GREENSBORO (February 7, 2018) – North Carolina A&T, the reigning HBCU national champions and the current Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champs, released their Signing Day Class on Wednesday. The Aggies, who are coming off a season where they went 12-0 to become the first Division I HBCU ever to finish undefeated and untied, announced a 15-player class under first-year head coach Sam Washington.
“Winning helps in recruiting but as a coach you always want more,” said Washington. “If I could have gotten more three, four, five-star athletes I would have taken them. But recruiting has been feasible the past few years because of our success.”
N.C. A&T lost four starters along the offensive line following their historic 2017 season including All-American left tackle Brandon Parker and two-time first-team All-MEAC center Darriel Mack. The Aggies also lost one of the best punt returners in Football Championship Subdivision history in Khris Gardin who finished his career second all-time in NCAA history in punt return yards. “We had some voids we needed to fill, and I think we did that in terms of slot receivers, punt return type guys who can take a five-yard hitch and turn it into a 95-yard touchdown,” said Washington.
When it comes to the offensive line, Washington said the Aggies were not so much looking for starters as much as they were looking for depth.
Defensively, Washington pinpointed two key losses that needed immediate attention. Two-time first-team All-MEAC safety/linebacker Jeremy Taylor was the Aggies leading tackler in 2017. He was also someone who made numerous big plays for the Aggies whether it was forcing a fumble or returning an interception for a touchdown. The also lost speedy outside linebacker Marcus Albert who was a third-team All-MEAC selection in 2017.
“It’s going to be hard to replace those guys, but I think we made a pretty good effort. The young men we got in those positions are very good. They are very athletic, very physical and good students,” said Washington. “We’re pleased that we were able to identify some players who can fill their shoes.”
2018 Signing Day Class
Michael Branch, DL, 6-2, 300, Greensboro, NC (Presbyterian College Transfer/SE Guilford HS)
TeVaughn Higgins, ATH, 6-2, 225, Columbia, SC (Lower Richland HS)
KeAndre Jones, LB, 6-0, 240, Columbia, SC (Spring Valley HS)
Lawrence Lagrone, OL, 6-3, 330, Douglasville, Ga. (Douglas HS)
Jah-Maine Martin, RB, 5-11, 210, Conway, SC (Coastal Carolina Transfer/Conway HS)
Justin Nwachukwu, DL, 6-1, 290, Wake Forest, NC (Northern Illinois Transfer/Heritage HS)
Chance Pride, WR, 5-8, 165, Taylors, SC (Eastside HS)
Michael Rivers, PK/P, 6-0, 165, Wilmington, NC (North Brunswick HS)
Zareik Rush, OLB, 6-2, 205, Greensboro, NC (Dudley HS)
Miles Simon, DB, 6-0, 190, Lenoir, NC (Hibriten HS)
Israel Spivey, WR, 5-9, 165, Ellenwood, Ga. (Cedar Grove HS)
Joseph Stuckey, OLB, 6-0, 210, Hillside, NJ (Milford Academy/Hillside HS)
Wizdom Vaughn, WR, 5-10, 170, Wilmington, NC (New Hanover HS)
Chris Williams, LB, 6-1, 225, Laurinburg, NC (Scotland HS)
Tim Williams, OL, 6-3, 300, Laurinburg, NC (Scotland HS)