After Signing Day: A Look at the Shore Class of 2016 and Beyond
With National Signing Day in the rearview mirror, it's time to turn the attention to the next wave of talent coming up across the Shore Conference who could be having their own memorable moments on Signing Day in the next few years.
After six players signed with FBS programs this year, the Shore is on its way to producing that many and possibly more from the Class of 2016. There are standouts across the spectrum, from the offensive skill positions to linemen to defensive stars.
One of the top skill position prospects looks to be St. John Vianney junior quarterback Anthony Brown, a first-team All-Shore selection who led the Shore in passing yards and was second in touchdown passes this past fall. He already has offers from Northwestern, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Temple along with several FCS offers.
Penn State and Rutgers have also been in recently, according to coach Mark Ciccotelli. Brown has already packed on muscle since the end of the season to get up to 195 pounds and is poised for a monster senior season. His stock should only rise when coaches see him in person at camps during the spring and summer.
Another first-team All-Shore pick from St. John Vianney, junior WR/CB Khalil Haskins, has an offer from Utah and strong interest from Boston College, according to Ciccotelli. Also, junior linebacker Calvin Beaty has gotten strong interest from New Hampshire.
The top lineman in the Class of 2016 looks to be first-team All-Shore selection Liam Smith of Red Bank Catholic, who added an offer from Pittsburgh on Saturday and is up to nine FBS offers. He is another one whose stock should only continue to rise in the spring and summer.
Smith is a top blocker for another one of the star quarterbacks of the junior class, Eddie Hahn, a first-team All-Shore pick who has offers from North Carolina State and UConn as well as several FCS offers. The main question with Hahn has been what position he will play at the next level, as some have recruited him as a safety, some as a quarterback and some as a general athlete. Like Brown, he looks to be one of New Jersey's best next season.
The trio of Manalapan junior linemen Jake Levine, Joe Sellmeyer and Reily Radosevich, who started for one of the Shore's most explosive offenses this fall on the Central Jersey Group V champs, has gotten interest from Boston College, UConn and Missouri as well as FCS interest from Ivy League, Patriot League and other programs, according to coach Ed Gurrieri.
Another top lineman from the current junior class is Middletown South's Thomas Lopez, who has gotten interest from Rutgers, Penn State, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Maryland and N.C. State. He could walk away with some offers once coaches see him in person at camps. Other linemen to keep an eye on are Lacey's Joe Macavoy and Jackson Memorial's Dylan Smith, who have gotten FCS interest. Raritan's Bo Bentley is another prospect to watch.
Besides Brown and Hahn, the other top players at the skill positions right now look to be Ocean tailback Tyler Thompson, Toms River North running back Asante Moorer and Red Bank wide receiver Sadiq Palmer.
Palmer, a first-team All-Shore pick who is also a basketball standout, doesn't have any offers yet but has interest from Penn State, Rutgers, Old Dominion, Buffalo, Louisville, Ohio State and Monmouth University, according to coach Nick Giglio. This looks to be a crucial spring and summer for him as far as turning that interest into offers.
Moorer has gotten strong interest from Temple and Boston College on the heels of a 1,000-yard rushing season for the resurgent Mariners, according to coach Dave Oizerowitz. He is one of a host of skill players getting college looks, as sophomore quarterback Mike Husni, sophomore RB/LB Parker Day and sophomore wideouts Bryce Watts and Darrion Carrington have each gotten some FCS interest.
Thompson has offers from Syracuse, Virginia, Boston College, UConn, Temple and Old Dominion, according to coach Don Klein. His season came to a disappointing end as he broke his leg in a loss to RBC to fall short of a third straight 1,000-yard rushing season. However, his rehab has been progressing well and he should be ready for the camps in the summer. Penn State, South Carolina, Rutgers and Pittsburgh have all shown strong interest as well.
"You look at him now, and you would never know he suffered anything,'' Klein said. "He's ahead of schedule, but there's no reason to rush anything. There should be no doubt that when the time comes for the camps, he's able to go there and do very well. He's also added size to his upper body."
A pair of 6-foot-6 Neptune wideouts who also play in the secondary, Isaiah Calhoun and Marcque Ellington, have been getting interest from Pittsburgh and Boston College, according to coach Rodney Taylor.
On the defensive side of the ball, one of the top prospects is Lakewood junior linebacker Amir Tyler, who has offers from Temple and Pittsburgh and interest from Rutgers, N.C. State, Missouri and Michigan State, according to coach L.J. Clark. Junior lineman Ryzson Barnes has gotten some interest from Temple and FCS programs for the Piners, and junior lineman Elijah Gill has also gotten some FCS looks.
Another top linebacker from the Class of 2016 is two-time, first-team All-Shore selection Aliem Shaw of Matawan. He doesn't have any offers yet but has interest from N.C. State and Rutgers, as well as New Hampshire, Maine and Fordham, according to coach John Kaye. Those same schools are also recruiting one of the top defensive backs in the area, Matawan junior cornerback DeJohn Rogers, who was also contacted by Pittsburgh on Saturday, according to Kaye. Junior WR/DB Shawn Ramcheran also has gotten interest from New Hampshire, Maine and Fordham.
Up front on the defensive line, first-team All-Shore pick Da'shon Copes of Toms River North has gotten strong interest from Temple, according to Oizerowitz, and should see his recruiting pick up once his film from a strong junior season starts to circulate.
Lacey junior defensive lineman Tarique Smith, the younger brother of former star Tyrell Smith, who is now an NFL prospect as an offensive lineman at UMass, has generated FCS interest. Also, the Howell trio of WR/DB Nick Rossi, OL/DL Noel Powell and QB/RB/LB Bobby Cavallero has gotten some Northeast Conference interest. On special teams, Lacey kicker Pat Davis has gotten some FCS interest.
As for the Class of 2017 and beyond, the two main talents getting the most attention right now are St. John Vianney sophomore lineman Micah Clarke and Mater Dei Prep wide receiver Eddie Lewis. Clarke already has offers from Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse and Boston College, according to Ciccotelli, and should be one of the top linemen in New Jersey with up to 30 offers by the time he's a senior.
Lewis, a second-team All-Shore pick and explosive offensive talent, already has offers from Iowa and Monmouth University. The main question with Lewis is where he will be playing next year if Mater Dei Prep is not able to raise the million dollars needed to keep the school open. There will be teams lining up for his services.
Another second-team All-Shore wideout from the sophomore class, Brick's Ja'Sir Taylor, has gotten steady interest from Rutgers, according to coach Rob Dahl. Rumson's standout sophomore class also has gotten some college looks, as quarterback Mike O'Connor has been invited to camps at Rutgers, Delaware, Princeton and Villanova, and linebacker Mike Ruane has gotten FCS interest, according to coach Bryan Batchler. Lineman Tim Leonard is another to keep an eye on, as he has been invited to Rutgers' big man camp in June.
Another sophomore quarterback who has seen recruiting start to pick up is Ocean's Kenny Pickett, who started this past fall. He has gotten interest from Duke and Old Dominion and is now up to 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, according to Klein.
There are two freshmen from the Class of 2018 who are already starting to get on the radar. Kaye has been contacted by UCLA about quarterback George Pearson, who had the greatest season of any freshman quarterback in Shore Conference history this fall and helped the Huskies win a state title.
Also, Toms River North freshman running back/linebacker Daryn Blackwell, who is 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, has gotten on the FBS radar, according to Oizerowitz. Blackwell is a relative of former Mariners basketball great Alex Blackwell, who starred at Monmouth University. He played on the freshman team this year because of Toms River North's already loaded backfield but should be an impact player this fall.