State teams add new talent on early football signing day

Wednesday is the first day high school seniors can submit NCAA letters of intent to play college football. Here is the list of new recruits signed by state schools

UNC, NC State and renew their football rivalry in Chapel Hill today (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

College football’s national signing day is still in early February. But that event has lost much of its luster now that the NCAA has instituted an early period for high school seniors to submit their official letters of intent to the colleges of their choice.

The three-day window began on Wednesday, with teams from around the state inking the majority of their incoming 2018 recruiting classes.

Here the list of new signees, as reported by each school:


Coach Larry Fedora signed 14 of the 16 players that were committed to the Tar Heels, including six that are planning to enroll early and participate in spring practice. Among the standouts are four-star wide receiver Jordyn Adams, the son of Tar Heels defensive line coach Deke Adams, three-star quarterback Cade Fortin, a late flip from Texas A&M, and four players that led their team to North Carolina state championship games this season.

In all, six of UNC’s newest recruits are from N.C. schools, including four of the state’s top 20 prospects.

“I think we did great,” Fedora said. “I’m happy with every single one of these guys that we have on our roster from the state of North Carolina, and we’ve got to continue to recruit the state of North Carolina has hard as we can, because there’s great players here and we want to keep these kids at home.

Jordyn Adams, WR, 6-1, 180, Cary (Green Hope)
Dyami Brown, WR, 6-1, Charlotte (West Mecklenburg)
Chris Collins, DE, 6-4, 215, Richmond, Va. (Benedictine College Prep)
Cade Fortin, QB, 6-2, 207, Suwanee, Ga. (North Gwinnett)
Avery Jones, OL, 6-4, 285, Havelock (Havelock)
Devon Lawrence, RB, 5-11, 190, Wake Forest (Wake Forest)
Trey Morrison, DB, 5-10, 187, Norcross, Ga. (Greater Atlanta Christian)
Bryson Richardson, DB, 6-0, 180, Buford, Ga. (Buford)
Jace Ruder, QB, 6-1, 203, Norton, Kan. (Norton Community)
Jahlil Taylor, DT, 6-1, 290, Pinehurst, Ga. (Crisp County)
Javon Terry, DB, 6-0, 180, Wake Forest (Wake Forest)
Lancine Turay, DE, 6-5, 230, Newark, N.J. (Irvington)
Javonte Williams, RB, 5-11, 202, Wallace (Wallace-Rose Hill)
Kyle Wright, LB, 6-1, 220, Blythewood, S.C. (Ben Lippen)


Coach Dave Doeren signed 21 players, including a badly needed placekicker and four-star linebacker Payton Wilson, a highly-rated linebacker from Orange High who originally committed to UNC before flipping to the Wolfpack.

Joe Babros, DL, 6-5, 250, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Mission Viejo/Saddleback CC)
Kahric Bell, OL, 6-6, 292, N. Miami Beach, Fla. (N. Miami Beach)
Joseph Boletepeli, DL, 6-4, 244, Wake Forest (Heritage)
Malik Dunlap, DB, 6-3, 190, Charlotte (Harding University HS)
Devin Carter, WR, 6-4, 205, Clayton (Clayton)
Christopher Dunn, PK, 5-10, 160, Lexington (North Davidson)
Gabriel Gonzalez, OL, 6-5, 275, Mebane (Eastern Alamance)
De’Von Graves, DB, 6-1, 180, Appomattox, Va. (Appomattox County)
Calvin Hart Jr., LB, 6-1, 207, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (American Heritage)
Tanner Ingle, DB, 5-10, 185, Orlando, Fla. (Dr. Phillips)
Devin Leary, QB, 6-2, 190, Sicklerville, N.J. (Timber Creek)
Davontae McCre, DL, 6-5, 258, Miami (Northwestern)
Alim McNeill, DL, 6-2, 272, Raleigh (Sanderson)
Kishawn Miller, DB, 5-10, 175, Gainesville, Ga. (Mill Creek./Ga Military College)
Ricky Person Jr., RB, 6-2, 202, Wake Forest (Heritage)
Trent Pinnix, ATH, 6-2, 200, Raleigh (Sanderson)
Jasiah Provillon, WR, 6-3, 180, Irvington, N.J. (Irvington)
Teshaun Smith, DB, 6-3, 170, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Western)
Jalynn Strickland, OL, 6-6, 305, Waycross, Ga. (Ware County)
Tyler Baker-Williams, DB, 6-1, 201, Raleigh (SE Raleigh)
Payton Wilson, LB, 6-4, 225, Hillsborough (Orange)


Coach David Cutcliffe welcomed 15 new players, nine of which play on the offensive side of the ball. The class includes six North Carolina recruits, along with players from seven other states with four set to enroll early. The Blue Devils loaded up on skill players with three wide receivers — all of which are 6-foot-2 or taller — a running back and four-star quarterback Gunnar Holmberg from Wake Forest’s Heritage High.

Peace Addo, OL, 6-6, 295, Silver Spring, Md. (St. Frances Academy)
Jake Bobo, WR, 6-4, 185, Belmont, Mass. (Belmont Hill)
Elijiah Brown, DT, 6-4, 295, Charlotte (Providence Day)
Mataeo Durant, RB, 6-1, 190, McCormick, S.C. (McCormick)
Zamari Ellis, TE, 6-4, 240, Henderson (Southern Vance)
Jarett Garner, WR, 6-3, 190, Harrisburg (Hickory Ridge)
Shaka Heyward, LB, 6-4, 215, Hoschton, Ga. (Mill Creek)
Casey Holman, OL, 6-4, 285, Snellville, Ga. (Brookwood)
Gunnar Holmberg, QB, 6-3, 180, Wake Forest (Heritage)
Jeremiah Lewis, CB, 6-0, 180, Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian)
Maurice McIntyre, OL, 6-2, 320, Jacksonville (Northside)
Tahj Rice, DT, 6-2, 320, Louisville, Ky. (Waggener)
Rocky Shelton, LB, 6-0, 205, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Dennis Smith, WR, 6-2, 185, Gaffney, S.C. (Gaffney)
Nate Thompson, S, 6-3, 185, Sanford (Southern Lee)


Coach Dave Clawson capitalized on his team’s success this season by landing a haul of 21 new players, evenly split with 10 on each side of the ball and one specialist. In addition to talent, Clawson put a premium on leadership, with 17 of the new recruits having served as team captains in high school.

The Deacons only signed three players from North Carolina, but all three — Charlotte quarterback Sam Whiteheart, Hope Mills offensive lineman Mike Edwards and Winston-Salem tight end Blake Whiteheart — were all Shrine Bowl selections.

Six of the new signees will get a head start on their college careers by enrolling at Wake Forest in January.

“We feel like we have a good class,” Clawson said. “Like always, there’s people coming in trying to flip our recruits and they’re getting new offers. Maybe in the past, if that happened, kids would be more interested. But I think they’ve seen what we’ve done, the games we’ve won, the bowl we’re going to and the facilities we’re building and I think they feel Wake Forest is even more of a solid choice now than it was when they made it five or six months ago.”

Dion Bergan, DL, 6-1, 275, Kissimmee, Fla. (Kissimmee-Osceola)
Rondell Bothroyd, DL, 6-4, 270, Mansfield, Conn. (EO Smith)
Kelijiah Brown, DL, 6-3, 305, Saluda, S.C. (Saluda)
Ken Dicks III, DB, 6-0, 200, Suwanee, Ga. (Lambert)
Mike Edwards, OL, 6-6, 325, Hope Mills (South View)
Royce Francis, DL, 6-3, 245, Acworth, Ga. (Allatoona)
DeVonte Gordon, OL, 6-5, 285, Washington, D.C. (Maret School)
Nasir Greer, DB, 6-0, 190, Stockbridge, Ga. (Stockbridge)
Sam Hartman, QB, 6-1, 185, Charlotte (Oceanside Collegiate, SC)
Orlando Heggs II, OL, 6-3, 300, Jacksonville, Fla. (The Bolles School)
Isaiah Isaac, WR, 5-10, 175, Buford, Ga. (Buford)
JaCorey Johns, LB, 6-4, 225, Cartersville, Ga. (Cartersville)
Michael Jurgens, OL, 6-4, 275, Damascus, Md. (Damascus)
Zion Keith, DB, 6-1, 185, Florence, S.C. (Wilson)
Anthony Manning, WR, 5-10, 175, Orlando, Fla. (Lake Nona)
Courtney McKinney, RB, 6-1, 205, Biscoe (East Montgomery)
A.T. Perry, WR, 6-5, 185, Lake Worth, Fla. (Park Vista Community)
Ryan Smenda, LB, 6-2, 225, Orange Park, Fla. (Fleming Island)
Nick Sciba, PK, 5-9, 180, Clover, S.C. (Clover)
Blake Whiteheart, TE, 6-4, 245, Winston-Salem (Mount Tabor)
Peyton Woulard, DB, 6-1, 180, Suwanee, Ga. (Collins Hill)


Coach Scottie Montgomery addressed his team’s most glaring need by signing 13 of his 19 new recruits on the defensive side of the ball. It’s a group that includes seven defensive backs, including highly regarded junior college transfer Warren Saba, who will have three years of eligibility left.

“In this league, you’ve got to stay close to people in the passing game and then on the perimeter,” said Montgomery, whose defense ranked dead last nationally in points and yardage allowed per game. “We needed some physicality to be added, but we also needed that physicality to have speed and natural playmaking ability. Natural playmakers is what it came down to taking those defensive backs.”

While Montgomery loaded up on defense, the crown jewel of the class is quarterback Holton Ahlers. The son of ECU’s football PA announcer, Ahlers turned down offers from several SEC schools, including Florida, to stay close to home and play for the Pirates.

Holton Ahlers, QB, 6-3, 228, Greenville (D.H. Conley)
Kahlil Barrett, DB, 5-11, 200, Havelock (Havelock)
Myles Berry, DB, 6-1, 190, Greensboro (Dudley)
Johnny Bogle, TE, 6-2, 252, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (Nease)
Damel Hickman, DB, 6-0, 166, Charlotte (Butler)
Nolan Johnson, DB, 6-2, 190, High Point (SW Guilford)
Trey Love, DL, 6-3, 246, Greensboro (SW Guilford)
D’Angelo McKinnie, DL, 6-4, 235, Kenansville (SW Onslow)
Chandler Medeiros, DL, 6-3, 252, Statesville (South Iredell)
Juwan Moody, WR, 5-10, 165, Conway, S.C. (Conway)
Donovan Noel, OL, 6-3, 257, Raleigh (Millbrook)
Andre Pegues, WR, 6-3, 202, Raeford (Hoke County)
Jaren Rainey, DB, 6-2, 190, High Point (SW Guilford)
Warren Saba, DB, 5-10, 170, Cleveland, Ohio (Benedictine/Garden City CC)
Xavier Smith, LB, 6-0, 237, Stafford, Va. (Brooke Point)
Gerard Stringer, LB, 6-2, 188, Suffolk, Va. (Nansemond River)
Jireh Wilson, LB, 6-3, 190, Jacksonville (Northside)
Peyton Winstead, OL, 6-3, 290, Raleigh (Leesville Road)
Michael Witherspoon, DB, 6-1, 195, Lawrenceville, Ga. (Central Gwinnett/Hutchinson CC)


A.J. Beach, CB, 5-10, 165, Smyrna, Ga. (Milton/Georgia Military Academy)
Tyler Bird, OLB, 6-1, 210, Acworth, Ga. (North Paulding)
Stephon Brown, QB, 6-5, 220, Winston-Salem (Glenn)
Luke Burnette, OT, 6-4, 250, Monroe (Sun Valley)
Trey Cobb, OLB, 6-2, 210, Waycross, Ga. (Ware County)
Braden Collins, WR, 6-2, 195, Knoxville, Tenn. (Farragut)
Kaleb Dawson, FS, 5-11, 175, Moultree, Ga. (Colquitt County)
Logan Doublin, ILB, 6-1, 205, Clearwater, Fla. (Largo)
Jordan Earle, DL, 6-2, 295, West Palm Beach, Fla., (Forest Hill)
Anderson Hardy, OT, 6-6, 260, Raleigh (Sanderson)
Zareon Hayes, OLB, 6-1, 235, Dillon, S.C. (Dillon)
Josh Headlee, OL, 6-4, 265, Boone (Watauga)
Cooper Hodges, OL, 6-3, 290, Glen St. Mary, Fla. (Baker County)
Brock Mattison, OLB, 6-1, 215, Duluth, Ga. (Buford)
Hansky Paillant, DL, 6-2, 220, Sunrise, Fla. (Miramar)
Henry Pearson, TE, 6-3, 220, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. (Paramus Catholic)
Cameron Peoples, RB, 6-2, 200, Lineville, Ala. (Clay County)
Jay Person, OLB, 6-2, 210, Cleveland, Tenn. (Bradley Central)
Mike Price, SS, 5-1, 185, Ellenwood, Ga. (Stockbridge)
Trey Ross, TE, 6-3, 230, Sophia (Randleman)
Harrison Taylor, DL, 6-4, 230, McDonough, Ga. (Eagle’s Landing Christian)
Richard Tucker, WR, 6-0, 190, Campobello, S.C. (Chapman)
Chris Washington, DL, 5-11, 270, Newberry, Fla. (Newberry)


Daymon Anderson, DB, 6-0, 195; Silver Spring, Md. (Blair/Lackawanna College)
Rico Arnold, WR, 6-1, 168, Athens, Ga. (Clarke Central)
Malik Harkness, OL, 6-5, 280; Lugoff, S.C. (Lugoff-Elgin)
Jacob Hunt, TE, 6-4, 255, Rome, Ga. (The Darlington School)
Justin Jeffery, WR, 6-1, 170, Richmond Hill, Ga. (Richmond Hill)
Matt Martinez, DB, 6-2, 175, Mooresville (Mooresville)
Jonnie Pitman, DB, 5-11, 175, Oxon Hill, Md. (Potomac)
Brady Pope, QB, 6-3, 182, Statesville (South Iredell)
Moss Saccomanno, TE, 6-5, 235, Smiths Station, Ala. (Smiths Station/Dodge City CC)
Terrick Smalls Jr., RB, 5-9, 199, Savannah, Ga. (Benedictine Military)
Dominic Taylor, OL, 6-5, 280, Snellville, Ga. (Shiloh/Hutchinson CC)
Jon Timmons, OL, 6-5, 335, Memphis, Tenn. (Southwind/Coffeyville CC)
Bryan Wallace, DL, 6-5, 260, Berryville, Va. (Clarke County)
Markees Watts, LB, 6-2, 215, Lancaster, S.C. (Lancaster)
Damon Weldon, DE, 6-5, 235, Roanoke, Va. (William Fleming/Fork Union Military)
Emmanuel White, DL, 6-7, 235, Huntersville (Victory Christian/Georgia Prep Sports Academy)
Chris Wiggins, WR, 6-2, 190, Greensboro (Grimsley)


Mike Barone, OL, 6-7, 305, Apex (Northwood)
Zach Bevins, OL, 6-3, 290, Virginia Beach, Va. (Bishop Sullivan Catholic)
Nick Cerimele, OL, 6-2, 304, Allentown, Pa. (Allentown Central Catholic)
Devonte Chandler, LB, 6-0, 225, Chester, Va. (Thomas Dale)
Cole Coleman, DB, 5-10, 180, Raleigh (Leesville Road)
Bryson Daughtry, WR, 6-1, 180 • Charlotte (Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology)
Avery Jones, WR, 6-2, 205, Joppa, Md. (The Kiski School)
Jamir Malone, LB, 6-0, 215, North Ridgeville, Ohio (North Ridgeville)
Malik Medley, DL, 6-4, 235, Raleigh (Sanderson)
Zack Monson, LB, 6-3, 215, Alexandria, Va. (West Potomac)


D.J. Atkins, RB, 5-9, 160, Hogansville, Ga. (Callaway)
Chris Campbell, OLB, 6-1, 225, Vanceboro (West Craven)
A.J. Curry, QB, 6-5, 205, Mout Airy, Ga. (Habersham Central)
Devin Olawumi Jr., OLB, 6-0, 195, Atlanta (Westlake)


Lance Axson, DB, 5-11, 175, Orlando, Fla. (Foundation Academy)
Austin Blake, OL, 6-3, 275, Dacula, Ga. (Buford)
Lex Goodwin, WR, 6-2, 206, Ames, Iowa (Wake Forest)
Jackson Hayes, LS, 6-2, 200, Dillon, S.C. (Dillon)