Lehigh and Lafayette football announce the latest additions to their programs
The Lehigh and Lafayette football programs ended their 2022 season last November with a combined 6-16 record.
And the Leopards’ 14-11 win over the Mountain Hawks at Fisher Stadium in the 158th edition of college football’s most played rivalry was a defensively dominated game typical of both teams’ offensive struggles.
But both local Patriot League programs are excited for the future as new coaching staffs have been hired over the past 15 months.
They’re also excited about recruiting classes, announced Wednesday for the second National Letter of Intent Day of the offseason.
Lafayette, who is enjoying a 4-7 season under first-year coach John Troxell, added six to the 15 signed in December during the early signing phase.
“This is our first full recruitment class since we arrived on campus, and our staff did a great job recruiting a very talented group of student athletes who will build upon our program,” Troxell said in a press release. “This class will have enough talent to immediately add depth to our football team. Not only will these young men bring added value on the football field, but they will also be strong leaders on our campus.”
Lehigh added eight to the four he signed on Dec. 21, which was just two days after Kevin Cahill was announced as the Mountain Hawks head coach.
Considering he came on board during the recruitment process and had to assemble a coaching staff while also trying to attract quality players to campus, Cahill was pleased with the roster of recruits he now has and said that in a few more are likely to come on board in the coming weeks .
“It was a challenge,” Cahill said. “Mike Kashurba [the lone returning assistant] and I put the class together for a while and then we added some assistants and these guys came in and said, ‘Let’s get to work.’ The good news is that this is the first day of signings and not the last. There are still some good, high quality kids out there and we’re trying to recruit them and show them why Lehigh is so special.”
Cahill said he’s not sure how many additional names will be added, but said: “We’re trying to find the right kids that fit and we’re not just taking anyone. We don’t want to make a bad investment now that will cost us four years. We have to do the right thing for our program and build our culture the way we want it to be.”
Though he didn’t have long to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the roster he inherited after a 2-9 season, Cahill said he’s always looking for certain types of players.
“At that level you’re always looking for the big ones…the big offensive linemen, the big D linemen,” he said. “You also can’t get enough big skill players into your program and then you want to add as much speed as possible. That was our focus. We have a couple of guys who can play football at full speed and we think they will be a great asset to us. They will always have needs, but we feel better about where we are as a program and know where we are than we were a month ago.”
Cahill said he’s still trying to get to know the players.
“You can learn a lot from watching movies, but it’s important to get to know them as people and see who they really are,” he said. “This is something that will grow all spring.”
Cahill said he’s also pleased to retain several high-profile fifth-year players, as well as getting a few back who are exploring other options.
“We’re really excited about these guys and welcoming them back, and we’ve also gotten a couple of underclassmen who were in the transfer portal to come back,” he said. “They are excited about building something here. We also check here and there on the transfer portal, but we will always be high school based when the kids come into our program. Some children can enter the portal after the Spring Ball and we save [scholarships] for that possibility, just in case, because we need more experienced people to come in, but we’ll always live in the high school world and live local as well.
One of the newest additions to the program is a product of Lehigh Valley High School, Nazareth 2022 graduate Broc Bender, who spent his final season at Fork Union Military Academy.
Bender was an All-State linebacker at Nazareth, where he helped the Blue Eagles win a District 11 title in 2020.
“What excited me about Broc is that he committed to me on day one of signing and I’ve never met him,” Cahill said. “His enthusiasm and passion for Lehigh football was contagious and we can’t get enough of these types of kids in our program. We want kids who care about the program and want to be here. It’s important because these kids play a little harder and understand the heritage and culture of Lehigh football.”
Lafayette will have two Eastern Pennsylvania Conference products on board in Easton’s Sean Wilson and Allentown Central Catholic’s Ethan Hosak.
When asked about Wilson but Lafayette Sports Network’s Mike Joseph, Troxell said: “He’s a tough Easton boy and he’s great at space but a really physical boy. He played on the defensive line, on the offensive line and we’ve seen a few clips where he even played tight end. We’re going to attack him and his athleticism for what we’re doing makes us expect big things. He’s a great kid and someone we’ve worked really hard to keep at home.”
LAFAYETTE’S RECRUITING CLASS
Benjamin Bussier, wide receiver, 6-0, 170, Manalapan, NJ
Alexander Caba, Defender, 6-9, 170, Teaneck, NJ
Ahmir Crawley, defensive lineman, 5-11, 285, Windsor Mill, Maryland
Michael Dincher, offensive lineman, 6-3, 292, State College
Thomas Dincher, offensive lineman, 6-3, 305, State College
Kente Edwards, running back, 5-8, 187, North Hunterdon
Addison Hoffman, offensive lineman, 6-7, 2069, Boca Raton, Fla
Ethan Hosak, Tight End, 6-2, 215, Allentown Central Catholic
Darson Jeantry, Outside Linebacker, 6-4, 210, Hillside, NJ
Avery Jones, wide receiver, 6-0, 170, Columbia, Md
Jaylon Joseph, defense attorney, 6-2, 240, Houston, TX
Tray Mauney, Quarterback, 6-2, 212, Forest City, North Carolina
De’Marion McCoy, defensive lineman, 6-3, 265, Bridgeton, NJ
Davis Oliver-Goodwin, defense attorney, 6-3, 183, New Orleans, Louisiana
Shaun Purvy, wide receiver 6-0, 165, Souderton
Darien Riley, linebacker, 6-4, 235, Humble, Texas
Jack Simonetta, Kicker/Punter, 5-8, 155, Gotha, Fla
Robert Stevens, linebacker, 6-1, 205, Washington, DC
Michael Vaughn, defense attorney, 6-4, 245, Clinton, Maryland
Ethan Weber, running back, 5-11, 195, Bedord, Pennsylvania
Sean Wilson, offensive lineman, 6-3, 255, Easton
Darren Wu, Kicker/Punter, 5-9, 150, Medford, NJ
LEHIGH RECRUIT CLASS
Kingsley Acho, defender, 6-3, 350; North Richland Hills, Texas
Javin Adderley, defensive back, 5-10, 170, Fayetteville, Ga
Broc Bender, defensive lineman, 6-3, 215, Nazareth
Jason Coe, offensive lineman, 6-3, 260, Cary, NC
Luke Henrich, Quarterback, 6-0, 200, West Orange, NJ
Austin Huff, offensive lineman, 6-3, 270, Palm Harbor, Fla
Mason Humphrey, wide receiver, 6-4, 190, Loganville, Ga
Dayyan O’Neal, defensive lineman, 6-4, 265, Savannah, Ga
Will Parton, linebacker, 6-0, 210, Milton, Ga
Aidan Singleton, defenseman, 6-0, 175, Port St. Lucie, Fla
Jake Stalsitz, Tight End, 6-4, 240, Fairview, Butler County
Luke Yoder, running back, 5-11, 195, Palm Harbor, Florida