Courtesy of Western Carolina Athletics
CULLOWHEEE, N.C. â€“ Western Carolina head football coach Dennis Wagner today announced his third recruiting class on National Signing Day that featured a combined 19 student-athletes and included seven student-athletes that enrolled at mid-term for the spring semester which began in January.
Western Carolina recruiting coordinator, Andy Follett, will be the special guest on â€œIn the Litterbox,â€ a weekly, interactive sports talk show that is hosted by WCU student Michael Chapin and airs Wednesday nights from 7:00 pm until 8:00 pm on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee. Fans can also listen in online at www.WWCUFM.com and call-in to the show at (828) 227-7173.
Wagner is slated to be the halftime guest on the Catamount Sports Networkâ€™s Pepsi Halftime Show during Thursday nightâ€™s menâ€™s basketball game against Georgia Southern from the Ramsey Center.
â€œWe believe that our 2010 recruiting class is our best class to date here at Western Carolina not only in talent â€“ which we thought was very solid in our 2009 class â€“ but in also meeting the needs in adding depth to our football team,â€ said Catamount third-year head coach Dennis Wagner on his signing class. â€œWe originally set out to sign 19-to-20 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent and we wound up signing 20-21.
He added, â€œOur coaches did a great job of going out and collecting information for us to be able to find out about these young men and get to know more about them and their families and how they would fit into the Catamount football program.â€
WCU inked 11 student-athletes on the defensive side of the ball and eight on offense including three linemen, a pair of quarterbacks, two wide receivers and a running back. Defensively, the Catamounts inked four linemen and backs, with three linebackers.
The Catamounts signees are from 10 different states ranging from Florida to Massachusetts, and as far west as Kansas. Thirteen of the incoming players are from the southeast region with four from North Carolina including local standout, Austin Chambers from nearby Tuscola HS in Waynesville. Four recruits are from Georgia with three from South Carolina and one from Virginia.
One season after posting the third-best recruiting class at the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level â€“ which included the 2009 SoCon Freshman of the Year in Michael Johnson â€“ the 2010 class for Wagner and staff is again among the national leaders. As of 3:00 pm on Wednesday, the incoming class ranked 124th in the nation according to the site, which was the fourth-best among FCS schools.
However, Rivals.com does not include transfers from four-year institutions in its national ranking which does not count four of WCUâ€™s incoming student-athletes.
Western Carolina is scheduled to open its annual spring drills on April 6 on-campus in Cullowhee.
WR â€“ 6-2 â€“ 200 lbs. â€“ R-Fr.
Jacksonville, Fla. (Central Michigan / First Coast HS)
Prior to Western: Transferred to Western Carolina from Central Michigan â€¦ Did not see game action with the Chippewas.
High School: Collected All-First Coast second team honors from the Florida Times-Union ... Named to the Florida Times-Union Super 24 and was an All-District 3-5A first team selection ... All-Gateway Conference second team ... Caught 14 touchdown passes as a senior ... Named teamâ€™s Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 ... Selected to play in the North-South Shrine Bowl ... Helped lead his high school team to four straight district titles and four straight playoff berths.
Personal: Is the son of Jerome and Jackie Alexander â€¦ Has three siblings; Shante Daye, Christopher Daye and Darius Alexander â€¦ Was born in Savannah, Ga.
DB â€“ 5-10 â€“ 200 lbs. â€“ Jr.
Junction City, Kansas (Coffeyville CC / Junction City HS)
Prior to Western: Was named first team All-Jayhawk Conference in 2009 after recording 51 tackles, including 33 solo stops and four for loss, in 10 games played to rank fourth on the team â€¦ He was additionally named first team All-Kansas Junior Community College Conference (KJCCC) ... Intercepted two passes to tie for the team lead and blocked three kicks ... On special teams, returned three kickoffs for a combined 51 yards and two punt returns for 20 yards â€¦. Coffeyville won its season-ending North Star Bowl and finished 12th in the final National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) football poll ... The Ravens completed the 2009 campaign with a 7-4 record with all four losses occurring to teams ranked in top ten nationally.
High School: In addition to playing defensive back, was also a running back during his prep career â€¦ Also played baseball in high school where he earned first team all-league accolades as an outfielder in 2007 and â€™08 â€¦ Set the JCHS school record for stolen bases (57).
Personal: Is the son of Richard and Danyelle America â€¦ Has three brothers; Jayson, Randy and Jacob, and one sister, Rickeea.
Pete Balthrop, Jr.
DE â€“ 6-1 â€“ 235 lbs.
Winston-Salem, N.C. (West Forsyth HS)
Prior to Western: Was a four-year letter winner at West Forsyth High for head coach Adrian Snow, twice earning All-City and All-County honors â€¦ Accumulated 527 career tackles including 363 solo stops and four sacks â€¦ Posted a career-best 156 tackles as a junior â€¦ Recorded four career interceptions â€¦ Was named All-Northwest and All-Central Piedmont 4-A Conference â€¦ Helped WFHS post a 35-11 combined record during his four-year prep career â€¦ In addition to football, was the 2008 track & field MVP and won the Central Piedmont 4-A Conference shot put.
Personal: Is the son of Peter, Sr., and Donna Balthrop â€¦ Was born in Macon, Ga. â€¦ Has two siblings, Erica and Raven.
OL â€“ 6-2 â€“ 265 lbs. â€“ R-Fr.
Buford, Ga. (UAB / Buford HS)
Prior to Western: Transferred to Western Carolina from UAB where he red-shirted a season ago.
High School: Helped Buford HS and head coach Jess Simpson to a 30-0 record and back-to-back state championships in his final two seasons as a prep ... Buford posted a 54-2 over the previous four years and won four of the past eight Class AA state titles ... Moved to center from tight end for senior season to bolster Buford offensive line, grading out to a 90-percent overall and led the team with over 60 knockdown blocks ... Was invited to Hodges Lineman Camp in 2008 and was selected a "2008 Top Lineman.â€
Personal: Is the son of Sharon and Victor Bennett â€¦ Born in Hagerstown, Md.
LB â€“ 6-0 â€“ 210 lbs.
Clyde, N.C. (Tuscola HS)
Prior to Western: A three-year letter-winner who garnered Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Defensive Player of the Year plaudits and All-Western North Carolina honors as a senior â€¦ Was a three-time All-Haywood County selection and was twice named to the All-AAC team â€¦ Recorded 335 career tackles including 15 sacks and three interceptions in three seasons â€¦ On offense, rushed for 10 career touchdowns, adding eight TD receptions â€¦ Earned the teamâ€™s â€œCoaches Awardâ€ as a sophomore â€¦ Also played baseball as a prep, earning Freshman Player of the Year accolades on varsity in his first season.
Personal: Is the son of Scott and Jill Chambers â€¦ Has two older siblings, Seth and Casey â€¦ His grandfather, James Schandevel, played professional baseball in the Chicago Cubs system as a pitcher from 1956 through 1965.
Anthony â€œAceâ€ Clark, Jr.
DB â€“ 6-2 â€“ 185 lbs.
Germantown, Md. (Clarksburg HS)
Prior to Western: Was a two-time All-Montgomery County 3-A selection in two seasons on the gridiron for head coach Larry Hurd, Jr. â€¦ Combined for 155 total tackles in his junior and senior seasons including a career-best 84 total hits in his final season garnering him All-County and All-Region accolades â€¦ Made 13 interceptions as a defensive back â€¦ Also caught 26 passes for 400 yards and four touchdowns in this final year as a prep â€¦ In addition to football, also played baseball, basketball and ran track.
Personal: Is the son of Anthony, Sr., and Corliss Clark â€¦ Was born in Washington, D.C. â€¦ Has one sibling, Courtney â€¦ His father played collegiate football at Jacksonville State in Alabama and six years of semi-professional football for the North Georgia Cougars â€¦His mother rank track as a collegiate also at Jacksonville State where she was a national finalist in the 400-meter hurdles.
DL â€“ 6-1 â€“ 250 lbs.
Duncan, S.C. (Byrnes HS)
Prior to Western: A two-year letter-winner at Byrnes High where he was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Greer Citizen as a senior after accumulating 160 tackles and 16 sacks â€¦ Finished with 310 career tackles â€¦ Was rated a two-star athlete by Rivals.com â€¦ Earned player of the week accolades six times during his senior season â€¦
Personal: Is the son of Rochella Johnson â€¦ Has four siblings; Antonio, Ryan, Marvin and Marlon.
DE â€“ 6-3 â€“ 245 lbs.
Cumming, Ga. (Forsyth Central HS)
Prior to Western: Was a two-year letter-winner at Forsyth Central High for head coach Chris Bennett â€¦ Earned All-Region and All-County accolades playing both as a linebacker and as the long-snapper â€¦ In two seasons, accounted for 157 tackles including 90 solo stops and 11 sacks as a senior.
Personal: Is the son of Daniel and Billie Mateer â€¦ Was born in Atlanta, Ga. â€¦ Has one sibling, Samantha.
DB â€“ 5-9 â€“ 180 lbs. â€“ Sr.
Brooklyn, N.Y. (Hofstra / Christ the King HS)
Note: Transferred to Western Carolina after Hofstra announced in December, 2009 that it would drop its football program â€¦ As per NCAA regulations when a program is dropped, players can play immediately upon transferring.
Prior to Western: Spent four seasons on the Hofstra roster including a red-shirt seasons in 2006 â€¦ Played in nine games at defensive back and on special teams as a sophomore in 2008, recording nine tackles, including four solos on the season ... In 2007, did not play as a red-shirt freshman...2006: Red-shirted and did not play...
High School: Played football under coach Kevin Kelly at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, New York ... Recorded 1,000 yards rushing and 800 yards receiving as a senior for the Royals ... Earned all-league honors and was named All-State as a defensive back ... Named Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player at Christ the King in 2005 ... Selected to play in the 2006 Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge All-Star Football Game at Hofstra ... Also played baseball as a prep.
Personal: Is the son of Steven McNeill and Jacquelyn Gore â€¦ Has four sisters â€¦ Was majoring in Sociology while at Hofstra.
QB â€“ 6-7 â€“ 220 lbs.
Glen Ellyn, Ill. (Montini Catholic HS)
Prior to Western: Earned the starting nod under center for his senior season at Montini Catholic High and head coach Chris Andriano â€¦ Listed as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com â€¦ Led MCHS to an Illinois state championship, earning MVP honors in the title game â€¦ Was named first team All-State and All-Conference as well as All-Area in his final seasons as a prep â€¦ Tied the state record for TD passes in a season with 43, while also matching the state record for longest touchdown pass at 99 yards â€¦ During his senior season, threw for 377 yards and five touchdowns in only one half against Wisconsin perennial power, D.C. Everest â€¦ Was named the top quarterback at the Ultimate 100 National Camp the summer prior to his junior season.
Personal: Is the son of Stephen and Ann Pechloff â€¦ Was born in Langhorne, Pa.
OL â€“ 6-3 â€“ 300 lbs. â€“ Jr.
Roswell, Ga. (Georgia Military / Peachtree Ridge HS)
Prior to Western: Transferred to Western Carolina from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga., where he played two seasons â€¦
High School: Was a two-time second team All-County selection along the offensive line both as a center and a tackle â€¦ Helped guide Peachtree Ridge High and head coach Bill Ballard to a conference co-championship as a junior with an 11-3 record.
Personal: Is the son of Raul and Miriam Pino â€¦ Was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela â€¦ Has five siblings.
OL â€“ 6-9 â€“ 315 lbs.
Agawam, Mass. (Hargrave Military / Longmeadow HS)
Prior to Western: Attended offensive lineman who attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., after his prep career at Longmeadow HS â€¦ Listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, which also listed him as the 13th-best prep school prospect and the fifth-best offensive lineman in the group.
High School: Was a two-sport student-athlete playing both football and basketball with a 3.5 grade point average in high school before attending Hargrave â€¦ Was named first team All-Western Massachusetts and a Shrine Bowl starter in his senior season â€¦ In three seasons on the varsity squad, helped his team post an unbeaten, 37-0, record â€¦Helped Longmeadow High to the boys basketball Western Massachusetts Championship as a senior.
Personal: Is the son of Joseph and AnneMarie Polaski â€¦ Was born in Springfield, Mass. â€¦ Has two younger siblings in twins Miranda and Jessica.
WR â€“ 6-2 â€“ 190 lbs.
Irmo, S.C. (Ben Lippen HS)
Prior to Western: Played four seasons of prep football at both Dutch Fork HS before finishing his prep career at Ben Lippen High for head coach Reggie Shaw â€¦ Was a Football Academic Honor Roll honoree at BLHS and received Academic Achievement awards from DFHS â€¦ During his four-year career, accounted for 80 receptions for 1,406 yards and 13 touchdowns â€¦ Hauled in a career-best 30 passes as a senior for a career-high 541 yards â€¦ Was named to the South Carolina squad in the North-South All-Star game â€¦ Of the field, attended the 2009 South Carolina Boys State held at the Univ. of South Carolina during the summer of 2009.
Personal: Is the son of Dwayne and Alexis Jenkins â€¦ Has a younger brother, Anthony Jenkins â€¦ Has ties to the SoCon as his brother, Josh Roseborough, is a defensive lineman at Wofford.
LB â€“ 6-2 â€“ 215 lbs.
Roswell, Ga. (Lassiter HS)
Prior to Western: Played for head coach Chip Lindsey at Lassiter High in Marietta, Ga. â€¦ Helped guide Lassiter to a Region 6AAAAA Championship in 2009 with an undefeated season â€¦ Returned an interception for a touchdown in a win over South Gwinnett HS during his senior season.
Personal: Is the son of Gary and Sarah Stokes â€¦ Has two sisters, Brittany and Alyssa â€¦ His youngest sister, Alyssa, play collegiate basketball at North Georgia Univ.
RB â€“ 5-8 â€“ 185 lbs.
Greensboro, N.C. (Northeast Guilford HS)
Prior to Western: Played at Northeast Guilford High for 2009 Mid-Piedmont 3-A Conference Coach of the Year, Tommy Pursley â€¦ Listed as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com â€¦ Was named to the All-Mid-Piedmont 3A Conference team as well as All-Guilford County and All-Area â€¦ Additionally tabbed the Mid-Piedmont 3A Conference Offensive Player of the Year by the Greensboro News & Record after averaging 12.1 yards per carry for over 1,200 yards rushing and 15 TDs in his final season â€¦ Recorded a 97-yard counter reverse for a touchdown in a win over Asheboro during his senior season â€¦ Also ran track & field as a prep.
Personal: Is the son of Samuel Boggs and step-mother Frita Pineda â€¦ Was born in Eastern Shore, Virginia.
QB â€“ 6-4 â€“ 225 lbs. â€“ R-So.
Chesapeake, Va. (Connecticut / Great Bridge HS)
Prior to Western: Red-shirted in 2008 at Connecticut â€¦ Was named Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week before the Syracuse game in â€™08 â€¦ Did not see game action as a red-shirt freshman in 2009 at UConn.
High School: Played at Great Bridge HS in Chesapeake, Va., where he was twice named first-team All-Tidewater as a signal caller and also garnering conference Player of the Year plaudits following both the 2006 and â€™07 seasons â€¦ A three-time All-district pick, ranks amongst the top four in Virginia high school history in career completions (577), passing yards (7,968) and touchdowns (82) â€¦ Started as a sophomore, setting a Southeastern District record for passing yards in a season with 2,297 ... He bettered his sophomore mark as a junior, throwing for 2,828 yards and was invited to the Army All-American Combine in San Antonio and also made Street and Smith's national prep seniors to watch list prior to his senior season â€¦In his final season as a prep, threw for 2,542 yards in becoming South Hampton Roadsâ€™ all-time leading passer.
Personal: Is the son of Carl and Meredith Turner â€¦ His father, Carl, played college football as a tight end at James Madison â€¦ Has three siblings; Logan, Mackenzie and Pierre.
LB â€“ 6-0 â€“ 225 lbs.
Spartanburg, S.C. (Spartanburg HS)
Prior to Western: Was a three-sport standout who amassed an impressive total of 20 awards and honors in football, basketball and track including Best Linebacker, Spartanburg Touchdown Club Defensive Player of the Week and All-Region in football; Most Valuable Player, Coaches Award and Leading Rebounder in basketball; and All-State in track â€¦ Listed as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com ... In his final two seasons on the gridiron, accounted for 257 total hits including 134 tackles as a senior â€¦ Was selected as a 2009 Carolina Panthers Community Captain which recognizes high school football student-athletes in North and South Carolina who excel in the classroom, in the community and on the field â€¦ Was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Spartanburg High Schoolâ€™s Black History Club and was also selected to attend the Palmetto Boys State at USC in Columbia.
Personal: Is the son Sherrell Whitmire â€¦ Has one sibling, Kemesha.
DB â€“ 5-10 â€“ 175 lbs.
Benson, N.C. (South Johnston HS)
Prior to Western: Was a three-time All-Eastern Carolina 6 Conference selectionâ€¦ Helped South Johnston High and head coach Joe Salas post a 35-14 overall record during his career including a 14-2 state runner-up finish in 2009 where he was named offensive MVP recording three TDs in the first half alone â€¦ Offensively, caught 101 passes for 1,620 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior â€¦ His TD reception tally and receiving yards were both school records â€¦ Was named to the Shrine Bowl â€¦ Also ran track as a prep where he was a three-time all-conference selection.
Personal: Is the son of Greg and Cassandra Williams â€¦ Born in Smithfield, N.C. â€¦ Has three siblings; Torrence, Cierra and Christian.
DL â€“ 6-2 â€“ 285 lbs. â€“ Jr.
Ashland, Kansas (Garden City CC / Ashland HS)
Prior to Western: Spent the past two seasons at Garden City CC where he recorded 39 tackles a season ago including 25 solo stops and seven for loss in nine games for the 4-5 Broncobusters â€¦ As a freshman, posted 14 hits in seven games making 11 solo tackles and recorded two quarterback sacks.
High School: Played high school football, as well as track and field at Ashland HS in Ashland, Kansas, where he was third in the state in shot put and 10th in the discus at the 2007 Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) meet.
Personal: Is the son of Gerald and Robin Woolwine â€¦ Born in Dodge City, Kansas â€¦ Has one sibling, Eva.