SIGNING DAY CENTRAL: Tucker announces 2017 signing class

SIGNING DAY CENTRAL: Tucker announces 2017 signing class

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern head football coach Mark Tucker welcomed his first recruiting class Wednesday morning during 2017 National Signing Day.  Seventeen players signed to enroll at CSU, joining four already enrolled and on campus taking classes.


Tucker was named the fourth head coach in Buccaneer Football history on January 8 and hit the ground running to assemble a class that will continue to upgrade the Bucs' talent level. CSU captured back-to-back Big South Conference championships and FCS playoff bids in 2015 and 2016, and Tucker is eager to see how this group can build on that tradition of success.

"This has potential to be one of our best classes," Tucker said. "We've helped ourselves a great deal and we obviously feel like we've hit on our needs and created some depth on our roster. Like any class, you never really know until they get on campus, but we feel very good about the young men and their families that are entering our program."

The class features eight student-athletes from Florida and seven in-state players from South Carolina. Both states have produced many outstanding contributors toward CSU's rise to national prominence.

"You need to have an in-state presence," Tucker commented. "It's always been very important to us to make sure we recruit the state of South Carolina. If we have an opportunity to keep young men in state, we do that. Florida has been very good to us over the years, especially up front defensively. Georgia has been good as well. We also extended into North Carolina and have some young men we're very excited about. Success has a way of boosting the recruiting dynamic of the school and the school's mission plays a huge part in that."

Despite staff turnover late in the recruiting period, Tucker is incredibly proud of the work his staff has done in shaping the class.

"With the dynamics of the coaching transition and not having all the pieces in place for a full staff compliment, our coaches have done an unbelievable job of bridging the gap and working with our recruits," Tucker said. "I'm incredibly proud of this staff. This is their class; I've had my part in it with the young men I've been recruiting, but this is their class. They're the ones who established the contact and bridged the gaps in helping the young men who committed prior to the transition. In all, these men have done an outstanding job and we've found the right fits in our program."

Tucker has served as CSU's quarterbacks coach for the last four seasons, and is entering his first year at the helm. CSU will open spring practice on Monday, March 13.



Ellijah Henry

5-10 * 170 * RB * Charlotte, N.C. * Rocky River HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 120 carries, 700 yards, 8 TDs
  • 25 receptions, 176 yards, 1 TD
  • Averaged 19.88 yards per return
  • 2016 Team Captain, Two-Time All-Conference Player
  • Track and Field – 100m broke HS record running a 10.74
  • Three-Time All-Conference selection
  • A part of a nationally-ranked 4x200m relay team
  • Played under coach Jason Fowler at Rocky River High School
  • Son of James and Deon Littlejohn

James Allen

5-8 * 160 * DB * Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. * UMass (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)



  • Appeared in 11 games
  • Served as the team's primary kick returner, averaging 23.1 yards per return
  • Ranked No. 3 in the MAC in kickoff return average
  • Finished with 785 return yards, including a 97-yard touchdown against Bowling Green
  • Finished with two tackles on the season
  • First career stop came in the season opener against Colorado

High School:

  • Three-year letter winner for head coach Rocco Casullo
  • Had 50 tackles, six pass break-ups, two interceptions and eight touchdowns as a senior
  • Named 2014 second team all-county and second team all-state
  • First-team all-country performer for the track team

Career Highs:

  • Kickoff Return Yards: 238, at Bowling Green (10/10/15) (seven returns)
  • Longest Kickoff Return: 97 yards, at Bowling Green (10/10/15)
  • Kickoff Return TD: 1, at Bowling Green (10/10/15) (97 yards)
  • Son of Latrail Spencer

John Chiaramonte Jr.

6-2 * 238 * TE * Clearwater Beach, Fla. * Clearwater Central Catholic (Air Force Academy Prep)

HUDL Highlights

  • Blue-Grey All-American Selection
  • All-County All-Star Game – Defensive MVP
  • Defensive MVP in Junior Season
  • Baseball for Coach Greg Olsen at Calvary Christian High School
  • Played under Coach John Davis at Clearwater Central Catholic
  • Son of John Chiaramonte, Sr.

Daviyon McDaniel

6-3 * 265 * OL * Sumter, S.C. * Sumter High School

HUDL Highlights

  • Played in the prestigious 2016 Shrine Bowl
  • Was an all-state and all-area selection at Sumter in 2016
  • Played under coach Mark Barnes at Sumter High School
  • Son of Latoya McDaniel

Ryan Hiller

6-1 * 280 * OL * Blythewood, S.C. * Westwood HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 2015 All-Region, All-State selection, Coaches Football Player of the Year
  • 2016 Shrine Bowl selection
  • 2016 All-USA Second Team
  • 2016 All-Midland First Team
  • 2016 Blue-Gray All-American
  • 2016 Offensive Line of the Year
  • Father Robert Hiller played at Stillman College (1985-1988)
  • Son of Robert and Lonzetta Hiller

Kale Rhame

6-4 * 205 * TE * Chapin, S.C. * Chapin HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 1,190 yards, 72 receptions, 12 touchdowns
  • Two-Time All-Region Selection
  • Two-Time All-State Selection
  • Played under coach Justin Gentry at Chapin High School
  • Son of Sydney and Danny Rhame

Dale Foster

5-11 * 175 * WR/Slot * St. Petersburg, Fla. * Pinellas Park HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 1,200 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns in junior season
  • 998 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns in senior season
  • Made All-Star Team at the utility position
  • Also competed on the track & field team
  • Played under coach Ken Crawford at Pinellas Park High School
  • Son of Cindy Clark

Tah'shim Knight

5-10 * 215 * LB * St. Petersburg, Fla. * Northside Christian School

HUDL Highlights

  • Three Year Varsity Captain
  • Senior Year - Second Team All-County selection, State Honorable Mention
  • Rock Award = Displays great character/Faith and Hardworker
  • Four Year Varsity Starter
  • Played under coach Mike Alstott at Northside Christian School
  • Son of Tomekia Williams

Kyle Syvarth

6-1 * 205 * OLB * Marietta, Ga. * Lassiter HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 112 tackles, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, seven pass breakups, nine QB pressures, 2 fumble recoveries in senior year
  • Senior season – First Team All-Region, Second Team All-County
  • Junior Year – Second Team All-Region, All-County honorable mention
  • Lutzic 43 Leadership award
  • Played under coach Jep Irwin at Lassiter High School
  • Son of Ken and Theresa Syvarth

Jamari Dunbar

5-8 * 192 * RB * Bamberg, S.C. * Bamberg-Ehrhardt HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 1,000+ rushing yards in freshman season
  • 1,500+ rushing yards in sophomore season
  • 1,700 rushing yards, 2,200 all-purpose yards, 80 tackles, 10 tackles for loss in junior season
  • 1,800 rushing yards, 2,500 all-purpose yards, 100 tackles, four tackles for loss in senior season
  • Four-Time All-Region selection
  • Three-time All-State selection
  • All-Rookie team selection
  • Team Captain, Three-time AB Honor Roll
  • Played under coach Kevin Crosby at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School
  • Son of Milton and Alice Patterson

Shaundre Mims

6-0 * 228 * DL * Vanceboro, N.C. * West Craven HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Twice earned all-conference and all-area honors
  • Also competed in basketball and track and field
  • Played under coach Michael Twichell at West Craven High School
  • Son of Charndra Coward

Terrell Powell

5-9 * 185 * DB * Tallahassee, Fla. * North Florida Christian HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Racked up 1,357 all-purpose yards as a senior at North Florida Christian
  • Posted 1,246 rushing yards and 10 TD
  • Added 50 tackles, a sack and an interception on defense
  • Played under coach Steve Price at North Florida Christian
  • Son of Sherrell and George Thomas


D'Andra Thompson

6-3 * 250 * OL * Orangeburg, S.C. * Orangeburg-Wilkinson HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Played in the prestigious 2016 North-South All-Star Game
  • Selected all-region and all-area in 2015 and 2016
  • Voted team's best offensive lineman in 2015 and 2016
  • Played for coach Tommy Brown at Orangeburg-Wilkinson
  • Son of Tonia Thompson

Brandon Smith

5-8 * 175 * WR * Powder Springs, Ga. * McEachern HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Earned all-county honors and was named McEachern's offensive MVP as a senior
  • Amassed 47 catches for 908 yards and 8 TD as a senior
  • Played under coach Kyle Hockman at McEachern
  • Son of Marcus and Sandra Smith

Sekwan Jenkins

6-0 * 182 * DB * Columbia, S.C. * Blythewood HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 107 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 14 pass break-ups
  • 2016 North/South All-Star selection
  • 2016 First Team All-Region Defense
  • 2016 Blythewood Defensive Player of the Year
  • Played under coach Dan Morgan at Blythewood High School
  • Son of Sekoi and Chaka Jenkins

Alex Usry

5-10 * 185 * K * McDonough, Ga. * Eagles Landing Christian Academy

HUDL Highlights

  • Back-to-Back GHSA State Championship Team (14-0)
  • Senior Season Stats: 107 points, 83/83 PATs, 8/13 FGs, 82/100 Touchbacks
  • Senior Season Stats: 30 punts, 35.5 Avg (14 inside 20 yard line)
  • Junior Season Stats: 93 points, 66/68 PATs, 9/11 FG, Touchbacks 52/90
  • Junior Punting: 35 punts, 39.3 Avg
  • All-State Kicker (Atlanta Journal Constitution, Georgia Sports Writers Association, Recruit Georgia)
  • All-Metro Kicker (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
  • Special Teams Player of the Year – AJC
  • "Nation's Best Specialists" – AJC
  • Played under coach Jonathan Gess at Eagle's Landing Christian Academy
  • Son of Steven and Julie Usry

BJ Daniels-Sanders

5-8 * 188 * RB * Rocky Mount, N.C. * Rocky Mount HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Career Statistics: 3,188 rushing yards, 39 touchdowns
  • 2016-17 Stats: 1,342 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns
  • 2015-16 Stats: 1,287 Rushing Yards, 17 Touchdowns
  • 2015-16 3A State Champions
  • 2016-17 3A State Runner-Up
  • Played under coach Jason Battle at Rocky Mount High School
  • Son of Tarnisha Ricks


Anton Williams

6-3 * 215 * OLB * Marianna, Fla. * Marianna HS

HUDL Highlights

  • 1,425 Passing Yards, 321 Rushing Yards
  • 2016-17 Offensive Player of the Year
  • Played under coach John Donaldson at Marianna High School
  • Son of Naton Williams

Ronald Freeman

6-0 * 270 * DT * Sebastian, Fla. * Sebastian River HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Second Team FHSAA 6A All-State Selection
  • All-Lee County Selection
  • Led Sebastian River to Second Round of 6A FHSAA Playoffs


Kenneth Spiller

6-1 * 270 * DL* Miami, Fla. * Miami Palmetto HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Second Team All-Dade County Selection
  • Wrestling and Track at Miami Palmetto HS
  • Cousin of former Clemson RB C.J. Spiller
  • Played under coach Mike Manasco at Miami Palmetto Senior High School
  • Son of Bertnita Miller


JT Melton

6-2 * 285 * OL * Chesterfield, S.C. * Dillon HS

HUDL Highlights

  • Four-Time All-State Selection
  • Two-Time State Champion (2014 & 2015) with Dillon HS
  • 2016 WPDE All-Zone Team
  • 2016 Shrine Bowl Selection
  • 2016 Morning News All-Pee Dee Team
  • 2016 USA Today All-USA South Carolina Team
  • Played under coach Jackie Hayes at Dillon High School
  • Son of Jermaine Melton and Nicole Hudson

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