The class is one of the largest in Delaware history.
SPORTS ASSIGNMENT EDITOR
Although Delaware football has in the past been built around successful Signing Day transfers, such as current NFL quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Pat Devlin, the team proved on Feb. 5 that 2014 was not going to be the year of the transfer.
After having signed two transfers, senior defensive back Jordan Thomas and senior linebacker Kennedy Ogbonna, on National Signing Day in 2013, head coach Dave Brock did not pick any transfers on the day this year, which saw the signing of 22 players, one of the largest recruiting classes in Delaware history.
But it’s not that Brock isn’t looking for transfers, as he said he was working on finding the perfect match for the Hens’ 2014 team.
“We will likely take transfers this season, so there’s a fine line to say,” Brock said. “We’re going to try to do it, we’re going to try to recruit certain positions, fill certain teams from a high school perspective, but at the same time, there’s holes in our roster that exist today that we would like to fill those with a transfer, if we can get the right combination of player and kid.”
Of the 22 high school players Brock signed, eight of them were backs, with one quarterback, two defensive backs and three linebackers. Three tight ends and two defensive ends were taken, along with three wide receivers, four offensive linemen and one kicker.
Brock said his main target this year was to get younger players in at linebacker and defensive back to replace the juniors and seniors in those positions in the future.
“We’re trying to address some roster imbalances, so in other words, we had to sign a certain number of players to certain positions,” he said. “Even if you look at our roster today and [say], ‘Well, I don’t know if there’s a certain need there,’ the amount of players that will leave next year will be significant.”
Five players on the team have connections to Delaware, either through alumni or siblings currently attending the school. One incoming player, tight end Jake Powell, is the younger brother of junior baseball outfielder Tyler Powell.
The Delaware connection extends to Newark’s own Bilal Nichols, a defensive end from Hodgson Vocational Technical School, and Rehoboth Beach native Andrew Grau, a tight end from Cape Henlopen High School.
In-state recruitment is a priority for the program, Brock said.
“It’s a function of really a couple things, we’re going to recruit the state as hard as we can,” he said. “It starts with me, I’m going to make the same pledge I made last year—I’ll be at every single school that plays football in the state of Delaware. In the spring, in April to the end of May, I’m going to evaluate every player that is in the state, and we’re going to try to take the guys that we feel will help us win championships.”
Brock said he wants Delaware to be able to land best players over schools in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) (which is a step up from the CAA) and competing CAA teams.
“We feel like if he’s in our group within five hours of this campus, there’s no MAC school that can beat us in recruits,” he said. “We’re gonna go head-to-head with those people, we’re gonna go head-to-head with CAA teams and we’re gonna slug it out and in my opinion, if we do the job that we’re capable of and the job that we should do, we should win more than we don’t.”
Overall, while Brock said he is confident about his new signings, he said he is unsure how many will see in-game action next season.
“The farther away you get from the ball, the easier it is to play as a young player,” he said. “If you’re an 18-year-old kid, it’s hard to play against a 22-year-old, 23-year-old. Imagine yourself at 18 years old, lining up at right guard and Zach Kerr lines up over top of you, it’s a little bit different than a corner lining up over top of you.”
List of Signees
RYLEY ANGELINE • 6-3 • 215 • Athlete • Chester Springs, Pa. (Downingtown East HS)
CHARLES BELL • 6-1 • 225 • Linebacker • Conestoga, Pa. (Penn Manor HS)
MALCOLM BROWN • 6-1 • 190 • Defensive Back • Gaithersburg, Md. (Quince Orchard HS)
TRE BROWN • 6-2 • 200 • Wide Receiver • Harrisburg, Pa./Milton Hershey HS
MARIO FARINELLA • 6-2 • 295 • Offensive Line • Bloomfield, N.J. (Bergen Catholic HS)
TROY GALLEN • 6-0 • 175 • Wide Receiver • Glen Mills, Pa. (Malvern Prep)
ANDREW GRAU • 6-5 • 225 • Tight End • Rehoboth Beach, Del. (Cape Henlopen HS)
MAURICE HARLEY • 6-0 • 201 • Defensive Back • Upper Marlboro, Md. (St. John’s College HS)
ANTHONY JACKSON • 6-1 • 210 • Linebacker • Riverdale, Md. (Suitland HS)
QUAI JEFFERSON • 6-0 • 195 • Wide Receiver • Woodland Park, N.J. (St. Joseph Regional HS)
THOMAS JEFFERSON • 6-1 • 205 • Running Back • Prospect Park, N.J. (Passaic County Technical Institute)
JAMES KRETKOWSKI • 6-6 • 285 • Offensive Line • Mineola, N.Y. (Oceanside HS)
JOHN NASSIB • 6-6 • 260 • Defensive End • West Chester, Pa. (Malvern Prep HS)
BILAL NICHOLS • 6-4 • 250 • Defensive End • Newark, Del. (Hodgson Vo-Tech HS)
JETHRO PEPE • 6-6 • 245 • Offensive Lineman • Colonia, N.J. (St. Joseph’s HS)
JAKE POWELL • 6-5 • 220 • Tight End • Marlton, N.J. (Cherokee HS)
FRANK RAGGO • 5-9 • 163 • Kicker • Randolph, N.J. (Randolph HS)
DONTE RAYMOND • 6-1 • 203 • Linebacker • Rahway, N.J. (Rahway HS)
BRYAN REED • 6-3 • 295 • Offensive Line • Mount Sinai, N.Y. (Mount Sinai)
JOSEPH WALKER • 6-3 • 185 • Quarterback • Philadelphia, Pa. (Martin Luther King HS)
BRANDON WHALEY • 6-4 • 230 • Tight End • Haymarket, Va. (Battlefield HS)
KAREEM WILLIAMS • 5-10 • 185 • Running Back • Schnecksville, Pa. (Parkland HS)