Runnin' Bulldogs Announce 18-Man Football Recruiting Class - GWUSports.com—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Union County (S.C.) High receiver Kalay Jones caught 12 touchdowns in 2012.
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
Runnin' Bulldogs Announce 18-Man Football Recruiting Class
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: February 06, 2013
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BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb head football coach Carroll McCray announced an 18-man recruiting class on Wednesday, National Signing Day, with six enrolled for the spring semester.

The class includes student-athletes from seven states, American Samoa and Australia.

"We are excited about this group," said McCray, who was introduced as head coach on January 28. "Coming in at the end of January, we sat down and evaluated the young men who had chosen Gardner-Webb prior to our arrival, and came away impressed with the quality of these guys on the field. The strong character we encountered when meeting with and speaking to them gave us a lot of confidence in the type of young men we are adding to the program. There is no doubt they will help us on and off the field."

Three of the recruits – safety Spencer Havird (6-2, 185, El Cajon, Calif.), receiver Kalay Jones (6-2, 185, Union, S.C.) and linebacker Justin Miller (6-2, 210, Colorado Springs, Colo.) – earned All-State honors following the 2012 season.

Gardner-Webb added five defensive backs, six linemen – three on each side of the football – one linebacker and six offensive skill players.

Two of the lineman hail from outside the Continental United States. Defensive tackle Phillip Fata (6-3, 290, So.) played high school football at Samoana High in American Samoa before spending time at Golden West College in California.

Offensive tackle Jordan Stalker (6-5, 295, Fr.) is the first football player to sign with Gardner-Webb from Australia. He was a member of the IFAF World Development Team training camp and was courted by several major programs – including Hawaii, Colorado State and Georgia Tech.

Complete bios of the 2013 Recruiting Class are listed below:

2013 Recruiting Class (View Highlight Videos By Clicking Link)
Thomas Adams * 6-1 * 180 * DB * Fr. * Memphis, Tenn. / Central HS
Collyn Anderson * 6-6 * 190 * QB * Fr. * Durham, N.C. / Hillside HS
Chase Arrington * 6-0 * 195 * QB * Fr. * Sanford, N.C. / Lee County HS
James "J.T." Crosby * 6-2 * 275 * OL * So. * Catawba, S.C. / College of the Canyons
Phillip Fata * 6-3 * 290 * DT * So. * Utulei, American Samoa / Golden West College
Angel Guzman * 5-10 * 175 * CB * Fr. * Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. / University School
Spencer Havird * 6-2 * 185 * DB * Fr. * El Cajon, Calif. / Valhalla HS
Charleston Higginbotham * 6-0 * 181 * CB * Jr. * Pearland, Texas / Tyler JC
Russell Hughes * 6-4 * 275 * DL * Fr. * Gaffney, S.C. / Gaffney HS
Kalay Jones * 6-2 * 185 * WR * Fr. * Union, S.C. / Union County HS
Owen Lucas III * 5-11 * 185 * CB * Fr. * Durham, N.C. / Southern HS
Donovan Manning * 6-1 * 250 * DL * Fr. * Gaffney, S.C. / Gaffney HS
Justin Miller * 6-2 * 210 * LB * Fr. * Colorado Springs, Colo. / Classical Academy HS
Gabe Nold * 6-1 * 295 * OL * Fr. * Tampa, Fla. / Armwood HS
Garrett Pratt * 6-1 * 180 * WR * Fr. * Smithfield, N.C. / Fork Union Military Academy
Jordan Stalker * 6-5 * 295 * OL * Fr. * Bulli, New South Wales, Australia / Wollongong AFC
Rodrick Talley * 5-10 * 200 * RB * Fr. * Laurens, S.C. / Laurens HS
Drake Wells * 5-8 * 170 * WR * Fr. * Candler, N.C. / Enka HS

Thomas Adams * 6-1 180 * DB * Fr. * Memphis, Tenn. / Central HS
Played at Memphis Central (Tenn.) High under Coach Rod Gaston … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds … Played both corner and safety during his high school career … A first-team All-District selection as a senior by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal … Chose Gardner-Webb over UT-Martin … Also recruited by Memphis, Duke and Georgia Tech.

Chase Arrington * 6-0 * 195 * QB * Fr. * Sanford, N.C. / Lee County HS
Three-sport standout at Lee County (N.C.) High … A Division I prospect in both football and baseball … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds … Played football under Coach Burton Cates … A second-team All-Tri 9 Conference selection at quarterback in 2012 … Team MVP … State finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award … National Honors Society member who ranks in the top-5 in his graduating class … Three-sport letter winner for four seasons … Three-time academic All-Conference … Accounted for 40 career touchdowns ... Dual-threat signal caller passed for 2,059 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 1,117 yards and seven more touchdowns as a senior in 2012 … Became the first quarterback in school history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season … Led Yellow Jackets to a 9-4 overall record and 6-2 league mark … Passed for 434 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 264 yards and two touchdowns in two playoff games … Batted .333 as a junior in baseball and forged a 2.79 ERA on the mound … Two-time All-Conference choice on the diamond … Two-time N.C. State Games participant in baseball … Passed for 1,707 yards and rushed for 622 yards as a junior to earn All-Conference honors … Team offensive MVP … Set school's single-game passing mark by going 30-of-42 for 356 yards … Chose Gardner-Webb over Presbyterian, Princeton, Davidson and Liberty.

Collyn Anderson * 6-6 * 200 * QB * Fr. * Durham, N.C. / Hillside HS
Enrolled at Gardner-Webb in January, 2013 … Originally signed with Runnin' Bulldogs in February, 2012 … Played at Hillside (N.C.) High under Coach Antonio King ... First-year starter in 2011 ... Athletic quarterback prospect with a very strong, accurate arm ... Led team to an 11-2 record in his first season as a starter ... Completed 164-of-265 passes for 2,155 yards and 23 touchdowns ... An All-PAC 6 Conference choice ... Also lettered in baseball ... Passed for 450 yards and 2 touchdowns as a junior ... Chose Gardner-Webb over Old Dominion, South Carolina State and NC Central ... Also recruited by Texas Tech.

James "J.T." Crosby * 6-2 * 280 * OT * So. * Catawba, S.C. / College of Canyons
Enrolled at Gardner-Webb in January, 2013 … Played one season at the College of the Canyons (Calif.) under Coach Garett Tujague … Has three seasons of college eligibility remaining … Started at right tackle for the Cougars … Cleared a path for an offense that averaged 465.0 yards per game and 33.1 points per game on the season.

High School: Played at Lewisville (S.C.) High under Coach Kim Gray.

Phillip Fata * 6-3 * 290 * DL * So. * Utulei, American Samoa / Golden West (Calif.) College
Enrolled at Gardner-Webb in January, 2013 … Played one season at Golden West (Calif.) College under Coach Nick Mitchell … Saw action in 10 games for the Rustlers on the offensive line in 2012 … Big, athletic lineman who will play on the defensive front for Gardner-Webb.

High School: Standout two-way lineman at Samoana High under Coach Cyrus Paopao … Samoana, one of the island's premier programs, is the alma mater of current NFL players Domata Peko (Bengals), Isaac Sopoaga (49ers) and Matt Toeaina (Bears).

Angel Guzman * 5-10 * 175 * CB * Fr. * Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. / University School
Played at University School (Fla.) under Coach Roger Harriott … Helped Suns post a 13-0 record and win the Florida Class 3A State Championship … University School finished the season ranked No. 10 nationally by MaxPreps.com … Earned honorable mention All-Broward County honors from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald … Collected 28 total tackles (14 solo), broke up two passes and collected one interception on the season … Helped anchor a defense that posted seven games without a touchdown allowed and five shutouts … Collected 22 total tackles (18 solo) and an interception as a junior … Team finished with a 12-1 mark … Chose Gardner-Webb over Stetson and Stony Brook.

Spencer Havird * 6-2 * 185 * Fr. * DB * El Cajon, Calif. / Valhalla HS
Three-sport star at Valhalla (Calif.) High … Played football under Coach Charles Bussey … Also a standout in basketball and volleyball … Led Norsemen to a 9-4 record and a No. 45 ranking in California … Earned second-team overall All-State honors from CalHiSports.com following senior season as one of the state's top-24 defensive players … A first-team All-CIF San Diego Section selection on defense … 2012 East County Defensive Player of the Year by EastCountySports.com … Named first-team All-Grossmont Hills League … Paced the Norsemen with 163 total tackles (112 solo), 11 interceptions, eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries at safety … Broke up 17 passes … Had a school-record 23 total tackles (17 solo) in a win at Morse (Calif.) High … Collected eight tackles and a school-record three interceptions at Steele Canyon (Calif.) High … Also set school records for single-season tackles and interceptions … Collected 76 total tackles (53 solo) as a junior … Earned second-team All-League honors … Three-year starter in the secondary … Played in the same high school conference that produced current NFL star Reggie Bush (Helix HS) and former Gardner-Webb and NFL defensive end Brian Johnston (Madison HS) … Averaging 16.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the Norsemen through 21 games in senior basketball season … Had 30 points in a win over Mountain Empire in mid-December … An All-League selection in basketball as a junior … Chose Gardner-Webb over Old Dominion, Western New Mexico and Colorado-Mesa.

Charleston Higginbotham * 6-0 * 181 * CB * Jr. * Pearland, Texas / Tyler JC
Enrolled at Gardner-Webb in January, 2013 … Played two seasons at Tyler (Texas) Junior College under Coach Danny Palmer … Saw action in nine games as a sophomore … Collected 53 total tackles, a half sack and four pass break ups …Recorded one interception … Had a fumble recover and four solo stops vs. Navarro … Made eight tackles vs. Trinity Valley CC, Cisco College and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M … Had 27 solo tackles in eight games as a true freshman in 2011 … Also broke up four passes and had an interception.

High School: Played at Pearland (Texas) High under Coach Tony Heath … Helped team to a 16-0 record and the school's first Class 5A-Division I State Championship as a senior …Oilers were ranked No. 18 nationally in the USAToday Super 25 and No. 14 nationally by MaxPreps.com … Collected 19 total tackles and two pass break ups on the season … Added a 17-yard interception return … Helped Oilers to an 8-3 mark as a junior.

Russell Hughes * 6-4 * 275 * DL * Fr. * Gaffney, S.C. / Gaffney HS
Played at Gaffney (S.C.) High under Coach Dan Jones … Helped Indians to a 12-3 record and the 2012 South Carolina Class 4A Division I State Championship … Part of a dominant defense that held teams to just 17.5 ppg in the playoffs … Collected 31 total tackles (17 solo), 4.0 sacks (minus-42 yards) and posted six quarterback pressures … Recovered one fumble and broke up a pass in 2012 … Was part of a Gaffney team that posted a 14-1 record and a runner-up finish in the 2011 state championship game … 2011 Indians were ranked as high as No. 2 nationally during the regular season … Had 11 tackles as a junior.

Kalay Jones * 6-2 * 185 * WR * Fr. * Union, S.C. / Union County HS
Played at Union County (S.C.) High under Coach Steve Tanneyhill … Helped squad advance to the S.C. Class 3A State Championship Game … Rated as a two-star prospect by Scout.com … Team captain … Earned All-Region and All-State honors in 2012 … Caught 68 passes for 1,194 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior … Ranked No. 12 in the state in receptions and ninth in yardage … Caught 24 passes for 448 yards and five scores as a junior … Earned Track & Field All-Area honors from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal as a junior … Won the Region III-3A title in the triple jump in 2012 … Posted season-best results of 21'5" in the long jump and 42'8" in the triple jump … Chose Gardner-Webb over Massachusetts … Drew early interest from a host of Football Bowl Subdivision programs, including Army and Air Force.

Owen Lucas III * 5-11 * 185 * CB * Fr. * Durham, N.C. / Southern HS
Played at Southern Durham (N.C.) High under Coach Adrian Jones … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds … Capable of playing cornerback or safety … A first-team All-Area selection in 2012 by the Durham Herald-Sun … A two-time All-PAC 6 selection … Led team with 108 total tackles … Added nine pass break ups, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and one sack … Collected 120 total hits as a junior … Chose Gardner-Webb over Western Carolina … Also recruited by Princeton, Duke, Wake Forest and Appalachian State.

Donovan Manning * 6-1 * 250 * DL * Fr. * Gaffney, S.C. / Gaffney HS
Played at Gaffney (S.C.) High under Coach Dan Jones … Two-way standout who was recruited to play on the defensive front … Helped Indians to a 12-3 record and the 2012 South Carolina Class 4A Division I State Championship … Is the younger brother of current Gardner-Webb tight end Don Manning … Earned Class 2-AAAA All-Region honors in 2012 … Rated as the No. 62 prospect in South Carolina by the S.C. High School Sports Report for the Class of 2013 … Played guard for an Indians' team that averaged 212.9 yards per game on the ground in 2012 and 30.0 ppg overall … Cleared a path for a 1,000-yard back and 39 total rushing touchdowns … Indians' averaged 5.6 yards per carry as a team … Also recruited by Charlotte, Akron, Appalachian State and Charleston Southern.

Justin Miller * 6-2 * 210 * LB * Fr. * Colorado Springs, Colo. / Classical Academy HS
Played at Classical Academy (Colo.) High under Coach Dave Bervig … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds … Four-year starter … Finished with 390 career tackles … A first-team Class 3A All-State selection by the Denver Post … Led Titans to a 9-2 record in 2012 … Collected 125 total tackles (74 solo), 1.5 sacks and five pass break ups at linebacker … Blocked one punt and one field goal … Forced a pair of fumbles and intercepted one pass, which he returned for a score … Averaged 5.1 yards per rush at fullback … Had 22 total hits vs. Pueblo Central (Colo.) High … Named 3A-A Area Player of the Year by the Colorado Springs Gazette … A first-team All-Area selection … Led conference with 90 total tackles as a junior, despite missing several games with an injury … Averaged 23 yards per reception at tight end … Averaged 18 tackles per game … A first-team All-Area and All-Conference choice in 2011 … Led the conference with 141 total tackles (96 solo) as a sophomore … Made 34 stops as a freshman (20 solo) … Also recruited by Wyoming, Northern Colorado, Presbyterian, William & Mary, Liberty and Richmond.

Gabe Nold * 6-1 * 295 * OL * Fr. * Tampa, Fla. / Armwood HS
A member of the Armwood (Fla.) High squad under Coach Sean Callahan … Honors student who is projected to graduate fourth in his class … Did not play as a senior … Transferred from Tampa (Fla.) Wharton … A two-year starter at center during his time at Wharton … Three-year letterwinner … An All-Hillsborough County selection in wrestling … Chose Gardner-Webb over Air Force … Played in the same prep program as current GWU receiver Richard Jules.

Garrett Pratt * 6-1 * 180 * WR/ATH * Fr. * Smithfield, N.C. / Fork Union Military
Enrolled at Gardner-Webb in January, 2013 … Played one postgraduate season at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy under Coach John Shuman … Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at the 2012 FUMA Maple Syrup Cup workout in December … One of the team's fastest players … One of 27 players selected to the 2012 IMG All-Madden Team in August, 2012 … Graduated from IMG Academy in Sarasota, Fla., in 2012 … Trained under head coach and former Carolina Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke during his time at IMG … Missed the 2011 season with an injury … Played junior season at North Raleigh Christian (N.C.) Academy under Coach Bob Winstead … Caught 28 passes for 496 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 17.7 yards per catch … Also rushed 63 times for 746 yards and three touchdowns … Averaged 11.8 yards per rushing attempt … Had four carries for 120 yards and two scores against Fayetteville Village Christian … Carried 13 times for 184 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 67 yards and two more scores vs. Concord Cannon … Scored 11 total touchdowns on the season, including one on a return … Returned 22 punts for 487 yards (22.1 yards per return) … Averaged 32.5 yards on two kickoff returns … Scored four times on two-point conversions.

Jordan Stalker * 6-5 * 290 * OL * Fr. * Bulli, Australia / Wollongong AFC
Enrolled at Gardner-Webb in January, 2013 … Offensive tackle who will have four years of eligibility with the Runnin' Bulldogs … Played for the Wollongong Mustangs under Coach Dennis Sentelle, Jr. … Selected to the prestigious IFAF World Development Team Training Camp in Austin, Texas … Also a member of the Gridiron Australia Future Stars program … Chosen to play on the 2012 Australian Outback Junior National Team … A member of the 2011 New South Wales Wolverines National Championship team … Grew up playing rugby … Introduced to American Football in 2010 … Chose Gardner-Webb over Hawaii and Colorado State … Also considered Georgia Tech.

Rodrick Talley * 5-10 * 200 * RB * Laurens, S.C. / Laurens District 55 HS
Played at Laurens (S.C.) High under Coach Greg Lawson … Runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds … Named 2012 Laurens County Player of the Year in 2012 … A two-time, first-team All-County selection … Earned All-Region honors in 2012 … Rushed for 3,120 yards and 30 touchdowns in his final two seasons … Carried 261 times for 1,530 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior … Helped lead Raiders to an 8-4 overall record and the state playoffs … Ran for 332 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries vs. Woodruff (S.C.) High … Had scoring runs of 62 and 94 yards in that game … Named WSPA Player of the Week for his efforts … Rushed for 1,590 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior … Earned All-County honors in 2011.

Drake Wells * 5-8 * 170 * WR * Fr. * Candler, N.C. / Enka HS
Played at Enka (N.C.) High under Coach Manny Matsakis … Ultra-quick receiver … An All-Conference selection … Earned honorable mention All-Western North Carolina honors from the Asheville Citizen-Times … Caught 28 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns for the Jets … A standout guard in basketball as well … Averaging 17.1 points through 19 games of his senior season … Posted a 38-point game in December.




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