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Villanova Football Adds Three Commitments on National Signing Day
Feb. 7, 2018

VILLANOVA, Pa. - It was an exciting national signing day for the Villanova Football program on Wednesday morning, as Wildcats head coach Mark Ferrante announced the addition of three new recruits to fill out the Class of 2022. The three scholastic players who inked National Letters of Intent on Wednesday are wide receiver Dez Boykin (Whitehall, Pa.), defensive back James Lawson (Harrisburg, Pa.) and offensive lineman Nick Torres (Flushing, N.Y.). They join 12 members of the signing class who previously committed to Villanova during the December early signing period.

“We feel that we have addressed many of our positional needs with this group of signees,” Ferrante said of the full recruiting class. “It is exciting for the program to be able to attract a group from our own tri-state area and stretching down to parts of the Mid-Atlantic region, which matches the geographic footprint of CAA Football.”

Boykin is an in-state product from Whitehall High School who ranks second all-time in PIAA District XI in receiving yards. He was a first team all-state selection during his scholastic career and also earned first team all-area and first team all-conference honors. Lawson, another Pennsylvania product from Bishop McDevitt High School, was the Keystone Division Defensive MVP and a first team all-league selection. Torres attends Salisbury School (Conn.) and was chosen to play in the New York City Senior All-Star Game. He was a first team all-league honoree and a four-time Offensive Player of the Week selection, and was presented with the Most Improved Award.

This group of scholastic players will enroll at Villanova for the Fall 2018 semester, and they will join a program that has had 14 winning seasons in the last 17 years and which has made the FCS playoffs six times in the last 10 seasons. Villanova has an overall winning percentage of .640 over the past decade (2008-17), including winning its first national championship in 2009 and advancing to the semifinal round of the playoffs the next season. Next year’s Wildcats will return several key players on both sides of the ball from the 2017 campaign, and the team will also look for opportunities to get contributions from the members of this year’s signing class.



Below are profiles of all 15 signees that make up the Class of 2022, with the three new commitments announced on Wednesday morning appearing first followed by the original 12 signees from December in alphabetical order.

Dez Boykin
Wide Receiver
5-10 / 194
Whitehall, Pa. / Whitehall HS

  • First team All-State
  • First team All-Area
  • First team All-Conference
  • Second all-time in PIAA District XI in receiving yards
  • James Lawson
    Defensive Back
    6-1 / 190
    Harrisburg, Pa. / Bishop McDevitt

  • First team All-League
  • Keystone Division Defensive MVP
  • Nick Torres
    Offensive Line
    6-5 / 290
    Flushing, N.Y. / Salisbury School (Conn.)

  • First team All-League
  • Four-time Offensive Player of the Week
  • New York City Senior All-Star Game
  • Most Improved Award
  • Christian Benford
    Defensive Back
    6-0 / 180
    Randallstown, Md. / Randallstown HS

  • All-Baltimore County first team
  • 1,437 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns
  • 45 tackles and seven pass breakups
  • Nathan Fondacaro
    5-10 / 180
    Sewell, N.J. / St. Augustine Prep

  • 22 touchbacks
  • 40-yard punt average
  • Long punt of 60 yards
  • 5 star rated kicker and punter by Kohl's Kicking
  • Qadir Ismail
    6-7 / 205
    Bel Air, Md. / John Carroll School

  • First team all-county
  • All-MIAA
  • Team captain
  • Crab Bowl All Star
  • Jalen Jackson
    Running Back
    5-9 / 210
    Richmond, Va. / Thomas Jefferson

  • 1,446 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns
  • 8.3 yards per carry
  • Matthew Mazza
    Offensive Line
    6-4 / 270
    Manalapan, N.J. / Manalapan HS

  • First team All-Division
  • Second team All-Shore

    James Petrovcik
    Offensive Line
    6-2 / 260
    Westfield, N.J. / Seton Hall Prep

  • First team All-Super Conference
  • First Team All-Area
  • Ranked among the top 50 players in New Jersey in the 2018 class
  • Darius Pickett
    Defensive Back
    5-11 / 180
    Nottingham, Md. / McDonogh School

  • 13 career interceptions
  • 8 career pass breakups
  • 4 career touchdowns
  • Michael Taylor
    Defensive Line
    6-2 / 225
    Rockville Centre, N.Y. / Holy Cross HS

  • 92 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks
  • All-New York City first team on defense
  • First team All-League
  • Team captain
  • Owen Thomas
    6-4 / 215
    Lansdale, Pa. / North Penn

  • 53 tackles, 14 tackles for loss
  • First team All-Conference
  • Qwahsin Townsel
    6-0 / 205
    Egg Harbor Twp., N.J. / St. Joseph HS

  • Atlantic City Press Player of the Year
  • South Jersey Offensive Player of the Year
  • First team All-Conference
  • 1,616 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns
  • 52 tackles
  • Elijah Trent
    Defensive Back
    6-2 / 175
    Rockville, Md. / Thomas Wooten

  • 76 receptions
  • 1,203 receiving yards
  • 14 touchdowns
  • Garrett Zobel
    Defensive Line
    6-3 / 280
    Hatfield, Pa. / La Salle College HS

  • First team All-Catholic League on both offense and defense
  • First team All-State defensive lineman
  • First team All-City