Thursday, February 2, 2017

Scott Signs 23 Recruits in Largest NSU Spartan Class in 10 Years

NORFOLK, Virginia  -- Norfolk State head football coach Latrell Scott unveiled his 2017 football recruiting class on Wednesday, a group of 20 high school signees and three mid-year additions who comprise his largest class to date at NSU.

"Our staff did a tremendous job assembling a class that addresses every need we have," Scott said. "This is the biggest class we've had here and it will give us the ability to add competition and depth at every position on our team.

"I feel we've been consistent in our approach. The Hampton Roads and Richmond areas are our home base and we added some excellent recruits from those regions. But we did have the ability to go into Northern Virginia, Maryland and Georgia to add some high-quality players."

Of the 20 recruits who signed national letters of intent on Wednesday, 15 are from either the Richmond or Hampton Roads regions. Seventeen are from the state of Virginia, two are from Georgia and one is from Maryland. Wednesday's signees include four offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three defensive linemen, three running backs, three linebackers, one quarterback, one receiver, one kicker/punter and one multi-position athlete.

Wednesday's new additions bring Scott's current recruiting class to 23. Already enrolled for the spring semester at NSU are junior college linebacker Michael Kwegyir-Attah (Haverhill, Mass./Monroe College), prep school quarterback Tripp Harrington (Wendell, N.C./Fork Union Military Academy) and prep defensive back Dy-Shawn Simpkins Jr. (Paramus, N.J./Jireh Prep).

Scott's recruiting haul marks the largest signing day class at NSU since 2007. The third-year coach of the Spartans will discuss the class in more detail at NSU's signing day party from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at A.J. Gators in downtown Norfolk.

Following are the members of the 2017 signing day class, with notes and quotes on each further down the page.

2017 NSU Recruiting Class

NamePos.Ht.Wt.Hometown / Previous School
Nick AckiesDL6-2295Richmond, Va. / Freeman HS
Stuart Anderson Jr.ATH625195Mathews, Va. / Mathews HS
Anton Ashby Jr.DB    6-2180Norfolk, Va. / Norview HS
Marvin Beander Jr.RB5-10175Gaithersburg, Md. / Quince Orchard HS
Tavien BlackwellDL6-1;305Richmond, Va. / Highland Springs HS
Juwan CarterQB6-0170Richmond, Va. / Highland Springs HS
Charell ColeyDB5-10185Richmond, Va. / Highland Springs HS
DeShaan DixonDL6-5225Chesapeake, Va. / Western Branch HS
Johnathan GregoryDB6-3190Hampton, Va. / Phoebus HS
Marquis HallLB6-2205Woodbridge, Va. / Potomac Senior HS
Tripp Harrington*QB6-1175Wendell, N.C. / Fork Union MA / East Wake HS
Matt HodgesLB6-0215Richmond, Va. / Bishop Sullivan Catholic HS
C.J. JonesRB5-11180Richmond, Va. / Varina HS
Kyree JonesOL6-5285Atlanta, Ga. / McEachern HS
Brandon KempOL6-4330Powder Springs, Ga. / Grady HS
Michael Kwegyir-Attah*LB6-0235Haverhill, Mass. / Monroe College / Haverhill HS
Shedrick McCall IIIRB6-2235Richmond, Va. / L.C. Bird HS
Josh Nardone    K/P5-11175Virginia Beach, Va. / First Colonial HS
Jalen PowellOL6-3285Hampton, Va. / Hampton HS
Justin ReddOL6-5320Hampton, Va. / Hampton HS
Rashard Russell Jr.DB6-0175Norfolk, Va. / Lake Taylor HS
Dy-Shawn Simpkins Jr.*DB6-1175Paramus, N.J. / Jireh Prep / Paramus Catholic
Isaiah WinsteadWR6-3205Richmond, Va. / Highland Springs HS

* Already enrolled at NSU in spring-semester classes

Nick Ackies
6-2, 295
Richmond, Va./Freeman HS

High School: A first-team All-5A South Region and All-Conference 11 performer on defense … Named to the All-State 5A and All-Metro second teams on defense … Served as Freeman's punter, earning second-team all-conference honors at that position … Played in the Big River Rivalry all-star game … First-team all-conference and All-Metro on defense as a junior … Also a talented pitcher for the Rebels who may also pitch at NSU.

Comments: "Nick is a dynamic pass rusher and run-stopper on the defensive front. He has the ability to be an immediate impact player for us. He will also have the chance to be a two-sport standout at NSU."


Stuart Anderson Jr.
6-2, 195
Mathews, Va./Mathews HS

High School: Conference 42 Defensive Player of the Year … A first-team all-conference and all-district selection at safety as a junior and senior … Also made second-team all-conference as a junior as an all-purpose athlete on offense … Played receiver, quarterback and defensive back for Mathews … Also was a first-team all-state selection in soccer, scoring 33 goals, in addition to being an accomplished basketball player … Father played college football at Virginia and professionally with the NFL's Washington Redskins.

Comments: "Stuart is a multi-faceted athlete who can play either side of the ball. He will begin his career at receiver for us. His dad was a great athlete and Stuart is following in his footsteps."


Anton Ashby Jr.­­
6-2, 180
Norfolk, Va./Norview HS

High School: First-team All-State 5A and All-Tidewater selection at receiver … Second-team all-state defensive back … Selected as a first-team All-Atlantic Conference and All-5A South Region performer at both receiver and defensive back … Rated a two-star recruit by 247 Sports and … Caught 70 passes for 1,221 yards and 14 touchdowns … On defense, posted 78 tackles, four for loss, with 10 pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles … Led the Eastern District in receiving during the regular season … Helped the Pilots reach the state 5A playoff semifinals … Also plays basketball.

Comments: "'Tank' is a dynamic two-way athlete with exceptional athleticism. He comes from a very successful local program. He will force immediate competition at safety."


Marvin Beander Jr.
5-10, 175
Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard HS

High School: Rushed 168 times for 1,339 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior … Helped Quince Orchard go 12-2 and reach the state 4A title game … Rated a three-star recruit by 247 Sports and … Named to the Under Armour Elite 100 team for the state of Maryland … Also selected first-team all-league in Montgomery County … Honorable mention Big School All-State Class 4A/3A as a junior … Finished as the school's all-time leader in touchdowns scored, with 54 … Ran for 3,281 yards in his career.

Comments: "Marvin is an explosive tailback with top-notch receiving ability. He gives us a potential home-run hitter in our running game."


Tavien Blackwell
6-1, 305
Richmond, Va./Highland Springs HS

High School: First-team All-Conference 12 defensive tackle … Honorable mention All-Metro … Posted 71 tackles, including 17 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble as a senior … Teamed with fellow NSU signees Juwan Carter, Isaiah Winstead and Charell Coley to lead Highland Springs to state titles as a junior and senior … Named to the All-5A South Region second team as a junior.

Comments: "Tavien is a stout run-stopper from a two-time state championship program. He is also one of the top wrestlers in the Central Region, as well."

High School:

Juwan Carter
6-0, 170
Richmond, Va./Highland Springs HS

High School: Named the state 5A Offensive Player of the Year after leading Highland Springs to its second straight state championship … Richmond Times-Dispatch All-Metro Player of the year … Also selected to the all-conference, all-region and all-state first teams as a senior … Passed for 2,682 yards and 27 touchdowns … Also rushed for 473 yards and 20 scores as a prep senior … Was 39-3 as a high school starting quarterback.

Comment: "Juwan is just a natural winner at the quarterback position. He won championships at every level he's played on and we're looking forward to getting him on campus."


Charell Coley
5-10, 185
Richmond, Va./Highland Springs HS

High School: First-team All-State 5A and All-Metro … A three-star recruit by and 247 Sports … Recorded 63 tackles, seven for loss, nine pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered (one returned for a touchdown), three interceptions and a sack … Also a first-team all-conference kick returner … Teammate of fellow NSU signees Juwan Carter, Isaiah Winstead and Tavien Blackwell … Two-time state champion for the Springers.

Comments: "Charell is a dynamic ball-hawk of a defensive back. He has the ability to play three positions in the secondary for us."

DeShaan Dixon
6-5, 225
Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch HS

High School: First-team All-Tidewater defensive end … Also a first-team All-Monitor-Merrimac Conference and second-team All-6A South Region selection as a senior … Finished his senior year with 52 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, nine sacks and 23 quarterback hurries … Also a standout basketball player at Western Branch.

Comments: "DeShaan is a long, athletic pass-rushing defensive end with room to grow into his large frame."


Johnathan Gregory
6-3, 190
Hampton, Va./Phoebus HS

High School: Named the Defensive Player of the Year in state Group 3A, the 3A East Region and Conference 27 … Also selected as the Daily Press Defensive Player of the Year … Finished his senior season with a district-leading 11 interceptions, eight pass breakups and over 60 tackles … Helped Phoebus reach the state 3A semifinals.

Comments: "Johnathan is a rangy, athletic free safety. He has demonstrated a knack for generating turnovers over his last two seasons in high school."


Marquis Hall
6-2, 205
Woodbridge, Va./Potomac Senior HS

High School: Named to the All-Conference 15 first team as a senior … Also a second-team All-5A North Region selection …. Rated a three-star recruit by 247 Sports and a two-star prospect by and … Also an all-conference and all-region selection as a junior.
Comments: "Marquis is an athletic linebacker who has good size and a great frame. We like that he can really play sideline to sideline."


Tripp Harrington
6-1, 175
Wendell, N.C./Fork Union Military Academy/East Wake HS

Prior to NSU: Originally a member of the Spartans' signing class of 2016, Harrington spent last fall at Fork Union Military Academy … Led FUMA to an 8-2 record while accounting for 22 touchdowns … As a senior at East Wake, Harrington led all Triangle-area (N.C.) quarterbacks with 1,187 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns while passing for 2,507 yards and 24 more scores … Was named the Greater Neuse River Conference 4A Player of the Year and was also a Raleigh News & Observer All-Metro selection.

Comments: "We're excited to have Tripp back in the fold. He is an athletic quarterback who possesses a big arm and the ability to run the ball. He also knows how to be a leader from the quarterback position."


Matt Hodges
6-0, 215
Richmond, Va./Bishop Sullivan Catholic

High School: Amassed over 100 tackles (40 solo) with 15 tackles for loss and four sacks as a senior at Bishop Sullivan … Had one interception, which he returned for a touchdown … Named to the All-757 third team by Recruit 757 … First team All-Conference 12 and honorable mention all-conference linebacker as a junior at Meadowbrook High in Richmond.
Comments: "Matt is a physical linebacker with great closing ability. He has proven himself to be a hard hitter and is very aggressive."


C.J. Jones
5-11, 180
Richmond, Va./Varina HS

High School: Rushed for 1,460 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior … Averaged 10.2 yards per carry … Was a first-team All-Conference 12, second-team all-state and honorable mention All-Metro selection … Also Played in the Big River Rivalry all-star game.

Comments: "C.J. is another big-play threat at the running back position. He possesses good speed and comes from a strong high school program in the Richmond area."


Kyree Jones
6-5, 285
Atlanta, Ga./McEachern HS

High School: Played both offensive and defensive line at McEachern … Helped McEachern post and 11-2 record and advance to the Class 7A state playoff quarterfinals.

Comments: "Kyree is a big, athletic, lineman from one of the best programs in Georgia. He should add immediate competition to the offensive tackle position."


Brandon Kemp
6-4, 330
Powder Springs, Ga./Grady HS

High School: A first-team All-Region 6-AAAAA selection as a senior … Was a two-way linemen at Grady, which went 10-2 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs … Helped Grady average over 30 points and more than 470 yards of offense per game.

Comments: "Brandon is another skilled, athletic offensive lineman with good size for the position who we think will be a difference maker on our line for years to come."


Michael Kwegyir-Attah
6-0, 235
Haverhill, Mass./Monroe College (N.Y.)/Haverhill HS

Prior to NSU: Named to the All-Northeast Football Conference first team following his sophomore season at Monroe College in the fall of 2016 … Recorded 22 tackles, 5.5 for loss and three sacks in seven games played … Second-team all-conference selection as a freshman in 2015 … Amassed 135 total tackles and 10 sacks in his junior and senior years at Haverhill HS … Named to the All-Merrimack Valley Conference first team as a senior.

Comments: "We needed to add another playmaker to the interior of our defense and Michael fit our needs perfectly. He had a great junior college career and we look forward to him doing more of the same here at NSU."


Shedrick McCall III
6-2, 235
Richmond, Va./L.C. Bird HS

High School: First-team All-Metro and All-5A South Region and second-team All-State 5A … Rushed 195 times for 2,280 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior … Rated a two-star recruit by 247 Sports, and … Also selected to the all-conference first team … Rushed for 733 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.

Comments: "Shedrick is a bruising, powerful runner with good speed who gives us a physical presence in our backfield."


Josh Nardone
5-11, 175
Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial HS

High School: Named to the All-Tidewater first team as a kicker and punter by The Virginian-Pilot  … Led South Hampton Roads with 10 made field goals, including two 48-yarders … Averaged 39.2 yards per punt and had 94 percent of his kickoffs result in touchbacks … Also a first-team All-Coastal Conference performer … Named to the All-Tidewater first team as a junior, as well.

Comments: "Josh is a very consistent kicker and punter with a strong leg who will have the chance to give a boost to our kicking game early on."

Jalen Powell
6-3, 285
Hampton, Va./Hampton HS

High School: First-team All-Conference 10 and third-team All-757 by as a senior … Helped the Crabbers advance to the 5A state quarterfinals … First-team All-Conference 10 and honorable mention All-5A South Region as a junior … Also a standout basketball player for the Crabbers.

Comments: "Jalen is a big, athletic player from a winning high school program who should make an impact as an interior lineman for us."

Justin Redd
6-5, 320
Hampton, Va./Hampton HS

High School: First-team All-Conference 10, second-team All-5A South Region and second-team All-757 by as a senior … Also a first-team selection to the Daily Press all-star team … Helped the Crabbers advance to the 5A state quarterfinals … Also a first-team all-conference and second-team All-State 5A selection as a junior.

Comments: "Justin adds great size and athleticism to the offensive tackle position for us. Like Jalen Powell, he also showed his versatility by playing basketball in high school."


Rashard Russell Jr.
6-0, 175
Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor HS

High School: Named to the All-Conference 17 first team at three positions as a senior – receiver, kick returner and defensive back … Also selected to the All-4A East Region first team on defense … Second-team All-Tidewater athlete … Defensively, recorded five interceptions, 12 pass breakups and made 24 tackles … On offense, caught 28 passes for 518 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior.

Comments: "Rashard has exceptional speed and really excels in man coverage. He also continues a great pipeline of defensive backs to NSU, following in the footsteps of Harry FreemanAaron Chandler and J.T. Wahee."


Dy-Shawn Simpkins Jr.
6-1, 175
Paramus, N.J./Jireh Prep (N.C.)/Paramus Catholic HS

Prior to NSU: Attended a post-graduate semester of prep school at Jireh Prep in Mathews, N.C. in the fall of 2016 … Was a first-team All-Big North Conference performer as a senior at Paramus Catholic in 2015 … Recorded 75 tackles, 12 pass breakups, two forced fumbles, two blocked field goals and one interception … A two-star recruit according to

Comments: "Dy-Shawn is a tall, rangy defensive back who will add competition to our secondary this spring."


Isaiah Winstead
6-3, 205

Richmond, Va./Highland Springs HS

High School: Second-team All-Conference 12 and second-team All-Metro by the Richmond Times-Dispatch as a senior … Teamed with fellow NSU recruits Juwan Carter, Tavien Blackwell and Charell Coley to lead Highland Springs to two consecutive state 5A championships.
Comments: "Isaiah is a physical wideout with excellent ball skills. He has shown the ability to make catches in traffic and get yards after catch."



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