Citadel prospect Jorian Jordan was driving around Charlotte on Tuesday night, trying to decide where to play college football. His dad spotted a billboard extolling The Citadel’s ranking as “the No. 1 public university in the South” by U.S. News & World Report.


Forrest Barnes RB 5-11 185 Cranberry Town., Pa./Seneca Valley

Ryan Bednar OL 6-1 280 Glassport, Pa./South Allegheny

Rudder Brown WR 6-4 210 Mount Pleasant/Wando

Tyus Carter DB 6-0 170 Birmingham, Ala./Shades Valley

Jeremiah Cotton DL 6-4 265 Macon, Ga./Mount de Sales

Dee Delaney DB 6-1 180 Seabrook/Whale Branch

Malik Diggs DB 6-3 180 Laurinburng, N.C./Scotland

Jonathan Dorogy RB 5-8 180 Harmony, Pa./Seneca Valley

Tevin Floyd LB 6-1 225 Tallahassee, Fla./Florida HS

Cam Jackson QB 6-2 185 Mobile, Ala./Davidson

Jantzen Jeffrey QB 6-1 200 Cumming, Ga./South Forsyth

Nick Jeffreys TE 6-3 235 Oklahoma City/Bishop McGuiness

Jorian Jordan WR 6-0 165 Charlotte/Mallard Creek HS

Taylor Kimball WR 6-2 210 Mount Pleasant/Wando

Hugh McFaddin OL 6-0 270 Manning/Manning

Isaian Pinson OL 6-3 240 Wellford/Byrnes

Tyler Renew RB 5-11 205 Columbia/Ben Lippen

Jake Riggs WR 6-4 215 Greenville/JL Mann

Ben Roberts DB 5-9 170 Statesboro, Ga./Statesboro

Devan Robbins RB 5-11 175 Belmont, N.C./South Point

DeAndre Schoultz RB 5-9 285 Aiken/South Aiken

Jake Smith DL 6-5 225 Greenville/Greenville

Will Vanvick P 5-11 170 Greenville/JL Mann

“That sign’s there for a reason,” the father said. Jordan, a wide receiver, ignored a late push from Western Carolina to sign with The Citadel on Wednesday.

It’s hard to predict what makes a difference in recruiting, but one thing’s for sure — winning helps. Citadel coach Kevin Higgins said recruiting after last year’s 7-4 mark — just his second winning season in eight years with the Bulldogs — made a big difference in this year’s class of 23 players.

“You see it most when the recruits visit with our players,” he said. “There’s a buzz among our players after beating Georgia Southern and App State, they are excited about the future. When recruits are on campus with our players, they get a good feel for what the future at The Citadel will be like.”

Higgins called this year’s class, heavy on running backs, receivers and defensive backs, “one of our best recruiting classes ever.”

Ten in-state players include wide receiver Rudder Brown of Wando High School, and there are two Shrine Bowl players in Byrnes offensive lineman Isaiah Pinson and defensive back Malik Diggs of Laurinburg, N.C.

Four of the in-state players were in the North-South All-Star Game, and 20 of the 23 were team captains.

The Citadel went head to head with Air Force for several recruits, losing a couple but hanging on to quarterbacks Cam Jackson of Mobile, Ala., and Jantzen Jeffrey of Cumming, Ga. Lineman Ryan Bednar of Glassport, Pa., turned down a late offer from Navy, and defensive end Jake Smith of Greenville spurned late advances from Furman.

“We’ve never had this much overlap with Air Force before,” Higgins said. “Anytime you are going against good people, even if you lose some, you end up with a better class.”

The Citadel came up with a couple of late commitments after their original plans fell through. Running back Devan Robbins of Belmont, N.C., signed Wednesday after being recruited for two years by Georgia Tech. Cornerback James Julius of Orlando, Fla., a one-time Pitt commitment, was not announced Wednesday because his letter of intent is not yet official.