GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Sporting heavy emphasis on defense, Furman football’s latest recruiting class includes 17 recruits, head coach Bruce Fowler announced on Wednesday.
The Paladins’ new crop of signees features 13 defensive players and four offensive performers. They come from six states, including five from Georgia, four from Florida, and three from Tennessee, two each from North Carolina and South Carolina, and one from Alabama.
Among Furman’s additions are seven first team all-state performers, including linebackers Byron Johnson (Swansea, S.C./Swansea H.S.) and Nic McBride (Lyons, Ga./Vidalia, Ga.), defensive end James Elliott (Franklin, Tenn./Christ Presbyterian Academy), wide receiver Logan McCarter (Sevierville, Tenn./Sevier County H.S.), quarterback Dillon Woodruff (Christiana, Tenn./Riverdale H.S.), defensive back Trey Robinson (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman H.S.), and Jackson Buonamia (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood H.S.), who enrolled at Furman in January after spending the fall term at Air Force Prep.
Johnson, a Shrine Bowler and two-time 3A all-state selection, headlined a Swansea defense that surrendered a school record low 12.0 ppg in a 10-2 campaign this past fall.
McBride, who on Tuesday was named 2A South Georgia Defensive Player of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, led Vidalia to an 11-1 season en route to garnering Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) all-state accolades.
The product of a 3A Christ Presbyterian Academy program coached by former Paladin quarterback great and Furman Hall of Famer Ingle Martin, Elliott helped key CPA to a 13-1 record and state playoff semifinal finish. He was named all-state by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association (TSWA).
In addition to Elliott, McCarter and Woodruff also played in the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game in December following outstanding prep careers.
McCarter, a 6A TSWA all-state choice as a wide receiver in 2011 and as a defensive back in 2012, set new school career marks for receiving yards (2,096 yards) and touchdown receptions (29). He is also an all-state performer in track & field and 2012 state runner-up in the 200m.
Woodruff, meanwhile, overcame a serious knee injury late in his junior season to account for 1,806 yards and 17 touchdowns this past fall at 6A Riverdale. A 2011 TSWA first team all-state pick, he tallied 6,431 yards total offense and registered 74 touchdown responsibilities in three seasons as starting a starting signal caller.
Robinson was named all-state as a quarterback at 4A Dorman this past fall, accounting for 2,809 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Buonamia collected AJC and Associated Press/Georgia Sportswriters Association 5A all-state tabs in 2011 before attending Air Force Prep for the fall semester.
In number terms, Furman’s biggest positional recruitment area was in the defensive backfield with six signees. The Paladins also inked four defensive linemen, three linebackers, two offensive linemen, a wide receiver, and a quarterback.
Nine of the 17 additions were rated as two-star recruits by Rivals.com and/or Scout.com, and offensive lineman Aaron Black was a Rivals.com 3-star.
The seven first team all-state selections in this year’s class represent a significant jump over the two first team all-state picks in the Paladins’ 19-member class a year ago. In addition, 10 Furman signees played at the highest prep classification level in their respective states, with just three competing in ranks lower than 4A.
2013 FURMAN FOOTBALL SIGNEES
Aaron Black, OL, 6-6, 267, Fr., Dallas, Georgia (East Paulding H.S.)
Jackson Buonamia, OL, 6-2, 280, Fr., Snellville, Ga. (Brookwood High School/Air Force Prep)
James Elliott, DE, 6-2, 226, Fr., Franklin, Tenn. (Christ Presbyterian Academy)
Donovan Franks, DB, 5-11, 184, Fr., Altamonte Springs, Fla. (Lake Brantley H.S.)
Jordan Hawkins, DL, 6-1, 264, Fr., Jacksonville, Fla. (Wolfson H.S.)
Richard Hayes III, DB, 5-11, 181, Fr., Greensboro, N.C. (Dudley H.S.)
Byron Johnson, LB, 6-1, 212, Fr., Swansea, S.C. (Swansea H.S.)
Nic McBride, LB, 6-2, 203, Fr., Lyons, Ga. (Vidalia H.S.)
Logan McCarter, WR, 6-1, 168, Fr., Sevierville, Tenn. (Sevier County H.S.)
Nick Miller, DB, 5-8, 161, Fr., Kennesaw, Ga. (North Cobb H.S.)
Brad Minter, LB, 6-0, 217, Fr., Hueytown, Ala. (Hueytown H.S.)
Brian Nwokolo, DE, 6-2, 220, Fr., Jamestown, N.C. (Ragsdale H.S.)
Adekunle “AK” Olusanya, DB, 5-10, 195, Fr., Tampa, Fla. (Sickles H.S.)
Trey Robinson, DB, 6-1, 187, Fr., Spartanburg, S.C. (Dorman H.S.)
Reeves Rogers, DB, 6-0, 190, Fr., Tampa, Fla. (Plant H.S.)
DeAndre Thornton, DL, 6-0, 275, Fr., Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside H.S.)
Dillon Woodruff, QB, 6-1, 190, Fr., Christiana, Tenn. (Riverdale H.S.)
Aaron Black, OL
6-6, 267, Freshman
Dallas, Georgia (East Paulding High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of East Paulding (5A) High School...football coach was Chuck Goddard...played tight end, defensive end, and offensive tackle during his prep career...Rivals.com 3-star/Scout.com 2-Star...caught nine passes and helped lead his squad to an 11-1 campaign in 2012, including 31-6 first round state playoff victory over Clarke Central...program went 33-5 and won three region championships in his three seasons...two-time all-region and 2012 honorable mention all-state selection as a tight end...also played basketball and tennis...former high school teammate of Furman wide receiver Andrej Suttles.
Personal: Full name is Aaron Joseph Black...born December 23, 1994, in Dallas, Georgia...son of David and Laura Black...has a sister, Amanda.
Jackson Buonamia, OL
6-2, 280, Freshman
Snellville, Georgia (Brookwood High School/Air Force Prep)
Enrolled at Furman in January after spending the fall of 2012 at Air Force Prep School...2012 graduate of Brookwood (5A) High School...football coach was Mark Crews...played offensive tackle...Scout.com 2-star...2011 Atlanta-Journal Constitution and Associated Press/Georgia Sportswriters Association first team all-state selection...helped lead Brookwood to 14-1 record and state championship in 2010, his junior year...squad was ranked No. 1 in Georgia and 14th nationally...former high school teammate of Furman long snapper Danny LaMontagne.
Personal: Full name is Jackson Nicholas Buonamia...born May 19, 1994, in Atlanta, Georgia...son of Nick and Cindy Buonamia.
James Elliott, DE
6-2, 225, Freshman
Franklin, Tennessee (Christ Presbyterian Academy)
Projected 2013 graduate of Christ Presbyterian (3A) Academy...football coach was former Paladin quarterback great and 2012 Furman Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Ingle Martin (2004-05)...played defensive line and offensive line...Rivals.com 2-star...totaled 82 tackles as a senior in helping key CPA to a 13-1 record and state playoff semifinal finish...two-time All-District 10 choice...2012 District 10 defensive lineman of the year...2012 first team Tennessee Sportswriters Association all-state pick and second team all-midstate selection...played in the Tennessee Toyota East-West Shrine Game along with fellow Paladin signees, quarterback Dillon Woodruff and wide receiver Logan McCarter...also competes in track & field.
Personal: Full name is James Timothy Elliott...born January 21, 1994, in Nashville, Tennessee...son of Dave and Karen Elliott...has a brother, John.
Donovan Franks, DB
5-11, 184, Freshman
Altamonte Springs, Florida (Lake Brantley High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Lake Brantley (8A) High School...football coach was George Clayton...played cornerback...all-conference selection who recorded three interceptions in 2012, including a game clincher in the end zone against Lake Mary that gave Lake Brantley a district championship, part of a 9-2 season....two-time all-district selection in track & field, specializing in 110 hurdles.
Personal: Full name is Donovan Michael Franks...born November 22, 1994, in Indianapolis, Indiana...son of Fred Franks...has two sisters, Maya and Camille.
Jordan Hawkins, DL
6-1, 264, Freshman
Jacksonville, Florida (Wolfson High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Wolfson (6A) High School...football coach was Walter Williams...saw action at defensive tackle, defensive end, fullback, offensive guard, and middle linebacker during his prep career...Rivals.com 2-star/Scout.com 2-star...registered 70 tackles,including eight sacks, and two fumble recoveries in 2012...totaled 20 career sacks...two-time all-district selection...added third team All-First Coast honors as a senior...twice named Wolfson’s Best Defensive Lineman.
Personal: Full name is Jordan Romel Hawkins...born October 24, 1994, in Cocoa, Florida...son of Stracey and Mervyn Charles...has two sisters, Mia and Venetia, and a brother, Charles.
Richard Hayes III, DB
5-11, 181, Freshman
Greensboro, North Carolina (Dudley High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Dudley (4A) High School...football coach was Steven Davis...played quarterback...Rivals.com 2-star/Scout.com 2-star...ran 244 times for 1,802 yards and 33 touchdowns while also passing for 1,506 yards and eight scores as a senior in 2012...first team all-conference selection...all told accounted for 60 touchdown responsibilities his junior and senior years...also plays basketball and baseball and competes in track & field.
Personal: Full name is Richard Leon Hayes III...born December 14, 1994, in Greensboro, North Carolina...son of Thomasina and Richard Hayes...has three siblings: Ryan, Kennedy, and Duvontae.
Byron Johnson, LB
6-1, 212, Freshman
Swansea, South Carolina (Swansea High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Swansea (3A) High School...football coach was Chad Leaphart...played wide receiver and linebacker...paced Swansea to 10-2 record and second round appearance in state playoffs, totaling 84 tackles and eight sacks in headlining a defense that allowed a school record low 12.0 ppg...three-time all-region choice and two-time, first-team all-state pick by the High School Sports Report...named first team all-state by SCVarsity...Shrine Bowl selection...also competes in basketball and track & field.
Personal: Full name is Byron Johnson...born January 4, 1994, in West Columbia, South Carolina...son of Daniela and Bobby Johnson...has three siblings: Presley, Trey, and Devin.
Nic McBride, LB
6-2, 203, Freshman
Lyons, Georgia (Vidalia High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Vidalia (2A) High School...football coach was Lee Chomskis...played quarterback, wide receiver, safety, and linebacker during his prep career...Scout.com 2-star...racked up 98 tackles, including eight for-loss, three sacks, five interceptions, and two caused fumbles in keying Vidalia to 11-1 season, region championship, and second round state playoff appearance in 2012...named region defensive player of the year, Atlanta Journal-Constitution first team all-state, and 2A South Georgia defensive player of the year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association his senior year...Associated Press/Georgia Sportswriters Association second team all-state...starter in Georgia North-South All-Star Game...garnered all-region accolades as a safety in 2011...four-time all-academic selection...also plays basketball.
Personal: Full name is Nicolas Haynes McBride...born October 13, 1994, in Atlanta, Georgia...son of Nita and Jason McBride...has a brother, Nathan.
Logan McCarter, WR
6-1, 168, Freshman
Sevierville, Tennessee (Sevier County High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Sevier (6A) County High School...football coach was Steve Brewer...played wide receiver and defensive back and also returned punts and kickoffs...member of four IMAC district championship teams...accounted for a school record 2,096 receiving yards and another school standard 29 touchdown catches in a highly decorated career...as a junior caught 51 passes for 973 yards and 16 scores en route to earning Tennessee Sportswriters Association all-state honors as a wide receiver...also averaged 29.8 yards on 16 punt returns...as a senior collected his second all-state scroll but as a defensive back...played in the Tennessee Toyota East-West Shrine Game along with fellow Paladin signees, defensive end James Elliott and quarterback Dillon Woodruff...also participated with Woodruff in the Tennessee-Kentucky National Guard Border Bowl...plays basketball and is an all-state performer in track & field...won region championships in the 200m, 4x100, 4x200, and long jump and finished as state runner-up in the 200m (21.77) in 2012, his junior year...has clocked a 10.94 in the 100m.
Personal: Full name is Logan Bryce McCarter...born November 30, 1994, in Knoxville, Tennessee...son of Stan and Arlene McCarter...has a brother, Kel.
Nick Miller, DB
5-8, 161, Freshman
Kennesaw, Georgia (North Cobb High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of North Cobb (6A) High School...football coach was Shane Queen...played wide receiver and cornerback and also returned kicks...Rivals.com 2-star/Scout.com 2-star...rushed for over 600 yards, totaled over 600 yards receiving, and scored 11 touchdowns in 2012 in helping North Cobb to an 11-3 record, semifinal finish in the state playoffs — the school’s first since 1959 — and No. 4 final state ranking...squad scored county record 574 points (41.0 ppg)...scored three touchdowns, including 90-yard touchdown run, in 48-14 rout of Harrison...second team All-Cobb County selection...played in Cobb Senior Bowl...also stars in track and plays lacrosse.
Personal: Full name is Nathaniel Marlon Miller, Jr....born September 7, 1994, in Orangeburg, South Carolina...son of Nathaniel and Melanie Miller...has a sister, Whitney.
Brad Minter, LB
6-0, 217, Freshman
Hueytown, Alabama (Hueytown HIgh School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Hueytown (6A) High School...football coach was Matthew Scott...played defensive end and linebacker... Rivals.com 2-star...led his team to 6-5 record with 109 tackles, including 13 for-loss, five sacks, and two interceptions in 2012 in first year of competition in 6A ranks...had season high 18-tackle performance in 28-14 win over Walker...named to the Birmingham News All-West Team...as a junior helped pace then-5A Hueytown to 14-1 record, region championship, and state semifinal finish...also plays basketball.
Personal: Full name is Bradley Vanshon Minter...born January 30, 1995, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama...son of DeAidran and Anthony Brown...has three brothers — Cody, Justin, and Kevon — and two sisters, Trinity and Kelly.
Brian Nwokolo, DE
6-2, 220, Freshman
Jamestown, North Carolina (Ragsdale High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Ragsdale (4A) High School...football coach was Tommy Norwood...played defensive end...totaled 40 tackles and was credited with 16 sacks in 2012 on the way to claiming all-area and Piedmont Triad All-Conference honors.
Personal: Full name is Ebuka Brian Nwokolo...born November 4, 1993, in Greensboro, North Carolina...son of Austin and Nancy Nwokolo...has two brothers, Toby and Justin...sister, Ify, played collegiate volleyball at Fayetteville State.
Adekunle “AK” Olusanya, DB
5-10, 195, Freshman
Tampa, Florida (Sickles High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Sickles (6A) High School...football coach was Brian Turner...played cornerback, linebacker, and safety... Scout.com 2-Star...totaled 107 tackles, two sacks, and three caused fumbles in leading Sickles to 8-3 record in 2012...earned all-conference, Tampa Tribune second team All-Hillsborough County, and Associated Press honorable mention all-state honors...had 93 tackles and recorded a pair of interceptions playing safety in 2011, his junior year, collecting all-conference accolades...also plays soccer.
Personal: Full name is Adekunle Oluwabusayomi Olusanya...born September 30, 1994, in Boston, Massachusetts...father, Akin, and mother, Esther, are Nigerian-born...has three brothers.
Trey Robinson, DB
6-1, 187, Freshman
Spartanburg, South Carolina (Dorman High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Dorman (4A) High School...football coach was Dave Gutshall...played quarterback...ran 145 times for 812 yards and 12 touchdowns and completed 127-of-215 for 1,997 yards and 14 scores in 2012, helping Dorman to an 8-4 record...named all-area, all-region, and High School Sports Report all-state...also plays basketball...earned all-region accolades as a junior.
Personal: Full name is William Timothy Robinson III...born December 30, 1994, in Spartanburg, South Carolina...son of Angela and Tim Robinson....has a brother, Wesley.
Reeves Rogers, DB
6-0, 190, Freshman
Tampa, Florida (Plant High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Plant (8A) High School...football coach was Robert Weiner...played linebacker and safety...totaled 84 tackles, three sacks, four interceptions, and one caused fumble his senior year in helping Plant to a 10-2 record...key contributor on 15-0, state championship team in 2011...program’s four-year record during his tenure was 51-5...also played lacrosse.
Personal: Full name is Reeves Linder Rogers...born August 25, 1994, in Tampa, Florida...son of Andria and Al Rogers...has two brothers, Scotty and Tate, and a sister, Abby...mother graduated from Furman and was a member of the swim team and a cheerleader...cousin, Ashley Phillips Severance, played tennis at Furman.
DeAndre Thornton, DL
6-0, 275, Freshman
Fairburn, Georgia (Creekside High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Creekside (5A) High School...football coach was Johnny White...played defensive tackle and nose guard....credited with 60 tackles, including 10 for-loss, six sacks and three forced fumbles in 2012...twice earned second team all-region honors...participated in Georgia-Florida All-Star Game in Boca Raton, Fla. and Atlanta Area All-Star Game.
Personal: Full name is DeAndre Thornton, Jr....born September 7, 1995...mother is Toni Thornton.
Dillon Woodruff, QB
6-1, 190, Freshman
Christiana, Tennessee (Riverdale High School)
Projected 2013 graduate of Riverdale (6A) High School...football coach was Ron Aydelott...played quarterback and free safety...registered 6,431 yards total offense and 74 touchdown responsibilities in three seasons as starting signal caller...ran 383 times for 2,440 yards and 45 TDs....completed 297-of-495 passes for 3,991 yards and 29 scores in his career...keyed Riverdale to a 13-1, district championship season in 2011 and was named Tennessee Sportswriters Association (TSWA) and Tennessee Football Coaches Association (TFCA) first team all-state...had his junior season end due to a torn ACL in state playoff quarterfinal that year versus Oak Ridge...bounced back with a solid 2012 campaign, throwing for 1,306 yards and 11 TDs and rushing for 500 yards and six scores on a 9-4 team...three-time all-district selection...played in the Tennessee Toyota East-West Shrine Game along with fellow Paladin signees, defensive end James Elliott and wide receiver Logan McCarter, and in the Tennessee-Kentucky National Guard Border Bowl with McCarter.
Personal: Full name is Dillon Blake Woodruff...born May 13, 1994, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee...son of Carol and Woody Woodruff...has two brothers, Benjamin and Brayden, and two sisters, Kelsey and Mattie.