Memphis Announces 2009 Signing Class
MEMPHIS, TENN. --- University of Memphis head football coach Tommy West announced today the signing of 23 players who will join the Tigers for the 2009 season. Included in the talented class are eight junior college transfers and six local high school standouts.
"I think the last two years, the classes that we have signed have been excellent," said West. "This class has some impact-type of players who can help us move this program. This class from top to bottom is solid. We were able to secure some big-time guys and that is what it will take for us to try and move this program and be a championship team."
Among the 23 signees are nine linemen, including the nation's best defensive lineman Justin Thompson. Thompson enrolled in school this January after transferring from El Camino College. He was rated the top defensive lineman and the third-best junior college prospect according to Scout.com. Joining Thompson on the defensive front are Ryan Attaway (Camden County (GA) HS), Mike McDonald (Lackawanna (PA) CC), and local standouts Dontari Poe of Wooddale High and Jimmy Robinson of Fairley High.
"We signed a talented group in the defensive line with guys like Justin Thompson and Jimmy Robinson," said West. "I think Jimmy is the steal of the class. He is an outstanding football player, and has a chance to be an impact guy on defense along with Justin.
"Poe is just a massive guy that can play. Ryan and Ricky Hart are both two-way guys, but right now we are going to leave Ryan on defense. We also needed a pass rusher, a guy who can make something happen on third down and we found Mike McDonald. He is a guy who had 30 sacks in two years, which is incredible. I really think he can be the guy we need who can get to the quarterback."
The offensive line, which loses four starters from the 2008 squad, will be bolstered by Hart (Charlton County (GA) HS), Jamie McCoy (Hattiesburg HS), Jordan Miller (Harrison HS) and Brad Paul (Blinn College). Paul enrolled at Memphis in January and will join the Tigers on the field this spring.
West also added six receivers to the mix to continue Memphis' deep receiving corps. Dejarrius Adams (El Camino College), Billy Foster (College of Sequoias) and Michael Lindsey (Los Medanos College) join the squad from the junior college ranks, while Jermaine McKenzie enrolled at Memphis this spring after transferring from the University of Miami. He joins his brother, Tremaine, who signed with Memphis in December as a defensive back from College of Siskiyous.
"The most pleasing thing is the speed of this class," added West. "We will go from being a group of wide receivers who are big and powerful to being really fast at wide receiver with the addition of Jermaine Mckenzie, Dejarrius Adams and Billy Foster."
In addition, two local prep standouts Marcus Hightower (Whitehaven) and Rod Davis (Wooddale) will add to the depth of the wideouts.
"Marcus Hightower is a guy who is outstanding wherever we play him, whether it is on offense or defense," said West. "He is going to be on the field next year."
The Tigers also signed highly-rated quarterback Will Gilchrist out of Hardin County High in Savannah, Tennessee. Gilchrist threw for over 5,000 yards and 71 touchdowns at Hardin County. He also rushed for over 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns, en route to being rated the No. 22 dual-threat quarterback nationally by Rivals.com.
"Will is really solid," said West. "He is like Martin Hankins in type of arm and passing, but a lot faster. He gives us more of a dual-threat than what Martin gave us. I am really excited to get him here and see what he can bring to our offense with his throwing and running."
"I have always said your quarterback has to be athletic enough in this system to help you with some of the run game, and Will can do that," added West. "As our running game has improved, I want to now go back and be able to throw the ball over your head, similar to what we were when DeAngelo (Williams) was here with Danny (Wimprine) and we were a good running team that could go over your head when you put too many in there. That's what all this speed at wideout is all about."
The secondary will get a boost with this class as five of the signees are defensive backs. In addition to McKenzie, Torenzo Quinn out of Mississippi Delta Community College will also work out with the Tigers this spring. Derek Smith (Hillcrest HS), Mohammed Seisay (Fork Union Military Academy) and Randy Powell of Kingsbury High in Memphis will add depth to the Tiger secondary.
"Defensively, we always want to improve our speed, but we also wanted to increase our size in the secondary," said West. "We were able to do that with Randy Powell, Mohammed Seisay and Derek Smith. They give us some 6-1, 6-2 types of guys."
"We have improved our speed defensively to a point where we are getting pretty solid on defense now," added West.
Rounding out the 2009 class are tight end Brooks Johnson from Decatur (AL) High , and kicker Paulo Henriques from nearby West Memphis (AR) High. Johnson played tight end at DHS and totaled 359 yards and three touchdowns on 34 receptions in 2008. Henriques, who is originally from South Africa, has a strong leg and has handled kicking and punting duties for WMHS. He set a school record with a 53-yard field goal as a junior and was 77 of 80 on PATs in the last two seasons.
Dejarrius Adams WR 6-2 205 Miami, FL/Miami Killian HS/El Camino College
Ryan Attaway DL 6-5 270 Jacksonville, FL/Camden County HS
Rod Davis WR 6-0 205 Memphis, TN/Wooddale HS
Billy Foster WR 5-10 175 Ft. Lauderdale, FL/Stranahan HS/College of the Sequoias
Will Gilchrist QB 6-2 200 Savannah, TN/Hardin County HS
Ricky Hart OL/DL 6-3 310 Folkston, GA/Charlton County HS
Paulo Henriques K 5-10 200 West Memphis, AR/West Memphis HS
Marcus Hightower <<http://gotigersgo.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hightower_marcus00.html>> WR 6-2 205 Memphis, TN/Whitehaven HS
Brooks Johnson TE 6-2 235 Decatur, AL/Decatur HS
Michael Lindsey WR 6-3 200 St. Petersburg, FL/Boca Ciega HS/Los Medanos College
Jamie McCoy OL 6-3 275 Hattiesburg, MS/Hattiesburg HS
Mike McDonald DL 6-3 220 Wilmington, NC/Eugene Ashley HS/Lackawanna CC (PA)
Jermaine McKenzie WR 6-3 180 Bradenton, FL/Bradenton Prep/Univ. of Miami
Tremaine McKenzie DB 6-0 200 Bradenton, FL/Bradenton Prep/College of Siskiyous
Jordan Miller OL 6-8 280 Kennesaw, GA/Harrison HS
Brad Paul OL 6-3 290 Clear Lake, TX/Clear Lake HS/Blinn College
Dontari Poe <<http://gotigersgo.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/poe_dontari00.html>> DL 6-3 335 Memphis, TN/Wooddale HS
Randy Powell DB 6-0 200 Memphis, TN/Kingsbury HS
Torenzo Quinn DB 5-11 183 Ruleville, MS/Ruleville HS/Mississippi Delta CC
Jimmy Robinson DL 6-1 280 Memphis, TN/Fairley HS
Mohammed Seisay DB 6-2 200 Springfield, VA/W. Springfield HS/Fork Union Military
Derek Smith DB 6-2 195 Evergreen, AL/Hillcrest HS
Justin Thompson DL 6-4 290 Inglewood, CA/Westchester HS/El Camino College
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi has landed Pat Patterson, a
top recruit who played coy about his decision but chose the Rebels
on national signing day.
Patterson signed a binding national letter of intent during a
celebration at Noxubee County High School on Wednesday, the first
day that high school seniors can choose which college they plan to
attend. It remained to be seen if Ole Miss would land another pair
of highly ranked players - quarterback Raymond Cotton and wide
receiver Marlon Brown.
Meridian quarterback Tyler Russell signed with Mississippi State
as expected, as did Philadelphia defensive lineman Josh Boyd and
Tupelo receiver Chad Bumphis.
Patterson initially committed to Mississippi State. The receiver
is considered one of the nation's top five players at his position
A list of the 2009 recruiting classes of Mississippi,
Mississippi State and Southern Miss with player's name, position,
height, weight, high school and hometown:
Michael Brown, ol, 6-6, 315, Lexington (Tenn.) HS
Ryan Campbell, db, 6-0, 175, Carver HS, Columbus, Ga.
Tyler Campbell, p, 6-2, 210, Catholic HS, Little Rock, Ark.
Logan Clair, ol, 6-5, 305, NE Oklahoma CC, Mustang, Okla.
Frank Crawford, db, 6-1, 170, Gulliver Prep, Miami
Craig Drummond, de, 6-5, 260, Morgan Park HS, Chicago
Corey Gaines, dt, 6-1, 280, Godby HS, Tallahassee, Fla.
Jesse Grandy, ath, 5-11, 180, Dollarway HS, Pine Bluff, Ark.
Terrell Grant, wr, 6-3, 200, Cleveland (Miss.) HS
A.J. Hawkins, ol, 6-3, 315, Martin Luther King HS, Lithonia, Ga.
Jamar Hornsby, db, 6-3, 215, East Miss. CC, Jacksonville, Fla.
Stephen Houston, rb, 5-10, 210, Lakota West HS, West Chester,
Gabriel Hunter, rb, 5-11, 185, Kingsbury HS, Memphis, Tenn.
Dele Junaid, db, 6-3, 195, Hightower HS, Sugar Land, Texas
Artice Kellam, db, 5-11, 180, Gulliver Prep, Miami
Joel Kight, lb, 5-11, 220, Martin Luther King HS, Lithonia, Ga.
DeMarcus Knight, lb, 6-2, 230, Morristown (Tenn.) East HS
Ja-Mes Logan, wr, 6-2, 195, Westfield HS, Houston
Mike Marry, lb, 6-3, 225, Largo HS, Clearwater, Fla.
Z. Mason, te, 6-5, 255, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville,
Bobbie Massie, ol, 6-7, 345, Hargrave Military Academy,
Emmanuel McCray, ol, 6-4, 280, Forest Hill HS, Jackson, Miss.
Korvic Neat, rb, 5-8, 170, Hallandale (Fla.) HS
Pat Patterson, wr, 6-3, 215, Noxubee Co. HS, Macon, Miss.
Montez Phillips, ath, 6-3, 190, Lafayette Co. HS, Oxford, Miss.
Andrew Ritter, k, 6-3, 200, Jackson (Miss.) Academy
Charles Sawyer, db, 5-10, 180, Coral Park HS, Miami
Rodney Scott, rb, 5-9, 195, Dixie Co. HS, Cross City, Fla.
D.T. Shackelford, lb, 6-1, 230, Austin HS, Decatur, Ala.
Tim Simon, rb, 6-2, 210, Cordova (Ala.) HS
Eric Smiley, dt, 6-5, 280, Central HS, West Helena, Ark.
Evan Swindall, c, 6-3, 285, LaFayette (Ga.) HS
Mike Thomas, dt, 6-4, 270, St. Paul's Episcopal HS, Mobile, Ala.
Cameron Whigham, de, 6-3, 230, Shiloh HS, Lithonia, Ga.
Johnthan Banks, db, 6-2, 170, E. Webster HS, Maben, Miss.
Leon Berry, wr, 6-1, 185, E. Miss. CC, Griffin, Ga.
Josh Boyd, dl, 6-3, 275, Philadelphia (Miss.) HS
Sean Brauchle, pk, 5-9, 175, Miss. Gulf Coast CC, Biloxi, Miss.
Chad Bumphis, wr, 5-10, 193, Tupelo (Miss.) HS
Montrell Conner, rb, 6-2, 215, Ouachita Parish HS, Monroe, La.
Fletcher Cox, dl, 6-4, 240, Yazoo City (Miss.) HS
Billy Hamilton, wr, 5-10, 170, Taylorsville (Miss.) HS
Brandon Heavens, wr, 5-10, 170, Jess Lanier HS, Bessemer, Ala.
Mardrecas Hood, wr, 6-3, 180, Pickens Co. HS, Reform, Ala.
Heath Hutchins, p, 6-2, 215, Itawamba CC, Saltillo, Miss.
Gabriel Jackson, ol, 6-4, 295, Amite Co. HS, Liberty, Miss.
Maurice Langston, db, 5-11, 185, East Central CC, Meridian,
Cameron Lawrence, db, 6-2, 205, Magnolia Heights HS, Coldwater,
Johnathan McKenzie, dl, 6-4, 235, Starkville (Miss.) Academy
Pernell McPhee, dl, 6-4, 270, Itawamba CC, Pahokee, Fla.
LaDarius Perkins, rb, 5-10, 195, St. Joseph HS, Greenville,
Tyler Russell, qb, 6-4, 200, Meridian (Miss.), Miss.
Ricco Sanders, wr, 5-11, 175, Byrnes HS, Duncan, S.C.
William Shumpert, rb, 6-0, 238, Itawamba Agricultural HS,
Deontae Skinner, lb, 6-1, 234, Noxubee Co. HS, Macon, Miss.
Darius Slay, db, 6-0, 175, Brunswick (Ga.) HS
Chris Smith, wr, 6-1, 195, Meridian (Miss.) HS
Dennis Thames, db, 5-11, 185, Louisville (Miss.) HS
Sam Watts, ol, 6-4, 290, Salem HS, Conyers, Ga.
Chris White, lb, 6-4, 235, Miss. Gulf Coast CC, Vancleave, Miss.
Nickoe Whitley, db,5-11, 195, Provine HS, Jackson, Miss.
Mujahid Assad, wr, 6-1, 184, Williamson HS, Mobile, Ala.
Jacoby Bell, ath, 6-3, 210, D'Iberville (Miss.) HS
Chris Campbell, qb, 6-2, 180, Briarcrest Christian HS,
Jamie Collins, ath, 6-3, 210, Franklin County HS, Meadville,
Jonathan Guerry, ol, 6-4, 290, New Hope HS, Columbus, Miss.
Ryan Hanks, te, 6-5, 235, Pace HS, Milton, Fla.
Kendrick Hardy, rb, 6-0, 200, Lawrence Co. HS, Monticello, Miss.
Jerrion Johnson, db, 6-1, 195, Perry Central HS, Beaumont, Miss.
Justin Jordan, wr, 5-11, 190, Blinn College, Plano, Texas
Tracy Lampley, rb, 5-9, 170, Waynesboro (Miss.) HS
Hendrick Leverette, lb, 6-1, 225, Pearl River CC, Purvis, Miss.
Will Martin, lb, 6-0, 201, Madison Central (Miss.) HS
Trevor Newsom, ol, 6-8, 290, Itawamba CC, Starkville, Miss.
Ed Preston, ol, 6-4, 287, Dickinson HS, Bacliff, Texas
David Rue, te, 6-5, 260, East Mississippi CC, Monroe, La.
Ben Schoenberger, ol, 6-5, 290, Miss. Gulf Coast CC, Pascagoula,
Alex Smith, db, 5-11, 175, Franklin County HS, McCall Creek,
Octavius Thomas, de, 6-3, 230, Mount Zion HS, Carrolton, Ga.
Martez Thompson, db, 6-1, 180, Pascagoula (Miss.) HS
Gerald West, db, 5-11, 175, Faith Academy, Mobile, Ala.
Deron Wilson, db, 5-10, 167, O. Perry Walker HS, New Orleans
Nathaniel Worrell, ol, 6-5, 265, Pearl (Miss.) HS