FOOTBALL ANNOUNCES 17 STUDENT-ATHLETES SIGN LETTERS OF INTENT
DURHAM, N.H.—Sean McDonnell, the 11th-year head football coach at the University of New Hampshire, announced today that 17 student-athletes have signed letters of intent to attend UNH and play football for the Wildcat football program. The list includes players from all areas of the football field.
"We are very excited about the versatility and overall athleticism in this recruiting class. Our coaches, in this recruiting process, addressed many areas of our team on both sides of the football," said McDonnell. "This class will help continue UNH's strong tradition in the Colonial Athletic Association."
Alex Blane DL/OL 6-4 255 North Andover, Mass./North Andover
Robert Bowman OL/DL 6-5 275 Cheshire, Conn./Notre Dame
Brian Ciccone TE/LB 6-3 215 Manchester, Mass./Manchester-Essex
Mike Coccia OL/DL 6-3 275 Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom
Malcolm Griggs LB/WR 6-2 210 Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway
R.J. Harris WR/DB 6-0 180 Odenton, Md./Arundel
Tim Johnson OL/DL 6-2 275 Oakdale, Pa./West Alleghaney
Eric Joyner DB/WR 5-9 195 Bridgeport, Conn./King & Low-Heywood Thomas
Jimmy Owens RB/DB 5-8 200 West Deptford, N.J./West Deptford
Alex Park QB/DB 6-1 190 Upper St. Clair, Pa./Upper St. Clair
Cory Rekasie DL/OL 6-1 260 Oakdale, Pa./Chartiers Valley
Harold Spears TE/DE 6-4 210 Perkasie, Pa./Pennington School
Nico Steriti RB/DB 5-11 205 Toms River, N.J./Toms River East
Steven Thames DB/WR 6-0 170 Fort Washington, Md./Riverdale Baptist
Chad Wilkes DB/QB 6-0 175 Cheraw, S.C./Cheraw
Tre Williams DB/WR 6-3 190 Syracuse, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy
Robbie Zauck LB/OL 6-2 210 Ocean View, N.J./Ocean City
Alex Blane is a 6-4, 255-pound DL/OL from North Andover, Mass. He played this past season at North Andover High School, where he was a big, athletic, offensive and defensive lineman who proved to have quick feet on the football field. A two-year starter in football, Blane was named a preseason All-Massachusetts All-Star by "ESPN Rise Magazine" heading into his senior season. He was also an All-Cape Ann selection and was awarded the Coaches Award after the completion of his senior year. He was a three-sport captain at NAHS where he lettered in lacrosse and scored 27 goals as a junior earning him All-Cape Ann league honors and was also a star on the basketball team. "Alex has a tremendous upside," said McDonnell. "He is a big frame kid with the ability to run to the ball. His athleticism and size will help us on our defensive line."
Robert Bowman, a 6-5, 275-pound OL/DL from Cheshire, Conn., was a two-way starter for Coach Tom Marcucci at Notre Dame High School in West Haven, Conn. Bowman led the Green Knights to an 11-1 record and Class L State Championship title where they finished as the No. 1 team in the state of Connecticut. Bowman was also named to the SCC All-Conference squad and was named to the Walter Camp All-Connecticut team. In addition, he was named first-team all-area on offense and first-team all-state on defense by "The New Haven Register". Bowman was also named an all-state defensive player by The Connecticut High School Head Coaches Association. "Hearst Connecticut Newspapers" named him to their all-star squad and he was also selected as an offensive player on the Levi Jackson Team of New Haven County. He was the leading defensive line tackler in the SCC Class L Division with over 73 tackles and was also the No. 1 sack/yards lost leader in the league with 10 sacks for 46 yards lost. He was also tied for the league lead in interceptions by a defensive lineman. In addition, Bowman was a defenseman for the Green Knight lacrosse team. "Robert is a big offensive tackle prospect for us," said McDonnell. "He has a very big wing span that will help us in pass protection from the tackle position. He will add great size and strength to our offensive line."
Brian Ciccone, a 6-3, 215-pound TE/LB from Manchester, Mass., was a very versatile player at Manchester Essex High School where he was a three-time All-Commonwealth Conference selection, including Co-MVP of the league in his senior campaign. During his high school career Brian accumulated over 3,600 total yards and 50 touchdowns while playing wide receiver, tight end and running back. In his senior season, he finished with 887 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, while also compiling 441 receiving yards and catching seven touchdown passes. He is an outstanding student as evidenced by his 3.5 GPA and was a fixture on the academic honor roll at MESH. Both of his parents, Tony and Pam, are UNH alumni, and his father was a first-team all-conference guard in 1985 for the Wildcats. "Brian is another versatile athlete who can help us on either side of the football with his athleticism"said McDonnell. "He can run and catch well and has great vision for a WR/RB athlete. He has a great frame to develop size at either the TE or LB positions."
Mike Coccia, a 6-3, 275-pound OL/DL from Bethlehem, Pa., was a three-year letterman in football and led the way in blocking for two all-state running backs. In his junior year, he was a two-way starter and ended the season with 45 tackles and 10 sacks leading to him earning second-team all-area honors. Coccia was a three-time letterwinner in football and basketball. During his senior campaign, Coccia was named both first-team all-conference and first-team all-area. In addition, he was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game in Pennsylvania as well as the Big 33 All-Star Game. So far during his senior season in basketball, he is averaging 11.0 ppg. and 7.0 rpg. Mike's sister Kristina is a gymnast at the University of Denver. "Mike is a big strong athletic lineman who will add size and strength to the interior of our offensive line, said McDonnell. "He is an athletic player who can play all three positions in the trenches. His addition will add to the versatility of our offensive line."
Malcolm Griggs, a 6-2, 210-pound LB/WR from Piscataway, N.J., led Piscataway High School to an 11-1 season as a junior and helped the team win a New Jersey Group 4 State Championship. He threw for over 1,500 yards with 20 TDs, while only committing four interceptions. He also rushed for over 500 yards and compiled six rushing touchdowns. As a junior safety, he came up with two interceptions, nine solo tackles and two pass breakups. He was named a first-team All-Area Greater Middlesex Conference selection and was first-team all-state at the quarterback position. He was chosen as one of the top 100 football players in the state as a junior and ESPN ranked him as the No. 2 quarterback in the state and among the top 200 in the nation. As a senior, Griggs started at quarterback, cornerback, free safety and strong safety. He was responsible for 600 yards of offense and threw the football for eight passing touchdowns and rushed for over 300 yards, scoring four times on the ground. At defensive back he had three interceptions and broke up nine passes, while leading the team in tackles. He never gave up a TD pass in either his junior or senior seasons. He was named all-area and second-team all-state for his efforts and once again was one of the top 100 football players in the state. ESPN ranked him the No. 2 safety in the state of New Jersey. He has maintained a GPA of 3.0, earning second honors in his junior and senior years. He lettered three times in football and twice in basketball. He is a member of the "Who's Who of American Students for the second year. "Malcolm is a very good two-way performer who has a knack for making big plays," said McDonnell. "He has a great frame to work with and he will add athleticism and depth to the defensive side of the ball."
R.J. Harris, a 6-0, 180-pound WR/DB from Odenton, Md., finished his career at Arundel High School owning five high school records and two state records. He completed his career with 181 receptions for 2,618 yards, giving him an average of 14.0 yards per reception, while making 48 career touchdown catches. During his senior season alone, he averaged 138 yards per game and caught 28 touchdowns to set the Maryland state record. Harris also returned four punts for a total of 70 yards and two touchdowns and made 20 catches for 239 yards and three touchdowns in the first game of the Maryland State playoffs, breaking the state's single-game reception record. He is presently a starter for the Arundel basketball team and is averaging 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game for his 12-1 team. "RJ is an explosive playmaking wide receiver prospect," said McDonnell. "He is a sure-handed receiver who runs excellent routes. He has good speed and finds the open areas in the field very well. He will also add depth as a return man."
Tim Johnson, a 6-2, 275-pound OL/DL from Oakdale, Pa., helped his team at West Allegheny High School to win a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics League Championship. The Indians finished 12-3 and were stopped just short of the Pennsylvania state championship game. He led an offensive line that paved the way for a offense that recorded 250 rushing yards per contest and 375 total yards per game. He was a three-time first-team All-Parkway Conference honoree as an offensive lineman and was named to the 'Pittsburgh Post Gazette" Fabulous 22 team. In addition, he was named to the 2009 Pennsylvania all-state team as an offensive lineman. Johnson also excels as a discus thrower and shot-putter for the West Allegheny track and field team. "Tim is a powerful run-blocking interior offensive lineman," said McDonnell. "He has the athleticism to play either center or guard in the UNH offense. Tim has great feet and strength and he will add to the depth of our interior offensive line."
Eric Joyner, a 5-9, 195-pound DB/WR from Bridgeport, Conn. was a two-way starter at King & Low Heywood-Thomas School in Stamford, Conn. where the senior captain led his team to back-to-back Fairchester Athletic Association League championships. He was named first-team All-New England for the second consecutive year, as well as named first-team all-league for the second consecutive time. Joyner finished his career with over 180 tackles, eight interceptions, 22 pass breakups and eight caused fumbles. He was a versatile player on offense competing at WR, RB and QB throughout his career. Joyner rushed for over 500 yards and six touchdowns, while catching 38 passes for 800 yards with six touchdown catches. As a senior, Joyner averaged 24.58 yards per kickoff return and 15.0 yards per punt return. A two-time captain of the baseball team, he was selected all-conference as a sophomore and junior centerfielder. "Eric is a tough two-way player that has very good covering and tackling skills," said McDonnell. "He has outstanding ball skills and he will improve our cover corner position in the secondary. Eric is a sure tackler who will add depth to our special teams as a return man."
Jimmy Owens, a 5-9, 200-pound RB/DB from West Deptford, N.J. comes to UNH after a standout career at West Deptford High School. A four-year letterwinner in football, Owens started for the football team as a freshman when he was only 13 years old, rushing for 924 yards and 11 touchdowns. He completed his career at WDHS with 3,639 yards and 61 touchdowns, including a 1,437 yards, 27 touchdown senior season where he was named the team's MVP. He was named a three-time All-Colonial Conference selection and a two-time All-Group 2 selection. He was also named the Touchdown Club of South Jersey Running Back of the Year. He earned 12 varsity letters in four different sports (football, indoor track, outdoor track and wrestling). "Jimmy is a very physical runner with great vision," said McDonnell. "His size and speed are a great combination for our running back position."
Alex Park is a 6-1, 190-pound QB/DB from Upper St. Clair, Pa. He was a Rivals.com 2 Star Recruit for head coach Jim Render. A talented athlete with great accuracy, he led the Panthers to a 6-4 record and an appearance in the Western Pennsylvania Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association AAAA Playoffs. As a quarterback, he gained more than 1,200 yards through the air and another 400 on the ground, while compiling 15 total touchdowns. An excellent defender, he was utilized as a defensive back in crucial game situations. He was named first-team All-Great Southern Conference as a quarterback and was selected as a member of "The Pittsburgh Post Gazette" South Fabulous 22 Team, and "The Almanac All-Star Team". He was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio, Texas. A standout in the classroom, he will graduate from Upper St. Clair with a 3.7 GPA and plans to study Business at UNH. "Alex has a great upside for the quarterback position," said McDonnell. "He is a smart accurate passer that has outstanding athletic ability. He has great vision and instincts and has the ability to throw on the run."
Cory Rekasie, a 6-1, 260-pound DL/OL from Oakdale, Pa., comes to Durham after an impressive career at Chartiers Valley High School. A rare four-year starter, Cory was a force on both sides of the line for the Colts as they compiled an 8-2 record in one of the toughest AAA conferences in Pennsylvania. He was voted to the All-Big 7 Conference team three times in his career. As a sophomore, he made the second-team at guard. In his junior campaign he was voted in as an offensive center, and during his senior year he was voted first-team Big 7 Conference as an offensive center and defensive lineman. He was also an honorable mention selection as a punter. A member of "The Pittsburgh Post Gazette South Fabulous 22" football team, he was also selected one of "The Pittsburgh Tribune Review Pigskin Premier Performers". During a season in which he recorded 50 total tackles, seven sacks and 12 tackles for a loss, he was rewarded by being named the Big 7 Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the closer for the Colts' 2009 state runner-up baseball team. A fixture on the Dean's List, he will graduate with better than a 3.0 GPA. "Cory is a big, strong, physical, interior defensive line prospect," said McDonnell. "He has great leverage and has a high motor that will give us size and speed on the defensive line. Cory has a great knack of getting off blocks, and that will make him a great defensive lineman."
Harold Spears, a 6-4, 210-pound TE/DE from Perkasie, Pa. is an outstanding two-sport athlete from the state of New Jersey. A gifted wide receiver as a senior he caught 41 passes for 764 yards and nine TDs. He led the greater Mercer area in receiving touchdowns. He was a first-team all-area, all-county and All-Independence League All-Star. The "Newark Star Ledger" named him All-Prep, All-State wide receiver. A four-year starter in basketball, Spears was named the Mercer county player of the year as a junior. He is a 1,000-point scorer and averages 19 points, eight rebounds, and three steals per game this year. On defense this year, he was an outstanding pass rushing defensive end player. "Harold is another versatile athlete who can play on either side of the football," said McDonnell. "He is a long and rangy receiver who has outstanding athletic ability and a frame that will get bigger."
Nico Steriti, a 5-11, 205-pound RB/DB from Toms River, N.J., comes to UNH after a highly-decorated football career at Toms River East High School. He was a Rivals.com 2 Star Recruit for head coach Charlie Diskin and his list of honors includes being named: a "Star Ledger" first-team all-state pick, "Ocean County Player of the Year", the Shore Conference Player of the Year, the All-Shore Media All-County Player of the Year and he was also named one of "USA Today's Top 50 High School Football Players". He was also a two-time member of the Super 100 All-State squad. A senior captain, he finished his final season with 1,623 yards on 223 carries and scored 23 touchdowns. He completed his career with a school record 46 touchdowns and 2,800 career rushing yards. He also posted 665 receiving yards and had 13 career interceptions. "Nico is an outstanding running back prospect who has great speed and vision," said McDonnell. "He is an explosive player with the ball in his hands. Nico's athleticism will also add depth on special teams as a return man."
Steven Thames, a 6-0, 170-pound DB/WR from Fort Washington, Md., started all 11 games for the Crusaders as a senior and finished the season with 15 pass breakups, one interception and 22 tackles from the corner position at Riverdale Baptist High School. The Prince George County All-Star and Maryland Crab Bowl participant also had two receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown last season at RBHS. "Steven is a very long and rangy corner prospect that has very good cover skills," said McDonnell. "He has great ball skills for a defensive back and
has a knack for getting his hands in passing lanes. He has very good athletic ability and will add great depth to the secondary here."
Chad Wilkes, a 6-0, 175-pound DB/QB from Cheraw, S.C., was a four-year letterwinner in football at Cheraw High School. He comes to UNH as an outstanding athlete on both sides of the football. As a senior QB, he ran for 1,365 yards with 20 touchdowns and a 9.3 yard average per carry while guiding his team to a 9-4 record. On defense this year, he had 60 tackles and three forced fumbles. During his four seasons at CHS, the team won 46 football games. Cheraw was the South Carolina State Champion in his freshman and sophomore seasons, with an impressive 15-0 record in his freshman year. He was named all-region as a defensive back in his junior year and all-region this past year in the Athlete category. He lettered three times in baseball and was a letterwinner in track and basketball as well. "Chad is a very versatile athlete that can help us in multiple positions," said McDonnell. "He has very good speed and great instincts for the safety position. On offense he is a very skilled runner and has great pass catching ability. He will add great depth to our skill positions here at UNH."
Tre Williams, a 6-3, 190-pound DB/WR from Syracuse, N.Y., who comes to UNH from Section 3 powerhouse Christian Brothers Academy. He was a two-way starter for head Coach Joe Casamento. Williams possesses great size and speed along with outstanding athletic ability. He was a big, physical presence who played saftety, linebacker and wide receiver for CBA. Williams was in on 150 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, and seven sacks during his high school career. His very good ball skills enabled him to come up with seven interceptions and15 pass breakups over his career. During his senior season he was voted a Section 3 AA All-Star. He was also voted first-team All-Central New York. "Tre is an explosive downhill hitting safety prospect who has a nose for the football." said McDonnell. "He will add speed and size and will have a sure tackling ability on all phases of the defensive side of the ball. His versatility will also be felt on all special teams."
Robbie Zauck, a 6-2, 210-pound LB/DL from Ocean View, N.J. comes to UNH after an outstanding career at Ocean City High School where he was named first-team All-Cape Atlantic, first-team All-South Jersey Group 3 and also first-team All-Press Atlantic. He was named the Air Force National Player of the Week for Nov. 1-7 after his strong performance against Atlantic City High School where he had 16 tackles and two sacks. Robbie was also one of only 50 student-athletes in the Tri-State area to receive a Mini Mazwell Award given by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York. During his senior season, Zauck was captain of the team and compiled 129 tackles, including 21.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. He is also an outstanding outfielder for the OCHS baseball team. "Robbie is a very active defensive football player with a great nose for the football, "said McDonnell. "He has a great frame and has great growth potential for a linebacker defensive end prospect."