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February 03, 2016

National Signing Day takes in a huge local haul

College Football Recruiting
2316_williams_TC Courtesy/Timber Creek football

Timber Creek’s Tyreek Williams can't hide his enthusiasm after committing to Rutgers.

Cary Angeline couldn’t wait to make it official. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Downingtown East senior is considered one of the country’s best high school tight ends and he originally gave an oral commitment to USC. Then something happened. On October 12, 2015, Trojans’ coach Steve Sarkisian was fired, and the program seemed to be in great upheaval. USC even gave Angeline permission to begin talking again to other schools. A torrent of calls from every major college coach besieged Angeline—but he did something that he made official on Wednesday on National Signing Day and that’s to stay committed to USC.

"I think the other thing that made this special was signing before all of the people who helped me get here. I wouldn’t be here without them, and that I finally did it. My parents got emotional, and I even saw my dad cry. It’s the first time I ever saw him cry.”

Angeline was one of hundreds elite high school football players across the nation that signed their official letter of intent. For many, like Angeline, it was a great relief.

It’s the same feeling that Archbishop Wood’s Anthony Russo, Camden’s Ron Johnson and Timber Creek’s Tyreek Williams felt.

How are Temple and Penn State's recruiting classes looking? Click here.

For Angeline, when USC retained coach Clay Helton, who was an assistant under Sarkisian, that eased the recruiting process.

“Once they kept coach Helton, that convinced me to stay with USC,” Angeline said. “There were a lot of things that were uncertain at USC and they were honest with me. They did allow me to speak to other schools. I think what I enjoyed most about the process was going to different places around the country and speaking with different coaches. This was a great relief off my shoulders. They see me as a tight end and it’s where I’d like to play. I’m happy that it’s official.”

So was Russo, an Elite 11 selection and considered one of the top 17 high school senior quarterbacks in the country last summer. He led the Vikings to the PIAA Class AAA state championship as a junior and his stock rose considerably since then. Russo first committed to Rutgers, but when Scarlet Knights’ coach Kyle Flood and his staff were fired, he felt like looking around at other schools. He chose Temple.

Courtesy/Camden Football

Camden teammates Brad Hawkins and Ron Johnson will be together again at Michigan.

“I’m happy, but I’m happy that it’s over, too,” said the 6-4, 225-pound Russo. “I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had throughout this process. I had a great relationship with coach Flood and it’s why I committed there. I didn’t feel as much of a bond with the new Rutgers coaching staff, and I had a month left in this process. Temple has been there since the beginning and they were one of the first schools to give me an offer. That meant a lot to me. It showed that they had the faith in me.

“Even after I committed to Rutgers, I still had contact with Temple. I liked the fact that they didn’t try to bribe me into changing my mind; they supported my decision. I was impressed by coach (Matt) Rhule’s honesty. When I de-committed from Rutgers, coach Rhule called to tell me there was a recruit from California that was going to commit to Temple. His honesty made our relationship much stronger. It also means a lot committing to a school so close to home. That means everything to me, being able to have my family there after every home game. Coach Rhule really preached to me that I will never miss a holiday, since I’m so close to home.”

Johnson’s recruiting road to Michigan was much smoother than what Angeline and Russo experienced. For one, he’ll be joining his teammate and friend, Brad Hawkins Camden a 6-1, 205-pound wide receiver, at Michigan. When he signed on Wednesday, it struck a visceral cord with Johnson and his family. He saw a little trickle in his dad’s eyes. It’s something that the Camden 6-4, 240-pound defensive end never saw before, when he signed his national letter of intent to sign and play for the Wolverines, after speaking with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh Wednesday morning before making it official.

“I just thought about all of the people who were supposed to do this, but they didn’t have the grades or were missing something else, and I do feel gratitude over this opportunity,” Johnson said. “The Michigan coaches are looking at me as a defensive end or outside linebacker, and they want me there by June. It’s a tight schedule, but this is something I’ve worked my whole life to achieve. I think the other thing that made this special was signing before all of the people who helped me get here. I wouldn’t be here without them, and that I finally did it. My parents got emotional, and I even saw my dad cry. It’s the first time I ever saw him cry.”

Of the quartet, Williams, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker who signed with Rutgers, may have had the most interesting journey to National Signing Day. He didn’t play organized football until he was a sophomore, urged to give football a chance by Chargers’ coach Rob Hinson, who was his history teacher his freshman year. The youngest of three, his two older brothers are incarcerated and didn’t finish high school. For Williams, this was a chance to say, "you're welcome," for all that his family and coaches have done for him.

“This is unbelievable,” Williams said. “I never imaged being in this position. The people around me, like my Uncle Hershell (Williams), imaged this. It was a little emotional, seeing my mom there and the kind of season that we had winning a state championship. Coming from a family where not everyone had the opportunity to go to college is very important to me. (Rutgers coach Chris) Ash recruited me and this means a lot to live up to what he expects of me. I expect to work hard and reach my full potential. I expect to contribute any way I can to the team. I think most of all this meant a lot for my mom. I’m playing for my brothers and for my Uncle Hershell, and I’m thankful for them all being in my life. I guess you can say the football scholarship is like a reward."


Carlton Aiken Paulsboro QB 6-2/180Central Ct. St.
Cary Angeline Downington E TE 6-7/225USC 
Dan Archibong Springfield TE 6-6/250 Temple 
Kyle Baskin Quakertown TE6-4/210 Columbia 
Christian Baumgardner Ocean City TE 6-5/240  Virginia
A.J. Baxter St. Augustine DB 6-1/175 Rhode Island 
 Devon Bibbens Council Rock NWR 6-0/180 Lehigh 
 Jake BovardQuakertown 6-0/210Air Force 
Colin Bradley Radnor OL 6-6/280  Lafayette
 Drew BrennanDownington EPK/P 6-2/165 Penn 
 Cameron BrownSimon Gratz OL 6-4/270 Monmouth 
Kimere Brown Penns Grove WR 6-0/180 Temple 
 Darian BryantSpringside - Chestnut Hill  OL 6-6/330 Temple 
Jameer Bryson W Catholic WR 6-2/200 S Alabama 
Cameron Chambers Timber Creek WR 6-3/195 Michigan St. 
Mikal Cherry  Del-Val Charter OL 6-4/305 Central Ct. State 
Josh Clark Camden LB 6-2/195 Wagner 
 Mike ClarkDownington E OL 6-8/280 Syracuse 
Doug Costin Bishop Shanahan DL 6-3/265 Miami (Ohio) 
 Kaiden CrawfordSimon Gratz OL 6-4/275 Delaware State 
Nick Diaco W Deptford TE 6-2/225 Colgate 
 D'Andre DillChester DL 6-3/315 Temple 
Yasir Durant Imhotep Charter OL6-5/340 San Diego St.  
 Keith EarleNorth Penn TE 6-1/230 Lafayette 
Noah Ellison Timber Creek WR 6-3/185 Old Dominion 
 Justin FalconeHaddonfield OL 6-6/250 Bucknell 
 Chris FergusonLa SalleQB6-4/225 Maine 
 Sean FoleyPenn Charter OL 6-5/270 Lehigh 
Greg Gamble Moorestown WR 5-11/190 Lehigh 
Lawrence Garner Nor. Burlington LB 6-2/225 Old Dominion 
Alex Gibson Central Bucks E RB 5-10/185 Columbia 
Isaiah Graham-Mobley Upper Merion DB 6-2/195 Temple 
Kelvin Harmon Palmyra WR 6-2/195 N.C. State 
Brad Hawkins Camden WR 6-1, 205 Michigan 
Thomas Hewitt Council Rock N DE 6-3/200 Holy Cross 
 Charlie HolsoppleSt. Joseph's Prep OL 6-4/265 Colgate 
Maurice Jackson Harry S. Truman LB 6-2/210 Richmond 
Jordan Jefferson Camden Catholic LB 6-0/190 Colgate 
Ron Johnson Camden DE 6-4/240 Michigan 
 Craig JonesWest Catholic DB 6-0/185 Central Ct. St.
Jack Lamb Central Bucks E LB 6-0/215 Lafayette 
 John LassCherry Hill E OL 6-5/280 Dartmouth 
Derek Lomax St. Joseph (NJ) OL 6-4/270 Lehigh 
Rashon Lusane Malvern Prep DB 6-1/190 Morgan St.  
 Branden MackCheltenham  ATH 6-4/195 Temple 
Anthony Mague Shawnee WR 6-3/200 Wm. & Mary 
 Brandon McIlwainCouncil Rock N QB 6-1/195  S. Carolina
 Ahmir MitchellCedar Creek WR 6-2/210 Michigan 
Andre Mintze Imhotep Charter DE 6-4/230 Vanderbilt 
 Lonnie MoorePaul VI WR 5-10/175 Monmouth 
Stefone Moore-Green Paul VI WR 5-9/180 Bucknell 
 Ian Murray Malvern Prep TE 6-6/205 Lafayette 
Elan Nash Unionville DB 5-11/190 Navy 
 Lamine Nouck-A-NwalCentral Bucks E OL 6-4/240 Columbia 
Tymir Oliver West Catholic DE 6-4/265 Illinois 
Dymelle Parker Camden LB 6-2/195 Towson 
Jamal Parker Camden Catholic WR5-9/170 Kent State 
 Evan PowellCherokee LB 6-2/220 Monmouth 
 Ryan QuigleyLansdale Catholic RB 5-11/190 Princeton
 Tyliek Raynor Imhotep Charter RB 5-9/170 Temple 
 Nick RinellaLa Salle DB 5-9/190 St. Francis (Pa.) 
 Billy RitcheyNashaminy TE 6-2/235 Sacred Heart 
 Jon Jon RobertsWest Chester E QB 5-8/165 Navy 
Tyree Rodgers Camden Catholic WR/DB 6-2/180 Old Dominion 
Anthony Russo Archbishop WoodQB 6-4/225 Temple 
Mack Schwartz Archbishop Wood DE 6-3/215 Navy 
Prince Smith Imhotep Charter DB 5-11/170 New Hampshire 
 Kurt StengelArchbishop Wood OL 6-4/265 Navy 
Ryan Stover Upper Dublin QB 6-4/210 Towson 
Tommy Strasburger Central Bucks E DB 6-2/185 Lafayette 
Demian Thomas Camden LB 6-2/190 Maine 
 Raquan ThomasSimon Gratz OL 6-4/350 Massachusetts 
Charly Timite Simon Gratz DL 6-3/260 Massachusetts 
 Shaka ToneyImhotep Charter LB 6-3/220 Penn State 
Naseir UpshurImhotep Charter TE 6-3/245 Florida State 
JohnCarlo Valentin Imhotep Charter OL 6-5/335 Oklahoma 
Benny Walls St. Joseph's Prep DB6-0/200 Temple 
 Jake WalterHaddonfield TE 6-4/240 Wm. & Mary 
 Mike WatersImhotep Charter RB5-10/195Delaware State 
 Mike WelshShawnee QB 6-2/195 Monmouth 
 Nyfease WestNorth Penn RB5-10/195 Delaware State 
Tyreek Williams Timber Creek LB 6-1/205 Rutgers 
Jordan Young  Coatesville LB 6-2/215 Old Dominion