Football Announces 2012 National Signing Day Class (With Video Interview)

Football Announces 2012 National Signing Day Class (With Video Interview)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Looking to replace his first true senior class, Lake Erie College head football coach Mark McNellie began restocking the program with the signing of 16 student-athletes to letters of intent on National Signing Day Wednesday (Feb. 1).  The 16 signees represent the first members of the Storm 2012 recruiting class.

"We feel this is our best recruiting class ever, one that is deep, talented, versatile and very, very skilled," McNellie said. "We turned away some guys who in the past would have been at the top of our list. Very excited about how it turned out."

The Storm took advantage of its location within one of the nation's high school football hotbeds as 13 players come from within the state of Ohio, including 10 from Northeast Ohio.  Three players are from out of state, representing Indiana, West Virginia and Florida. 

There are 10 players committed to the Storm's spread-wing offense, including a pair of quarterbacks, two lineman and six skilled position players, while three others are expected to take a spot in the defensive front or backfield. Another three are listed as "athletes" who can play outside on both sides of the ball.
"As a staff, we are trying to go out and find people who are good fits for Lake Erie College," McNellie added. "We are young enough as a program where we can address some needs and areas of concern, but more so we try to get the best possible athlete.  We think we struck gold with a couple of guys who play a number of positions. The more versatility guys have definitely helps us in the fall with limited travel roster size and things like that. We are lucky we found some great athletes who fortunately have some experience at a number of positions."
The Storm won its final two games of 2011 but loses 27 seniors, including five all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference players.  However, Lake Erie is expected to return 41 letterwinners next season.
Lake Erie opens the 2012 campaign against traditional nonconference rival Gannon University in Erie, Pa. on Thursday night, Aug. 30.
Additional student-athletes will be announced at a later date once they are cleared for release through the Department of Athletics' compliance office.
LAKE ERIE COLLEGE 2012 FOOTBALL SIGNING DAY COMMITMENTS 
 

Name

Cl.

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Hometown/High School/Previous School

Evan Adams

Fr.

ATH

5-8

165

North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton

John Banyasz

Fr.

QB

6-3

207

Columbia Station, Ohio/Columbia

Anthony Bilal

Fr.

RB

5-7

165

Painesville, Ohio/Riverside

Dan Cunningham

Fr.

WR

6-2

190

Independence, Ohio/Holy Name

Brandon Davis

Fr.

DB

6-1

180

Lorain, Ohio/Lorain

Xavier Dowdell

Fr.

DB

6-1

170

Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville

Tyler Eden

Fr.

QB

6-3

220

Mentor, Ohio/University School

Drew Ervin

Fr.

RB

6-0

220

Wellston, Ohio/Jackson

Richard Graves

Fr.

WB

5-8

165

Kent, Ohio/Kent Roosevelt

Tom Johnston

Fr.

OL

6-6

260

Carmel, Ind./Guerin Catholic

Tyson McNelly

Fr.

DB

5-11

175

Jackson, Ohio/Jackson

Aturo Morgan

Fr.

ATH

6-1

165

Lakewood, Ohio/Lakewood

Almonte Patrick

Fr.

OL

6-3

245

Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights

Courtney Pinkston

Fr.

WB

5-10

170

Ocala, Fla./West Port

Matt Romanello

Fr.

ATH

5-10

170

Peterstown, W.Va./James Monroe

Zaide Whitley

Fr.

WB

6-0

180

Portsmouth, Ohio/Portsmouth

 

Evan Adams
Athlete (5-8, 165 lbs.)
North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton

Three-year letterman at North Royalton High School… led Bears in both receptions and receiving yards.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Evan plays equally well at running back and the slot receiver. He has shown great ability to make big plays and will be a threat as a receiver coming out of backfield."
High School Highlight Reel

 




John Banyasz
Quarterback (6-3, 207 lbs.)
Columbia Station, Ohio/Columbia

Four-year starting quarterback at Columbia High School… was a two-time first-team All-Patriot Athletic Conference and all-county performer… threw for over 5,000 yards in his career… as a senior was named Lorain County Offensive Player of the Year, first-team all-district and third-team All-Ohio… threw for over 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns his final season… led team to playoffs as a junior when he threw for over 1,600 yards and 23 touchdowns… also played basketball at Columbia.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "John is a great athlete who has started at quarterback for four years in high school.  He brings and element of speed to the position while still having an accurate arm. We are excited for him to jump into the competition at quarterback in the fall."
High School Highlight Reel


Anthony Bilal
Running Back (5-7, 165 lbs.)
Painesville, Ohio/Riverside

Three year varsity player at nearby Riverside High School… as a senior earned first-team All-Premier Athletic Conference and All-Lake County honors on offense as he scored 10 total touchdowns… also received honorable mention all-district and was named to the News-Herald All-Star First Team… also runs track. 

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Anthony is a slasher and speedster at tailback who also excels in the return game.  He's a local product that we have had our eye on for a long time and we couldn't be more excited to keep Anthony in Painesville."
High School Highlight Reel


Dan Cunningham
Receiver (6-2, 190 lbs.)
Independence, Ohio/Holy Name

Three-year varsity starter and letterman at Holy Name High School… scored 19 career touchdowns receiving and returning… named first-team All-North Coast Conference and second-team all-district as a senior… winner of "Namer Award" as Holy Name's most valuable player.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Dan is a tall, long receiver that is a homerun threat. He runs extremely well for a receiver with his size. Will present match-up problems for smaller defensive backs."
High School Highlight Reel


Brandon Davis
Defensive Back (6-1, 180 lbs.)
Lorain, Ohio/Lorain

Named first-team All-Lorain County and second-team All-Morning Journal Team… was also third team all-district as a senior at Lorain High School… selected to play in North-South All-Star Game… also a member of basketball and track teams.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Brandon had the most athletic workout we saw this year. He has the potential to be a star on either side of the ball. Playing in North-South game this year after completing just his first year of football is an indication of the potential he has. Brandon has Size, speed and ball skills, he possesses the whole package.
High School Highlight Reel


Xaiver Dowdell
Defensive Back (6-1, 170 lbs.)
Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville

Started at safety at traditional Cleveland power Glenville High School.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Xavier is a downhill defender from the safety position. He has a nose for the football. Expect him to show up at the point of attack and make plays. He comes from a traditionally strong program that makes us better in the secondary right now."
High School Highlight Reel


Tyler Eden
Quarterback (6-3, 220 lbs.)
Mentor, Ohio/University School

Two-year starter at quarterback at University School… threw for over 40 touchdowns in his career and rushed for 17 more… as a senior named first-team all-district after throwing for 25 touchdowns and running for 10 more.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Tyler possesses great size and athletic ability and was a guy targeted by a lot of schools.  He has the potential to break a game open with his legs or his arm. We are extremely excited for him to get involved in our quarterback competition."
High School Highlight Reel

 




Drew Ervin
Running Back (6-0, 220 lbs.)
Wellston, Ohio/Jackson

Four-year varsity performer in both football and track at Jackson High School… as a senior was named co-Player of the Year in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League after leading team to undefeated regular season and regional semifinal appearance and was picked for the annual North-South All-Star Game… two-time All-SEOAL pick and a three-time league All-Academic selection… all-district first team and All-Ohio honorable mention accolades as well… regional sprint finalist in track as well. 

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Drew brings an element of size and power to the tailback position.  He can run through, over, and by defenders on every carry.  He also was an outstanding linebacker in high school and has the ability to contribute in multiple ways."
High School Highlight Reel


Richard Graves
Wing Back (5-8, 165)
Kent, Ohio/Kent Roosevelt

A two-time all-conference receiver and athlete at Kent Roosevelt High School… named first-team All-Portage Trail Conference and all-district as a senior and also received third-team All-Ohio recognition… named team most valuable player in 2011.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Flat out, he's a game breaker.  Richard scores touchdowns from the backfield, from the slot and from the wide receiver position.  He has the ability to make guys miss in space and the speed to pull away from defenders. He's a very explosive threat with the ball in his hands."
High School Highlight Reel


Tom Johnston
Offensive Line (6-6, 260 lbs.)
Carmel, Ind./Guerin Catholic

Two-year varsity player at Guerin Catohlic… served as a team captain on regional championship team.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Tom is a big and powerful offensive lineman with a mean streak. He has only played two years of football, but his size and tools suggest that his best football is still out in front of him. Tom will get better with each snap that he takes."
High School Highlight Reel


Tyson McNelly
Defensive Back (5-11, 175 lbs.)
Jackson, Ohio/Jackson

Threee-year varsity player at Jackson High School where he holds single season and career records for catches, yards and touchdowns… earned first-team All-Southeast Ohio Athletic League and all-district honors as a senior and was honorable mention All-Ohio after helping Ironmen to undefeated regular season and regional semifinal appearance… also earned all-region honorable mention and was named Academic All-SEOAL twice… also plays basketball at Jackson.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "We were attracted to Tyler for more than just his great last name.  He's another top athlete that could play well on either side of the ball. He will be counted upon to bring help to the secondary, and we feel like he could play both safety and corner very well."
High School Highlight Reel


Aturo Morgan
Athlete (6-1, 165 lbs.)
Lakewood, Ohio/Lakewood

Three-year starter at quarterback at Lakewood High School… as a senior was named first-team All-Southwestern Conference and honorable mention all-region… displayed great versatility by scoring touchdowns via pass, run and kick return.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Arturo is another highly athletic skill guy who plugs in on either side of the ball.  He has clip after clip of athletic highlights full of big plays.  Outstanding jumping ability and ball skills set him apart from competition."
High School Highlight Reel




Almonte Patrick
Offensive Lineman (6-3, 245 lbs.)
Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights

Three-year varsity player and two-year starter at Maple Heights High School… played on team that made three playoff appearances, including a pair of state championship game appearances… started at left tackle for 2010 state championship team and played at center as a senior… also a state-qualifying and placing wrestler who is expected to compete at heavyweight on the mat for the Storm.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Almonte is a physical presence on the offensive line. He can play both center and tackle. His dominating heavyweight wresting skills carry over to make him a force on the football field."




Courtney "C.J." Pinkston
Wing Back (5-10, 170 lbs.)
Ocala, Fla./West Port

Enrolled at Lake Erie for spring semester… was a first-team all-conference and All-Marion County selection as a senior at West Port High School.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "C.J. is a speedster from the Sunshine state.  He can play multiple offensive positions and is a threat to go the distance on every touch.  He can also provide lockdown ability defensively at the corner position.  We are excited to see what he can bring to the table this spring."
High School Highlight Reel


Matt Romanello
Athlete (5-10, 170 lbs.)
Peterstown, W. Va./James Monroe

Honorable mention All-West Virginia selection at running back at James Monroe High School… served as a team captain… also a member of the track team.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Matt is another multi-talented skill player that could line up in almost every position and make big plays. He possesses great vision and is outstanding broken field runner."
High School Highlight Reel


Zaide Whitley
Wing Back (6-0, 180 lbs.)
Portsmouth, Ohio/Portsmouth

Versatile performer who played six different positions at Portsmouth High School… earned first-team All-Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, all-district and all-area honors as a senior and was named honorable mention All-Ohio.

Coach McNellie's comments:  "Zaide proved to be a game breaker on both offense and in the return game.  He brings pure speed while having more size than a lot of skill guys.  He played a physical brand of football on the defensive side of the ball that will translate great to the skill positions."
High School Highlight Reel

 

-LEC-