Skyhawks football program completes 29-member signing class of 2019
UT Martin football put the finishing touches on yet another National Signing Day as a total of 29 decorated student-athletes signed a letter of commitment to the program to comprise a loaded and already nationally heralded 2019 recruiting class.
Ten states are represented among the group, including eight from Tennessee, seven from Mississippi, four from both Florida and Georgia while one signee from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri.
“To be able to add 19 high school players, two four-year transfers and eight junior college graduates from around the country, we feel like we really added depth throughout the class,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson said. “When you look that we added 15 players on defense and 14 on offense, we were able to fill a lot of different holes with our emphasis being in the secondary and on the offensive line. We added three junior college players on the offensive line to add depth and competition. Meanwhile in the secondary we added four JUCO defensive backs to help immediately and five high school standouts for help in the future.”
UT Martin wasted no time putting together a deep and talented 2019 recruiting class with a total of 24 players inked to national letters of intent during the early signing period. HERO Sports ranked the program’s 2019 early signing class second in the country and first in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“It was a great compliment to our staff to be ranked the way we were,” Simpson said. “We went into the recruiting process to find the best athletes that fit UT Martin. It was a great feather in our cap to be recognized nationally amongst the best in the country to give us reassurance of what we were seeing on tape and the hard work of our staff.”
2019 UT Martin Football Signing Class
Brian Adkins, DB, 6-0, 190, R-Jr., Streamwood, Ill. (College of DuPage)
Joins the Skyhawks from College of DuPage, playing for head coach Matt Foster…Played in 10 games while posting 39 combined tackles as a sophomore, including 25 solos and 14 assists…Notched 3.0 tackles for loss…Recorded seven interceptions and seven pass breakups…Tallied a forced fumble and one fumble recovery…Played in nine games as a freshman, tallying eight tackles and three pass breakups…Granted a redshirt in 2016…Prepped at Streamwood High School for head coach Don Guindon…Recorded a kickoff return of 85 yards for a touchdown…Notched a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 33-yard reception for a touchdown in the 2015 season opener for the Sabres…Named to the Upstate Eight All-Conference team and Daily Herald First Team All-Area…Selected Team MVP and the most improved player.
JaQuez Akins, DB, 5-9, 185, Jr., Starkville, Miss. (East Mississippi CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from East Mississippi Community College where he played for head coach Buddy Stephens…He helped lead EMCC to back-to-back national championships while posting a 23-1 record in two seasons…Notched 45 combined tackles, including 28 solos and 17 assists…Tallied five pass breakups, 3.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery…Notched a career-best eight tackles against Itawamba CC…Named to the 2018 MACJC All-State/North Division first team after leading the NJCAA and MACJC champion EMCC Lions with four interceptions – returning a pair for touchdowns…Tallied 33 total tackles, including 26 solos and six assists as a freshman…He forced a pair of fumbles against Itawamba CC and Northwest Mississippi CC…Recorded a season-high six tackles in the national championship against Arizona Western…Prepped at Starkville High School where he played for Ricky Woods…Tallied 93 career tackles, eight interceptions and nine pass breakups in his prep career…He was a 2016 Bernard Blackwell North All-Star and was a member of the Yellowjackets’ 2015 Class 6A state championship squad.
Cru Birdyshaw, OL, 6-7, 325, R-Jr., Jasper, Ala. (Jones County JC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Jones County Junior College where he played for head coach Steve Buckley…Anchored an offensive line which posted a 10-2 record before ultimately winning the Mississippi Bowl and finished ranked fifth in the final NJCAA poll…Blocked for first-team All-American Kalyn Grandberry who rushed for 1,289 yards and 10 touchdowns…Began his collegiate career at Southern Miss where he redshirted the 2016 season…Prepped at Walker High School where he was a second-team Class 6A All-State performer…Helped power an offense that gained over 3,000 yards and won a regional championship…Ranks as a two-star recruit by 247Sports.
Kevin Butler, WR, 6-0, 175, Fr., Miami, Fla. (Booker T. Washington HS)
Prepped at Booker T. Washington High School where he played for head coach Tim Harris…Was named to the all-state third team while being tabbed first All-Dade county as a senior…As a junior at Homestead High School he tallied 35 receptions for 555 yards and four touchdowns.
Jermaine Cooley, LB, 6-2, 215, Fr., Dublin, Ga. (Dublin HS)
Prepped at Dublin High School where he played for head coach Roger Holmes…Helped the team to a 11-2 record his senior season while winning a Region 3AA championship…Played both sides of the ball in high school as a linebacker and fullback…Tabbed to the 3AA all-region first team defense…Named all-region Offensive Player of the Year…Rushed for 21 carries, 229 yards and two touchdowns to clinch a region championship against Washington County.
Reed Davis, OL, 6-3, 285, Fr., Booneville, Miss. (Booneville HS)
Prepped at Booneville High School where he played for head coach Mike Mattox…He helped anchor an offensive line that posted an 11-1 mark before falling in the second round of the playoffs…Named to the 2018 All-Endzone Teams second team offense…While playing on both sides of the ball, he tallied 29 tackles, including 19 solos and 10 assists…Notched 2.0 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks…As a junior he tallied 39 tackles and 13.0 tackles for loss while notching a fumble recovery…His father is the head coach at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Wyatt Eget, QB, 6-0, 190, Jr., Valencia, Calif. (College of the Canyons)
Joins the Skyhawks from the College of the Canyons where he played for head coach Ted Iacenda…Was named to the Southern California Football Association first team offense after completing 160-of-253 passes for 2,084 passing yards and 17 total touchdowns in the final seven games of the season…Notched three games with at least 300 passing yards…Completed three touchdowns against East Los Angeles and Long Beach…Signed with Whittier College out of high school where he attempted just one pass his freshman year…Prepped at West Ranch High School where he played for Chris Varner…Completed 114-of-254 passes for 1,433 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior.
Carson Evans, DB, 6-1, 195, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (First Assembly Christian)
Prepped at First Assembly Christian School where he played for Joey Lowe…Tallied 92 total tackles, including 64 solos and 28 assists…Notched 3.0 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and a pair of interceptions…For his career, tallied 249 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups and five interceptions…Offensively he notched 117 receptions for 1,658 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career…Named first team all-district…Played in the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl All Star game, blocking a punt and notching an interception.
Brandon Floyd, OL, 6-4, 275, Festus, Mo. (Jefferson HS)
Prepped at Jefferson High School where he played for Alex Rouggly…Tallied 31 pancake blocks as a junior…Notched 41 total tackles, including 22 solos and 19 assists…Tallied 4.0 tackles for loss…Tabbed a unanimous selection to the first team I-55 Conference offensive and defensive line…Named My Leader Paper Athlete of the Week…Tabbed Jefferson Lineman of the Year…Named to the Class 2 MOFBCA All-State third team.
Isaiah Gibbs, RB, 5-9, 185, Fr., Knoxville, Tenn. (Farragut HS)
Prepped at Farragut High School where he played for head coach Eddie Courtney…Joins his cousin Jade Gibbs in the 2019 recruiting class…Tallied 105 carries for 510 yards and six touchdowns as a senior…Tallied 31 receptions for 249 yards and four touchdowns…He posted a huge junior campaign with 187 carries for 1,101 yards and 12 touchdowns…Notched 325 carries, 1,878 yards and 21 touchdowns for his career – including six 100-yard performances…Tallied 39 career tackles and three interceptions…Ranks as a two-star running back by 247Sports.
Jaden Gibbs, WR, 6-3, 185, Fr., Knoxville, Tenn. (Farragut HS)
Prepped at Farragut High School where he played for head coach Eddie Courtney…Joins his cousin Isaiah Gibbs in the 2019 recruiting class…Tallied 38 receptions for 547 yards and two touchdowns…Averaged 14.4 yards per receptions…Notched 98 career receptions, 1,475 receptions and nine touchdowns in his prep career…Played in the Toyota East vs West Tennessee All-Star Classic, tallying a pair of receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown…Ranks as a three-star wide receiver by 247Sports.
Vincent Guy, DB, 6-0, 175, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven HS)
Prepped at Whitehaven High School where he played for head coach Rodney Saulsberry…Helped the Tigers to an 11-4 record and an appearance in the state title game as a senior…Completed 52-of-93 pass attempts for 915 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior…Completed 53.1 percent of his career pass attempts…Tossed 27 touchdowns for his career while rushing for 13…Ranks as a two-star defensive back by 247Sports.
Jacoby Hill, LB, 6-3, 215, R-Jr., Atlanta, Ga. (Memphis)
Joins the Skyhawks from the University of Memphis, playing for head coach Mike Norvell…Appeared in three games for the Tigers in 2018, tallying three tackles and one sack against Mercer…Saw action in 11 games, including the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in 2017…Notched three total tackles along with 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack…Recorded his first tackle for loss against Tulane while tallying his first sack against East Carolina…Member of the 2017 squad which went 10-3, won The American West Division title and played in The American Championship Game…Granted redshirt in 2016…Prepped at Carver High School for head coach Darren Myles…Notched 102 total tackles, including 65 solo stops and 37 assists…Recorded 48 tackles for loss and 15 sacks totaling 80 yards…Forced four fumbles and notched two fumble recoveries…2015 Georgia Class 5A All-State selection and an Atlanta Journal Constitution All-Metro pick…Had 61 total tackles, including 43 solos and two fumbles as a senior…Ranked as a three-star linebacker by 247Sports.
Kareem Hobbs, LB, 6-0, 220, Fr., Marietta, Ga. (Marietta HS)
Prepped at Marietta High School where he played for head coach Richard Morgan…Tallied 42 total tackles, including 30 solos and 12 assists…Notched 2.0 tackles for loss…As a junior he tallied 61 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss and one interception.
Chrishun Jackson, DB, 6-0, 180, Jr., Tunica, Miss. (Northeast Mississippi CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Northeast Mississippi Community College where he played for head coach Greg Davis…Tallied 12 combined tackles, including six solos and six assists…Notched one fumble recovery against East Mississippi Community College…Tallied a career-best five tackles against Jones College…Notched six tackles and one pass breakup as a freshman…Prepped at Rosa Fort High School where he played for Eiyessie Donald.
Rush Lansdell, DB, 6-3, 195, Fr., Columbia, Tenn. (Columbia Academy)
Prepped at Columbia Academy where he played for head coach Charlie Lansdell…Compiled 72 total tackles along with a pair of interceptions as a junior…Tallied 207 total tackles, including 92 solos and 115 assists…Recorded 24.5 TFL and eight interceptions throughout his career…Tallied 26 receptions for 517 yards and five touchdowns as a senior…Averaged 19.9 yards per reception…Notched 58 receptions, 1,087 yards and 10 touchdowns for his career…Played in the Toyota East vs West Tennessee All-Star Classic while notching an interception…Ranks as a three-star defensive back by 247Sports.
Jack Lucas, DB, 6-0, 180, Fr., Louisville, Ky. (Louisville Male)
Prepped at Louisville Male High School where he played for head coach Chris Wolfe…Helped lead the team to a 14-1 record and a 6A state championship…Tallied 60 tackles as a senior along with four interceptions for a championship squad…Helped stuff the offense for a safety in the championship game…Named to the Metro Louisville All-Area squad…Tabbed all-district…Played in the Bluegrass All-Star Football game.
Hunter May, DL, 6-2, 235, Fr., Neptune Beach, Fla. (Duncan U. Fletcher HS)
Prepped at Duncan U. Fletcher High School where he played for head coach Kevin Brown…Helped the team to a 7-4 mark…Played in the North Florida Football Coaches Association Senior Bowl.
Traquan McNair, DL, 6-1, 285, Fr., DeLand, Fla. (DeLand HS)
Prepped at DeLand High School where he played for head coach Steve Allen…Helped the team to an 8-3 record before falling in the state playoffs…Tallied 17 total tackles, including 13 assists and four solos…Notched 2.0 tackles for loss and recorded a fumble recovery which was returned for a touchdown…Transferred from Deltona High School.
Malcolm Miller, OL, 6-3, 295, Jr., Vicksburg, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Jones County Junior College where he played for head coach Steve Buckley…Anchored an offensive line which posted a 10-2 record before ultimately winning the Mississippi Bowl and finished ranked fifth in the final NJCAA poll…Blocked for first-team All-American Kalyn Grandberry who rushed for 1,289 yards and 10 touchdowns…Was named to the second-team All-MACJC South Division squad…Prepped at Warren Central High School where he played for head coach Josh Morgan.
John Mitchell, QB, 6-3, 195, Fr., Ellisville, Miss. (South Jones HS)
Prepped at South Jones High School where he played for head coach Roger Satcher…Completed 62-of-143 pass attempts for 918 yards and six touchdowns through the air while tallying 181 carries for 1,077 yards and 11 touchdown on the ground as a senior…Tallied six 100-yard rushing performances as a senior…For his career, he completed 226-of-529 pass attempts for 3,506 yards and 35 touchdowns through the air while tallying 388 carries for 2,061 yards and 27 touchdown on the ground…Averaged 145.5 yards of total offense per game…Scored 194 career points and 62 touchdowns…Hails from the same home town as head coach Jason Simpson.
Matt Needham, OL, 6-6, 310, Fr., Germantown, Tenn. (Houston HS)
Prepped at Houston High School where he played for head coach James Thomas…Helped lead his team to a 10-2 mark as a senior and an appearance in the state semifinals…Played in the Blue Grey All-American game at AT&T Stadium…Played in the Toyota East vs. West Tennessee All-Star Game…Named to the Region 7-6A all-region team…Ranked as a three-star offensive lineman.
Marqwell Odom, WR, 5-8, 160, Jr., Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Independence CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Independence Community College where he played for head coach Jason Brown…Notched 35 receptions for 315 yards as a sophomore…Averaged 9.0 yards per catch…Notched career-high 81 yards against Ellsworth Community College…Tallied 14 receptions for 179 yards as a freshman…Averaged 12.8 yards per catch…Tallied 62 receiving yards at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College…Prepped at Riverdale High School where he played for head coach Will Kriesky…Tallied 26 receptions for 462 yards and five touchdowns as a prep senior.
Cam Ordway, DB, 5-11, 185, Grad., Pulaski, Tenn. (Ole Miss)
Joins the Skyhawks from Ole Miss where he played for head coaches Hugh Freeze and Matt Luke…Played four seasons for the Rebels before earning a redshirt his senior season…Notched six tackles in three games as a senior in 2018…Appeared in 24 games for his career, tallying 21 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss…Notched two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry…Notched a career-high five tackles vs. New Mexico State in as a true freshman…Prepped at Giles County High School where he played for head coach Walt Smith…Holds the school record for career interceptions with 15 – including nine as a junior…Played on both sides of the ball, tallying 45 catches for 827 yards and 14 touchdowns while notching 69 tackles, three interceptions, five pass breakups, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked field goal as a senior…Helped Giles County to a 12-3 record and class 4A runner-up finish…Played in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl…Garnered Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State first team honors on offense and defense…Named to The Tennessean All-Midstate honors….Played in the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association East vs. West All-Star Classic…Ranked as a four-star defensive back by ESPN and Scout…Member for of the ESPN300 and ranked as the No. 22 safety in the nation.
Darian Oxendine, WR, 5-11, 170, Fr., Jacksonville, Fla. (Mandarin HS)
Prepped at Mandarin High School where he played for head coach Bobby Ramsay…Won the Class 8A state championship as a senior…Notched 58 receptions for 773 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior…Averaged 13.3 yards per reception and 51.5 yards per game…Notched 76 career receptions for 1,007 yards and 10 touchdowns…Tallied 70 total tackles, including 51 solos and 19 assists along with 1.0 tackle for loss as a senior…Played his freshmen, sophomore and junior seasons at Pedro Menendez High School where he played for head coach Patrick Turner…Served as a dual-threat quarterback for three years, completed 101-of-202 attempts for 1,651 yards and 14 touchdowns while notching 567 carries for 2,904 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns for his career…Tallied 13 100-yard rushing performances…Recorded seven career interceptions.
Tyler Shorter, DB, 6-0, 160, Fr., Sardis, Miss. (North Panola HS)
Prepped at North Panola High School where he played for head coach Carl Diffee …Named to the 3A All-State first team offense…Tallied 51 receptions for 1,154 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior…Averaged 22.6 yards per catch and 82.4 yards per game…Notched 100 career tackles and nine interceptions…Played in the 70th annual Bernard Blackwell North/South All Star Game…Ranks as a two-star defensive back by Rivals.
CJ Swan, LB, 6-0, 220, Fr., Marietta, Ga., (Marietta HS)
Prepped at Marietta High School where he played for head coach Richard Morgan…Tallied 64 total tackles, including 50 solos and 14 assists as a senior…As a junior he tallied 85 tackles – including four tackles for loss – while notching a pair of fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Zak Wallace, RB, 5-11, 205, Fr., Benton, Ark. (Benton HS)
Prepped at Benton High School where he played for head coach Brad Harris.…Ranked as one of the state’s best backs with 168 carries for 1,438 yards and 21 touchdowns…Averaged 8.5 yards per carry…Earned all-state honors as a junior after tallying 171 carries for 1,260 yards and 17 touchdowns…He nabbed 23 catches for 156 yards and one receiving touchdown…Ranks as a two-star running back by 247Sports.
Kordell Watts, OL, 6-3, 280, Jr., Ellisville, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Jones County Junior College where he played for head coach Steve Buckley…Anchored an offensive line which posted a 10-2 record before ultimately winning the Mississippi Bowl and finished ranked fifth in the final NJCAA poll…Blocked for first-team All-American Kalyn Grandberry who rushed for 1,289 yards and 10 touchdowns…Prepped at Vicksburg High School where he played for head coach Marcus Rogers.