When Brent Thompson took over for Mike Houston as The Citadel’s football coach on Jan. 19, he had two main priorities — to keep his coaching staff together, and to keep the Bulldogs’ recruiting class together.
Accomplishing the first goal — only one assistant coach has followed Houston to James Madison — helped Thompson accomplish the second, as he announced a recruiting class of 17 players on National Signing Day Wednesday.
The class was highlighted by state Mr. Football finalist Logan Bailey, a quarterback from Chapin High School, and Lowcountry product Dijon Profit, a wide receiver from Goose Creek.
Bailey, 6-0 and 195 pounds, put up eye-popping numbers for Class AAA Chapin last season, accounting for 66 touchdowns and 4,290 total yards for the 11-2 Eagles. With starting QB Dominique Allen back for his junior season in 2016, Bailey will begin his Citadel career at quarterback, but could play slotback or receiver.
“He’s a great young man, an excellent playmaker and I think he’s a winner on the field,” Thompson said of Bailey. “And it always helps to have a finalist for Mr. Football in South Carolina in your class.”
Bailey camped at The Citadel twice, playing quarterback during one visit and running back during another. The MVP of the North-South All-Star game also had offers from Newberry and Limestone, and received late recruiting attention from South Carolina and new coach Will Muschamp.
“I coached him here personally when he played quarterback in our camp,” Thompson said. “He really showed a desire to be here, so when I took over as head coach, I made it a priority to go and see him and get him in this class.
“I love him at quarterback right now; he’s a playmaker, a leader and a winner, all those things we look for at quarterback.”
Bailey ran for 1,265 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, and hit 198 of 331 passes (59.8 percent) for 3,025 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was named Midlands offensive player of the year by The State newspaper.
Bailey said he was anxious to see how he fits in the Bulldogs’ triple-option offense.
“The tradition they have their and the excellence of their facilities is phenomenal,” Bailey told The State. “They match what I want to do athletically and academically. They are going to bring me in at quarterback, and based on how I perform, they will see where they want to put me. But they said they want to get me on the field as soon as possible.”
The 17-player class includes three receivers, including the 6-1, 190-pound Profit, who caught 55 passes for Goose Creek last season. Quarterback Brandon Rainey of Acworth, Ga., led his team to a state title and will compete with Bailey.
With kicker Eric Goins departing to begin his career in the Army, signee Jacob Godek of Longwood, Fla., might get a shot to start. He had field goals of 57 and 54 yards last season.
One player who did not sign — linebacker Datavious Wilson of Hartsville, who reportedly had been committed to Wofford and then The Citadel — ended up signing with Wofford.
“Our staff really held this thing together,” Thompson said. “We kept most of the staff in place, and they had the relationships with these families. It was up to me to get caught up, get in those homes and reassure those families that the same guys who had been recruiting them, who they thought would be coaching them, are still here and the plan is still the same.”
Logan Bailey, QB, 6-0, 198, Chapin HS
Phil Barrett, DB, 6-0, 160, Irmo HS
Sean Dumas, DB, 5-11, 180, New Orleans
Jacob Godek, K/P, 6-0, 155, Longwood, Fla.
Prince Howard-Whitaker, OL, 6-3, 250, Spring Valley HS
Josh LeBlanc, WR, 6-3, 200, Houston
Drew McEyntyre, OL, 6-3, 285, Calhoun, Ga.
Dijon Profit, WR, 6-1, 190, Goose Creek HS
Brandon Rainey, QB, 6-0, 185, Acworth, Ga.
Joseph Randolph II, DE, 6-3, 255, Jefferson, Ga.
Rashad Riley, WR, 6-1, 210, Calhoun Co. HS
Jeremy Samuels, LB, 6-0, 230, Winter Garden, Fla.
Chance Steverson, DB, 6-1, 185, Houston
A.J. Stokes, DL, 6-4, 280, Athens, Ga.
Mark Weakland, 6-2, 265, State College, Pa.
Raleigh Webb, LB, 6-2, 195, Acworth, Ga.
Denzel Wright, LB, 6-1, 240, Lawrenceville, Ga.