Hornets’ recruiting class rated No. 1 among HBCUs

Alabama State’s 2013 football recruiting class was ranked tops in America among HBCU programs by Boxtorow.com.

The Hornets include 35 players in this year’s recruiting class – 10 players who signed early and enrolled in January, 24 freshmen signees on National Signing Day and one academic scholarship that was awarded to a kicker. That was enough to tie the Hornets with Tennessee State for the top spot in the Boxtorow rankings.

“It’s always a blessing to be recognized as number one in anything,” said Alabama State coach Reggie Barlow. “I really appreciate the assistant coaches. They went all over the country to find the best players that fit our program. This group of athletes we signed comes from the hard work of our coaches. It’s great to have that on paper, but now that we have them here, we’ve got to coach them up. I’m excited and proud of everyone involved. It’s a great time to be a Hornet.”

If the writeup from Boxtorow is any indication, the 10 mid-year enrollees weren’t part of the evaluation. Here’s the writeup on the Hornet signing class:

Winning on offense means winning in the trenches.

Alabama State head coach Reggie Barlow and his staff took that to heart. The Hornets brought in one of the bigger classes, signing 25 players to national letters of intent. This could be the most talented recruiting class in head coach Reggie Barlow’s tenure.

When Barlow announced former University of Georgia freshman All-American Isaiah Crowell would play at ASU back in June, offensive linemen in the high school ranks began to look at ASU as a destination. Plus when you have talent on the offensive line and needs to fill including the loss of a four-time All-SWAC performer, Boxtorow All-American, and NFL hopeful in Terren Jones, prospects see the opportunity of being developed.

The Hornets started by signing a total of nine offensive linemen including three-star prospects Edmend Banks (Stone Mountain, GA/Stephenson), Tanner Crow (Panama City Beach, FL/Arnold High), who received an offer from Louisville, Patrick Dalton (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater High) and Deandre Wise (Cumming, GA/Alpharetta High), and two-star prospect Jordan Harris (Hampton, GA/Dutchtown High). They also signed Jaypee Philbert (Grayson, GA/Archer High), rated one of the top 60 offense linemen in Georgia, and Frank Warren (Phenix City, Ala. (Glenwood High), who like Jones has great size at 6-5, 330. Wow!

With quarterback Greg Jenkins lost to graduation, the Hornets added Scout.com two-star recruit Quinterris Toppings from Mobile’s Blount. Toppings passed for nearly 3,000 yards, 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. The Hornets also added to the passing attack with tight end Wyndell Archie a two-star recruit that Scout rated the 90th best TE in the country. Wide receiver Rod Boykin (Elmore, AL/Edgewood High) is a small guy (5-9, 145) but can really fly and caught 70 passes for record 1,529 yards (21.8 avg.) and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 175 yards on 15 carries and four touchdowns.

The Hornets also did well defensively adding three-star recruit Marcus Adams (Atlanta, GA/Tri-City High) two-star linebackers Blake Worthy (Gadsden, AL/Gadsden), James Graves (Bassfield, MS/Bassfield High) and Marquis Parker (Lithonia, GA/Martin Luther King High), and two-star cornerback Trey Jenkins (Daphne, AL/Daphne). Defensive end Malik Reid (Atlanta, GA/Maynard Jackson) was not heavily recruited, but could be
another gem for the Hornets having recorded 19 sacks as a senior.

The Hornets also signed 10 mid-year transfers, including LSU transfer safety Sam Gibson, a former three star player. Gibson is the only player that will count as part of this year’s class. The Hornets will begin play
fulltime this year in their new $62 million stadium and football complex.

Build it and they will come.

The Hornets open spring drills on April 2, with the annual Black and Gold Game set for 1 p.m. on April 27 in the university’s new football stadium.

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About tgayle

Tim Gayle is a sports reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper and montgomeryadvertiser.com.
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