DURHAM, North Carolina – North Carolina Central University head football coach Jerry Mack announced 19 new Eagles on Wednesday as part of a 2016 signing class that will bolster NCCU's run at a third consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship.
"This is a very solid signing class," said Mack, entering his third season at NCCU. "We managed to build depth and add transfers and some freshmen that we feel can help us immediately to make that push for a third championship."
NCCU's signing class consists of 11 incoming freshmen and eight transfers. The Eagles added four defensive backs, more than any other position, to fill a void in the backfield. The newcomers also include three wide receivers, two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen and two tight ends, along with a linebacker, running back, quarterback, long snapper, kicker and an athlete.
"We lost some quality defensive backs in C.J. Moore, Ryan Smith and Theo Livingston, so we had to replace them with some solid players in the secondary," said Mack.
Mack and his staff continue to make the state of North Carolina a priority in their recruiting efforts. In each of the three signing classes under Mack, at least 42 percent of the signees are Tar Heels, including eight of the 19 this year.
NCCU opens the 2016 football season on Sept. 3 at Duke University in the Bull City Gridiron Classic inside Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham.
2016 North Carolina Central University Football Signing Class
|Shoalin McGuire||QB||6-3||205||Ridgeway, Va.||Magna Vista HS||Video|
|Donte Edwards||DT||6-3||250||Durham, N.C.||Hillside HS||Video|
|Bruce Davis||TE||6-3||205||Greensboro, N.C.||Grimsley HS||Video|
|Maleek Henderson||TE||6-3||240||Danville, Va.||George Washington HS||Video|
|Xavier McKoy||WR||6-3||188||Charlotte, N.C.||West Charlotte HS||Video|
|Tavon Lofties||ATH||6-5||245||Baltimore, Md.||Fork Union MA||Video|
|De'Mario Evans||CB||6-0||175||Columbia, S.C.||Eastern Arizona College||Video|
|Chavalyea Alexander||OL||6-3||275||Charlotte, N.C.||West Charlotte HS||Video|
|Erik Schlecker||LS||6-0||230||Sunrise, Fla.||ASA College||Video|
|Blayke Lindenman||K||6-0||210||Shawnee, Kan.||Fort Scott CC||Video|
|Jalen Dampier||CB||6-0||165||Kennesaw, Ga.||North Cobb CS||Video|
|Ruben Saunders||CB||6-1||185||Wilmington, Del.||Dean College||Video|
|Josh Varona||OL||6-5||288||Pompano Beach, Fla.||Coconut Creek HS||Video|
|Jacen Murphy||WR||5-10||190||Wilmington, N.C.||Copiah Lincoln CC||Video|
|Jeff Taylor||DE||6-4||230||Boothwyn, Pa.||Lackawanna JC||Video|
|LeGrande Harley||LB||6-1||230||Durham, N.C.||Univ. of South Florida||Video|
|Chance Kennedy||WR||5-8||160||Charlotte, N.C.||South Mecklenburg HS||Video|
|Charles Hicks, Jr.||DB||6-1||195||Akron, Ohio||Feather River JC||Video|
|Isaiah Totten||RB||5-9||175||Apex, N.C.||Apex HS||Video|
BY THE NUMBERS: (as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016)
2016 Signing Class: 19 (11 incoming freshmen, 8 transfers)
Defensive Back: 4
Wide Receiver: 3
Offensive Line: 2
Defensive Line: 2
Tight End: 2
Running Back: 1
Long Snapper: 1
North Carolina: 8
South Carolina: 1
Shoalin McGuire, QB, 6-3, 205, Ridgeway, Va./Magna Vista HS- Led Magna Vista High School to back-to-back Virginia 3-A state championships with a combined record of 27-3 (14-1 in 2014, 13-2 in 2015). As a junior in 2014, named All-Group 3-A West Offensive Player of the Year and 3-A All-State Second Team. As a dual-threat quarterback, accounted for 3,247 total yards and 41 total touchdowns as a senior in 2015. In 2015 state title game, passed for 192 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for a touchdown. Against Halifax County (Oct. 1, 2015), completed all 17 passes for 330 yards and five touchdowns… in the first half.
Donte Edwards, DT, 6-3, 250, Durham, N.C./Hillside HS
- Two-time Pac-6 All-Conference First Team selection. Recorded 55 tackles with 22 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks as a senior in 2015. Invited to 2015 Shrine Bowl of the Carolina Invite Combine.
Bruce Davis, TE, 6-3, 205, Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley HS
- As a senior at Grimsley High School in 2015, recorded 998 receiving yards, seven receiving touchdowns, four punt return touchdowns, one rushing touchdown. Also plays basketball at Grimsley.
Maleek Henderson, TE/DE, 6-3, 240, Danville, Va./George Washington HS
- As a senior at George Washington High School in 2015, named First Team All-Conference, First Team All-District and Second Team All-Region. Collected 14 receptions with three touchdowns.
Xavier McKoy, WR, 6-3, 188, Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte HS
- As a senior at West Charlotte High School in 2015, named to MECKA 4A All-Conference First team. Collected six receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns against South Point (Sept. 14, 2015). Grabbed four passes for 114 yards and a touchdown versus West Mecklenburg (Aug. 28, 2015). Finalist for South Charlotte Sports Report 2015 Charlotte Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
Tavon Lofties, ATH, 6-5, 245, Baltimore, Md./Catonsville HS/Fork Union MA
- In 2015 at Fork Union Military Academy, collected four tackles for a loss, two sacks, a forced fumble, a pass break-up and two touchdowns. Named Fork Union 2015 Football MVP. As a senior at Catonsville High School, recorded five sacks in a game against Woodlawn (Oct. 16, 2014). Also ran high school track as a sprinter.
De'Mario Evans, CB, 6-0, 175, Columbia, S.C./Ridge View HS/Eastern Arizona College
- In 2015 season at Eastern Arizona College, posted 32 tackles (28 solo) with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. As a senior at Ridge View High School in 2012, recorded 87 tackles, three hits for a loss, one sack, seven pass break-ups, four interceptions, three recovered fumbles, one forced fumble and four touchdowns.
Chavalyea Alexander, OL, 6-3, 275, Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte HS
- As a senior at West Charlotte High School in 2015, named to MECKA All-Conference First Team as an offensive lineman.
Erik Schlecker, LS, 6-0, 230, Sunrise, Fla./Piper HS/ASA College
- Boasts 97 consecutive snaps without a blocked kick or punt (62 short snaps, 35 long snaps). As a senior at Piper High School in 2013, selected All-Broward County 8A-6A Honorable Mention. Also played baseball at Piper High School.
Blayke Lindenman, K, 6-0, 210, Shawnee, Kan./Fort Scott CC
- In 2015 during second season at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, accounted for 47 points without missing a kick, making all eight field goal attempts and all 23 extra-point kicks. Named 2015 KJCCC All-Conference Honorable Mention. Tallied 40 points with six field goals and 22 extra-point kicks in 2014 season.
Jalen Dampier, CB, 6-0, 165, Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb Christian HS
- As a senior at North Cobb Christian School in 2015, amassed 1,231 passing yards, 357 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns, 10 pass break-ups and three interceptions to earn Team MVP award. Broke NCCS school records in passing yards, total touchdowns and interceptions. Team Captain for both football and basketball. Selected to play on the Cobb County team in the 2015 Senior Bowl.
Ruben Saunders, CB, 6-1, 185, Wilmington, Del./Hodgson HS/Dean College
- As a sophomore at Dean College in 2015, tallied 31 tackles (23 solo) with four tackles for a loss, three interceptions with a touchdown, and seven pass break-ups. Selected to 2015 All-Northeast Conference First Team. As a senior at Hodgson High School in 2013, selected to DIFCA All-State First Team. Picked to play in 59th annual Blue-Gold All-Star Game.
Josh Varona, OL, 6-5, 288, Pompano Beach, Fla./Coconut Creek HS
- Named to 2015 All-Broward County (Class 5A-Ind.) Second Team. Selected to play in Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game.
Jacen Murphy, WR, 5-10, 190, Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover HS/ECU/Copiah Lincoln CC
- In 2015 at Copiah Lincoln Community College (Wesson, Miss.), collected 13 receptions for 147 yards. While at East Carolina in 2014, appeared in two games (NCCU and North Carolina). As a senior at New Hanover High School in 2012, played receiver, running back and defensive back. In final game of high school career, recorded six receptions for 95 yards and an 88-yard kickoff return against New Bern.
Jeff Taylor, LB/DE, 6-4, 230, Boothwyn, Pa./Chichester HS/Lackawanna JC
- In May 2014, named East MVP in 38th annual Hero Bowl. At Chichester High School, selected 2013 All-Delco Honorable Mention as a defensive lineman.
LeGrande Harley, LB, 6-1, 230, Durham, N.C./Southern HS/Georgia Military College/USF
- In 2014 at South Florida, recorded 23 tackles (14 solo) in 10 games at middle linebacker. Played two seasons (2012, 2013) at Georgia Military College. In 2013, collected 36 tackles, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. Team posted 11 wins and was ranked No. 3 in the final NJCAA poll after falling in the NJCAA national championship game. While at Southern High School (Durham, N.C.), played for head coach Adrian Jones, an NCCU alum and former football student-athlete who is currently running backs coach at NCCU. Earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a senior in 2011.
Chance Kennedy, WR, 5-8, 160, Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg HS
- Two-time First-Team All-South Meck 8 Conference. As a senior at South Mecklenburg High School in 2015, accounted for 43 receptions for 553 yards and five touchdowns, along with 998 all-purpose yards.
Charles Hicks, Jr., DB, 6-1, 195, Akron, Ohio/Copley HS/Feather River JC
- In two seasons at Feather River College (Quincy, Calif.), amassed 114 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 7 pass break-ups, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. As a sophomore in 2015 at Feather River, collected 69 tackles (52 solo), 5.0 tackles for a loss, four pass break-ups, an interception and a fumble recovery. Named to 2015 All-Conference Team (CCCAA National-Norcal Division).
Isaiah Totten, RB, 5-9, 175, Apex, N.C./Apex HS
- Three-time All-Conference selection in Southwest Wake Athletic Conference (First Team in 2015 and 2014, Second Team in 2013). As a senior at Apex High School in 2015, rushed for 264 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries during a win over Panther Creek. As a junior at Apex in 2014, rushed for 1,813 yards and 23 touchdowns, averaging 164.8 yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry. Named 2014 First Team All-Conference. Invited to 2015 Shrine Bowl of the Carolina Invite Combine.
COURTESY NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION