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.
NAME POS. HT WT HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOLForrest Barnes RB 5-11 185 Cranberry Town., Pa./Seneca ValleyRyan Bednar OL 6-1 280 Glassport, Pa./South AlleghenyRudder Brown WR 6-4 210 Mount Pleasant/WandoTyus Carter DB 6-0 170 Birmingham, Ala./Shades ValleyJeremiah Cotton DL 6-4 265 Macon, Ga./Mount de SalesDee Delaney DB 6-1 180 Seabrook/Whale BranchMalik Diggs DB 6-3 180 Laurinburng, N.C./ScotlandJonathan Dorogy RB 5-8 180 Harmony, Pa./Seneca ValleyTevin Floyd LB 6-1 225 Tallahassee, Fla./Florida HSCam Jackson QB 6-2 185 Mobile, Ala./DavidsonJantzen Jeffrey QB 6-1 200 Cumming, Ga./South ForsythNick Jeffreys TE 6-3 235 Oklahoma City/Bishop McGuinessJorian Jordan WR 6-0 165 Charlotte/Mallard Creek HSTaylor Kimball WR 6-2 210 Mount Pleasant/WandoHugh McFaddin OL 6-0 270 Manning/ManningIsaian Pinson OL 6-3 240 Wellford/ByrnesTyler Renew RB 5-11 205 Columbia/Ben LippenJake Riggs WR 6-4 215 Greenville/JL MannBen Roberts DB 5-9 170 Statesboro, Ga./StatesboroDevan Robbins RB 5-11 175 Belmont, N.C./South PointDeAndre Schoultz RB 5-9 285 Aiken/South AikenJake Smith DL 6-5 225 Greenville/GreenvilleWill 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.