At the end of the day, Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken was pleased with the 26-player recruiting class that signed Wednesday on National Signing Day.
It isn’t the biggest class, but there is plenty of speed to go around.
“We’re probably never going to recruit a big bunch of guys, but we feel like we helped ourselves with speed,” said second-year GSU coach Jeff Monken. “That’s something that’s always going to be important to us. It’s a philosophy I have as a head coach — try and get guys that run fast. We try to find that at every position.”
Speed is at the top of the list of requirements at the cornerback position, and with the graduation of Carson Hill, the Eagles were left with only three scholarship players at the position.
“We took five DBs,” said Monken, “all five of whom we think are athletic enough to play corner. They obviously can’t all be on the field at the same time, but having the ability to move a guy that we feel is athletic enough to play corner to safety, it gives us some freedom.”
Three of the five defensive backs — Douglas County’s Antonio Glover (6-foot-1), Riyahd Jones (6-foot-2) of Carver-Columbus and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Nic Wright (6-foot) — each measure in at over six feet tall.
Jones was one of several signees being recruited at one time or another by BCS schools. He committed to Kentucky before the Wildcats lost interest. Also getting hard looks from BCS schools were linebacker Antwione Williams (Virginia), running back Xavier Sharp (Louisville) and wide receiver B.J. Johnson, who saw a lot of major programs lose interest after an injury.
“There were a lot of people messing around with him because he’s just so fast,” Monken said about Johnson. “He hurt his knee and it slowed him down, and everybody backed off. A lot of schools at our level were able to get involved with him seriously, and when you watch him at full health, he’s dynamite.”
The Eagles added a total of three linebackers and one lineman — 6-foot-1, 275-pound tackle Jonathan Battle out of Americus-Sumter.
“Those guys are tough to recruit,” Monken said about defensive linemen. “Everybody recruits those big guys that run really well, and we do too. We feel like there’s some versatility with the guys we signed and move them around.”
Seven offensive linemen, ranging from 240-285 pounds, were a part of the class, and one player was signed in a position nearly foreign to Monken’s offense. The Eagles will often play a sixth lineman or put a wide receiver on the line, so he figured, when he recruited Wilson Hudgins out of Grayson, why not get a true tight end?
“We just felt like recruiting a guy who has played that position in high school, will line up and block and can still catch the ball when we send him out on pass routes, which we’ve done, is probably going to help us,” said Monken. “We get into that set a lot, and we’ve never recruited a guy t play that position specifically.”
Hudgins clocked a 4.6 second 40-yard dash at a Georgia Southern camp.
The Eagles signed a total of five running backs, including the entire backfield of GHSA Class AA state champions. Seon Jones signed with GSU and his Buford teammate Dominique Swope.
Monken targets a lot of quarterbacks for every recruiting class, but signed only one this season. And he had to search all the way to Oklahoma to find him. Prince McJunkins of Wagoner, Okla. was the lone QB in the class.
“We probably had 10 guys we went through before we offered Prince,” Monken said. “Every single one of them ended up at a I-A school at different positions, with one playing quarterback.”
Along with the Signing Day class, Georgia Southern has also taken two transfers, who enrolled at GSU in January.
Ole Miss running back Martez Eastland — a 5-foot-11, 245-pound fullback — will join fellow sophomore Robert Brown in the B-back position, and defensive tackle Korentheus Bailey joins the team from Western Kentucky.
All of the members of the 2011 recruiting class will report for summer workouts.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.
Josh King 5-9 175 DB Stockbridge, Ga. (Mt. Zion)
Two-time All-Region selection… Mt. Zion Iron Man Award winner… won four letters in football and four in track.
Prince McJunkins 6-0 170 QB Wagoner, Okla. (Wagoner)
Dual-threat quarterback started three years for Wagoner, leading Bulldogs to 13-1 record and state championship game as a senior… Ranks as one of the top players in Oklahoma Class 4A evident by his selection as the District 4A-3 Most Valuable Player... Also named Verdigris Valley Most Valuable Player… Selected to the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Team… Earned Channel 2 and Al Jergins “Player of the Year” Award… Muskogee Phoenix Most Valuable Player… Channel 8 “Ford Award” recipient… Selected to All-State team by Tulsa World newspaper… Completed 121-169 of his passes (72 percent) for for 2,132 yards and 33 touchdowns with only three interceptions… amassed 647 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns… Bulldogs averaged 40.2 points per game… Recorded more than 4,500 passing yards and 51 touchdowns to go along with 1,700 yards rushing and 27 TDs… Also played in the secondary for Bulldogs Head Coach Dale Condict... Father, Prince McJunkins III, ran the option for Coach Willie Jeffries at Wichita State and became the first player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards in a career (1979-82)… the elder Prince was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and went on to play in the Canadian Football League… one of only two Shockers to have their numbers retired... mother is Josette Pierce.
Quan Daniels 6-1 205 LB Moultrie, Ga. (Colquitt County)
All-Region IAAAAA first team defense… helped lead Colquitt County to state championship game… Totaled 77 tackles and 12.5 sacks as a senior in 2010... Tallied 15 QB hurries... Had three of the Packers’ six sacks for loss of 32 yards against Grayson… recorded nine tackles in state final with three tackles for loss… Named to the Georgia All-Star Team for Border Wars game against Florida… Recorded three sacks for the South team in the Georgia North-South All-Star game… Secured a spot on the New Year’s All-Tournament team with 17 points and 27 rebounds to lead the Colquitt County basketball team to a come-from-behind 50-37 victory over Berrien… Colquitt County teammate Garrett Brewer also joining the Georgia Southern Football program… Father is Gerald Greer.
Barry Davis 6-2 235 LS Grovetown, Ga. (Georgia Military College / Harlem H.S.)
Two-year year starter at Long Snapper at GMC with number-one ranking on Rivals.com as a Long Snapper (JUCO)… Scouts.com ranks Davis among the top five long snappers in the nation... Recorded eight solo tackles and 12 assisted tackles... Added two forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery… Three-year starter at long snapper and tight end at Harlem High School from 2006-08... Won Most Valuable Special Teams award… Chosen to second team All-Region squad for defensive line… First team All-County for both Offensive and Defensive Line… Named to Best Special Teams list for CSRA in 2008… Becomes first student-athlete to sign a football scholarship from Harlem High School since 2002… parents are Barry, Sr., and Kelly Davis.
Zach Walker 6-1 175 WR Wrightsville, Ga. (Johnson County)
Two-time first team All-State selection rewrote numerous Johnson County records with 185 career receptions for 3,050 yards and 40 touchdowns… His career receiving touchdowns total ranks fourth all-time in the state while his receiving yardage total is ninth …Unanimous selection as Region 3-A Offensive Player of the Year… A three-time first team choice in the Heart of Georgia, Walker was honored as 2010 Player of the Year… Walker was an All-Region selection in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and first team All-Middle Georgia as a junior and senior… Led Trojans with 69 receptions for 1,187 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior for a 17.2 yards per catch average… Receiving yards-per-game average (117.2) ranked second in the state and his receiving yards total for 2010 was good enough for fifth in the state… Combined with D.J. Rozier as the number-one tandem in receptions with 185… Johnson County finished season 11-1 in 2010 and number-six ranking from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and number-nine ranking from the Associated Press… Had 1,172 yards on 72 catches and 14 touchdowns as a junior… Top receiver for Trojans’ as a sophomore with 34 catches for 560 yards and nine touchdowns… Walker also competed in track and field with region championships in the 110m Hurdles and Triple Jump (2009 and 2010)… Played for Head Coach Don Norton, a former Georgia Southern punter who played on two of the Eagles' national championship teams... Also a member of the basketball team, playing on the veasity team as a sophomore... Competed in the High Jump for Trojans' track and field team… Parents are Ellis Gilmore and Angela Walker.
Garrett Brewer 6-1 245 OL Dixie, Ga. (Colquitt County)
Region 1-AAAAA second team pick on offense... Started 29 games.... Graded out at 91 percent as a senior with 64 knockouts... Helped team to first state championship game appearance since 1944... Offensive line was key factor in two fourth quarter touchdowns in comeback victory over Grayson in playoffs... Offense had 609 yards of offense and 38 first downs against Brookwood in title game... Selected to play in Border Wars High School All-Star game coached by Georgia team coach and Colquitt County Head Coach Rush Propst... son of Jim and Jana Petrey.
Three-star Rivals.com standout who was part of the 13-1 team that went to the semifinals of the GHSA state championships... As a junior, caught 27 passes for 405 yards and five touchdowns... played for Carver Head Coach Del McGee... Participated in the Georgia National Underclassmen Combine... parents are Charles and Billesses Jones.
Hunter Lamar 6-3 255 OL Statesboro, Ga. (Statesboro)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution first-team All-State pick and first-team All-Region selection in 2010... played for Blue Devils Head Coach Steve Pennington... Helped Statesboro to an 11-3 record as a senior.. parents are John and Charlene Lamar.
Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) recognized Orange as the top-ranked cornerback in Southwest Florida… FACA All-District 16 pick on defense, helping to lead Naples to a 13-1 record in 2010 and top-25 ranking in the state… Ft. Myers News-Press All-Area Football second-team member... Totaled 33 tackles as a senior… Returned one of his three interceptions in 2010 for 95 yards for a touchdown… Selected as the player with the “hit of the week” for three games in 2010… Recognized as Special Teams Player of the Week October 23, 2010 for effort against Barron Collier… Recovered a fumble on a Gulf Coast kickoff return for a touchdown… also returned a fumble for 32 yards to score six… Had interception in the "Coconut Bowl" in the win over rival Lely... Blocked four punts during his junior campaign… Played for Golden Eagles Head Coach Bill Kramer… Member of the 2010 Homecoming Court… Current defensive assistant coach Victor Cabral is an alum of Naples High School... Chosen to play in the Collier County All-Star game… Selected by Principal Nancy Graham as Student of the Month… Born in Haiti to Wilbert and Genevieve Orange.
Two-year starter at North Gwinnett on the offensive line… Named Gwinnett Touchdown Club’s Offensive Lineman of the Year… recorded 174 knockdowns as a senior and 137 as a junior… Gwinnett Touchdown Club's co-Offensive Lineman of the year… Earned Player of the Month honors on four occasions in the last two years… Starting center for the North team in the 2010 Georgia North-South All-Star game and Gwinnett All-Star team... All-County honorable mention in 2009… Was awarded with the “Honor, Courage and Commitment Award” from the United States Marine Corps… parents are Manfred and Frednise Saint-Amour.
Selected as one of the Ultimate 100 by Southeast rivals.com... Rated as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com... ranked 67th for his position by Scout.com... 1-AAAA first team All-Region pick as a sophomore with 99 tackles and four sacks... Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Associated Press honorable mention in 2010... recorded 75 tackles and had eight sacks as a senior... Earned Americus Times-Recorder Defensive Player of the Week honors in back to back weeks with 10 tackles and one for a loss with two sacks in win over Washington County... Had three tackles for a loss with a sack and totaled 10 tackles against Cairo... played for Panthers' Head Coach Michael Pollack... Won overall MVP and Strongest Man awards for the sophomore class at the national underclassmen combine... placed in the discus at the Class 4A state track and field meet, also competed in the shot put and discus, placing in the Class 4A state track and field meet... parents are Jonathan Sr., and Brenda Battle.
Owen Williams 6-2, 255 DL Macon, Ga. (Westside Macon)
All-State selection by the Georgia Sports Writers Association for Class AAAA defense as a junior, totaling 86 tackles with 15 sacks that season… Second-team defense for All-Middle squad as a senior… First team defense 2-AAA All-Region team and first team defense All-Bibb County… Georgia Macon Touchdown Club Lineman of the Week for October 8, 2010 with 15 solo tackles and three sacks in win over Central… played for South team in GACA North-South All-Star Football Classic… runs a 4.7 in the 40… played for Head Coach Sheddrick Risper as Seminoles recorded 31 wins against only six losses in three seasons… joins former Macon-Westside players Robert Brown, Dorian Byrd and Carlos Cave on the Georgia Southern team… parents are Owen, Sr. and Demetrice Williams.
Seon Jones (SEE-on) 5-10 190 RB Flowery Branch, Ga. (Buford)
Broke 40-yard-old Buford record for most rushing yards in a single game with 319 on 13 carries against Lovett…. Scored three touchdowns in that game, including an 85-yard score to earn Gainesville Times Player of the Week honors… Team rushing leader in 2010 with 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns… Earned Gwinnett County All-Area accolades for junior and senior seasons... Received All-State honorable mention status in 2010... Helped lead the Wolves to a 14-1 record and record-tying fourth-straight state championship for Class AA Coach of the Year Jess Simpson… Jones scored the first touchdown in the title game as Buford became the only team to win seven championships in a 10-yard span… His second TD in the game was a 77-yard gallop… Jones capped his career with a senior season that saw him run for 1,204 yards and 13 touchdowns… Carried the ball 11 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns against Lovett in the playoffs to put Jones over the 1,000-yard mark for the 2010 season… Rushed for 743 yards on 163 carries as a junior, including a 108-yard game against Jefferson… Scored five touchdowns during the 2009 campaign… Competed in track and field as a member of the Buford record 4x100 relay team… Placed fourth with 4x100 relay team at Class AA state meet after claiming the AA region championship… Set personal records in the 100 (11.39) and 200 (22.60) meter dash events…4.55 time in the 40 at the ESPN Combine in March 2010 was the 16th-best among more than 1200 participants… played for Buford team with future Eagle Dominique Swope.
Class AAAA All-State honorable mention in 2008 at Sequoya High School… Played for the Chiefs before transferring to Buford… Ran for 219 yards and three touchdowns for fifth-ranked Sequoyah High School against Clarke Central as a sophomore… Scored 29 touchdowns with 1,480 rushing yards… Returned three punts for touchdowns in 2008… Started last half of the season as a freshman… won two varsity letters at Sequoya… Split carries in the 2010 season with Buford teammate and future Eagle Seon Jones… Second-leading rusher for Wolves with 705 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, scoring six during the playoffs… Averaged 7.9 yards per carry… Also returned punts for Buford, averaging 21.1 yards on 10 attempts… Helped lead the Wolves to a 14-1 record in 2010 and record-tying fourth-straight state championship for Class AA Coach of the Year Jess Simpson… brother Andrew was a four-year linebacker at Buford.
Garrett Frye 6-5 240 OL Cumming, Ga. (South Forsyth)
Honorable mention Class AAAA All-State pick by the Associated Press… All-Region and All-County team selection… Three-year varsity letterwinner in football... Named captain of the War Eagles as a senior… Also won two letters as a member of the track and field team... Set the South Forsyth record for the discus at the 2010 Region Track meet... Student-Athlete of the Week September 10, 2010, for outstanding academic performance… Boasts a 3.76 GPA… One of four juniors selected to attend the Georgia Boys State Leadership Development Program at Georgia Southern University and was one of the top 10 runner-ups for the national program in Washington, D.C… Garrett is also a 2010 member of DECA, a marketing and entrepreneur group... Parents are Robert and Sandra Frye.
Nic Wright 6-0 180 DB Lithonia, Ga.(Martin Luther King, Jr.)
All-Region Honorable Mention for Class 5A at free safety for state champion ML King Lions... Two-year varsity letterman… Registered 46 tackles with three for loss and one fumble recovery as a senior… Played for Lions Head Coach Michael Carson, the Region 2-AAAAA Coach of the Year… Parents are Anthony and Benedette Wright.
Eric Worthen 6-2 220 LB Swainsboro, Ga. (Swainsboro)
First team Associated Press and Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-State pick... GACA All-State first team selection... Region 3-AA Defensive Player of the Year who also earned accolades as WTOC-TV Defensive Player of the Year... Member of the Augusta Chronicle All-Area first team... Piled up 171 total tackles to lead team as a senior with four sacks and nine tackles for loss... Also forced three fumbles... Registered 97 tackles as the second-leading Tiger tackler as a junior... from same high school as former Eagles Brandon and Raja Andrews… Mother is Cynthia Williams.
Tre'Shard Burdette 6-0 210 RB Monroe, Ga. (Monroe Area)
Honorable Mention All-State selection racked up recognition as an All-Region, All-County, All-Metro and All-Northeast Georgia pick... Rushed for nearly 1,800 yards and 25 touchdowns to lead Monroe Area to and 11-2 record and the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1969... Touchdown total as a senior (25) ranks as the most TDs by a Purple Hurricane running back... Also had 11 receptions for 207 yards and two touchdowns... Ran for longest touchdown in school history with 91-yard score against Woodward... Finished his career at Monroe Area High School with 3,123 yards, the most by a running back... played for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Class AAA Coach of the Year Matt Fligg... played a role in history as Monroe Area High School became the first team in GHSA history to win 10 games after an 0-10 season... Purple Hurricane earned a number-seven ranking in the state... also member of the Purple Hurricane basketball team.
Wilson Hudgins 6-1 210 TE Loganville, Ga. (Grayson)
Two-year starter and letterwinner at tight end after beginning his prep career as a wide receiver… ESPN.com ranks Hudgins as a two-star prospect… Played for Head Coach Mickey Conn as Rams advanced to semifinals and quarterfinals in last two seasons with a 46-8 record during Hudgins’ high school career… Selected to Gwinnett All-County team by the Gwinnett Touchdown Club… County coaches placed Hudgins on the All-Star team… Had 14 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns in the Rams’ Wing-T offense… Named offensive player of the game for 95 percent blocking grade against North Forsyth… Achieved a season blocking percentage grade of 85 percent… Excellent blocking performance and intensity resulted in Hudgins winning the “Hammer Award” during the regular season… Recipient of Grayson’s “Pancake Award” for the most pancake blocks… also earned two letters in track… Runs the 40 in 4.61… Parents are Douglas and Mary Hudgins.
Maurice Hunt, Jr. 6-2 250 OL Lyons, Ga. (Toombs County)
Three-year starter for Bulldogs... First-team All-State selection... Two-time All-Region choice at offensive line position... won the Offensive "Pain Train" team award for the 2010 season... McIntosh County Academy Game MVP... nicknamed "Big Mo"... played for Head Coach Shane Williamson... parents are Maurice, Sr. and Gloria Hunt.
Matt Mills 6-2 285 OL Johns Creek, Ga. (Chattahoochee)
Three-year starter for Chattahoochee’s AAAA state football title team, helping the Cougars to their first championship… Team finished with a 16-0 record and ranked 46th in ESPN’s Powerade Fab 50… Part of an offensive line that helped the starting quarterback amass 2,644 yards, while completing nearly 70 percent of all passes… Chattahoochee rushed for nearly 200 yards per game and racked up more than 350 yards per game of total offense… 7-AAAA All-Region first team selection and All-State honorable mention for Class AAAA by the Associated Press and Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2010… North Fulton Neighbor selected Mills for its 2010 Pigskin Superlatives section… Named to the 2010 All-Beacon newspaper football team and was a second-team pick for the All-Neighbor newspapers squad… Placed on the honorable mention list by the North Fulton Neighbor in 2009… top Offensive line finalist at the Atlanta Scout Combine in spring 2010… Also saw time on the defensive line… Played for Hooch Head Coach Terry Crowder… Won letters for wrestling and for track and field... Threw shot put and discus for Cougars... Tied his personal record of 126' 10" in the discus at 7-AAAA region meet for a second-place finish… parents are Steve & Sarah Mills... has two sisters Meghan and Hannah.
BJ Johnson 6-0 190 WR Woodruff, S.C. (Woodruff)
Finalist for Spartanburg Herald Player of the Year award rewrote the Woodruff High School receiving records for both a single-season and career… He finished with 165 career receptions for 2,780 yards and 30 touchdowns… The South Carolina Region 2-AA Player of the Year had 80 receptions for nearly 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior… Earned a nod as a Shrine Bowl All-Star for the 74th annual matchup against the North Carolina All-Stars… Two-time All-State and Spartanburg Herald All-Area Team Selection... Had 63 receptions for 992 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior… Played for Wolverines Head Coach Brian Lane... parents are Bill and Paulette Johnson.
Xavier Sharp 6-2, 200 RB Griffin, Ga. (Spaulding)
Earned three-star rating from Rivals.com... Also evaluated as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com scouts... Second-team offense pick for 4-AAA all-region team as a junior with 1,021 yards and nine touchdowns... Three-year letterwinner in football... Ran for two touchdowns to lead Spalding to 35-0 shutout over Locust Grove in the season finale... Averaged over 6.0 yards per carry as a junior and senior... Recorded three 100+-yard rushing games with long touchdown runs of 69, 54 and 43 yards... "Big Hit" award winner... Played for Jaguars Head Coach Clint Ashmore... Three-sport athlete who also earned two letters in basketball for Jaguars at small forward... Also competes in track and field as a sprinter in 100m, 200m and as a member of the Spalding relay teams, winning two varsity letters... Mother is Latricia Sharp.
Antonio Glover 6-1, 180 DB Atlanta, Ga. (Douglas County)
Registered 87 total tackles in 2010 with four interceptions and 13 pass deflections... Member of the Douglas County Sentinel’s All-County team as a defensive back... Had seven field goal blocks on the season... Played for Tigers Head Coach and Georgia Southern alum John Oglesby… Ran on Douglas County's 4x400 Relay team and competed in the high jump... Was second-leading scorer for Tigers' basketball team as a junior as a shooting guard... Had back-to-back games with 20+ points in December 2010… Earned Georgia High School Player of the Week honors with a 38-point scoring performance vs. North Paulding... Runs a 4.5 in the 40... Earned three letters in football and two each in basketball and in track... Parents are Antonio Sr., and Wykessa Glover.
Earned two-star rating from Rivals.com... Named to 7-AAAAA All-Region team as a junior and senior... First-team All-County selection by Touchdown Club of Gwinnett and Gwinnett Daily Post All-County as a senior following honorable mention honors as a junior... Listed for All-State honorable mention honors after Hawks advanced to state quarterfinals... Three-year starter for Mill Creek helped Hawks amass more than 2,500 yards on the ground and 2,200 in the air, allowing Mill Creek quarterbacks to complete nearly 60 percent of their passes in 2010... Hawks’ offense averaged 6.0 yards per rush and 371 yards of total offense per game... Participated in Georgia North-South All-State game on the North roster... Also chosen for Gwinnett County all-star game... Possesses school record for pancake blocks with 118... Named Mill Creek Special Teams player of the Week in early 2010... Played for Head Coach Shannon Jarvis... Owns a 28-1 record with 25 pins as a wrestler this season and garnered all-county honors following his sophomore and junior seasons… Parents are Rusty and Cindy Hagan.