MARTIN, Tenn. – A total of 20 players inked a National Letter of Intent to join the University of Tennessee at Martin football program, head coach Jason Simpson announced at a press conference at the Boling University Center in conjunction with National Signing Day this afternoon.
“You’re always excited when quality student athletes want to be a part of your program,” said Simpson, who in 2013 wrapped up his fifth winning season in eight years at the helm of the Skyhawk program. “Our needs were on the defensive side of the ball, specifically the defensive backfield. We feel like we addressed our needs. We’re excited about the kids we have here now and the future of our program – you win championships by stockpiling talent.”
The aforementioned 20 players, in addition to seven signees who joined the program on Mid-Year Signing Day in December, were highlighted in short video clips with analysis from Simpson at the press conference.
Overall, Simpson and his coaching staff added 11 players on offense and 16 players on defense. The UT Martin coaching staff signed 11 players from the state of Tennessee, eight players from Mississippi, two players each out of Alabama, Florida and Illinois, and one player from both Missouri and Pennsylvania.
Simpson boasts a 52-39 record in his Skyhawk tenure and is the winningest active coach in the Ohio Valley Conference.
2014 UT Martin Football Signees
(listed alphabetically by last name)
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown (Previous School)
Drew Allen OL 6-4 320 Fr. Belleville, Ill. (Freeburg HS)
Nick Allen OL 6-6 275 Fr. Belleville, Ill. (Belleville West HS)
Shauntez Ball DB 6-1 185 Jr. Flora, Miss. (Pearl River CC)
Logan Burns DB 6-0 190 Fr. Nashville, Tenn. (Hillsboro HS)
Nicholas Dance* LB 5-11 210 R-Jr. Nashville, Tenn. (Western Michigan)
Reuben Duckworth* RB 5-11 210 R-Jr. Mount Olive, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Jabari Dunham QB 6-3 205 Fr. Eustis, Fla. (Leesburg HS)
Tyler Eddings WR 5-10 180 Fr. Shelbyville, Tenn. (Central HS)
Mark Garrett OL 6-5 340 Fr. Selma, Ala. (Selma HS)
James Gilleylen LB 6-2 220 Fr. Tupelo, Miss. (Tupelo HS)
LaKeem Goode DB 6-2 205 Jr. St. Louis, Mo. (Rochester CTC)
Taylor Higgason* WR 6-1 195 Jr. Petal, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Andrew Horton-Martindale DB 6-1 190 Fr. Antioch, Tenn. (Cane Ridge HS)
CJ McElrath LB 6-3 225 Fr. Decaturville, Tenn. (Riverside HS)
Jay Murphy DT 6-4 335 Fr. Lewisburg, Tenn. (Marshall County HS)
Kyle Naes OL 6-4 295 Fr. Bartlett, Tenn. (Memphis Univ. School)
Tyriq Patrick* WR 6-3 200 R-Jr. Philadelphia, Miss. (Memphis)
Jeremy Pyles DL 6-5 220 Jr. Oxford, Ala. (East Central CC)
Kevin Reid DB 6-1 185 Fr. Clarksville, Tenn. (Northeast HS)
Shante Rogers* WR 6-0 200 Jr. Fulton, Miss. (Itawamba CC)
Manny Stocker* QB 6-1 210 R-So. Coatesville, Pa. (North Carolina State)
Porter Streator III S 6-0 190 Fr. Nashville, Tenn. (Hillsboro HS)
Julian Thompson-Clay LB 6-5 225 Fr. Clarksville, Tenn. (Rossview HS)
Kel Thurmon DL 6-5 345 Jr. Raleigh, Miss. (Hinds CC)
Garrett Wall LB 6-2 210 Fr. Fairview, Tenn. (Fairview HS)
Jaquille White* DB 6-2 190 Jr. West Point, Miss. (NE Mississippi CC)
Terrell White DB 5-11 175 Jr. Orlando, Fla. (NW Mississippi CC)
*Signed during Mid-Year Signing Day in December
Drew Allen, OL, 6-4, 320, Fr., Belleville, Ill. (Freeburg HS)
Prepped at Freeburg High School under head coach Ronnie Stuart…Was named a first team all-area offense selection and also a first team all-conference offense selection in 2013…Also played on the defensive side of the ball, racking up 29 tackles (20 solo) to go along with a fumble recovery…Was a 2013 honorable mention all-state honoree…Named the 2013 St. Louis NUL Lineman MVP.
Nick Allen, OL, 6-6, 275, Fr., Belleville, Ill. (Belleville West HS)
Played for head coach Cameron Pettus at Belleville West High School, where the Maroons went 7-3 overall in 2013…Anchored both lines, earning 2013 Belleville News-Democrat All-City and all-area accolades for his work on the offensive line…Was also named a first team All-Southwestern conference offensive tackle in 2013.
Shauntez Ball, DB, 6-1, 185, Jr., Flora, Miss. (Pearl River CC)
Played at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Miss., where he played for head coach William Jones alongside current Skyhawk players Dylan Favre and Leon Carlton III…Played in nine games in 2013, tallying 21 tackles, two tackles for loss, two interceptions and four pass breakups…Both of his season interceptions came in the same game (at Coahoma on Sept. 19)…Represented the South squad in the annual 2013 MACJC All-Star Football Classic…Played in six games in 2012, recording 18 tackles and four pass breakups…Prepped at Madison Central High School, where he played for head coach Bobby Hall…Helped lead the Jaguars to an 11-3 record in 2011, the same season he was named a Class 6A first team all-state defender by the Memphis Commercial Appeal…Was also named a 2011 all-metro first team defensive back by the Clarion-Ledger…Racked up 96 tackles (86 solo), six interceptions and 43 passes defended in his final two years of high school…Played on the North team in the 63rd Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic in 2011.
Logan Burns, DB, 6-0, 190, Fr., Nashville, Tenn. (Hillsboro HS)
Prepped at Hillsboro High School under head coach Craig Clayton…Helped guide the Burros to the second round of the playoffs in 2013, finishing with a 6-6 overall record while competing in District 12-AAA…Despite an injury, he totaled 20 tackles, eight pass breakups and one interception while adding four receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown during an all-district campaign as a junior.
Nicholas Dance, LB, 5-11, 211, R-Jr., Nashville, Tenn. (Western Michigan)
Transfers to UT Martin from Western Michigan University, a Football Bowl Subdivision school located in Kalamazoo, Mich….Played for head coach PJ Fleck as the Broncos competed in the Mid-American Conference…Saw playing time in five games in 2013, making his collegiate debut against Iowa on Sept. 21…Did not play in 2012 because of an injury…Redshirted during the 2011 season…Enjoyed a standout career at Pearl-Cohn High School, where he played for head coach Tony Brunetti…Racked up 208 tackles, 18 sacks, five interceptions and three fumble recoveries in his final two seasons for the Firebirds…Also had 703 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns during that same span…Was a two-time all-metro and all-district selection…Was named the district defensive MVP in 2010 and was also the all-metro Class 3A-4A defensive MVP…Helped PCHS advance to the state semifinals in 2007 after the Firebirds won regional and district championships that same season…First cousin Lamar Divens has been a member of the Baltimore Ravens since 2008.
Rueben Duckworth, RB, 5-11, 210, R-Jr., Mt. Olive, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Played for legendary head coach Ray Perkins at Jones County Junior College, located in Ellisville, Miss., where he played alongside current Skyhawk linebacker Devontay Barnett and fellow UT Martin signee Taylor Higgason...Finished sixth in the nation with 1,084 rushing yards on 184 rushing attempts while leading the state with 16 total touchdowns in 2012…Was an NJCAA honorable mention All-American and was named the MACJC South Division Most Valuable Back…Also named first team MACJC South Division and a Mississippi All-Region 23 selection…Played the 2011 season at Alcorn State University, a Football Championship Subdivision school located in Lorman, Miss. that competes in the Southwestern Athletic Conference…Played in eight games for head coach Melvin Spears, tallying 161 rushing yards on 41 carries and 43 receiving yards on seven catches…Had a career-high 12 carries and 59 rushing yards on Sept. 17 against Mississippi Valley State…Was a standout two-way player at Mount Olive High School under head coach Sonny Magee, leading MOHS to back-to-back state titles in 2009-10…Rushed for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another score in the Pirates’ 20-14 victory over Durant in the Mississippi 1A state championship game in 2010…Also made a crucial interception in the end zone during the fourth quarter of the title game…State championship capped off an 11-4 season in which Mount Olive became the first 1A school to repeat as state champions since 1996-97…Is the cousin of former Skyhawk football players Jason McNair and Julius McNair.
Jabari Dunham, QB, 6-3, 205, Fr., Eustis, Fla. (Leesburg HS)
Was a dual threat quarterback at Leesburg High School for head coach Randy Trivers…Led LHS to an 8-4 record and deep playoff run in 2013…Captured 2013 District MVP honors after completing 66 percent of his passes, tallying 2,193 passing yards and 22 passing touchdowns while also rushing for 423 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground…Tossed four touchdown passes in the Yellow Jackets’ 35-7 win over Lake Minneola in the 2013 Class 6A-District 10 championship game…Ranked No. 8 on the Orlando Sentinel Top 10 Central Florida high school quarterbacks list going into his senior year…Named all-district in back-to-back seasons (2012 and 2013).
Tyler Eddings, WR, 5-10, 180, Fr., Shelbyville, Tenn. (Shelbyville Central HS)
Played at Shelbyville Central High School under head coach Jason Hardy…Helped lead the Golden Eagles to an 8-4 overall mark and District 8-AAA championship in 2013, their first district title in almost 20 years…Amassed 1,677 all-purpose yards in the last three years of his high school career, including 1,002 yards in his junior year alone…Caught 54 passes for 966 yards and 11 touchdowns from 2011-13…Overall scored 16 touchdowns in his prep career…Was the first-ever Shelbyville Central player selected to play in the 2013 East/West All-Star Game in Cookeville, Tenn., where he captured Defensive Player of the Game accolades after securing an interception and big tackle for loss on fourth down during a crucial West drive…Was named the Tullahoma News Lakeway Player of the Year…Also made 54 tackles during his sophomore and junior years combined.
Mark Garrett, OL, 6-5, 340, Fr., Selma, Ala. (Selma HS)
Prepped at Selma High School for head coach Leroy Miles…Played right tackle on the offensive line and nose guard on the defensive line for the Saints…Earned all-county all-star accolades in both 2012 and 2013.
James Gilleylen, LB, 6-2, 220, Fr., Tupelo, Miss. (Tupelo HS)
Helped lead Tupelo High School to a 13-2 overall record in 2013…Playing for head coach Trent Hammond, Gilleylen made 106 tackles at inside linebacker for the Golden Wave, who advanced to the MHSAA Class 6A state championship game, the first time a Tupelo team had went to the title game in 21 years…Was named the North team’s Bill Stewart Award winner of the 65th Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic which took part at Gulfport High School…Was named a third team all-state honoree by 247Sports…Earned all-region first team accolades in 2012 and 2013 and was named runner up for region’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
LaKeem Goode, DB, 6-2, 205, Jr., St. Louis, Mo. (Rochester Community and Technical College)
Joins the Skyhawks out of Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, Minn., where he played for head coach Bill Quistorff…Helped the Yellowjackets to a 10-2 record and a No. 7 national ranking in 2013…Played in three games in 2013 but tallied 11 tackles, five interceptions and three pass breakups…Recorded at least one interception in every game, including a remarkable three-interception game in a 27-14 win over Central Lakes-Brainerd in the MCAC state championship game…Returned one of his three interceptions for a touchdown in the aforementioned title game…Was named NJCAA National Defensive Player of the Week for his Week 12 effort against Central Lakes-Brainerd…Prepped at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights, Mo., playing for head coach Steve Smith…Was a second team All-Suburban North League performer when he tallied 93 tackles (54 solo) and had an interception while leading the Pirates to a 7-4 record and playoff appearance during his junior season in 2010.
Taylor Higgason, WR, 6-1, 195, Jr., Petal, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Played for the legendary head coach Ray Perkins at Jones County Junior College, located in Ellisville, Miss….Recorded 12 receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2013…Had a season-best 72 receiving yards and a touchdown on only two catches on Nov. 9 at East Mississippi Community College…Was named Keith Daniels South Offensive MVP of the 2013 MACJC All-Star Game after hauling in a game-high five receptions for 77 yards…Started in five games for the Bobcats in 2012 before he was sidelined with an injury…Tallied 21 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown as a freshman…Prepped at Petal High School under head coach Steve Buckley…Was an all-area, all-region and all-district selection for the Panthers…Tallied 20 receptions, 700 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches during his senior season.
Andrew Horton-Martindale, DB, 6-1, 190, Fr., Antioch, Tenn. (Cane Ridge HS)
Prepped at Cane Ridge High School, where he played for head coach Jonathan Parks…Was named a 2013 all-metro and all-city selection after helping guide the Ravens to a 6-5 overall record and playoff berth…Was selected to play in the Toyota East/West All-Star Game, which was played in Cookeville…Helped guide the Ravens to an 8-3 record and playoff appearance in 2012.
CJ McElrath, LB, 6-3, 225, Fr., Decaturville, Tenn. (Riverside HS)
Played linebacker and tight end at Riverside High School for head coach Jeff Robertson…Accounted for a pair of touchdown runs in Riverside’s 27-20 season-opening win over Wayne County…Played on the South team in the second annual West Tennessee All-Star Game played on Dec. 14 at Liberty Tech High School in Jackson, Tenn….Was a reliable red zone target for the Panthers as a junior, hauling in five touchdowns.
Jay Murphy, DT, 6-4, 335, Fr., Lewisburg, Tenn. (Marshall County HS)
Prepped at Marshall County High School under head coach Aaron Pitts, where he was an anchor on both the defensive and offensive lines…Was named a first team All-District 12 AA defensive lineman by the Tennessean and was named the 2013 District 12 AA Lineman of the Year by the Columbia Daily Herald…Helped the Tigers to a playoff berth during his junior season.
Kyle Naes, OL, 6-4, 295, Fr., Bartlett, Tenn. (Memphis University School)
Attended Memphis University School, where he played left tackle under head coach Bobby Alston…Helped the Owls to a 10-3 overall record and a playoff berth in 2013 and a 10-3 record in 2012…Was named to the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s second team Division 2-AA West all-region offense in 2013…Participated in the 2013 AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School Football All-Star Game.
Tyriq Patrick, WR, 6-3, 200, R-Jr., Philadelphia, Miss. (Memphis)
Comes to UT Martin from the University of Memphis, a Football Bowl Subdivision school coached by Justin Fuente…Did not see playing time in 2013 due to injury…Saw time in seven games in the 2012 season before suffering a season-ending injury…Had three catches on the season (two for 11 yards at Duke on Sept. 22 and one for 10 yards against Central Florida on Oct. 20)…Redshirted in 2011…Helped lead Philadelphia High School to a combined 32-6 record under head coach Teddy Dyess…Was rated a three-star wide receiver recruit by Rivals.com…Recorded 42 receptions for 524 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior in 2010 for a run-oriented offense that featured a pair of 1,000 yard running backs…Best game of the season came against South Leake, when he had five receptions for 91 yards and three touchdowns…Led the Tornadoes to a 12-1 record and second round appearance in the state playoffs…Received an invitation to the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Classic following his senior season…Accumulated 40 catches for 587 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior, also tallying 34 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery on defense…Set a record with a 109-yard interception return against Mize as a sophomore in 2008.
Jeremy Pyles, DL, 6-5, 220, Jr., Oxford, Ala. (East Central CC)
Transfers to UT Martin from East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss….Played under head coach Ken Karcher…Had a season-best five tackles at Hinds Community College on Sept. 26…Spent the 2012 season playing at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif. for head coach Garett Tujague…Played in five games, making six tackles with two sacks, three tackles for loss and a pass breakup…Prepped at Oxford High School…Helped the Yellowjackets reach the state playoffs and make their first-ever appearance in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A state semifinals in 2011.
Kevin Reid, DB, 6-1, 185, Fr., Clarksville, Tenn. (Northeast HS)
Attended Northeast High School in Clarksville, Tenn., where he played for head coach Isaac Shelby…Helped lead the Eagles to a 9-4 record and a playoff berth in 2013…Earned 2013 Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle/Legends Bank all-area and all-region accolades after tallying 40 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defended and six blocked kicks…Was selected to the USA Football U17 National Team in 2012.
Shante Rogers, WR, 6-0, 200, Jr., Fulton, Miss. (Itawamba CC)
Was part of a resurgence of the Itawamba Community College football program…Playing under head coach Jon Williams, the Indians concluded the 2013 campaign with a 6-4 record and 4-2 mark in the MACJC North division, earning their first playoff appearance since 2007…Hauled in 27 receptions for 572 yards with five touchdowns in 10 games in 2013…Had three straight 100-plus yard receiving games from Oct. 12 through Oct. 24, including season-highs of six receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns at Coahoma Community College on Oct. 12…Caught three passes for 21 yards as a freshman in 2012…Prepped at Itawamba Agricultural High School, where he played under head coach Ashley Kuhn…Helped guide the Indians to a 2010 division championship after he was named first team all-division in back-to-back seasons.
Manny Stocker, QB, 6-1, 210, R-So., Coatesville, Pa. (North Carolina State)
Transfers from North Carolina State University, a Football Bowl Subdivision school located in Raleigh, NC who competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference…Entered the 2013 season as the backup quarterback on the depth chart for head coach Dave Doeren…Saw playing time in five games as a freshman in 2012 as the backup to current Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Mike Glennon…Rushed three times for 32 yards against Wake Forest on Nov. 10…Was a standout prep signal caller at Coatesville Area High School for head coach Matt Ortega, where he played alongside current Skyhawk wide receiver Kyle Kerrick…Passed for nearly 2,000 yards with 20 touchdowns and rushed for another 10 touchdowns during his senior season, when he led his team to a 9-3 record and the District 1 Class AAAA quarterfinals…Took part in the Under Armour Elite Top 25 Quarterback Showcase before his senior campaign.
Porter Streator III, S, 6-0, 190, Fr., Nashville, Tenn. (Hillsboro HS)
Played wide receiver and safety at Hillsboro High School under head coach Craig Clayton…Helped guide the Burros to the second round of the playoffs in 2013, finishing with a 6-6 overall record…Played for the West team in the 2013 East/West All-Star Classic played in Cookeville, Tenn….Was named an All-District 12-AAA honoree while also earning Metro All-City honorable mention honors.
Julian Thompson-Clay, LB, 6-5, 225, Fr., Clarksville, Tenn. (Rossview HS)
Prepped at Rossview High School under head coach Ron Lambert…Playing linebacker and wide receiver, Thompson-Clay helped guide the Hawks to a 9-2 overall record in 2013…Tallied 25 tackles (22 solo), four sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery during his senior season…Combined for 693 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns in his final two seasons at RHS…Earned all-district honors in back-to-back seasons (2012 and 2013).
Kel Thurmon, DL, 6-5, 345, Jr., Raleigh, Miss. (Hinds CC)
Played for head coach Gene Murphy at Hinds Community College in Jackson, Miss….Helped guide the Eagles to a 7-3 overall record and Brazos Valley Bowl appearance in 2013…Tallied eight tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery in eight games in 2013…Made 16 tackles and had a pass breakup in 2012…Had a season-high six tackles against Holmes Community College on Oct. 17…Manned both lines at Raleigh High School, where he played under head coach Durwood Anderson…Garnered Mississippi Gridiron all-state accolades in 2011…Was named the No. 7 offensive lineman prospect in the state of Mississippi by Mississippi Gridiron.
Garrett Wall, LB, 6-2, 210, Fr., Fairview, Tenn. (Fairview HS)
Played for head coach Chris Hughes at Fairview High School…Helped lead the Yellow Jackets to an 11-2 record and TSSAA Class 3A state quarterfinalist berth in 2013…Carried the ball for 11 times for 61 yards and also threw a touchdown pass in the state quarterfinal game…Earned 2013 Class 3A all-state accolades at linebacker by the Memphis Commercial Appeal…Also was named to the 2013 Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state defensive team for Class 3A…Chalked up Super Region accolades for District 12-AA by the Columbia Daily Herald…Was selected to play in the Toyota East/West All-Star Classic played in Cookeville, Tenn.
Jaquille White, DB, 6-2, 190, Jr., West Point, Miss. (Northeast Mississippi CC)
Spent the last two seasons at Northeast Mississippi Community College, located in Booneville, Miss….Played under head coach Ricky Smither, where he tallied 13 tackles (12 solo) with a pair of pass breakups in 2013…Had a season-high five tackles, including two tackles for loss, against Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on Sept. 26…Had four tackles (1.5 for loss) as a freshman in 2012…Prepped at West Point High School under head coach Chris Chambless…Had 32 tackles (24 solo) with four interceptions, 43 passes defended and three blocked kicks in his final two seasons…Was named 2010 5A first team all-state by the Mississippi Association of Coaches…Played in the 2010 North-South All-Star Game, highlighting Mississippi’s best high school players…Helped lead the Green Wave to the 2009 Class 5A state championship.
Terrell White, DB, 5-11, 175, Jr., Orlando, Fla. (Northwest Mississippi CC)
Played for head coaches Ricky Woods and Brad LaPlante at Northwest Mississippi Community College, located in Senatobia, Miss….Racked up 76 tackles (48 solo) to go along with an interception and fumble recovery in 2013…Had four double-digit tackle games, including a season-best 12 tackles against Itawamba on Sept. 28…Helped lead the Rangers to an 8-2 overall record (5-1 conference mark) in 2012, securing a No. 9 national NJCAA rank at the end of the season…Helped NMCC to a victory in the Brazos Valley Bowl, the program’s first bowl victory in 20 years…Played in 10 games as a freshman, tallying 31 tackles (25 solo), one interception and a tackle for loss…Had a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown against Coahoma and tallied a season-best seven tackles against Holmes…Prepped at Edgewater High School under head coach Zac Yarbrough…Guided the Fightin’ Eagles to a 7-4 mark and a playoff appearance as a senior in 2011…Made 70 tackles (54 solo) and accounted for three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, a sack and an interception his senior season.
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