In conjunction with National Signing Day, University of Tennessee at Martin head football coach Jason Simpson announced the signings of 19 players at a press conference in the Boling University Center this afternoon.
“I love this class,” said Simpson, who will enter his 10th season at the helm of the Skyhawk program in 2015. “They understand the UT Martin way.”
The aforementioned 19 players, in addition to six signees who joined the program on Mid-Year Signing Day in December, were highlighted in short video clips with analysis from Simpson at the press conference.
Overall, Simpson and his staff added 14 players on offense and 11 players on defense. The UT Martin coaching staff signed 12 players from the state of Tennessee, five players from Florida, four players from Mississippi and one player each from Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina and Texas.
The winningest active coach in the Ohio Valley Conference, Simpson boasts a 58-45 record in his Skyhawk tenure and has posted a .634 winning percentage in OVC games (45-26).
Kyle Akin, QB, 6-2, 200, Fr., Jackson, Tenn. (Trinity Christian Academy)
Broke multiple passing records under head coach Blake Butler at nearby Trinity Christian Academy in Jackson…Led the Lions to two District 15A championships and a Class 2A state semifinalist berth in 2013…Wrapped up his career as the TSSAA all-time leader in career passing yards (11,131)…Was named All-West Tennessee Player of the Year by the Jackson Sun and the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Class A Back of the Year as a senior…Posted a 30-16 record as a four-year starter, including a 20-4 mark in his junior and senior campaigns…Completed 68.3 percent of his passes (218-for-319) for 3,265 yards and 42 touchdowns against six interceptions as a senior…Also added 50 rushing attempts for 332 yards and three more touchdowns…Tossed six touchdowns each in back-to-back weeks against South Gibson and Scotts Hill…Threw five touchdown passes – including a game-winner with four seconds remaining – against Evangelical Christian School…Participated in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game, passing for a game-high 68 yards on 7-of-11 passing for the West team in a 28-16 victory.
Brandon Anderson, DB, 5-10, 180, Fr., Frisco, Texas (Centennial HS)
Joins the Skyhawks out of Centennial High School, where he was a shutdown cornerback for head coach Mark Howard…Made 122 tackles his senior season, including six games of double-digit stops and a pair of 20-plus tackle games…Best game of the season came on Nov. 7 when he tallied 21 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble against The Colony…Added 71 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a junior…Compiled four sacks against McKinney North on Sept. 13, 2013.
Preston Baker, RB, 5-10, 215, Jr., Starkville, Miss. (East Mississippi CC)
Helped lead East Mississippi Community College to back-to-back NJCAA national championships and an unblemished 24-0 record in the past two seasons under head coach Buddy Stephens…Tallied team-highs in rushing attempts (119), rushing yards (615) and touchdowns (10) with only one fumble in 2014…Also added 21 receptions for 227 yards and three more touchdowns…Set new season-highs in carries (17), rushing yards (86) and touchdowns (three) against Mississippi Delta Community College on Oct. 23…Recorded 86 carries for 481 yards and six touchdowns with only one fumble as a freshman in 2013…Tallied 11 catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns during his freshman campaign…Was a standout tailback at Starkville High School for head coach Jamie Mitchell…Helped the Yellowjackets win the Class 5A state championship in 2012, capping off a 12-3 season and the first state title for the school since 2001…Rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown in the 2012 Mississippi Class 5A state title win over Pascagoula…Tallied 16 rushing touchdowns during his senior campaign.
Rakeem Battle, DB, 5-10, 170, So., Lake City, Fla. (Southwest Mississippi CC)
Attended Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, Miss. as a freshman…Made 23 tackles with three pass breakups in eight games for head coach Tucker Peavey…Made at least three tackles in six of his eight contests…Also served as the Bears’ kickoff returner in five games, tallying 301 yards on seven returns…Had a 95-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff of the game against Copiah-Lincoln Community College on Sept. 18…Prepped at Columbia High School for head coach Brian Allen…Helped the Tigers post 10 wins and make a state playoff appearance during his senior campaign…Was a Class 6A all-state third team defensive player in 2013.
Olandrious Booker, OL, 6-5, 350, Jr., Lambert, Miss. (Hinds CC)
Played at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss. for head coach Gene Murphy…Helped the Eagles go 12-7 overall in his two seasons…Earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges all-state honorable mention accolades as a sophomore…Helped pave the way for a HCC offense that ranked 25th nationally in scoring (28.6 points per game) and averaged 373.1 yards per contest…Helped block for an offense that posted averages of 35.2 points (19th nationally) and 421.6 yards per game in 2013…Prepped at MS Palmer High School in Parks, Miss., where he played for head coach Aaron Holden…Was part of a Dragon team that went 6-4 during his senior season.
Jamie Bowe, RB, 5-11, 195, Fr., Spartanburg, SC (Fork Union Military Academy)
Prepped at prestigious Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va., where he played for longtime head coach John Shuman…Also Played at Spartanburg High School in South Carolina for head coach Freddie Brown…Earned Region II-4A all-region accolades after tallying 198 carries for 1,122 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior in 2012…Led the Vikings with 1,375 all-purpose yards, also adding 17 receptions for 212 yards and a touchdown…Rushed for four touchdowns in the second half alone in a 49-35 win over Mauldin during his senior campaign…Tallied 111 rushing yards on 28 carries in the Region II-4A title game against Gaffney.
Joey Cave, DL, 6-5, 275, Fr., Knoxville, Tenn. (Hardin Valley Academy)
Was a standout performer on both lines at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, where he started at tackle on both sides of the ball for head coach Wes Jones…Helped the Hawks to a 6-5 record after tallying 58 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery as a senior, earning 2014 All-Region 4AAA accolades…Best game of the season came on Sept. 5 when he registered season-highs of seven tackles and two sacks against William Blount.
Isaac Chapman, OL, 6-4, 305, Oak Ridge, Tenn. (Oak Ridge HS)
Anchored the offensive line for head coach Joe Gaddis at Oak Ridge High School…Played guard for a Wildcat team that went 12-1 overall, averaged 37 points and 297 yards per game…Was named a Knoxville News Sentinel second team All-PrepXtra selection after being selected as a 5A Preseason all-state honoree by the Chatanoogan newspaper…Played in the Kentucky-Tennessee National Guard Border Bowl in Williamsburg, Ky. in January.
Donald Cofield, Jr., DL, 6-3, 300, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (Whitehaven HS)
Prepped at Whitehaven High School under head coach Rodney Saulsberry…Helped guide the Tigers to a 14-1 overall record in 2014, earning Memphis Commercial Appeal first team All-District 16AAA defensive tackle honors…Also attended Mitchell High School, where he was named a Memphis Commercial Appeal first team All-District 16 offensive lineman and honorable mention defensive end in 2013…Played in the 13th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game in Memphis.
Julian Crutchfield, DL, 6-5, 265, Fr., Lebanon, Tenn. (Lebanon HS)
Was a valuable two-way player (defensive end and tight end) for head coach Sam Harp at Lebanon High School…Earned All-District 9AAA accolades at defensive end for the Blue Devils, leading the squad in both tackles for loss and sacks while also falling on a pair of fumble recoveries in 2014…Helped the West team to a 28-16 win in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game.
Terry Fultz, DL, 6-6, 250, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (Ridgeway HS)
Prepped at Ridgeway High School under head coach Duron Sutton, helping guide the Roadrunners to a 12-2 record in 2014…Earned Class 5A first team all-state defensive lineman accolades by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association after wrapping up 71 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior in 2013…Also earned second team All-District 15AAA honors at defensive end as a sophomore…Highlighted by Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper as a “Best of the Preps” honoree in 2014…Played in the 13th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game in Memphis.
Malik Harris, LB, 6-2, 215, Fr., Nashville, Tenn. (Maplewood HS)
Played at Maplewood High School under head coach Arcentae Broome…Racked up 105 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four forced fumbles and 30 quarterback hurries in his senior season alone…Also scored a pair of touchdowns (one rushing, one punt return) in 2014…Transferred to Maplewood halfway through his junior season after also playing at Pope John Paul II High School…Accumulated 57 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and eight quarterback hurries in only five games during his junior campaign at Maplewood…Earned 2014 Metro Coaches Association all-city team honors and was also named as a top metro recruit by the Tennessee Tribune.
Parrish Huddleston, DL, 6-0, 290, Sr., Dorsey, Miss. (UAB)
Joins the Skyhawks out of UAB, a Football Bowl Subdivision team who was a member of Conference USA…Played in 11 games last season for head coach Bill Clark, helping the Blazers to a bowl-eligible season for the first time in a decade…Made 16 tackles – including three tackles for loss and two sacks while also blocking a kick…Had a season-high five tackles at Arkansas on Oct. 25 and concluded the season with sacks in back-to-back games against Marshall and Southern Miss…Played his junior season for head coach Ricky Smither at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, Miss….Tallied 22 tackles with two sacks and three tackles for loss in six games in 2013…Prepped at Baldwyn High School, where he was a first team all-state defensive tackle…Named as one of the state’s top 10 defensive tackles by Mississippi Gridiron.
Dan Jensen, OL, 6-4, 305, Jr., Wamego, Kan. (Butler CC)
Played for head coach Troy Morrell at the prestigious Butler Community College program in El Dorado, Kan….Helped the Grizzlies post an 8-3 record while blocking for one of the most dynamic offenses in the junior college ranks in 2014, as BCC piled up 474.7 yards and 45.3 points per game…Was part of a NJCAA Region VI championship team in 2013, as the Grizzlies went 9-2 and advanced to a bowl game…Blocked for an offense that accumulated 384.7 yards and 35.5 points per game during his freshman season…Attended Wamego High School, where he manned both lines for head coach Dale Burkholder…Was named a first team offensive lineman while leading the Raiders to the NCKL championship in 2012 – a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 1984.
Koreyon Jordan, LB, 6-2, 225, Fr., Nashville, Tenn. (Pearl-Cohn HS)
Prepped for head coach Tony Brunetti at Pearl-Cohn High School, helping the Firebirds to an 11-3 record in 2014…Wrapped up 110 tackles, eight tackles for loss, seven sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries during his senior season…Earned 2014 Metro Coaches Association all-city team honors and was also named as a top metro recruit by the Tennessee Tribune…Helped the West team to a 28-16 win in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game, tallying five tackles with a tackle for loss, forced fumble and pass breakup.
Chance Key, TE, 6-5, 225, Fr., Brilliant, Ala. (Brilliant HS)
Played at Brilliant High School, the same program that produced former Skyhawk All-American offensive lineman Joe Gibbs (2006-09)…Playing for head coach Jarrod Helms, Key played quarterback and led the Tigers to a 7-5 record and second round playoff appearance in 2013…Headed an offense that produced 26.8 points per game, including a season-high 68 points against Vina on Sept. 27…Completed nine of his 12 pass attempts for 191 yards and three touchdowns while rushing nine times for 194 yards and three touchdowns in the aforementioned win over Vina…Rushed 22 times for 256 yards and four touchdowns against Marion County to lead BHS to its first 1A playoff berth in a decade.
Jaylon Moore, WR, 6-2, 180, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (Mitchell HS)
Was a standout wide receiver at Mitchell High School under head coach Vernon Woods…Earned Class 2A all-state honors by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association while also garnering first team All-District 16A accolades…Accumulated 1,147 receiving yards on 53 receptions as a senior, hauling in 15 touchdowns while adding another rushing score…Recorded 15 tackles with three interceptions on defense in 2014…Helped the Tigers to the Class 2A state quarterfinals as a junior…Highlighted by Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper as a “Best of the Preps” honoree in 2014…Helped the West team to a 28-16 win in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game.
Austin Newsom, OL, 6-5, 325, Fr., Charlotte, Tenn. (Creek Wood HS)
Was a mainstay on both lines for head coach Chuck Daniel at Creek Wood High School…Tallied 65 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five pass breakups in 2014…Had a breakout game against East Hickman on Oct. 14, tallying two sacks, two drive-ending tackles for a loss and blocking a pass in a 48-24 victory…Ended his prep career with 120 tackles, 15 sacks and 10 passes defended…Was also an all-district offensive lineman…Played in the 2014 Offense Defense All-American Game in Orlando, Fla.
Tyrone Patterson, OL, 6-2, 315, Jr., Gautier, Miss. (Jones County JC)
Played for head coach David Thornton at Jones County Junior College, starting every game at offensive tackle in 2014…Earned second team All-Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges honors…Was the highest graded offensive lineman for every game…Helped the Bobcats go 9-2 with a MACJC South division title and final No. 8 ranking in 2013…Led the South team to a 23-13 win over the North squad in the 2014 MACJC All-Star Football Classic…Attended Gautier High School, where he was a standout nose guard for head coach Chris Peterson.
Anthony Pearson, DB, 6-0, 175, Fr., Vero Beach, Fla. (Vero Beach HS)
Prepped at Vero Beach High School, where he was a shutdown corner for head coach Lenny Jankowski…Led the Indians to an 11-1 record and a district 8A postseason berth in 2014…Snagged eight interceptions as a senior, which led the Treasure Coast…Tacked on 35 tackles and a fumble recovery in his first season as a starter on his way to an all-area first team selection…Was selected as a Scripps Super 11 honoree, which spotlights the top Treasure Coast area college prospects for the Class of 2014.
Kevin Prather, Jr., LB, 6-1, 200, Fr., Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Oakland HS)
Earned a reputation as one of the state’s best defensive players at Oakland High School under head coach Thomas McDaniel…Helped the Patriots finish with a 12-2 record in 2014, as OHS fell to eventual Class 6A state champion Maryville in the state semifinals…Compiled 119 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as a senior, capturing Class 6A all-state honors by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association…Earned the title of District 7-AAA Defensive MVP on two different occasions by area coaches…Tallied 125 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and an interception with six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a junior…Racked up seven tackles for the East team in the eighth annual Toyota East-West Tennessee All-Star Game…Brother Casey was an All-American basketball player at the University of Florida (2010-14) and is currently playing in the NBA’s Developmental League.
Colton Sander, OL, 6-6, 320, Fr., Oviedo, Fla. (Oviedo HS)
Was a dominant offensive tackle for head coach Wes Allen at Oviedo High School…Helped guide the Lions to a 7-4 record in 2014 and a 6-4 mark as a junior…Helped block for an offense that generated 337.4 yards per game and 39 total touchdowns in 2013…Transferred to Oviedo High School after spending time at Winter Park’s Masters Academy.
Wilfred Taylor, WR, 5-8, 160, Fr., Daytona Beach, Fla. (Mainland HS)
Made a name as one of the best playmakers in the Sunshine State, as he helped Mainland High School post a 14-1 record under head coach Scott Wilson in 2014…The speedy Taylor hauled in 66 receptions for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, helping the Buccaneers hold the No. 1 spot in the state’s 6A ranks for the majority of the season…Racked up 263 yards and four touchdowns in three postseason games, averaging 46 yards per touchdown reception…Was named a Class 6A all-state honorable mention selection by the Associated Press.
Chris Turner, Jr., TE, 6-5, 250, Fr., Memphis, Tenn. (KIPP Collegiate School)
Displayed big play ability at KIPP Collegiate School under head coach Tim Thompson…Earned Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper first team All-District 16A honors on both offense (tight end) and defense (linebacker) for the Phoenix as a senior…Accounted for a pair of touchdowns (70-yard catch, 45-yard fumble recovery) in a 48-7 win over Rossville on Sept. 14, 2014…Was named to the Memphis Commercial Appeal “Best of the Preps” Tennessee 1A-2A-3A team as a junior…Hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass against Rossville Christian on Sept. 13, 2013.
Lonnie Underwood, RB, 5-10, 195, Fr., Lake City, Fla. (Columbia HS)
Was a highly decorated all-purpose back for head coach Brian Allen at Columbia High School…Named Class 6A second team all-state in 2014 by the Associated Press…Scored five touchdowns and had 155 yards in a 42-14 win over Class 5A No. 2 Suwannee on Nov. 7, 2014…Rushed for over 1,100 yards and more than 20 touchdowns as a senior…Broke the school record for most touchdowns in a season (36) as a junior, helping the Tigers post 10 victories…Rushed for 236 yards and five touchdowns on only 16 carries in a 66-13 win over Jacksonville Terry Parker on Sept. 20, 2013…Came up big in the 2013 playoffs, rushing for 191 yards and three touchdowns in the Region 1-6A quarterfinal win over St. Augustine…Ran for almost 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns as the Tigers’ third-string tailback as a sophomore.