VILLANOVA, Pa. - It was an exciting day for the Villanova football program, as first-year head coach Mark Ferrante announced on Wednesday afternoon the commitments of 13 scholastic players to National Letters of Intent on the first day of the early signing period. Ferrante and his staff have put together a recruiting class which will help Villanova maintain the success it has achieved on the national level in recent years.
With this signing class, the coaching staff has addressed the Wildcats positional needs for coming seasons by adding 10 players on defense to go along with three offensive players. Villanova continues to attract the top players from the East Coast with its combination of success on the field and its elite academic status. Each of the recruits in the incoming class hail from the Eastern seaboard, including five players from Pennsylvania high schools who are remaining in-state. The class also features two players each from New York and Virginia, while Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. are also represented.
"There is a lot of athleticism in this class as a whole," Ferrante said. "Out of the 13 guys we are bringing in, 10 have received all-state recognition for their high school careers and several guys have some very good speed on the track. We have 10 players on defense, where we felt we needed to bolster some of our depth. If you look at them on paper, this class seems to be ranked pretty highly. With high rankings come high expectations, and we have told them we will expect a lot from them. Based on their accomplishments in the classroom and on the field, it is a pretty good and athletic class which will hopefully keep our success going in the direction we want it to."
Each of the incoming players to the Villanova program are expected to enroll for the Fall 2017 semester. They will be joining a Wildcats team which is in the midst of one of the longest extended runs of success in program history. Over the last nine seasons (2008-16), Villanova has tallied an overall record of 75-39 (.658) and has made six FCS playoff appearances. During this stretch, the Wildcats have gone 9-4 in the postseason and have advanced to at least the quarterfinal round three times. Villanova has also had a total of 96 CAA Football All-Conference selections and 10 major conference award winners since 2008.
Below are profiles of each of the recruits who signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday afternoon.
JAQUAN AMOS DB 6-0 / 180 Philadelphia, Pa. / Northeast High School Coach: Phil Gormley
Career Highlights • Two-year team captain • First team all-state • Two-time first team all-city • Two-time All-Public League • Team MVP
TRAJAN ANDERSON LB 6-2 / 220 Fredericksburg, Va. / Massaponax High School Coach: Eric Ludden
Career Highlights • First team all-area • First team all-conference • Conference Defensive Player of the Year • First team all-region • First team all-state
AMIN BLACK LB 5-11 / 230 Philadelphia, Pa. / Imhotep High School Coach: Mark Schmidt
Career Highlights • First team all-state • Blue-Grey All-American • First team All-Public League • First team All-USA Pennsylvania • 2016 stats: 100 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, six sacks
DAMONE DREW RB 5-10 / 195 Stafford, Va. / Brooke Point High School Coach: Tommy Buzzo
Career Highlights • First team all-conference • First team all-region • Conference Player of the Year • Second team all-state • 2016 Stats: 2,767 total yards, 31 touchdowns, 8.1 average yards per carry
MALIK FISHER DL 6-3 / 220 New York, N.Y. / Xavier High School Coach: Chris Stevens
Career Highlights • Two-time all-league • Two-time team captain • 2015 City Championship • Career Stats: 157 tackles, 17 sacks, five forced fumbles
LORENZO HERNANDEZ DL 6-0 / 250 Cherry Hill, N.J. / Cherry Hill West High School Coach: Brian Wright
Career Highlights • Courier Post Defensive Player of the Year • First team All-South Jersey • Second team all-state • NJFAC Super 100 Team • 2016 Stats: 93 tackles, 10 sacks, seven blocked kicks
JEVON JONES DB 6-3 / 195 Syracuse, N.Y. / Nottingham High School Coach: Fred Wheeler
Career Highlights • First team all-league • All-State Class AA • First team All-Central New York • Four-year starter • Team MVP
JULIAN LIACI WR 5-10 / 170 Nazareth, Pa. / Nazareth High School Coach: Tom Falzone
Career Highlights • First team all-conference • First team all-area Best Athlete • Second team all-state at DB • Track & Field: 100 meter district champion • Track & Field: 4x100 meter relay state champion
KYLE MCCLOSKEY QB 6-4 / 220 Fort Washington, Pa. / Germantown Academy High School Coach: Matt Dence
Career Highlights • Two-time all-league • First team all-city • First team all-area • Two-time Offensive Team MVP • School record holder for career passing yards, total yards and touchdowns
DARRYL MCDANIEL DB 6-0 / 185 Washington, D.C. / St. John's High School Coach: Joe Casamento
Career Highlights • Team captain • WCAC All-Conference as a senior • WCAC Honorable Mention as a junior • Mush Dubofsky Award for Biggest Career Contribution
JARED NELSON DL 6-3 / 250 Glastonbury, Conn. / Glastonbury High School Coach: Scott Daniels
Career Highlights • Three-time all-conference • CHSCA All-State first team • New Haven Register All-State first team • Walter Camp All-Connecticut second team • USA Today All-USA Connecticut first team
JOSH PATRICK LB 6-1 / 220 Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum High School Coach: Bill DiNardo
Career Highlights • Two-time first team all-conference • First team all-state • Second team all-conference at running back
FORREST RHYNE LB 6-2 / 230 Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro Area High School Coach: Steven Myers
Career Highlights • Two-time all-state • Three-time all-conference • League MVP • All-State Super 25 Class 5A • 2016 Stats: 112 total tackles, 74 solo tackles, 21 tackles for loss