By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech football coach Watson Brown and his staff kept their focus pretty narrow this year on the recruiting trail, and the veteran coach says Wednesday's signing day will be exactly what the Golden Eagles needed.
"We have so many returning players that we could really focus our search," said the veteran coach Wednesday morning as the staff awaited paperwork on National Signing Day. "We just didn't have that many scholarships available, so this will be the smallest class we've signed since I've been here.
"It might also be the strongest class we've signed," he added. "We hit the priorities we really needed. This was an important class for us, because we've added the guys we think we need for us to be pretty good for the next two or three years."
By noon Wednesday, all 14 names were crossed off a list of expected signees and added to the 2014 roster. That includes two who are already enrolled at Tech and attending classes this semester, one freshman and one junior college transfer.
One of those two is Blake Luevano, a 6-6, 300-pound offensive lineman from Arcadia, Calif., who attended Citrus College before enrolling at Tech in January. The second who is already on campus is Johnathan Coleman, a 6-2, 210-pound inside linebacker from Delray Beach, Fla. After graduating early from Delray Beach HS, he began is college career last month.
"This was a position-oriented class," Brown said. "Our top priority was looking for older offensive linemen and our second focus was safeties. We have some really good young offensive linemen here now, but we didn't want to be quite so young. We needed to add a little experience and maturity. At safety, we have three graduating next year who are major players for us, and we just have to replace them."
Not quite as high on the "must have" list were other priority positions, according to Brown.
"Some of the other priorities were runningback, receiver, a couple of defensive ends and an inside linebacker," Brown said.
"We did not miss a need and we realize the importance of what this class will do to help us," Brown said. "We have a lot coming back, and we needed to hit certain areas, and we did that. This class will be a factor in the next couple of years in helping us to compete."
Tennessee Tech's 2014 Football Signees (14)
||Hometown / Previous School
|Johnnie Anderson||SAF||6-0||215||Athens, Ala./Athens HS|
|Dorian Carter||RB||5-11||181||Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech HS|
||ILB||6-2||210||Delray Beach, Fla./Village Academy HS
||Florence, Ala./Florence HS
||Calera, Ala./Calera HS
||Watertown, Tenn./Watertown HS
||Arcadia, Calif./Citrus College
||Gadsden, Ala./Gadsden City HS
|Charles Mouton||OL||6-3||305||Victorville, Calif./Victor Valley College|
||Cullman, Ala./West Point HS
||Lebanon, Tenn./Wilson Central HS
||Haleyville, Ala./Haleyville HS
||Savannah, Tenn./Hardin County HS
|Deven Sullivan||RB||6-3||215||Muscle Shoals, Ala./Muscle Shoals HS|
|* already enrolled at TTU|
A capsule look at each of the 14 signees Wednesday:
Johnnie Anderson - SAF, 6-0, 215, Athens, Ala./Athens HS (watch his video)
A four-year starter at safety at Athens (Ala.) High School, Johnnie made nearly 400 career tackles... three-time team MVP... first-team all-state selection and Athens News Courier Player of the Year... named to all-county defensive team... topped 100 tackles with three forced fumbles as a freshman, and topped 100 tackles with six interceptions as a sophomore... junior year netted more than 80 total tackles and six forced fumbles on defense, and seven offensive touchdowns... as a senior, had more than 80 tackles with three interceptions, eight fumbles forced and six offensive TDs... posted a 3.3 GPA.
Dorian Carter - RB, 5-11, 181, Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech HS (watch his video)
Dorian was named to Tennessee Sportswriters Association first-team all-state team... first-team All-Cumner County team... honors student with a 3.3 GPA for coach Anthony Crabtree at Beech High School... rushed for 1,539 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior... averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 280 attempts... had 1,952 all-purpose yards... career rushing total was 3,122 yards and 42 touchdowns in three seasons.
Johnathan Coleman – ILB, 6-2, 210, Delray Beach, Fla./Village Academy HS (watch his video)
Started for five years at Village Academy, beginning in the eighth grade... was the team's Defensive MVP... voted to the Palm Beach County Treasure Coast All-Star game in 2012... led his team in tackles as a senior... set the school record for most tackles in a game with 21... also set the school record for most tackles in a season with 87... graduated in the top 10 percent of his class with a 3.2 GPA.
Isaac Dillard – WR, 6-3, 185, Florence, Ala./Florence HS (watch his video)
A speedy and talented wide receiver from Florence HS, Isaac was a three-sport standout who earned numerous awards in football, baseball and basketball... highly active off the field, being named as one of 20 Distinguished Men of Shoals for contributions to schools, churches and community... preseason All-America Under Armour Baseball selection... all-area in basketball the past two seasons.
Tyler Harrell - SAF, 6-3, 205, Calera, Ala./Calera HS (watch his video)
Tyler helped guide Calera High School to its best season in school history and No. 1 ranking in Class 4A in Alabama for six consecutive weeks in 2013... scored three touchdowns on interception returns and three more as a punt returner... earned spots on the All-Shelby County and All-Birmingham Metro teams... a versatile athlete, he also lettered in basketball and baseball.
Ty Jobe - ATHLETE, 6-2, 195, Watertown, Tenn./Watertown HS (watch his video)
A versatile athlete who was a four-year starter and standout for coach Gavin Webster at Watertown High School... three-time first-team all-region selection... set school records as a quarterback for passing yards, touchdowns and total offense... threw for 5,266 yards and 71 touchdowns... accounted for 6,856 yards of total offense... two-sport athlete who poured through more than 1,000 points in his basketball career... Honor Student with a solid 3.4 GPA.
Blake Luevano - OL, 6-6, 300, arcadia, Calif./Citrus College (watch his video)
Blake has started 17 games in the past two years for the Citrus College Fighting Owls in Glendora, Calif... earned academic honors each year... selected as permanent team captain following the 2013 season... named second-team all-conference for the National Division of the Southern California Football Association... helped Citrus win its first bowl game in 25 years... graduated from Citrus with a 3.74 overall GPA... enrolled at Tech in January and is currently attending classes... will participate in 2014 spring drills.
Chris McElderry - DL, 6-1, 240, Gadsden, Ala./Gadsden City HS (watch his video)
A defensive lineman from Gadsden City High School and three-year starter... played for coaches Joe Billingsley and Matt Scott... made 79 total tackles as a senior, including 22 tackles-for-loss and 16 quarterback sacks... forced two fumbles... team's Defensive MVP and permanent team captain... selected first-team all-state and first-team all-county.
Charles Mouton - OL, 6-3, 305, Victorville, Calif./Victor Valley College (watch his video)
Three-year starter for the Victory Valley (HS) Sultans... named Best Lineman twice... voted Mojave River Lague first-team offensive lineman twice, and Athlete of the Year... also wrestled and was named Most Valuable Field Athlete twice... during his college career, he was named first-team all-conference and first-team all-state at Victory Valley.
Chandler Nelson - OL, 6-4, 300, Cullman Ala.,/West Point HS (watch his video)
Chandler was a four-year starter in the offensive line at West Point High School... selected to the all-county team as a junior and senior... also selected to the all-area team both years... graded at 92 percent as a senior... recorded a 3.0 GPA throughout his prep career.
Preston Reed - DE,6-5, 205, Lebanon, Tenn./Wilson Central HS (watch his video)
Preston is an all-star defensive end from Wilson Central High School for coach Brad Dedman... two-time District 9-AAA Defensive Lineman of the Year and Wilson County Lineman of the Year in 2013... as a senior he recorded 12 quarterback sacks, 12 tackles-for-loss, blocked two punts and two field goals, deflected 18 passes and forced two fumbles... made 75 tackles in 11 games... played in the Toyotal East/West All-Star game in Tucker Stadium, where he blocked a punt... also served as long snapper for his high school team... an Honor student.
Dakota Rushing - DL, 6-6. 245, Haleyville, Ala./Haleyville HS (watch his video)
Dakota is a defensive lineman from Haleyville High School and a versatile, two-sport athlete... on the football field, he was named to the Times-Daily All-Area team as a junior and senior, and earned honorable mention all-state honors as a senior... named to the All-Northwest Alabama team twice... member of the National Honor Society and owns a 3.3 GPA... also played basketball and was named to three all-tournament teams.
Sage Stockton - OL, 6-0, 285, Savannah, Tenn./Hardin County HS (watch his video)
Sage was a three-year starter at Hardin County High School as an offensive lineman under the direction of coach Lee Hooper... major factor in Hardin County setting the school record for most points in a season... voted his team's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman both his junior and senior seasons... named first-team All-District 13AAA both seasons... as a senior, he was part of the All-West Tennessee team and was chosen to play in the East-West All-Star Game... three-time winner of the TSSAA Academic Athletic Scholar Award of Merit... will graduate with Honors.
Deven Sullivan - RB, 6-3, 215, Muscle Shoals, Ala./Muscle Shoals HS (watch his video)
Deven was a four-year starter at Muscle Shoals High School, and also earned five letters in wrestling... team's second-leading rusher and topped the squad in touchdowns as a senior, helping take team to Class 5A final round and runnerup finish... four-time Times Daily All-Area selection... four-time Times Daily all-state team.. helped team to the semifinals as a junior and quarterfinals as a sophomore... was Class 5A state wrestling champion at 195 pounds as a sophomore.