graduate.
Defensive back Jeremy Inglesi, Jr. (Charlotte, N.C./Independence) was a 2009 all-conference performer and team captain. In his two seasons as a starter for coach Tom Knotts, Inglesi helped the program record a 25-3 record and post two state semifinals appearances. During his senior season, Inglesi posted 58 tackles, forced three fumbles and picked off one pass. Independence was rated as the top high school program in the state of North Carolina by ESPN.com entering the 2009 season. As a member of the track team, Inglesi was a state final track participant in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Jeremy is the son of Jeremy Inglesi, Sr. and Crystal Bryant.
Tevin James (Newton, N.C./Newton-Conover) was named the defensive player of the game following the 2008 state championship game from his defensive line position. The 6-2, 261-pound James has been an all-conference performer and was his teamâ€™s 2009 defensive MVP. During his senior campaign, James tallied 112 tackles, including 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He also broke up three passes, forced four fumbles and recovered two fumbles. James helped lead Nick Bazzleâ€™s squad to a state runner-up finish in 2009 as well as conference and state crowns in 2008. Tevin is the son of Michael and Regenia Martin and maintains a 3.00 Elon GPA.
Defensive back Akeem Langham (High Point, N.C./High Point Central) collected first-team all-area and all-conference honors in 2008 and 2009. ESPN.com rates Langham as a two-star recruit and the 174th-ranked safety in the country. A team captain for coach Wayne Jonesâ€™ team, Langham scored six career defensive touchdowns while helping his team to three state playoff appearances. The 5-10, 177-pounder is a member of the student council and has lettered for three years in basketball. Akeem is the son of Archie and Susan Langham who boasts a 3.08 Elon GPA.
Quarterback Mike Quinn (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) threw for 1,711 yards on 102 completions with 24 touchdowns and only two interceptions during his senior campaign. The 6-3, 183-pound Quinn was a first-team All-State Group 3 selection in 2009 and was an all-league honoree in both 2008 and 2009. Rivals.com rates Quinn as a two-star recruit. As a junior, Quinn threw for 1,919 yards and 18 scores. During his time under center, Wayne Hills compiled a 22-2 record. He helped coach Chris Olsenâ€™s program to a 2009 Group 3 runner-up finish and a 2008 Group 3 state title. In 2008, the squad achieved a ranking of No. 2 in the state of New Jersey. At one point, the program posted 55 consecutive victories. In both 2008 and 2009 Quinnâ€™s prep squad captured the North Bergen Interscholastic Athletic League championship. Mike is the son of Terry and Lynn Quinn.
Danny Sellers (St. Augustine, Fla./Bartram Trail) joins the Phoenix program after earning honorable mention honors at both the county and district levels as a wide receiver. A two-year football letter-winner, Sellers snared 26 balls for 350 yards and two scores while playing in a triple option system during his senior season. With his help, coach Darrell Sutherlandâ€™s team reached the 2009 state playoffs. Sellers, who is 6-3 and 183 pounds, is also a four-year letter-winner in track and field. Danny is the son of Daniel Sellers and Audery Roebuck.
Linebacker Jonathan Spain (Greensboro, N.C./Page) participated in the 2009 Shrine Bowl. In both 2008 and 2009 Spain collected all-area and all-conference honors and was named Pageâ€™s defensive MVP. Spain helped lead coach Kevin Gillespieâ€™s squad to a 9-3 finish in 2009 and state playoff appearances in both 2008 and 2009. A team captain, Spain was a 2009 Carolina Preps All-State choice. At 6-3, 229 pounds, he is also a member of Pageâ€™s basketball team where he earned all-tournament honors at the 2010 Pizza Hut Invite. Spain serves as a human relations delegate for Page. Jonathan is the son of Steven and Beth Spain and sports a 3.50 Elon GPA.
Defensive lineman Austin Sowell (Knoxville, Tenn./Knoxville West) was selected as the District 4-AAA Defensive Lineman of the Year. An all-region selection for coach Scott Cummings, Sowell was also a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Coaches All-State pick and is rated as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com. The 6-5, 242-pound Sowell was a Region 4-AAA All-Academic Team honoree. Austin is the son of Bob and Margie Sowell and boasts a 5.13 Elon GPA.
Defensive back Chandler Wrightenberry (Asheville, N.C./T.C. Roberson) was twice named the offensive MVP for coach Jim Beattyâ€™s squad. Rivals.com rates him as a two-star recruit. Wrightenberry, who stands 5-11 and weighs 205 pounds, also earned first-team all-conference accolades twice and was a first-team All-Western North Carolina pick once. Chandler is the son of Mac and Kim Wrightenberry who maintains a 4.13 Elon GPA.
In 2010, Elon will play its 89th football campaign overall and its 12th as a NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision member. It will also mark the eighth year as a member of the prestigious Southern Conference.