Mills announces 20 signings in footballFebruary 2, 2005
By CSU Sports Information
|CSU head coach Jay Mills|
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern University head football coach Jay Mills announced the signings of 20 players to national letters-of-intent on Wednesday.
Mills says the coaching staff succeeded in fulfilling their recruiting goals of adding depth along the offensive line and increasing team speed.
"We felt we were still behind in terms of numbers on the line and this class puts us in more balance," said Mills. "For the first time since I have been here we are where we need to be in terms of depth at every position and closing the gap on the offensive line was important for us.
"Our second emphasis was on speed at the skill positions. We felt good about the numbers that we had there but we felt it was important to increase our team speed. We did that with this class. We signed a very good class of quality young men."
The class includes two Division I transfers, running back Andre Copeland from the University of South Florida and wide receiver Drew Rucks from Purdue University. There are five offensive linemen and four defensive linemen in the class, with players signed at receiver, quarterback, defensive back and running back and tight end.
The Buccaneers are coming off a 5-5 season in 2004, which tied a school record for victories.
Following are brief notes on members of the 2005 signing class.
Brian Palm (6-3, 245, TE, Cape Fear HS, Fayetteville, NC) – Three-year varsity player at Cape Fear, earning all-conference honors in 2004. Caught six passes and posted a blocking grade of 85 percent for the season.
John Compton (6-1, 190, RB, Northview HS, Duluth, GA) – Rushed for 948 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a school-record 197 yards in a game. Named First-team running back in Fulton County and team MVP. Three-time Back of the Week by Fulton County Touchdown Club.
Andre Copeland (5-8, 195, RB, Univ. of South Florida, Lake City, FL) – Spent the 2004 season at USF but did not play. Attended Columbia High School in Lake City, Florida, rushing for 1,785 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2004. Team finished 12-2 and advanced to state semi-finals. A second-team all-state selection and a member of the Super 24 prospects list in Florida as a senior. Won the state gold medal in track in the 100 meters.
Drew Rucks (6-2, 225, WR, Purdue University, Jackson, NJ) – Saw starting time in 2002 at receiver, finishing with eight receptions for 73 yards. Injured during the 2003 season and moved to linebacker in 2004 but did not record a tackle. Will be a receiver at Charleston Southern. A first-team all-area and all-state selection out of high school, where he also excelled in wrestling and lacrosse.
James Myers (6-5, 280, OL, Jacksonville Episcopal, Jacksonville, FL) – Four-year performer on offensive and defensive line. Named second-team All-First Coast on offense and second-team all-state. Nominated for the Army All-American Bowl.
Eli Byrd (6-3, 185, QB, Fletcher HS, Jacksonville, FL) – Posted an 82 percent winning percentage as starting quarterback, including two district championships. Team MVP and voted team captain. Also a scholar-athlete award winner.
Markus Murry (6-0, 185, WR/DB, Thornton Township, Calumet City, IL) – Excelled as a receiver, defensive back and return specialist. Returned four punts for touchdowns and had seven touchdowns and 550 yards as a receiver. Recorded five interceptions on defense. Named to Chicago Sun Times Top 100 players list. Earned all-conference, all-area and honorable mention all-state honors. Also plays basketball and baseball and runs track.
Daniel Williams (5-11, 210, DB, Keenan HS, Columbia, SC) – Leading tackler on Keenan High defense the last two seasons. Twice named team MVP on defense and earned all-region honors as a junior and senior. Named to Columbia All-Area team as a senior.
Travis Jefferson (5-11, 215, LB, Glenn Hills HS, Hephzibah, GA) – Four-year performer and team captain in 2004, helping guide team to the state playoffs. Also excels in track and golf and a member of National Honor Society.
David Bishop (6-3, 300, OL, Port Washington HS, Saukville, WI) – Earned all-conference honors as a senior and named all-state by Badger stateprep.com. Two-year starter on the offensive line.
Wesley Houston (6-5, 255, OL, Largo HS, Largo, FL) – Three-year starter on offensive line. Earned Pinellas County All-County honors and second-team selection to All-Sun Coast team.
Mark Wise (6-2, 270, OL, Melboure HS, Melbourne, FL) – Three-year starter, winning two district championships. First-team 5A All-State selection, first-team all-county and first-team all-district. Named first-team All-Space Coast and District Player of the Year.
Ryan Mouser (6-4, 240, DL, Oviedo HS, Oviedo, FL) – Named team defensive player of the year. Three-time Defensive Player of the Week and two-time overall Player of the Week.
Frank Gil (6-2, 285, OL, Jefferson HS, Tampa, FL) – Three-year starter on offensive line. Team was state runner-up in 2002 and 2004. First-team all-county selection and selected to play in All-American game in Shreveport. High school team had three-year record of 34-9.
Tyrese Harris (6-3, 225, DE, Butler HS, Hephzibah, GA) – Four-year performer on defensive line. Posted 79 tackles, nine sacks and blocked three punts as a senior. Received Outstanding Performer award for defensive line. Also plays on basketball team that went 30-3 and was state runner-up last season.
Kevin Clabaugh (6-4, 240, TE/P, Satellite HS, Satellite Beach, FL) – Three-year varsity performer as tight end and punter. Earned all-district and all-county honors as a punter and was named first-team all-state as a punter.
Justin Williams (5-9, 175, WR, Creekside HS, Fairburn, GA) – Recorded 1,200 all-purpose yards as a senior and 700 all-purpose yards as a junior. Excels as a receiver and return specialist. Scored 17 career touchdowns and named Special Teams Player of the Year as a senior. Earned all-state and all-area honors for a 10-2 team.
Reggie Ellington (5-9, 180, DB, Sandy Creek HS, Fairburn, GA) – Played running back and defensive back for four years. As a backup his junior year, rushed for 700 yards and nine touchdowns. Gained 1,150 yards with 16 touchdowns as a senior. Named Offensive Player of the Year and first-team all-state. Gained 215 yards with three touchdowns in one game. Ran a leg on school-record 4 X 100 relay team. High school team went 31-9 with three consecutive trips to state playoffs, including the 2004 4A state title.
Emmate Epps (5-11, 175, DB, Page HS, Greensboro, NC) – Honorable mention all-conference as a receiver. Earned the team sportsmanship award. Also excels in basketball and baseball. Runs a 4.47 in the 40.
Zack Barton (6-1, 255, DL, Hillsborough HS, Tampa, FL) - Four-year player at Hillsborough High. Rated top five DL in Hillsborough and was named Tampa/Clearwater Player of the Week six times. Started on offensive and defensive line for two years. Team was 13-0 in 2004. Placed fourth overall in Nike strength camp competition with more than 600 athletes competing. Starter in the East-West all-star game and earned first-team all-county honors.