GREENSBORO - North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway released his initial signees on Wednesday with a heavy concentration on offensive linemen.
The Aggies announced the signing of five offensive linemen and a tight end. They also signed five linebackers, three defensive backs, three wide receivers, three defensive linemen and two running backs. Broadway, who led the Aggies to their first winning season in nine years this past fall, says winning was a big help.
"I was talking to my staff as we were looking at our board," said Broadway. "It's totally different than it was even last year this time with the number of kids we had in our program. We're moving in the right direction, and winning helps. We heard from a number of recruits who said it appeared we had the program moving in the right direction in terms of wins and losses."
The Aggies head into the season without all-time leading rusher Mike Mayhew, but do return four starters along the offensive line, including first-team All-MEAC tackle William Ray Robinson III. Defensively, they return nine players from a defensive thanked ranked No. 2 in Division I-FCS.
"On paper, it's a good class," said Broadway. "We met a lot of our needs. What scares me is, if you listen to all these experts, they say it's not who you sign, but it is your junior and senior class that makes a difference. We're not going to have a junior class, so hopefully these young men can come in, develop and start making an impact early. If they are able to do that, then we will be okay."
The Aggies signees include:
6-0, 205, College Park, Ga.
Banneker High School
He has a 37-inch vertical and a 59-inch swingspan. He rushed for 1,072 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. He made 57 tackles, two interceptions, forced two fumbles, recovered three and had a sack as a junior.
5-10, 170, Charlotte, N.C.
Vance High School
He was named to the All-Mecklenburg County second-team defense. He made four pass breakups, recovered a fumble, caused a fumble and had four sacks as a senior.
5-8, 170, Bunn, N.C.
Cohen rushed for 808 yards, including 252 yards in a playoff win against North Brunswick. He also scored 17 touchdowns and averaged 9.18 yards per carry. He had three touchdown receptions and returned three kicks for touchdowns.
6-6, 330, Norwood, N.C.
He played his high school football at South Stanley. He brings with him tremendous size and strength. He played at Jireh Prep last season, and was one of nine players to earn a Division I scholarship from Jireh last season.
6-2, 190, New Castle, Del.
Fork Union Prep
He originally committed to N.C. State out of high school. He made 30 receptions for 645 yards and eight touchdowns his junior year at New Castle High School. He was ranked among the top-5 players in Delaware as a senior in high school.
6-4, 250, Greensboro, N.C.
Northern Guilford High School
His defensive presence helped Northern Guilford win its third straight Class 3-AA NCHSAA State Championship.
6-0, 200, Jacksonville, N.C.
Northside High School
Johnson was named to the 2012 All-Area team after helping Northside to a 15-1 record. He was also the 2012 All-Area Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1,661 yards and 18 touchdowns.
6-4, 260, Greensboro, N.C.
Hargrave Prep (Va.)
He is the only tight end in the Aggies 2013 class. He attended nearby Grimsley High School and had several offers from Division I institutions.
6-4, 210, Kinston, N.C.
Kinston High School
He made 39 receptions for 646 yards and 13 touchdowns. He led the Kinston Vikings to a 7-5 record. He was an all-conference selection in the Class 2A Eastern Plains conference.
6-0, 180, Auburn, Ala.
Auburn High School
Lockhart made 97 tackles, including 57 solo stops. He had three tackles for loss, four pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries. Offensively, he made 34 receptions for 610 yards and seven touchdowns.
6-4, 280, Marlboro, S.C.
Marlboro County High School
A big aggressive offensive lineman the Aggies had to battle S.C. State and others to sign. He led the way for an offense that averaged 165.8 yards rushing per game and 185.4 yards passing per game. The Marlboro offense also averaged 30.8 points per game.
5-11, 185, Boca Raton, La.
Boca Raton High School
He played quarterback and defensive back at Boca Raton. He possesses tremendous speed and should be an asset in the Aggies defensive backfield.
6-3, 325, Swansboro, N.C.
Swansboro High School
He played center in high school. He led Swansboro to a 7-5 record. He also played defensive line, and was named Max Preps Player of the Week after making nine tackles and an interception.
6-2, 215, Greensboro, N.C.
Grimsley High School
He played at nearby Grimsley. He made 80 solo and 50 assisted tackles with eight sacks and two forced fumbles. He was an all-conference selection.
6-2, 215, Elizabeth City, N.C.
Northeastern High School
Melton earned all-conference honors as a senior. He also made All-Area after making 17 tackles for loss, seven sacks and 79 tackles.
6-7, 275, Kannapolis, N.C.
A.L. Brown High School
Parker led his team to an 8-4 record as a senior. He ranked 46th in the state by Max Preps. His team averaged 287 yards rushing per game, and completed 62.4 percent of its passes.
5-10, 195, Lumberton, N.C.
Lumberton High School
He rushed for 757 yards as a junior. He averaged 4.73 yards per carry and scored eight total touchdowns. He runs a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash.
6-2, 255, Atlanta, Ga.
Grady High School
He was named the conference's Most Outstanding Lineman from 2009-11. He was also a Chick-fil-Bowl All-Academic MVP. He averaged 3.0 pancake blocks per game from his left tackle position.
6-2, 225, Garland, N.C.
Union High School
Smith made 8.5 tackles per game. He also recorded 11 sacks and 93 tackles, including 70 solo tackles. Smith also scored twice, while leading Union to a 7-6 record.
5-10, 175, McDonough, Ga.
Ola High School
He made 15 all-purpose touchdowns as a senior.
6-2, 190, Dallas, Ga.
East Paulding High School
Suttles was named Region 5-AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at East Paulding High School.
6-3, 295, Kenansville, N.C.
James Kenan High School
Tyler played guard, center and offensive tackle at Kenan. Kenan went 13-1 Tyler's season, and Tyler helped KHS rush for 302.7 yards per game.