Football adds 18 recruits on National Signing Day

J.T. Geren
Sports Editor

 

The Samford football program signed 18 high school football players on National Signing Day. The signing class included 11 offensive players and 7 defensive players. Coach Pat Sullivan felt very good about the signing class.

“Our coaches have worked hard and done a wonderful job of finding the players, traveling this state and the southeast. They’ve developed relationships with the high school coaches, the players and their families and have shown them what Samford has to offer,” Sullivan said.

“We know when we get them to visit, they’re impressed with what they see and what they feel. This year, I feel great about our needs and our ability to address them. We signed 18 kids, including one quarterback, three offensive linemen, two H-backs, four wide receivers and one running back. Defensively, we signed three defensive linemen, one linebacker and three defensive backs.”

The class is widely being considered one of the top in the Southern Conference, and features six players from Alabama and Florida, five from Georgia and one from Mississippi.

The signing class remained intact after losing last season’s offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee to Arkansas State late in the recruiting process. Assistant coaches Travis Trickett and Brandon Herring will serve as co-offensive coordinators in the upcoming year.

“I don’t think the transition affected the class at all. Coach Sullivan wanted to stay with the current offense to avoid three offenses in three seasons. Ultimately it was an easy transition,” Herring said.

The Bulldogs signed several players from prominent high school programs such as St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stephenson High School and Chattahoochee High School of the greater Atlanta area. Most notably two players from St. Thomas Aquinas will head north from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. St. Thomas Aquinas has won six state titles in Florida and two national championships in the last five years.

“It is always big to get kids from winning programs because they know what it takes to win,” Herring said. “They understand the process and expect to win. That is a big deal.”

The class met positions of immediate need at several positions. The H-back position was a major need after losing players to graduation. Coach Herring felt like he got two players who can contribute immediately at that position in Amos Harper of Stone Mountain, Ga. and Tony Philpot of Opelika Ala.

The Bulldog’s received a big quarterback transfer that is expected to contend for the starting job in the spring. Andy Summerlin signed with the Bulldogs after two seasons with the University of Memphis and a season at Coffeyville Community College. He threw for 2,302 yards last season and was named first team All-Conference.

Coach Sullivan was very pleased with the class and praised his coaching staff for their hard work recruiting.

“I can’t say enough about our coaches. Each year I talk about them but I believe we have the best staff in the SoCon and in the country as far as I’m concerned,” Sullivan said.

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