Dynamic Players Highlight University of Delaware Football 2011 Recruiting Class
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
February 2, 2011
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware football team, coming off one of its finest seasons in school history in 2010 when the Blue Hens advanced to the national championship game, introduced its newest group of standouts Wednesday as head coach K.C. Keeler (at right) announced the signing of 14 high school student-athletes and one junior college player to NCAA National Letters of Intent to attend the University on an athletics scholarship.
The talented group is comprised of student-athletes from 10 different states, including five from Florida, two each from New Jersey and New York, and one each from Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, and Illinois. The list includes four defensive linemen, three defensive backs, three linebackers, two tight ends, two offensive linemen, two wide receivers, one quarterback, and one kicker/punter.
“We are extremely happy with this year’s recruiting class,” said Keeler, who has led the Blue Hens to three national championship game appearances, including a 2003 national title, in his nine seasons at Delaware. “Our staff worked hard and did an outstanding job of recognizing our needs and finding a strong group of student-athletes. We want to be more dynamic in several areas and we think we have found players on both offense and defense who meet those needs. This is also a great academic class, probably one of the best we have ever had here. Our staff did a great job of identifying not only outstanding football players, but great academic kids with high character. We had 14 young men on campus with scholarship offers and 13 committed so that’s a pretty good hit ratio. We believe that if we can get kids on campus, the rest will take care of itself.
The Blue Hens put together one of the finest seasons in school history in 2010 as Delaware posted a 12-3 record, shared the Colonial Athletic Association title, and advanced to the NCAA Division I national championship game before falling to top-ranked Eastern Washington 20-19. Delaware will receive the Lambert Meadowlands Cup and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Team of the Year awards later this month as the top FCS team in the East.
In addition to the recruiting class, Keeler also announced that defensive tackle Demetrius Hester and defensive back Kasseim Everett will return to the squad this spring after serving year-long suspensions for violation of team rules. Hester has appeared in 34 games with nine starts over three seasons and recorded 55 tackles and seven tackles for loss. He had 15 tackles in eight games as a junior in 2009. Everett played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2009 and recorded 24 tackles and a pass breakup.
Delaware will open spring practice on March 8 with the annual Blue-White Spring Game set for Friday, Apr. 15 at Delaware Stadium. Keeler expects nearly 85 players back for spring drills.
The Hens will open the 2011 season Sept. 3 at Navy before returning home to face West Chester on Sept. 10 and Delaware State on Sept. 17 in non-league games and CAA newcomer Old Dominion for the conference opener Sept. 24.
Below are biographies on the incoming class as well as comments from Keeler.
2011 UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE FOOTBALL RECRUITS
NICK BOYLE - 6-4 - 235 - Tight End - Sussex, N.J. (High Point Regional HS)
Played tight end and defensive line for head coach Jim Delane at High Point Regional High School...will play linebacker and be a long snapper...three-year starter on both sides of the ball in football...earned first team All-Conference honors on defense as a senior...served as team captain...set a school single season record with 10 sacks this past fall...led team to an 8-3 record in 2010 and led squad to a berth in the state semifinals...also a standout in basketball where he is a three-year starter and has served as team captain...earned first team All-Conference honors as a junior in 2010...plans to major in business...son of Harry and Susan Boyle.
Keeler: “Nick is a physical player who has the frame to play at 260 lbs. He will be an on the line tight end and will help us down the road as an outstanding long snapper. He runs well and catches the ball well.”
BEN CURTIS - 6-5 - 260 - Offensive Line - Columbia, Md. (Calvert Hall HS)
Two-way lineman for head coach Donald Davis at Calvert Hall College High School...played at Cardinal Gibbons High School as a junior...earned second team All-State and first team All-Metro honors as a senior in 2010...two-time first team All-Conference selection on the offensive line...named to Baltimore Touchdown Club Super 22 Team as a junior...led Calvert Hall to 11-1 record, the MIAA conference title, and a No. 1 ranking in the state of Maryland this past fall...team had four All-State, four All-Metro, and 10 All-Conference players...led Cardinal Gibbons to a record of 7-4 in 2009 as a junior...also played basketball for two seasons at Cardinal Gibbons and helped team win MIAA title as a freshman...also had offers from Duke, James Madison, Marshall, Towson, and New Mexico State...plans to major in computer science at Delaware...son of Laurie Curtis.
Keeler: “Ben had as many offers as anyone in our recruiting class but he really liked Delaware. He is a tremendous athlete with long arms and great feet. He can become the prototypical left tackle guarding the blind side. He garnered a lot of interest so we were happy to secure him here.”
STEVEN HUGHES - 6-2 - 195 - Quarterback - Melbourne, Fla. (Palm Bay HS)
Played quarterback at Palm Bay High School for head coach Dan Burke...three-time All-Cape Coast Conference performer who was named team’s Most Valuable Player all three varsity seasons...earned 4A All-State honors in both 2009 (third team) and 2010 (honorable mention)...conference Offensive Player of the Year as a senior....selected to state East-West All-Star Game and in the North-South All-Star Game...for his career completed 330 of 573 passes (.576) for 5,695 yards and 65 touchdowns and ran for 498 yards and 21 touchdowns...as a senior, completed 68 percent of his passes for 2,104 yards and 22 touchdowns with just five interceptions and ran for 212 yards and seven scores...team posted a four-year record of 39-6 and advanced to the state playoffs his final three years...team went 12-1 in 2010 and advanced to the third round...plays basketball at Palm Bay...plans to major in business management or sports medicine...son of Steve and Bobbie Hughes.
Keeler: “We targeted two quarterbacks in the recruiting process and he was our top guy so we were fortunate to get him. He has great poise in the pocket and shows patience, and has a lot of confidence. They did not throw a lot at Palm Bay but he still had some great numbers. He runs the ball really well and can make a lot of yards because he is such a great athlete. He adds to what we feel is a group of young quarterbacks that is as good as anyone.”
JEREL HARRISON - 6-0 - 180 - Wide Receiver - Richmond, Va. (Varina HS)
Will enroll at Delaware in February and will take part in spring drills...can also return punts and kicks...originally signed with Richmond but left due to a coaching change...played wide receiver for head coach Stu Brown at Varina High School...finished high school career in 2009 and graduated from high school in 2010...lettered for three seasons in football and basketball and one year in track and field...earned first team All-District and second team All-Region honors as a senior in 2009...earned second team All-District laurels as a junior in 2008...earned All-Academic honors from school for each sport...first name pronounced “juh-rell”.
Keeler: “Jerel is a dynamic player who will help us in a lot of ways. He has great speed and size and can also return kicks and punts. We are excited about having him here for the spring and working with out receivers.”
MICHAEL JOHNSON - 6-2 - 205 - Wide Receiver - Gainesville, Fla. (Gainesville HS)
Originally signed as part of 2010 recruiting class at Delaware but did not attend school last year...played wide receiver at Gainesville High School for head coach Ryan Smith...enjoyed outstanding two-year high school career before suffering a season-ending knee injury prior to his senior year...was receiving interest from several SEC schools...caught 15 passes for 413 yards and five touchdowns and ran for three others scores as a junior in 2008....earned All-Area honors as a junior...caught 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2007...two-year starter who led squad to record of 19-4 and two state playoff appearances...team went 9-2 in 2008 and 10-2 in 2009...also competed in track and field...son of Gwendolyn Johnson.
Keeler: “Michael is a tremendous prospect who originally signed with us last year. He took a year off after knee surgery and probably would have been close to 100 percent last fall, but we wanted to give him more time. He is a talented player who we are excited about.”
CHRISTIAN MARCHENA - 6-2 - 285 - Offensive Line - Hazlet, N.J. (Raritan HS)
Delaware’s first commitment of 2011 recruiting class...two-way lineman for head coach Anthony Petruzzi at Raritan High School...two-year varsity letterwinner who served as team captain as a senior...earned All-Division and All-Shore honors as a senior...earned All-Shore Academic honors and received the 2010 Vince Lombardi Award for conduct in championship game...started every game at offensive line his final two seasons and every game on defense his senior year...recorded 35 tackles as a senior...led team to an 8-3 record and a berth in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals in 2009 and to a 6-4 mark in 2010...lettered in track and field as a junior in 2010 as a shot putter and discus thrower...plans to major in electrical engineering at Delaware...son of Jose and Grace Marchena....last name pronounced “mar-chenna.”
Keeler: “Christian is a big, physical football player who was one of our earliest commitments. He has the center-guard body that we were looking for and he will be a valuable addition to the offensive line for us.”
MATT RODRIGUEZ - 6-4 - 225 - Tight End - Lake Worth, Fla. (Park Vista HS)
Played tight end for head coach Brian Dodds at Park Vista High School...began his career at Summit Christian High School before playing his final season at Park Vista...led Park Vista with eight catches for 112 yards and three touchdowns in a run-oriented offense...team went 7-3 this past fall...participated in the Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast All-Star Game last month...hails from same area that produced Delaware’s Matt Marcorelle and Irv Titre...rated as the No. 57 best recruit and the No. 4 tight end in the Palm Beach area...also played baseball while at Summitt Christian...also recruited by Central Florida, Duke, Fordham, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.
Keeler: “Matt is a special athlete who we think has the frame to play at 245 or 250 lbs. in the future. He has great speed and outstanding ability despite having played just a few years of football after playing baseball. He projects as an off the line tight end who we can spread wide and also play fullback. He is a multi-dimensional player who has the chance to play right away.”
DEREK BATTLE - 6-2 - 185 - Linebacker - Charlotte, N.C. (Providence HS)
Played defensive back at Providence High School for head coach Randy Long...projected as a linebacker or safety at Delaware...earned first team All-South Charlotte Area honors as a senior...also earned All-Southeastern Conference 4A honors and was named the league’s Defensive Back of the Year...named team’s Defensive Back of the Year...collected 67 tackles, six tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, two forced fumbles, two sacks, one fumble recovery as a senior...team was perennial state playoff contenders...National Honor Society student and a member of Future Business Leaders of America...also competes in basketball and track and field...plans to major in biology at Delaware...son of Derek and Princess Battle.
Keeler: “Derek attended our one-day camp and really impressed us. We loved his speed and his ability to hit. He played safety in high school but he is a bigger kid who can move to linebacker. He is also an extremely smart player and a great student.”
PATRICK CALLAWAY - 5-10 - 205 - Linebacker - Lithonia, Ga. (Martin Luther King HS)
Played linebacker for head coach Mike Carson at Martin Luther King High School...earned first team All-State honors by the Associated Press as a senior...was a two-time first team All-Region 2 all-star and earned first team All-Dekalb County laurels both seasons...team captain who earned team’s community service award...led team and the state in tackles as a senior in 2010 with a school record 177...set a school record with 19 tackles in one game...also had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery...team went 8-4 in 2010, won the regional title, and advanced to the second round of the state tournament...serving as Senior Class President...National Honor Society student...also recruited by William & Mary, Pennsylvania, and Western Carolina....plans to major in sports management...on of Patrick and Katrina Callaway.
Keeler: “Patrick was one of our last commitments and we were fortunate to get him. He is the kind of player who could play for us right away. His game is advanced and he is very intelligent. He has great body control and is a dynamic player. He could help us right away at linebacker, at nickel, and on special teams.”
ERIC FARKAS - 6-0 - 185 - Defensive Back/Punter/Kicker - Heathrow, Fla. (Seminole HS)
Versatile standout who played safety, kicked, and punted for head coach Mike Cullison at Seminole High School...projected as a safety at Delaware...four-year varsity standout...earned first team All-Central Florida as a defensive back and punter in 2010...second team U.S. Air Force All-American as a punter...named to Orlando Sentinel Central Florida Top 60 (#21) and Florida Top 100 (#76)...selected to play in Central Florida East-West All-Star Game...also two-time winner of conference scholastic award...recorded 206 tackles and 15 interceptions during his career while hitting on 128 of 137 extra points....averaged 47.3 yards per punt as a senior when he had 50 touchbacks on 70 kickoffs...led team to the Florida 6A state championship in 2008 and to the semifinals in 2010 and quarterfinals in 2009...also a three-year varsity standout in soccer...also had offers from Connecticut and Mississippi....plans to major in business at Delaware...son of Allen and Wendy Farkas.
Keeler: “Eric is a talented, dynamic kid who can really do it all. He is a mult-dimensional player who will not only be a key to our secondary in the future but he will also compete as a kicker, kickoff specialist, and as a punter.”
LAQUAN JAMES - 5-11 - 182 - Defensive Back - Syracuse, N.Y. (Cicero-North Syracuse HS/Nassau County Community College)
Transfer from Nassau (N.Y.) County Community College...will have junior eligibility...projected to play cornerback at Delaware and add experience to a unit that lost four starters to graduation...played defensive back for head coach Jermaine Miles...led team to a perfect record of 11-0 and the 2010 Northeast Football Conference title...team was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation...earned second team All-Northeast Football Conference honors...keyed a defense that led league in scoring defense and allowed 10 or less points in seven of the 11 games...recorded 26 tackles along with three interceptions, a team-high 12 pass breakups, and two forced fumbles as a senior in 2010 and had 16 tackles, an interception, and a pass breakup as a freshman in 2009...also averaged 18.2 yards on four kickoff returns...earned third team All-State honors at both running back and defensive back as a senior at Cicero-North Syracuse High School...ran for 929 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior when he also had 72 tackles and three interceptions...also played basketball in high school and was a two-time All-Central New York selection who scored 1,000 career points...plans to major in sport management at Delaware...son of Ayanna Williams...first name pronounced “luh-kwan.”
Keeler: “Laquan had a lot of Division I interest coming out of high school but had an ankle injury and went to junior college. He can come in here and compete for us immediately. We are excited about what he brings as an athlete.”
MICHAEL KASTEL - 6-7 - 225 - Defensive End - St. Charles, Ill. (Phillips Exeter Academy, N.H.)
Played defensive end and tight end for head coach Bill Glennon at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H....one of the tallest recruits in Delaware history...will enroll at Delaware later this month and take part in spring drills...earned first team All-New England (NEPSAC) honors in 2010 when he was named to the All-Defensive team...in only season at Exeter, collected 51 tackles, nine quarterback sacks, and nine pass deflections...caught a touchdown pass in New England Championship game on fourth down play in fourth quarter to send game into overtime...led Exeter to NEPSAC conference title and to New England Championship game and only its third undefeated season in school history at 10-0...did not play football in Illinois...attended Exeter as an outstanding basketball player and led team to sectional championship as a junior before joining football team...earned All-Area honors for basketball in 2010...also recruited by Holy Cross and New Hampshire...plans to major in sport management...son of Steven and Wendy Kastel...last name pronounced “kuh-stell.”
Keeler: “Michael is a big body who can really run and is very athletic. He went to Exeter to play basketball but also got interested in football and really helped their program. He brings a lot of potential and will really help us as he gains more experience playing football.”
LOGAN SHULTZ - 6-3 - 275 - Defensive Tackle - Orrtanna, PA (Gettysburg HS)
Originally part of the 2008 recruiting class but was injured that summer when he was run over by a truck while working and suffered extensive arm and shoulder injuries...currently enrolled at Delaware during the January semester and will join the team for spring drills...will have freshman eligibility...played at Gettysburg High School under head coach Sam Leedy...played both offensive tackle and defensive tackle...led football team to four-year record of 37-11...team won league titles three times and advanced to the state playoffs twice, including a 12-2 mark in 2007...four-year standout who posted career totals of 278 tackles, 33 sacks, 56 tackles for loss, 13 forced fumbles, and seven fumble recoveries...as a senior in 2007, posted 103 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 29 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries...holds school records for sacks and tackles for loss...two-time team Most Valuable Player...All-Conference honors both ways each of his final three seasons...broke school weightlifting record by over 200 lbs., lifting 1,400 lbs. in the bench (375 lbs.), clean (425 lbs.), and squat (600 lb.) lifts...was recruited by Pittsburgh and West Virginia...son of Jim Pennington and April Shultz.
Keeler: “Logan has battled back from a lot of obstacles and his rehab has reached the point where he can play football again. He was a tremendous high school player and one of the top players we have ever recruited here. We will bring him along slowly, but he has made great progress and has worked very hard to get back on the field.”
DAVID TINSLEY - 6-0 - 252 - Defensive Line - Seffner, Fla. (Armwood HS)
Played defensive end and defensive tackle for head coach Sean Callahan at Armwood High School...high school teammate of current Delaware junior wide receiver Rob Jones...earned first team All-Western Conference and first team All-Hillsborough County honors as a senior...first team All-Region...named a three-star athlete by yahoo.com...named pre-season FlaVarsity No. 2 defensive end...registered 97 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and seven sacks as a senior and 85 tackles and six sacks as a junior....blocked three punts in his career...team was nationally-ranked in both in 2007 and 2010...team won four straight district titles and three regional title during his career and was state runner-up in 2010...team had four-year record of 52-6, including a 14-1 mark in 2010...throws the shot put and discus for track and field team...expected to major in business or finance...also recruited by Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Western Kentucky, Rutgers, and Ohio University...son of Lamar and Brenda Robinson.
Keeler: “We targeted David in June as someone who could really make a difference here a Delaware. He is a dynamic player who we project as a defensive end. He is a great pass rusher with long arms and a great skill set.”
JEFF WILLIAMS - 6-2 - 192 - Linebacker - Freeport, N.Y. (Freeport HS)
Played linebacker for head coach Russ Cellan at Freeport High School...earned first team All-Conference, All-County, and All-Long Island honors as a senior...also was named team Most Valuable Player and was named Defensive MVP of the Long Island Championship game...led team to a record of 11-1 in 2010....team captured both the county title and the Long Island title...also recruited by Maine, Albany, Stony Brook, Bryant, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island...plans to major in athletic training or physical therapy at Delaware...son of Jeff and Tonia Williams.
Keeler: “Jeff is very athletic and has the type of frame to increase his size to around 225 lbs. He helps us fulfill our need to get more dynamic at the linebacker spot.”
|Name||Pos.||Ht./Wt.||Hometown/High School (Last School)|
|Derek Battle||LB||6-2/185||Charlotte, N.C./Providence HS|
|Nick Boyle||TE/LS||6-4/235||Sussex, N.J./High Point Regional HS|
|Patrick Callaway||LB||5-10/205||Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King HS|
|Ben Curtis||OL||6-5/260||Columbia, Md./Calvert Hall HS|
|Eric Farkas||DB/P/K||6-0/185||Heathrow, Fla./Seminole HS|
|Steven Hughes||QB||6-2/195||Melbourne, Fla./Palm Bay HS|
|Jerel Harrison||WR||6-0/180||Richmond, Va./Varina HS|
|Laquan James||DB||5-11/182||Syracuse, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse HS (Nassau CC)|
|Michael Johnson||WR||6-2/205||Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville HS|
|Michael Kastel||DL||6-7/225||St. Charles, Ill./Phillips Exeter Academy (N.H.)|
|Christian Marchena||OL||6-2/285||Hazlet, N.J./Raritan HS|
|Matt Rodriguez||TE||6-4/225||Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista HS|
|Logan Shultz||DL||6-3/275||Orrtanna, Pa./Gettysburg HS|
|David Tinsley||DL||6-0/252||Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS|
|Jeff Williams||LB||6-2/192||Freeport, N.Y./Freeport|
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