GREENSBORO, February 5, 2014 – Three-year starter Lewis Kindle played his last snap at quarterback for North Carolina A&T on Nov. 23, 2013, leaving open the inquiry of who will be the Aggies quarterback of the future.
Head coach Rod Broadway and his staff addressed that need and many others on National Signing Day with national letters of intent from 16 future Aggies, including three new quarterbacks. The Aggies also signed four defensive backs, three linebackers, two wide receivers, a defensive lineman, offensive lineman, running back and long snapper.
“Compared to where we were three years ago in terms of talent and in terms of numbers, we’re excited about this class” said A&T head coach Rod Broadway. “We met our needs, and we brought in a bunch of young men who can really run. We’re becoming a very fast football team.”
A&T’s quarterback signees are Frank Foster (6-foot, 200, Valhalla HS, El Cajon, Calif.), Hasaan Klugh (6-3, 185, Central Cabarras, Concord, N.C.) and Lamar Raynard (6-5, 190, Andrews, High Point, N.C.). A&T decided to bring in some experience at the quarterback position with signing of Foster. Foster attended Southwestern College for two years where he threw for 2,338 yards and 18 touchdowns, while completing 63 percent of his passes in 2013. He was also second in the American Mountain Conference with 10 rushing touchdowns, and earned second-team All-AMC honors.
Klugh played in the 2013 Shrine Bowl that features the best high school players from North Carolina against the best from South Carolina. He is a two-time All-South Piedmont selection and compiled 2,387 yards and 34 touchdowns in total offense in 2013. Klugh earned 885 of those yards on the ground as he scored 11 rushing touchdowns.
Raynard completed 61 percent of his passes and threw for 2,168 yards and 29 touchdowns. Raynard led Andrews to an 18-14 win over Monroe in the NCHSAA 2-AA state title game with a 38-yard touchdown pass with 1:02 remaining in the contest. The game-winning drive occurred even though Andrews did not have a timeout.
“Our plan going in was to get one older quarterback and two younger ones,” said Broadway. “I thought we picked up some talented players at that position.”
At the defensive back position the Aggies signed Tyshawn Siders (5-9, 175, Jacksonville HS, Jacksonville, N.C.), Timadre Abram (5-10, 165, Kathleen HS, Lakeland, Fla.), Amos Williams (5-8, 180, Walton HS, DeFuniak Springs, Fla.) and Jamaal Darden (5-10, 185, Hoke County HS, Raeford, N.C.).
Siders intercepted five passes and returned two for touchdowns in 2013. He also returned a kick and caught a pass for a touchdown. He was a two-sport star at Jacksonville High School, earning All-Coastal 3-A honors three times in track and field and once in football. His personal-best in the 100 meters is 10.47 and 21.3 in the 200 meters.
Abram played four varsity seasons under head coach Irving Strickland. In 2013 he intercepted four passes, had eight passes defended and 42 tackles. He is a two-time All-Polk County performer and earned honorable mention accolades from the Florida Athletic Coaches Association. His cousin is Florida State starting fullback Chad Abram and his father played at Grambling State.
Williams played four varsity seasons under head coach Jimmy Raye Stephens. As a quarterback, he threw for 1,200 yards and rushed for 800. He was honorable mention all-state in Florida and honorable mention All-Panhandle. Darden rushed for 495 yards and five touchdowns and made 92 tackles defensively. The three sports star – football, wrestling and track and field – earned All-Southeastern 4A Conference honors twice in football.
Deion Jones (6-1, 230, South Point HS, Belmont, N.C.), Joshua Patrick (6-0, 230, Southwest Dekalb HS, Decatur, Ga.), Courtney Edmonds (6-3, 200, Graham HS, Graham, N.C.) are the linebackers of the class. Jones is a two-time All-Big South performer and was named All-Gaston Gazette after the 2013 season. His 211 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, four interceptions and 11 passes defended helped South Point to a 13-1 record and spot in the state 3-A quarterfinals.
Patrick initially signed with Memphis out of Southwest Dekalb where he was named first-team All-Region 6 5-A after recording 79 solo tackles, 10 tackles for loss and two sacks. He also intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and scored two touchdowns. He was a Dekalb County All-Star as a senior. Edmonds made 73 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and intercepted three passes in 2013. On offense, he caught 21 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns.
Broadway expressed excitement about the group of wide receivers the Aggies signed. Khris Gardin (5-8, 160, Freedom HS, Morganton, N.C.) and Malik Wilson (6-0, 175, Eastern Alamance HS, Burlington, N.C.) will add speed to the Aggies offense. Gardin caught 55 passes for 1,033 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2013. Eight of his touchdowns were of 50 yards or more as he was named News Herald Burke County Player of the Year. He set school records with 143 receptions, 2,512 yards and 32 touchdowns in his career.
Wilson made 38 receptions for 782 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The previous season, he had 34 receptions for 849 yards and 15 touchdowns. He set the school’s single-season record for total touchdowns with 18 as a junior.
Defensive lineman Julian McKnight (6-3, 275, Rockdale County HS, Conyers, Ga.), offensive lineman Shawn Best (6-3, 320, New Bern HS, New Bern, N.C.), running back Marquell Cartwright (5-9, 190, Andrews, High Point, N.C.) and long snapper Austin Venable (5-10, 220, Southern Guilford, Greensboro, N.C.) round out the class.
McKnight had 44 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior. He was first-team All-Region 2 6-A and first-team All-Rockdale County. McKnight was also selected to the National Underclassmen All-South Classic All-Star and the Florida vs. Georgia High School All-Star Games.
Best was selected to play in the 2013 Shrine Bowl. He can bench press 365 pounds and graded out at 90 percent for the season, tops at New Bern High School. Cartwright carried the ball 233 times for 2,650 yards and 38 touchdowns. Was named Mr. 2-A Football” by North Carolina Preps and was selected to the Shrine Bowl. He was named state championship game MVP after leading Andrews to the 2-AA title over Monroe.
Venable will look to come in and replace two-year Aggies long snapper Aaron Massey.
“We had a plan going in and we decided to stick with that plan,” said Broadway. “Sometimes when you stick with your plan, you miss out on some outstanding players. And we miss out on some great players, but I think it’s important to fill the positions you need and we did that. It’s a really good class.”