CSU Football Announces 2012 Recruiting ClassFebruary 1, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Twenty-one newcomers will join the Charleston Southern Football program after signing letters-of-intent to the Buccaneers as part of the NCAA’s National Signing Day.
Head coach Jay Mills has received commitments from four linebackers, two defensive ends, six defensive backs, three offensive linemen, two running backs, two quarterbacks and two wide receivers who will join the team for the 2012 season.
“First off, I am very excited about this class overall and I commend our staff and all of the support personnel here on campus for an outstanding job,” said Mills, who begins his 10th season at the school this year. “It’s not only an outstanding group of athletes but also a great group of young men.
“Secondly, this is the fastest group overall that I believe we have signed here during my tenure. We definitely recruited young men who can run and I think the 2012 football team will be the fastest team we’ve had here.”
Coach Mills and staff announced the additions at CSU’s annual Football Signing Day Luncheon. The event also was broadcast live on the internet, with the video being available on demand later today.
Mills says this signing class will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact in the program, despite the program having its largest number of players in the last 10 years.
“We have 80 players right now in our winter conditioning program and that is by far the largest number we’ve had here,” said Mills. “It will be a very competitive spring practice and then in August these young men will have an opportunity to compete as well. This class fits very well into what we are building in terms of our depth.”
In addition to new players, Mills also introduced to the media new defensive coordinator Shawn Quinn, who joins the Bucs from Georgia Southern University. He also announced the hiring of Matthew Smiley as the team’s wide receivers and specials teams coach. Smiley comes to Charleston from Eastern Illinois University.
2012 Signing Class
QB – Daniel Croghan III – 6-4, 220, Charleston, S.C. (Bishop England HS)
QB – Pryce Washington – 6-1, 175, Woodstock, Ga. (Woodstock HS)
OL – Patric Morris – 6-2, 267, Sebring, Fla. (Sebring HS)
OL – Tyler Penny – 6-3, 250, McDonough, Ga. (Henry County HS)
OL – Blake Stone – 6-1, 295, Jacksonville, Fla. (Atlantic Coast HS)
RB – Breyon Deberry – 5-9, 185, Roanoke, Ala. (Handley HS)
RB – Gabriel Johnson – 5-9, 195, Jacksonville, Fla. (Bartram Trail HS)
WR – Alexander Cruz – -5-9, 170, Ellabell, Ga. (Richmond Hill HS)
WR – Larry Jones III – 6-1, 190, Jacksonville, Fla. (Paxon HS)
DE – Erik Austell – 6-3, 235, Warner-Robins, Ga. (Central Fellowship Christian Academy)
DE- Nathanial Blake Robbins – 6-6, 215, Aiken, S.C. (Silver Bluff HS)
LB – Jermichael Bailey – 6-1, 195, Lawrenceville, Ga. (Collins Hill HS)
LB – Aaron Brown – 6-0, 205, Lagrange, Ga. (Carrollton HS)
LB – Adam Witzmann – 5-11, 230, Encinitas, Calif. (LaCosta Canyon HS/Palomar Junior College)
LB – Darius Holliday – 6-2, 180, Jacksonville, Fla. (Stanton Prep)
DB – Michael Cirino – 6-0, 185, Kissimmee, Fla. (Poinciana HS)
DB – Malcolm Jackson – 5-11, 180, Sugar Hill, Ga. (North Gwinnett HS)
DB – Charlie Morrison-Ford – 5-10, 185, Hardeeville, S.C. (Hardeeville HS)
DB- Damian Dixon – 5-8, 181, Hartsville, S.C. (Hartsville HS/Ga. Military College)
DB – Elijah Lee – 5-11, 182, Union, N.J. (Union HS/Globe Inst. of Tech)
DB – Corbin Jackson – 5-11, 185, Marietta, Ga. (Sprayberry HS)
Local product Danny Croghan won’t have to travel far for his collegiate debut after a four-year career at nearby Bishop England High School. The 6-4, 220-pound Croghan joins the Buccaneers fresh off of leading the Bishops to the 2011 South Carolina Division II-AA title. He accrued 2,300 passing yards and 28 passing touchdowns earning both all-state and all-region honors. The North-South All-Star game participant led the Bishops to a 13-1 record a senior in 2012. The son of Danny and Meg Croghan, he intends to major in business management at CSU.
Fellow quarterback Pryce Washington comes to Charleston Southern from Woodstock High School in Woodstock, Ga. The 6-1, 175-pound Washington was a two-year letterwinner for the Wolverines. His career highs include going 36-for-58 for 392 yards and two touchdowns, as well as 52 carries for 290 yards and a touchdown. He also competed in basketball and track at Woodstock. The son of Juan Washington, he will major in business.
Offensive lineman Patric Morris comes to Charleston from Sebring, Fla., where he was a three-year varsity player for Coach Lavaar Scott at Sebring High School. The 6-2, 267-pound Morris helped the Blue Streaks to a 9-2 record in 2011, when they averaged 25.0 points per game. He earned FACA District 17 All-District and All-Heartland honors and was also named to the South-Central Florida All-Star Classic. Morris, who also participated in track & field for Sebring, is the son of Mark and Maria Morris. He will enroll at Charleston Southern as a business major.
At 6-3, 250-pounds, Tyler Penny will join Morris on the Buccaneers’ offensive line. Penny completed a four-year career for head coach Mike Rozier at Henry County High School. A three-year letterwinner, he earned all-region and All-Henry County honors. As a senior in 2011, he recorded 47 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and four sacks on defense while registering 42 pancakes playing offensive line. Penny is the son of Reginald and Tara Penny.
Blake Stone will join a plethora of his fellow Floridians on the CSU roster. A 6-1, 295-pound offensive lineman from Jacksonville, Fla., Stone was a letterwinner under head coach Kevin Sullivan at Atlantic Coast High School. He was named the team offensive MVP in 2011 after helping the Stingrays to a 7-3 overall record and 4-2 league record. The son of Robert and Angela, he intends to study sports medicine.
One of two running backs in the group, Breyon Deberry hails from Roanoke, Ala., where he played for Handley High School. Under the direction of head coach Mike Battles, Deberry totaled 170 carries and over 2,300 yards in his final two seasons with the Tigers. As a senior in 2011, he recorded 1,144 yards on 140 carries with 12 touchdowns to help Handley win the 2011 3A Alabama State Championship with a 15-0 record. . Deberry also finished his junior season with 1,171 yards on 130 carries and 16 touchdowns. For his efforts, he earned Alabama All-State 3A honors in both 2010 and 2011. He has also earned all-county honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and was named to the all-area team in 2010. Deberry is the son of Wilma Williams.
Fellow running back Gabriel Johnson is one of four Jacksonville natives to join the Buccaneers in 2012. A three-year letterwinner at Bartram Trail High School, he recorded 1,505 yards on 181 carries as a senior in 2011 for Coach Garrell Sutherland. The 5-9, 195-pound Johnson averaged 8.32 yards per carry with 17 touchdowns in his final season, and also had 30 catches for a total of 322 yards. He departs Bartram Trail with a total of 2,418 career yards on 357 carries and 738 yards on 60 catches. Johnson also holds both the school rushing and touchdown records. The son of Anthony and Shelley Johnson, he will major in communications at CSU.
Alexander Cruz will join the CSU offense out of Richmond Hill High School, where he played for Coach Lymon Guy. The 5-9, 170-pound Ellabell, Ga., native earned first-team all-region and second-team All-Great Savannah honors. He is the son of Orlando and Evelyn Cruz.
Fellow wide receiver Larry Jones III rounds out the newcomers to the CSU offense for 2012. A 6-1, 190-pound Jacksonville native, Jones played for Marquis Lundy at Paxon High School. As a senior, he recorded 61 catches for 1,200 yards with 11 touchdowns. Johnson also earned MVP honors for the Golden Eagles. The son of Larry Jones, Jr., and Shanita Cox, he will major in business at CSU.
Erik Austell is a 6-3, 235-pound defensive end who joins the Bucs out of Central Fellowship Christian Academy in Macon, Ga. A four-year letterwinner for the coach Chris Oxford and the Lancers, Austell registered 120 tackles, 41.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. His efforts earned him the 2011 Team MVP award as well as 2011 GISA All-State honors, 2011 All-Region 2A honors and 2011 GISA All-Star honors. Austell saw action on both sides of the ball, wracking up 900 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns as well as 905 passing yards and six passing touchdowns. A native of Warner-Robins, Ga., he is the son of Mark and Denice Austell.
At 6-6, 215-pounds, defensive end Nathanial Blake Robbins will join the CSU defense out of Silver Bluff High School in Aiken, S.C. He recorded 63 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and six sacks as a senior for the Bulldogs in 2011. His efforts earned him High School Sports Report Division II-AA All-State honors. Also a basketball standout, Robbins is the son of Hollie Hayward and intends to major in social science at CSU.
Jermichael Bailey is a 6-1, 195-pound linebacker out of Collins High School in Suwanee, Ga. He boasts 148 career tackles with eight sacks and two interceptions, earning Gwinett Co. Touchdown Club Player of the Month, second-team all-region honors as well as all-county honors. Also a member of the Eagles’ special teams, Bailey holds the school record with five blocked kicks. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native is the son of Janet and Johnny Williams (stepfather) and Michael Bailey and will major in kinesiology/exercise science at CSU.
Fellow linebacker Aaron Brown joins the Buccaneers from Carrollton High School in Carrollton, Ga. The four-year letterwinner registered 104 tackles as a junior in 2010 before making 78 stops as a senior in 2011. The 6-0,05-pound Brown also boasts a defensive touchdown, as well as five carries for a total of 66 yards and two touchdowns. He was named to the All-Area West Georgia team in both 2010 and 2011. The Lagrange, Ga., native is the son of Stacey and Janice Brown. He intends to major in bio-chemistry at Charleston Southern.
Outside linebacker Darius Holiday, 6-2, 180-pounds, is another Jacksonville area signee, joining the Buccaneers from Stanton Prep. Under the direction of Coach Ray Tiller, he accrued 72 tackles, nine pass break ups, seven sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for the Blue Devils. His efforts earned him the honor of being named both a team captain and defensive MVP. Also a member of the Stanton’s track and basketball teams, Holliday will major in business at Charleston Southern. He is the son of Octavius and Shawn, who played collegiately at Duke.
Junior college transfer Adam Witzmann will complete the quartet of linebackers who committed to the Bucs in 2012. The 5-11, 230-pound Witzmann spent two seasons at Palomar Junior College, where he played for head coach Joe Early. He earned second- team All-Southern Conference honors as a freshman before earning first-team All-Conference Honors as a sophomore. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Comets and was also a team captain. Prior to his time at Palomar, Witzmann was the Avocado League Defensive Player of the Year and All-North County at LaCosta Canyon High School. The Witzmann name may sound familiar to the Buccaneer faithful as older brother Justin was also a defensive lineman at CSU. A math and religion major he is the son of Annie and Dwayne, who played football at the University of Nevada.
Defensive back Michael Cirino will join the Buccaneers from Poinciana High School in Kissimmee, Fla. Though he will play defense for Charleston Southern, he saw action on both sides of the ball in high school and recorded nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards. Corino earned all-star, all-conference and all-county honors. He is the son of Mike and Carman Corino and Susan Lennon.
Fellow defensive back Malcolm Jackson will join the Buccaneers out of North Gwinnett High School in Georgia. The 5-11, 180-pound. Jackson departs North Gwinnett with 96 career tackles and 20 pass break ups. He also boasts seven career interceptions and four forced fumbles, earning him a spot in the Gwinnett County All-Star game. The Sugar Hill, Ga., native was twice named to the Daily Post All-County team and also earned all-region honors. The son of Benita Jackson and Roosevelt Chandler, he will major in biology at Charleston Southern.
A native of Hardeeville, S.C., Charlie-Morrison Ford will also play defensive back for the Bucs in 2012. The 5-10, 185-pound Morrison-Ford was a four-year starter for the Hurricanes, helping them to the 2011 state semifinals. He finished his career with over 200 career tackles and eight interceptions, as well as more than 1,800 offensive yards in his four-year career. Morrison-Ford was named to the 2011 Class A Regional 5 All-Area team and was also a standout member of the Hardeeville track & field team. The son of Rose Grant, he will enroll at CSU as a nursing major.
Defensive back and Hartsville, S.C., native Damian Dixon will head to Charleston after completing two seasons at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. Prior to his days at GMC, Dixon played for Hartsville High School where he helped the Red Foxes to a 6-5 record in 2008 and a 9-4 record in 2007. An accounting major, he is the son of Belinda and Rufus Dixon.
The 5-11, 182-pound Elijah Lee will join the CSU defense after spending two seasons at the Globe Institute of Technology, where he played for head coach Cameron Chadwick. A native of Union, N.J., Lee also played for Brian Sheridan at Union High School where he was a first-team All-New Jersey Defensive Back. He is the son of Priscilla Smith and Wesley Lee.
A native of Marietta, Ga., Corbin Jackson will bring experience at both wide receiver and defensive back to CSU. His career high's include going 19-of-35 for 228 yards and two touchdowns as well as 80 rushing carries for 419 yards and six touchdowns for coach Bill Shackelford at Sprayberry High School. The son of Calvin and Sebrena, the three-year letterwinner will major in criminal justice at CSU.