WVWC inks 31 new football players on signing day


BUCKHANNON  – West Virginia Wesleyan football and head coach Tony Testa announced 31 new Bobcats in the 2021 signing class after National Signing Day on Wednesday (Feb. 3).

Nathan Baker | OL | King William, Va. | King William HS

Notes: 4-year starter… 3-time All-District selection… 2-time All-Region selection… Honors student.

Offensive line coach Mike Maloney on Baker: “Nathan is a big guy who will be that physical presence we are looking for. He has the ability to play both inside and outside as well.”

Caden Boggs | RB/WR | Mill Creek, W.Va. | Tygarts Valley HS

Notes: Lettered all four years in high school… 3,153 rushing yards over his career with 32 rushing touchdowns and 11 receiving touchdowns… 4,374 career all-purpose yards… First-team All-Conference as a sophomore… First-team All-Conference / Second-team All-State his junior and senior seasons… Single-A Player of the Year nominee as a senior.

Running backs/tight ends coach Jordan Hopgood on Boggs: “First thing that comes to mind when mentioning Caden Boggs, is SPEED! He can break contain of the defense and has the speed to create separation.”

LaMarkus Brand | WR | Lawrenceville, Ga. | Mountain View HS

Notes: 1,280 all-purpose yards during his last season with nine receiving touchdowns… First Team All-Region selection… All-State and county honorable mention… Iron Bear award recipient (hardest worker)… Academic Player of the Month.

Wide receivers coach Dominic Bornman on Brand: “LaMarkus has an incredible fast twitch and very natural ball skills that we look for in our receivers. From our first conversation, I knew LaMarkus was exactly the type of young man we would want to have as a Bobcat!”

Nate Brennan | TE | Plant City, Fla. | Durant HS

Notes: Nabbed 13 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown his last season.

Coach Hopgood on Brennan: “Nate adds depth and skill to our tight end room. He has a unique skill set where he can stretch the defense as well as punish defenders in the run game. I am excited to have another dog in the room!”

Pearce Brown | DL | Riverdale, Ga. | Riverside HS

Notes: 2-year starter… Helped Northside high school to a runner-up finish in 2018… First Team All-Region… Second Team All-Area… Invited to the All-American Classic in Orlando and the NUC All-American game.

Defensive line coach Marcus Spearman on Brown: “We are getting a young man from a great program but more than anything, a student-athlete with outstanding character and work ethic. He will not only be a phenomenal student but he will be a player who will compete every game for 60 minutes.”

Tre Cameron | OL | Warner Robins, Ga. | Northside HS

Notes: 2-year starter… Helped Northside high school to a runner-up finish in 2018… First Team All-Region… Second Team All-Area… Invited to the All-American Classic in Orlando and the NUC All-American game.

Coach Maloney on Cameron: “Tre is a guy with a ton of potential to grow into something special. He has great feet and will only continue to get bigger and better as he gets into a college program. I think he is going to be a guy that gives us flexibility inside and outside.”

Kieshawn Cottingham | WR | Fairmont, W.Va. | Fairmont Senior HS

Notes: 24 receptions for 318 yards and three touchdowns as a senior… 73 rushes for 395 yards and five touchdowns… One return touchdown… Second Team All-State in 2020… Honorable Mention All-State in 2019… Two-time state champion (2018 & 2020), Two-time All-Conference honoree.

Coach Bornman on Cottingham: “We love keeping the in-state kids home! Especially when they can make opponents miss like Kieshawn can and have the ability to return punts and kickoffs. He won’t only make guys miss in space but Kieshawn can also lower the shoulder and bring the BOOM!”

Liam Depp | K | Elkins, W.Va. | Tygarts Valley HS

Notes: Rated 3.5 by NKR… His longest field goal made last season was 41 yards… 4-year National Honor Society member.

Coach Testa on Depp: “Liam is a tremendously versatile specialist with a big leg. We’re incredibly excited to have him in the Bobcat Family!”

David DiCio | DL | McMurray, Pa. | Peters Township HS

Notes: Helped his team to a pair of WPIAL Runner-Up finishes and two conference championships… Was a key part of Peters Township’s first undefeated season since 1975… Two-time All-Conference selection.

Coach Spearman on DiCio: “David is a very instinctive player who plays fast and physical. He has a motor and nose for the ball. We are gaining a young man of high character and class.”

Jordan Dumornay | WR | Elon, N.C. | Western Alamance HS

Coach Bornman on Dumornay: “Jordan’s speed is unparalleled! He has the ability to beat any defender with speed or take the top off the defense. He will make it harder for defenses to game plan when he is on the field for the Bobcats.”

Wade Grubbs | TE | New Kent, Va. | New Kent HS

Notes: All-District Honorable Mention… 493 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns as a senior… Second Team All-Region in track and field… Four-time Honor Roll member.

Coach Hopgood on Grubbs: “Wade is a great addition to our tight end room. He’s great on the point of attack and shows athleticism with the ball in his hands. Wade will help take our offense and special teams to the next level.”

Michael Herbert | DL | Hope Mills, N.C. | South View HS

Notes: 105 total tackles (14 solo) during his last season… Five sacks and 17 tackles for loss… Forced a fumble and scooped up a fumble recovery.

Coach Spearman on Herbert: “What makes me excited about Michael is his willingness to learn and his passion for the game of football. He is going to be an individual that people will have to know where he lines up on every play.”

Kevin Herring | DL | Lehigh Acres, Fla. | Lehigh HS

Notes: 37 tackles, 9.5 Sacks, eight quarterback hurries, eight tackles for loss and one fumble recovery during his latest season… Two-year letter winner.

Coach Spearman on Herring: “I am ecstatic to get a player and young man like Kevin! While being a person with great character and who is also very intelligent in the classroom, we are also getting an out of this world athlete. Someone who has size but speed as well. He has the athletic ability to be put into some unique situations.”

Jordan Hicks | TE | Bealeton, Va. | Liberty HS

Notes: 3-year starter… Compiled 425 yards receiving and caught four touchdown passes last season… First Team All-District, First Team All-Region, and First-Team All-Nova.

Coach Hopgood on Jordan Hicks: “As a 3-sport athlete, Jordan shows excellent all-around skills when it comes to the modern day tight end. Jordan also has a natural feel for finding soft spots in coverages and getting behind defenders. He will also help us tremendously in special teams.”

Wyatt Hicks | WR | Bealeton, Va. | Liberty HS

Notes: 3-year starter… Had 800 yards receiving and caught 7 touchdown passes last season… Second Team All-District.

Coach Bornman on Wyatt Hicks: “Wyatt’s ability to high point the football was what first grabbed our attention in his film. He has a great frame and we are extremely fired up that both Hicks brothers have joined our Bobcat family!”

Jamichael Jackson | LB | Atlanta, Ga. | Maynard H. Jackson HS

Notes: 120 tackles… 20 tackles for loss… One Interception…10 Sacks, Second Team All-Region… 3-star recruit.

Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Allen Gant on Jackson: “Jamichael is an explosive player. He has good speed and quickness. Jamichael is very athletic and a big-time player maker. He has the ability to play both inside and outside as well.”

AJ Johnson | DB | Bealeton, Va. | Liberty HS

Notes: 3-year starter… All-Region and All-District selection… 28 career tackles, 10 career pass breakups… three career interceptions.

Defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator Dwayne Martin on Johnson: “AJ is an electric football player with excellent football skills at whatever position he is playing on the field. He has outstanding hip and change of direction, which will make him an outstanding defensive back at the next level.   Not only is AJ a good athlete, but he also has great football instincts and is savvy.”

Ah’Mareon Lee | LB | Miami, Fla. | North Miami Beach HS

Notes: 90 tackles… 9.5 sacks… Four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries… One interception… Played in the Miami/Dade/Broward Public-Private All-Star Game.

Coach Gant on Lee: “Ah’Mareon is an explosive and athletic football player. He has great speed and quickness. Ah’Mareon can run sideline to sideline as a big-time player maker that can make plays all over the field.”

Arden Luster | TE | Jacksonville, Fla. | First Coast HS

Notes: 17 career touchdowns and over 1,200 all-purpose yards.

Coach Hopgood on Luster: “Arden is a physical and athletic tight end that shows tenacity at the point of attack. He will put hands on you, run you over and whatever else it takes to get the job done!”

Jaden Mahan | DL | Virginia Beach, Va. | Ocean Lakes HS

Notes: Recorded 50 tackles and three sacks in his first year playing football (2019). 

Coach Spearman on Mahan: “We’re excited to get Jaden! He is athletic, smart, fast and plays with an attitude you have to be excited about.”

Casey Mahoney | LB | Parkersburg, W.Va. | Parkersburg HS

Notes: 75 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, one Sack, one interception, two forced fumbles in an 8-game season… Honorable Mention All-State… All-MSAC… Team captain.

Coach Gant on Mahoney: “Casey is a big physical football player. He has a nose for the football and the ability to play inside backer well.”

Alus Mbella | DL | Walkersville, Md. | Walkersville HS

Notes: 50 tackles… Five sacks… 15 tackles for loss.

Coach Spearman on Mbella: “Alus is coming to us with the ability to add and contribute to a dominant front for opposing offenses. His hunger to learn and his passion for football really excites me.”

Bryce Myers | OL | Cumming, Ga. | South Forsyth HS

Notes: 3-year starter… 90 career pancakes… 2019-2020 NGTDC South Forsyth Lineman of the Year… First Team All-Region… Preseason All-State… Broke his high school’s bench press record at 370 lbs.

Coach Maloney on Myers: “Bryce comes from an outstanding program where we signed two guys last season. He will add athleticism to the offensive line and plays with an edge that you love to see. I think he has the ability to be a great player here.”

Nathan Payne | QB | Lawrenceville, Ga. | Mountain View HS

Notes: 3, 700 yards passing… 40 touchdowns… First Team All-Region 8-7A… 7A All-State Honorable Mention. 

Coach Testa on Payne: “Nathan is a gunslinger in the truest sense of the word. He has tremendous arm talent and the ability to deliver an accurate pass under pressure. He also has the toughness & mental edge you look for in a winning quarterback.”

Jose Rodriguez Jr. | WR | Lithia, Fla. | Plant City HS

Notes: 422 all-purpose yards, 46.9 all-purpose yards per game and three total touchdowns in 2019 at Newsome HS… Snagged two receiving touchdowns as a senior at Plant City HS.

Coach Bornman on Rodriguez Jr.: “Jose is a very versatile player that we can utilize in many different ways. We are excited to have him used in all facets of our offense and get the ball in his hands so he can make the explosive plays that he made in high school.”

Lewe Sessions | DL | Leesburg, Va. | Riverside HS

Notes: 2-year starter… 22 tackles, seven sacks and 10 quarterback hurries during his last season.

Coach Spearman on Sessions: “Lewe is a young man with a high ceiling. I personally believe that we found a diamond and I’m excited about having the opportunity to coach him because he will make an immediate impact on our pass rush.”

Derrick Smith | DB | Lawrenceville, Ga. | Mountain View HS

Notes: 3-year starter… 170 total tackles… eight tackles for loss… six sacks… three interceptions… eight forced fumbles… All-Region selection… All-Gwinnett County Honorable Mention.

Coach Martin on Smith: “Derrick is the type of person that football coaches refer to as a playmaker. He is great in coverage, excellent at creating takeaways and blitzing off the edge. One of the things that puts Derrick in a class of his own is that he has a knack for blocking kicks.”

Devin Washington | WR | Upper Marlboro, Md. | Henry A. Wise HS

Coach Bornman on Washington: “We are always excited to get a kid out of Wise. Devin is fast, aggressive and gives 100 percent effort in everything he does. Not only can Devin beat a man with speed but he also has a NASTY stiff arm that’ll send opponents flying!”

Timothy Welsh | DL | Owings Mills, Md. | Newtown HS

Notes: 89 total tackles (46 solo)… Eight sacks and four tackles for a loss… Forced four fumbles.

Coach Spearman on Welsh: “I’m excited to get another young man from a great Baltimore high school. He’s a respectful, hardworking and dedicated young man in the classroom and on the field. I look forward to the problems he will cause for offensive coordinators in this conference.”

Amani Woods | RB | Charlottesville, Va. | St. Anne’s-Belfield School

Notes: 1,369 rushing yards… 20 total touchdowns… 2-time First Team All-State selection… First Team All Central Virginia in 2019… Second Team All Central Virginia in 2018.

Coach Hopgood on Amani Woods: “Amani is a vertical runner that has a nose for the endzone. With his one cut mentality and ability to change gears, I am excited to see him mesh with our already talented room!”

Donovan Woods | DB | Matthews, N.C. | Butler HS

Notes: All-Conference selection… Three interceptions… 11 pass breakups… 30 total tackles (seven for loss). 

Coach Martin on Donovan Woods: “Donovan is a long rangy cornerback that transitions very well when exploding to the football. His length enables him to cover taller receivers to help neutralize the deep ball threat. The sky is the limit for this young man and we are excited to get him on the football field.”

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