Signing Day Central

NEWARK, Del. -- New University of Delaware football head coach Danny Rocco had a look of satisfaction Wednesday as he announced that a talented group of 14 high school standouts had signed the NCAA National Letter of Intent to attend Delaware on scholarship and compete for the Blue Hens this coming fall.

Rocco, who took over the helm of the Blue Hens last December after a successful five-year run at Richmond that included three NCAA Tournament appearances, introduced a recruiting class that included 10 student-athletes on the offensive side of the ball and four on defense. The list includes three wide receivers, three offensive linemen, and two tight ends set to join the Blue Hen family this coming fall.

“This is a great day and a great group,” said Rocco, who noted that 14 of the 15 students offered by the UD coaching staff accepted scholarships. “This is the first time I can remember in my career that we had all the commitments signed by 8 a.m. We wanted to recruit the best available student-athletes out there and we succeeded by recruiting a group of young men highly motivated to achieve both academically and athletically. These are achievement oriented people who are willing to work. We are off to an amazing start.”

Also included in the class were two defensive linemen, one quarterback, one running back, one linebacker, and one defensive back. The recruits hail from the states of Pennsylvania (4), New Jersey (4), Virginia (3), Delaware (2), and Maryland (1).

“I think this class certainly shows that our (recruiting) footprint will be well-defined,” said Rocco. “This class will model those going forward. This is our footprint and we will put a lot of efforts in these areas, including our home state. We are in a really good spot. I could not be more excited as we move into the player development phase of our program.”

Delaware will begin spring drills in April leading up to the annual Blue-White Spring Game set for Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Delaware Stadium. Delaware will celebrate its annual fun-filled fan event, Fandemonium VIII, from 4-7 p.m. earlier that day outside the stadium.

Delaware will host six games at Delaware Stadium this fall, including the season opener Aug. 31 vs. Delaware State, a date with defending NCAA champion James Madison on Sept. 30, and a meeting with Rocco’s old team, Richmond, on Oct. 21.

Don’t miss out on the action this fall. Fans can now renew their 2017 season tickets online at

Below are biographies of the recruits:

Braden Atkinson • 6-4 • 225 • Tight End • Glenville, Pa. (Boys’ Latin HS {Md.})
High School: Projected to play tight end or H-back role at Delaware • three-year starter at H-back at Boys’ Latin High School for head coach Ritchie Schell • team captain as a senior • led team to three-year mark of 20-10 with team advancing to the MIAA league championship game in 2016 and semifinals in 2015 • earned All-MIAA conference honors as a junior in 2015 • played in Crab Bowl (state of Maryland all-star game) • caught 90 passes for 1,110 yards during his career • hauled in 58 passes for 702 yards as a junior and 26 passes for 338 yards as a sophomore in 2014 • limited to just two games as a senior due to an injury • attended Calvert Hall High school as a freshman • was a standout lacrosse player who originally committed to national power Johns Hopkins • originally committed to Wake Forest for football • honor roll every quarter during his high school career.
Personal: Braden Madison Atkinson • born Oct. 21, 1997 • son of Bradd and Monica Atkinson • has a younger brother, Bryce • both parents are graduates of Towson University • father played rugby at Towson • plans to major in criminal justice or education at Delaware • enjoys hunting, fishing, and weight training in his spare time.
Recruiting Coach: Chris Cosh
Coach Rocco Says: “Braden played an h-back role in high school and he is versatile enough that he can play wide receiver, fullback or tight end. We think he can grow into an on the ball tight end. He is a good fit and big win-win for us.”

Gene Coleman II  • 6-0 • 195 • Wide Receiver • Montclair, N.J. (Bergen Catholic HS/Milford Academy)
High School: Will enroll at Delaware this spring and take part in spring drills • began his career at Bergen Catholic High School playing for head coach Nunzio Campanile • spent post-graduate year at Milford (Berlin, N.Y.) Academy where he played for head coach Bill Chaplick in 2016 • teammate at Bergen Catholic with fellow recruit Ship Idrizi and current Blue Hen redshirt freshman defensive lineman Sal Mauro • two-year starter at wide receiver and defensive back at Bergen Catholic • led 2015 team to 7-4 record, Big North Division title, and No. 2 state ranking • earned All-State, All-Metro, All-Bergen County, and All-North Division honors •  caught 79 passes for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior • 2014 team went 8-3 and was ranked No. 4 in the state • led Milford to undefeated 11-0 mark in 2016 and caught 26 passes for 511 yards (19.7 avg.) and five touchdowns • also competed in lacrosse and track & field at Bergen Catholic • honor roll student.
Personal: Gene Edward Coleman II • born Nov. 8, 1997 • son of Gene Coleman Sr. and Levette Craig-Coleman • has two older sisters • plans to major in criminal justice at Delaware and aspires to work for the F.B.I. • active in numerous community service activities, including Camp Sunshine, New Jersey Food Bank, Salvation Army, and Montclair Special Olympics.
Recruiting Coach: Eddie Allen
Coach Rocco Says: “Gene is an outstanding talent who will join us in the spring. He has all the skills you would want in a wide receiver and he is someone who could be an impact player for us immediately.”

Luke Frederick • 6-5 • 225 • Tight End • Altoona, Pa. (Bishop Guilfoyle HS)
High School: Two-way standout at tight end and defensive end at Bishop Guilfoyle High School for head coach Justin Wheeler • led team to a four-year record of 57-3, 47 straight wins, and three state and district championship titles in 2014-16 • also payed center in basketball for head coach Chris Drenning and was a long jumper and higher jumper in track & field • two-year captain in both football and basketball • defensive All-American by Max Preps and by USA Today  and a two-time All-State selection in football • registered 139 tackles and 15 sacks as a junior and 134 tackles, a state-leading 20 sacks, and 39 tackles for loss as a senior • caught 28 passes for 417 yards as a senior and had 639 receiving yards as a junior •  honor student • member of Spanish Club, Economics Club, and SADD.
Personal: Luke Mathew Frederick • born Feb. 9, 1999 • son of Mark and Bonnie Frederick • father is a therapist and mother is an accountant • has two older sisters and a younger brother • enjoys snowboarding, fishing, and basketball in his spare time.
Recruiting Coach: Bill Polin
Coach Rocco Says: “Luke is someone who committed to Delaware and remained faithful to the new staff. He is a big body tight end who will play in-line and with his hand on the ground. I had the chance to watch him play basketball and he is very athletic kid. He was a dynamic player on defense during his high school career as well.”

Artis Hemmingway • 6-3 • 260 • DL • Hillside, N.J. (Pope John XII HS)
High School: Three-year standout defensive lineman at Pope John XII Regional High School for head coach Brian Carlson • started all three seasons on the defensive line • led team to a 6-5 record as a senior in 2016 • team was ranked No. 14 in the state • recorded 65 tackles and had six quarterback sacks in 2016 • earned first team All-Shore and first team All-Herald honors as a senior •  team went 7-3, went undefeated in conference play, and advanced to the state tournament in 2015 • team also advanced to the state tournament in 2014 as a sophomore.
Personal: Artis (“are-teece”) Romaire Hemmingway • born Sept. 24, 1998 • son of Theresa Hemmingway-Hall and Artis Hemmingway • plans to major in business at Delaware • aspires to work as a sales rep after graduation • avid fan of the NFL New York Giants.
Recruiting Coach: Clint Sintim
Coach Rocco Says: “Artis has a huge upside and is an outstanding pass rusher. He has good growth potential and is someone we project could have several different roles on defense.”

Nolan Henderson • 6-0 • 170 • QB • Smyrna, Del. (Smyrna HS)
High School: Enjoyed one of the top careers ever by a quarterback in Delaware high school football history • first in-state quarterback in UD recruiting class since Newark’s Eric Spiese in 2002 • three-year starter at Smyrna for head coach Mike Judy • two-time team captain • led team to three-year record of 29-6, two Henlopen Conference titles, and two state titles • team went 12-1 in 2015 and won the school’s first state title and followed with undefeated 12-0 state championship in 2016 • two-time first team All-State selection and 2016 Gatorade State Player of the Year • earned 2016 Maxwell Jim Henry Award as the state Player of the Year and was named DIFCA Offensive Player of the Year • set state records with 3,380 yards passing and 36 touchdowns as a junior in 2015 and threw for 1,941 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior • set state record with 104 passing touchdowns • also a three-year starting outfielder in baseball playing for his father • two-year team captain • All-State selection in 2016 and a three-time all-conference selection • honor roll student who earned Academic Excellence Award • volunteer with Special Olympics and was a reader at local elementary school.
Personal: Nolan Michael Henderson • born June 16, 1998 • son of Mike Henderson and Lisa Mullaney • father is a New Castle County police officer • mother is a veterinarian • has a younger sister • grew up as a Delaware football fan and always dreamed of playing for the Blue Hens • family held season tickets for several years.
Recruiting Coach: Matt Simon
Coach Rocco Says: “Nolan was all-everything in Delaware and is a person with an awful lot of upside. He and his family stayed committed to Delaware and showed us a lot of trust. His stats speak for themselves and for the volume of his success. He is an athlete with great presence and a quick release and is a good decision-maker. He has good arm strength, can extend plays, and really has the intangibles to lead. He has a bright future.”

Mickey Henry • 6-2 • 250 • OL • Wilmington, Del. (St. Elizabeth HS)
High School: Began high school career at Eastern Christian Academy in Elkton, Md. before finishing at St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington, Del. in 2016 • earned All-American honors at the National Underclassmen Combine in 2015 while playing at ECA for head coach Dwayne Thomas • earned first team All-Catholic Conference and second team All-State honors as an offensive lineman for St. Elizabeth HS in 2016 for head coach Joe Aviola • honor roll student • selected to Academic Bowl.
Personal: Patrick Michael “Mickey” Henry • born May 30, 1995 • son of Patrick and Stacey Henry • both parents work as educators in Delaware • second of five children with three sisters and a brother • father is a 1992 graduate of Wesley College in Dover, Del. where he played football • mother played college sports at College of Notre Dame and later Wesley • older sister, Elizabeth, plays college lacrosse at Delaware State University • plans to major in criminal justice at Delaware • aspires to work for the F.B.I. • enjoys playing all sports in his spare time • has been a volunteer for youth football camps for 5-8 graders.
Recruiting Coach: Blaine McCorkle
Coach Rocco Says: “Mickey is a mature, athletic kid who we project as a center. He was one of the first players I saw after taking the job. We appreciate the loyalty of Mickey and his family and for giving us the opportunity to sell our vision.”

Shane Hogarth  • 6-2 • 252 • DL • Downingtown, Pa. (Downingtown East HS)
High School: Standout defensive end at Downingtown East High School for head coach Michael Matta • attended same high school as current Delaware tight end Ryley Angeline • two-year starter who led Downingtown East to 11-1 record and Ches-Mont League title as a junior in 2015 and to record of 9-3 and a berth in the state playoffs as a senior in 2016 • earned All-Southeastern Pennsylvania, All-Area, and first team All-Ches-Mont League honors as a senior • collected 11.5 sacks as a junior in 2015 and 10.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles as a senior in 2016 • distinguished honor roll student.
Personal: Shane Michael Hogarth • born Sept. 3, 1998 •  son of Rob and Beth Hogarth • oldest of four children with two brothers and a sister • both parents are graduates of Temple University • grandfather played college football at NCAA III Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa. • cousin, Tara McKenna, attends Delaware • plans to major in business at Delaware.
Recruiting Coach: Bill Polin
Coach Rocco Says: “I’ve had a good history during my career with players from Downingtown East and that area and Shane is someone we had a great interest in. He came to our camp while I was at Richmond so we know a lot about him. He is a versatile defensive lineman who plays hard.”

Shqipron “Ship” Idrizi • 5-11 • 202 • LB • Fort Lee, N.J. (Bergen Catholic HS)
High School: Standout linebacker at Bergen Catholic High School for head coach Nunzio Campanile • teammate at Bergen Catholic with fellow recruit Gene Coleman II and current Blue Hen redshirt freshman defensive lineman Sal Mauro • two-year starter at linebacker and two-time team captain • enjoyed an outstanding season as a senior in 2016 when he earned first team All-State honor and was named the Big North Conference Defensive Player of the Year • also earned spots on All-Metro and All-Bergen County teams • led the team in tackles each of his final two season and had 105 tackles, 11 sacks, and 19.5 tackles for loss in 2016 • team went 7-4 and was ranked No. 5 in the state in 2016 •  led 2015 team to 7-4 record, Big North Division title, and No. 2 state ranking • 2014 team went 8-3 and was ranked No. 4 in the state.
Personal: Shqipron (“ship-ron”) “Ship” Idrizi • born Sept. 25, 1999 in Queens, N.Y. • son of Fadil and Zyrafete Idrizi • middle of three children • older brother, Korab, was a freshman tight end at Boston College in 2016 and started three games for team that won the Quick Lane Bowl • undecided on major but would like to become a coach after graduation • avid weightlifter.  
Recruiting Coach: Eddie Allen
Coach Rocco Says: “Ship will be a great fit to our program as a linebacker moving forward. He is a dynamic player and an outstanding athlete who really is impressive when you see him on film. We think he could be an impact player immediately for us.”

David Kroll • 6-6 • 320 • OL • Reston, Va. (South Lakes HS)
High School: Four-year varsity player and three-year starter as a two-way lineman at South Lakes High School for head coach Trey Taylor •  two-year captain •  led teams to 28 wins and three state playoff appearances during his career • team went 9-3 and advanced to second round of the playoffs in 2015 • as a senior, led team to 12-2 mark, a conference title, and a Northern Region runner-up finish • two-time All-State, two-time All-Metro, and two-time All-Northern Region selection as an offensive lineman • earned all-conference honors three times at offensive line and once at defensive line • invited to VSHCA All-Star Game • team allowed just one sack in 453 pass attempts and he helped pave the way for two 1,000-yard rushers over his final two seasons • recorded 128 knockdown blocks over his final two seasons • also played two seasons of basketball • National Honor Society student.
Personal: David Connors Kroll • born May 27, 1999 in Washington, D.C. • son of Douglas and Kelly Kroll • has an older sister, Katie • father is a facility manager and mother is an attorney • mother played college basketball at University of Rochester and father wrestled at Montana State University • plans to major in business at Delaware • enjoys playing video games in his spare time.
Recruiting Coach: Manny Rojas
Coach Rocco Says: “David is a student-athlete that we had a history with while at Richmond prior to the transition. At 6-6 and 320 lbs., we are excited to get a big body into our program and project him as a tackle. He is a great fit for our program and we love his enthusiasm.”

Carter Lynch • 6-6 • 310 • oL • Mt. Laurel, N.J. (St. Joseph’s Prep {Pa.})
High School: Standout offensive lineman at Pennsylvania state power St. Joseph’s Prep High School in suburban Philadelphia • high school teammate of current UD players Armen Ware, Steve Robinson, and Kevin Shaw • four-year varsity player and two-year starter on offensive line for head coach Gabe Infante • played for teams that posted a four-year record of 44-9 and won state championship titles in 2013, 2014, and 2016 • team was undefeated state champions (14-0) his senior year • saw limited action as a junior in 2015 due to an injury • earned first team All-State honors by USA Today and was an U.S. Army All-American nominee in 2016 • Mr. Pennsylvania Lineman Award finalist in 2016 • posted 58 knockdown blocks as a senior.
Personal:  Carter Anthony Lynch • born May 30, 1988 • son of Bill and Paula Lynch • has a younger brother, Gavin • both parents are graduates of Stockton University in Galloway, N.J. • plans to major in business with minors in finance and business management • hopes to operate his own business after graduation • enjoys working out and driving jeeps in his spare time.
Recruiting Coach: Blaine McCorkle
Coach Rocco Says: “Carter is another big body lineman who we project as a guard. He is versatile and can play multiple positions on the offensive line. He is locked and loaded and ready to go and has a great makeup. He is a great fit for our program and we expect him to contribute early.”

C.J. McAnally • 6-0 • 190 • DB • West Chester, Pa. (Episcopal Academy)
High School: Projected as a safety at Delaware • enjoyed a standout football career at Episcopal Academy for head coach Todd Fairlie • two-time team captain • played quarterback and defensive back • earned All-Philadelphia Area and All-Inter Ac honors as a senior when he also was a Mini Maxwell Award winner • accounted for 38 touchdowns during his career, including 21 touchdown passes, 10 rushing touchdowns, and seven touchdowns on receptions and returns • standout midfielder for lacrosse team • initially committed to University of Maryland to play lacrosse before concentrating on football • member of Key Club and Community Connections Club.
Personal: Charles Joseph “CJ” McAnally • born May 13, 1999 • son of Chuck and Annemarie McAnally • has a younger brother, Jack • father played college baseball at Villanova University • plans to major in elementary education at Delaware • aspires to teach elementary school and coach • hobbies include playing lacrosse and volunteering in community.
Recruiting Coach: Bill Polin
Coach Rocco Says: “CJ originally committed to Maryland to play lacrosse but decided to pursue football. We project him as a safety and we think he will fit nicely into our system. We also expect him to be a valuable contributor on special teams.”

Tylan “Ty” McElhenie • 6-2 • 190 • WR • Virginia Beach, Va. (Ocean Lakes HS)
High School: Standout receiver who played first two high school seasons at Ocean Lakes High School and senior year at Bishop Sullivan High School, both located in Virginia Beach, Va. • played all three seasons for head coach Chris Scott • led Ocean Lakes to undefeated (15-0) state 6A title and No. 1 state ranking in 2014 and to 12-1 mark and state quarterfinal berth in 2015 when team was ranked No. 12 in the state • led Bishop Sullivan to 7-3 mark under Scott in 2016 • earned All-Tidewater Area honors twice and earned all-region honors in 2015 • caught 110 passes for 1,465 yards and 18 touchdowns during high school career • caught 50 passes for 650 yards and 10 touchdowns at OLHS in 2014 despite a season-long injury • led Bishop Sullivan in receiving as a senior with 35 catches for 515 yards and five touchdowns • also competed in track & field at Ocean Lakes • considers former OLHS teammate and former Towson standout wide receiver Andre Dessenberg one of his mentors.
Personal: Tylan (“tie-lan”) Anthony “Ty” McElhenie (“mack-el-hay-nee”) • born Aug. 7, 1998 • son of Sam and Renee McElhenie • has a younger sister, Ciarnan • has not declared a major but would like to be a coach after graduation • enjoys listening to music in his spare time • has been active in numerous community service activities, including working with disabled children, blood cancer awareness, and domestic violence awareness.
Recruiting Coach: Fontel Mines
Coach Rocco Says: “Ty is another player who committed early to Delaware and we are excited that he and his family remained in our camp. He had an outstanding high school career and was one of the most valuable players in his league. He has great size and great length and a strong upside.”

Thyrick Pitts • 6-3 • 185 • WR • Manassas, Va. (Forest Park HS)
High School: Standout wide receiver who began his high school career at Phillipsburg (N.J.) High School before final two seasons at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, Va. • played safety for Phillipsburg High School team that went 11-1 and captured the conference and state title for head coach Ryan Ditze in 2014 • moved on to Forest Park where he was a two-year starter for head coach Daniel Bruten • team captain as a senior • was team Most Valuable Player and earned first team all-conference and All-Metro honors as a senior in 2016 • VHSL All-Star Game selection • caught 62 passes for 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns over his final two seasons at Forest Park, including 33 for 604 yards and nine touchdowns in 2016 • honor student • earned Academic Achievement Award as a senior.
Personal: Thyrick (“thigh-rick”) Lamont Pitts, Jr. • born Apr. 8, 1999 in Miami, Fla. • son of Thyrick Sr. and Tatana Pitts • has two younger sisters • father is a district manager and mother is an elementary school teacher • mother played college basketball at NCAA I Florida International University in 1992-96 • plans to major in physical therapy at Delaware.
Recruiting Coach: Fontel Mines
Coach Rocco Says: “Thyrick is a long, tall, rangy wide receiver who we are excited to have join us. He pre-committed to Richmond while we were there and we appreciate his interest in Delaware. He has great potential and a strong upside.”

Khory Spruill • 6-0 • 215 • RB • Clinton, Md. (DeMatha Catholic HS)
High School: Continues the string of outstanding DeMatha players who have played at Delaware, most recently 2015-16 All-Colonial Athletic Association offensive tackle and NFL prospect Connor Bozick • standout running back at DeMatha for head coach Elijah Brooks • four-year varsity member and two-year starter at running back • led team to four-year record of 43-5 that included four straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles • team went perfect 12-0 in 2016 and was ranked No. 4 in the nation • earned first team All-WCAC honors in 2016 and was a third team pick in 2015 • rushed for 967 yards (5.6 average) and 11 touchdowns as a senior in 2016 • ran for 165 yards vs. rival Good Counsel in the playoffs • limited due to a late-season injury as a junior in 2015 • also competed in track & field for head coach Buddy Crutchfield.
Personal: Khory Diante Spruill (“sprule”) • born Dec. 11, 1998 in Washington, D.C. • son of Kendrick Spruill and Sakeena Pickett • third of four children • father is a quality control specialist and mother is an IT service manager • plans to major in business management with a minor in sport management at Delaware • career goal is to own a sports agency • enjoys playing basketball, running track, and playing video games in his spare time.
Recruiting Coach: Chris Cosh
Coach Rocco Says: “Khory comes from a great program at DeMatha and competed with and against the very best. He is battle-tested and an outstanding ball-carrier. He overcame some adversity with an injury during his junior year and we are excited to have him join us.”

MEDIA INFORMATION: Contact Scott Selheimer | | Office: 302-831-8007 |  Cell: 302-562-5129


 Shane Hogarth  DL
6-2 252
 Downingtown East 
 Downingtown, Pa.
 Carter Lynch  OL 6-6 310  St. Joseph's Prep (Pa.) 
 Mt. Laurel, N.J.
 Thyrick Pitts  WR 6-3 185  Forest Park 
 Manassas, Va.
 David Kroll  OL 6-6 320  South Lakes 
 Reston, Va.
 Gene Coleman II  WR 6-0 195  Bergen Catholic/Milford Acad.  Montclair, N.J.
 Ship Idrizi  LB  5-11 202  Bergen Catholic  Fort Lee, N.J.
 Luke Frederick  TE 6-5 225  Bishop Guilfoyle  Altoona, Pa.
 Artis Hemmingway  DL 6-3 260  Pope John XII  Hillside, N.J.
 CJ McAnally
 DB 6-0 190  Episcopal Academy  West Chester, Pa.
 Braden Atkinson  TE 6-4 225  Boys' Latin (Md.)  Glenville, Pa.
 Nolan Henderson  QB 6-0 170  Smyrna   Smyrna, Del.
 Tylan McElhenie
 WR 6-2 190  Bishop Sullivan  Virginia Beach, Va.
 Khory Spruill  RB 6-0 215  DeMatha Catholic  Clinton, Md.
 Mickey Henry  OL 6-2 250  St. Elizabeth   Wilmington, Del.