UNCP football adds 21 transfers, 15 high-school signees on Hall’s first Signing Day

PEMBROKE — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football coaching team faced a quick turnaround from hiring Mark Hall as head coach in December to National Signing Day.

You have achieved a lot in this short time.

The program Wednesday announced the addition of 37 players, with 21 college transfers and 16 signers from high school ranks joining the Braves program for Hall’s debut season this fall.

“The class has gone really well for us,” Hall said. “There is a lot of talent. We tried to hit every position on both sides of the ball. We wanted to include people who we felt could help us and make an immediate difference, as well as people who would be around for a few more years.”

The transfer element of the class is highlighted by 16 players who joined UNCP from Chowan, where Hall has coached for the last two seasons. In the group, the Hawks’ statistical leaders on offense and on defensive linemen Jamae Blank (64 tackles, 15.5 tackles lost, three sacks) and Raydarius Freeman (54 tackles, 17.5 tackles lost, five sacks) among the team’s defensive leaders. Hall also mentioned offensive lineman Chris Russell as an immediate player.

“I think whenever you have people that you work with who understand what we’re about as coaches, what our program is about, they also know what to expect from us on the other side,” Hall said . “I think that so many children are coming from Chowan is a testament to our coaches and the type of program we run.”

The 16 Khwan renditions to the UNCP are:

— Justin Anderson, Soph., TE; Tampa, Fla.

— Cam Berry, Soph., DL; Dumfries, Va.

— Jamae Blank, Jr., DL; durham

— Jaylon Boyd, Jr., RB; Blythewood, SC

— Antonio Crim Jr., Soph., RB; Öcala, Fla.

— J’Vin Farmer, Jr., DB; Clayton

— Raydarius Freeman, Sr., DL; Belhaven

— EJ Gatling, Sun., WR; Elizabeth town

— Donavin Hansberry, Sun., DL; Vianna, Va.

— Caleb Hester, Jr., DB; mebane

— Keshawn Pickett, RS-Jr., DB; Prattville, Ala.

— Caleb Pierce, Sun., QB; Tampa, Fla.

— Chris Russell, Jr., OL; Kinston

— Jeremiah Smith, Sr., TE; Landover, Md.

— Justus Staten, RS-Fr., RB; rock mountain

— Malik Tobias, Jr., WR; unity

Five other transfers came from schools other than Chowan.

“Anytime you bring in a lot of transfers, there’s always a process of integrating them with the team that’s already here, and I think that part went really well,” Hall said. “I think they’re starting to develop really good relationships with each other and we’re slowly but surely becoming a team.”

The UNCP non-Chowan transfers are:

— Jordan Gregg, RS Sr., DB; Sumter, SC/Catawba

— Jo Hayes, Sr., WR; Peanut City, Virginia/Elizabeth City State

— Kyle Hill, RS-Jr., DB; Chocowinity/St. Francis (Pennsylvania)

— Brayden Hinze, RS-Fr., QB; Charlotte/ Brevard

— AJ Hoggard, Sun., DB; Virginia Beach, Virginia/Hampden Sydney

The Braves’ 15 high school signers include 14 from North Carolina, including players from the Sandhills area in Jack Britt running back Sincere Baines, Pinecrest offensive lineman Roston Barber, Scotland offensive lineman Amari Chance and Scotland wide receiver Cadyn Graves.

Hall pointed to Barber on the offensive line and linebackers TJ Griffin and Jaiden Nesbit as players who could have immediate impact as rookies, as well as two kickers, Jackson Hills and Ty Woods.

“Actually, we were just trying to find our kind of guys, guys that we thought would fit our program,” Hall said. “And also try to find the positional needs of the guys just trying to fill the list with some balance on each position. I think the staff did a good job with the quick turnaround and the holidays in between.

UNCP high school signatories include:

— Sincere Baines, RB; Fayetteville/Jack Britt

— Roston Barber, OL; Westend/Pinecrest

— CJ Battle, WR; Goldsboro/Eastern Wayne

— Amari Chance, OL; Laurinburg/Scotland

— Austin Cowick, WR; Mint Hill/Independence

— Jamiel Davis, DB; Wilmington/Heide Trask

— Travis Dupree, LB; Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair

— Myles Fennell, OL; Wilmington/Lane

— Cadyn Graves, WR; Scotland County/Scotland

— TJ Griffin, LB; Shelby / Shelby

— Dustin Hall, DL; Nashville/Southern Nash

— Jackson Hills, K/P; Clayton/Corinth holder

— Jaiden Nesbit, LB; New Bern/Havelock

— Miles Parker, OL; Durham/Riverside

— John Mark Shaw, QB; Sanford/Leesville Road

— Ty Woods, K/P; Kannapolis/AL Brown

Chris Stiles can be reached at 910-816-1977 or email at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.

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