BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— The Samford Football program has announced the signing of 16 student-athletes for its 2013 signing class, head coach Pat Sullivan announced on Wednesday.
The 2013 signing class includes nine offensive players and seven defensive players. Nine of the signees hail from the state of Alabama, with five coming from Florida. The Bulldogs also signed one player each from the states of Tennessee and New Jersey.
“I think this is the most balanced class we've had since we've been at Samford,” Sullivan said. “It always starts with linemen and we were able to get four offensive linemen who are really good players. We were able to get a couple of defensive lineman and a couple of linebackers that we needed due to what we lost to graduation. We got a good quarterback, a couple of good wideouts, a couple of good secondary guys and a couple of athletes.”
Sullivan said he and his coaching staff are excited about this class, which is the seventh for the group at Samford.
“The quality of this class, we really won't know for a year or so,” Sullivan said. “But on paper and by our judgment, we are very excited about this class.”
Sullivan added that the 2013 signing class is full of not only good athletes, but outstanding students and people as well.
“Not only is this class very talented athletically, but I think they bring to the table the academics, the character and all of the things you look for in a student-athlete,” Sullivan said. “Several of them were elected captain by their team and that just speaks volumes to me about the respect they had from their teammates.”
Below is a short biographical sketch of each of Samford's 16 signees.
OL, 6-6, 260, Elba, Ala. (Elba HS)
JonAshley Amison was a two-year starter at right tackle at Elba High School . . . He has started the last 26 games in a row for the Tigers . . . Amison helped lead Elba to the 2A state championship as a junior in 2011 . . . The Tigers earned region championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012 . . . Amison was named All-State Honorable Mention and a team captain in 2012 . . . He was involved in FCA, and he was the salutatorian of his senior class at Elba . . . Amison played for Coach Scott Rials in high school.
OL, 6-6, 280, Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Deerfield Beach HS-Atlantic Technical HS)
Royus Amos was named second team All-County at Deerfield Beach High School-Atlantic Technical High School . . . He also participated in the Miami vs. Broward All-Star Game and the North vs. South Broward All-Star Game . . . Amos was a leader on the offensive line that accounted for 2,101 rushing yards and 652 passing yards . . . He played both left tackle and right tackle on the offensive line . . . He was also a two-year letterman in basketball . . . He played for Coach Allen Jackson in high school.
FS, 6-1, 170, Tallahassee, Fla. (Lincoln HS)
Jamerson Blount helped lead his Lincoln High School team to a 12-2 record in 2012 . . . As a senior, Blount tallied 90 tackles, including 59 solo stops . . . He also had seven interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery . . . Blount was named first team All-State and second team Big Bend . . . During his senior season, Blount was named Defensive Player of the Week and Special Teams Player of the Week . . . Blount played for Coach Yusuf Shakir in high school.
LB, 6-2, 213, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Texas Tech/University HS)
Justin Cooper is transferring to Samford after two seasons at Texas Tech . . . Cooper redshirted with Red Raiders in 2011 . . . During the 2012 season, Cooper contributed as a backup . . . Cooper prepped at University High School in Florida . . . He was rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals . . . Cooper notched 61 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions his senior year . . . He helped lead his team to a state runner-up finish as a senior . . . Cooper was named All-State as a senior . . . He was named the team's defensive MVP twice during his four-year career . . . Cooper played for Coach Rodger Harriot in high school.
TE, 6-4, 230, Cullman, Ala. (Cullman HS)
Troy Forrest played football, basketball and baseball at Cullman High School . . . He helped lead the school's football team to a 10-3 record in 2012 . . . As a senior, Forrest had 59 receptions for 570 yards and seven touchdowns . . . He was named All-Area first team in 2012 and second team in 2011 . . . Forrest was also named his team's Most Valuable Wide Receiver in 2011, and he served as the team's captain in 2012 . . . For his high school career, Forrest tallied 144 catches for 1,425 yards and 15 touchdowns . . . He played for Coach Mark Britton in high school.
WR, 6-1, 180, Valrico, Fla. (Strawberry Crest HS)
Karel Hamilton prepped at Strawberry Crest High School in Florida . . . He set school records with 59 catches for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior . . . He finished his senior season with 1,629 all-purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns . . . He also played defense, tallying 21 tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles . . . Hamilton was named first team All-Conference and All-County, and second team All-State for 6A . . . He was also named his team's captain and Player of the Year . . . The Plant City Observer named Hamilton its Offensive Player of the Year, while the Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Bay Tribune named him to their first team . . . He played for Coach John Kelly in high school.
DE, 6-0, 275, Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul's Episcopal)
Jared Holloway earned first team All-State and All-Region honors following his senior season at St. Paul's Episcopal . . . He was also named his team's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 . . . As a senior, Holloway had 58 tackles, 14 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries . . . He ranks second in school history in single-season sacks . . . For his career, Holloway finished with 111 tackles, 22 sacks, 22 quarterback hurries and five forced fumbles . . . He helped lead his team to the state semifinals in 2012 . . . Holloway was also a three-year letterman in track at St. Paul's . . . He played for Coach Steve Mask in high school.
OL, 6-5, 285, Rainsville, Ala. (Plainview HS)
Ryan Hughes started for two years at offensive guard for Plainview High School . . . Hughes was named All-Region and All-Dekalb County as a senior . . . He helped lead his team to a 9-3 record and served as a team captain in 2012 . . . As a senior, he allowed no sacks and graded out at over 80 percent for the season . . . His offense produced over 3,000 rushing yards for the season . . . Hughes also played defensive end in high school . . . Hughes played for Coach Dale Pruitt in High School.
LB, 6-2, 224, Piedmont, Ala. (Piedmont HS)
Jamie Major prepped at Piedmont High School . . . As a senior, Major tallied 135 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and five sacks . . . Major also recovered two fumbles and had six pass break-ups . . . He was a finalist for the Class 3A Lineman of the Year award . . . Major was a three-year All-State, four-year All-County and four-year All-Region selection . . . He was named Region MVP and Calhoun County Player of the Year as a senior . . . For his high school career, Major is his school's all-time leader in total tackles with 478 . . . He also ranks second in school history in career sacks, third in interceptions, third in tackles for a loss and seventh in passes broken up . . . Major played for Coach Steve Smith at Piedmont.
QB, 6-3, 190, Nashville, Tenn. (Christ Presbyterian Academy)
Albert Mitchell passed for 2,117 yards as a senior at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville . . . Mitchell passed for 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions while completing 61.1 percent of his passes last season . . . Mitchell was named to the All-State team for Class 3A in Tennessee . . . He was also named the District 10AA Offensive Player of the Year . . . Mitchell passed for 1,408 yards and 13 touchdowns with just six interceptions as a junior . . . He had a combined record of 25-3 as a starter, leading his team to the state semifinals both seasons . . . Mitchell holds school records for single game passing yards, touchdown passes in a game, highest completion percentage in a game, highest quarterback rating in a game, longest touchdown pass and longest punt . . . He played for Coach Ingle Martin in high school.
QB, 6-3, 195, Moorestown, N.J. (Moorestown HS)
Drew Pederson prepped at Moorestown High School in New Jersey . . . He excelled not only at the quarterback position but also at free safety, wide receiver and punter . . . Defensively, he finished his junior season with eight interceptions and 60 tackles . . . He received accolades from Burlington County and South Jersey . . . He was named first team All-County at safety, second team All-SJ and first team All-Conference . . . Pederson is a member of the student council advisory committee . . . He also plays on his school's baseball team . . . His father, Doug, is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs . . . Pederson played for Coach Russ Horton at Moorestown.
S, 6-0, 180, Mobile, Ala. (UMS-Wright)
Sam Pettway helped lead his UMS-Wright team to the Class 4A state championship in Alabama as a senior . . . Pettway led his team with 158 tackles, including 90 solo stops last season . . . He also had three interceptions, two blocked kicks, two forced fumbles and seven passes broken up during his senior campaign . . . Pettway earned All-Region and All-State honors following the 2011 and 2012 seasons . . . He was also named his team's Defensive Player of the Year and a permanent team captain . . . For his career, Pettway tallied 432 tackles, 11 interceptions, 26 passes defended, seven forced fumbles, five blocked punts, two blocked field goals and four fumble recoveries . . . He played for Coach Terry Curtis in high school.
MICHAEL PIERCE, JR.
DL, 6-0, 275, Daphne, Ala. (Tulane University/Daphne HS)
Michael Pierce, Jr., is transferring to Samford after two seasons at Tulane University . . . He played in all 13 games for the Green Wave as a true freshman in 2011, tallying 15 tackles, including nine solo stops . . . He was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team . . . Pierce was a two-year letterman at Daphne High School . . . He helped lead the Trojans to a combined 21-8 record, including a 15-0 showing and a state championship as a senior . . . Pierce was named first-team All-State and All-District while claiming Cellular South 1st & 10 Club Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior after posting 82 stops and helping spearhead a defense that allowed an average of just 9.5 points per game . . . He was also named MVP of the 6A state championship game after recording 10 stops in a 7-6 win over Hoover . . . Pierce was selected to play in the Max Emfinger All-American Bowl Game Classic . . . Pierce played for Coach Glenn Vickery in high school.
OL, 6-3, 285, Tampa, Fla. (Robinson HS)
Connor Rafferty helped lead his Robinson High School team to a 12-2 record last season . . . He was named first team All-Sun Coast by the Tampa Bay Times . . . He was also named first team All-County and second team All-State as a senior . . . Rafferty won his team's Offensive Line Award as a senior and its Blocking Award as a junior . . . Rafferty was a leader on an offensive line that helped Robinson High School average 215 rushing yards per game . . . He also helped his team reach the Class 5A state semifinals as a senior . . . Rafferty played for Coach Mike DePue at Robinson.
WR, 6-2, 205, Muscle Shoals, Ala. (Muscle Shoals HS)
Javian Ramson helped lead his Muscle Shoals High School team to a 13-1 record and a spot in the state semifinals in 2012 . . . He was named All-Area as a senior . . . During his senior season, he caught 23 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 16.7 yards per reception . . . Ramson also rushed nine times for 98 yards in 2012 . . . As a junior, Ramson had 14 receptions for 316 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing eight times for 69 yards . . . He played for Coach Scott Basden in high school.
DL, 6-2, 240, Boaz, Ala. (Boaz HS)
Terrell Woods was named the Sand Mountain Reporter's All-Marshall County Defensive Player of the Year after his senior season at Boaz High School . . . He was a two-time All-County and All-Region team member . . . Woods was also named All-Area and All-State as a senior . . . He was named team captain and his team's Outstanding Defensive Player in both 2011 and 2012 . . . Woods recorded 90 tackles, including 36 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks in 2012 . . . As a junior, Woods finished with 92 tackles, six sacks and 18 tackles for a loss . . . Woods was also named to the AL.com Huntsville Times Elite Football Team . . . He played for Coach Drew Noles in high school.