James Madison address needs in signing class
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - While the new early signing period kept many FCS coaching staffs focused on recruiting in December, James Madison's coaches were a little busy with another deep run in the FCS playoffs to make it their priority.
So the success of the Dukes program - 2016 FCS national champ, 2017 runner-up - did the selling.
"I think that helps," said coach Mike Houston, now in his third season. "The positive was you were playing three or four straight weekends on ESPN in the national playoffs. We were getting a lot of attention nationally. You could have guys come to a playoff game, see a great atmosphere in the month of December right when it's a critical time, or late in November. I do think our success and our reputation helps us a lot to make up for some of the things that are strained with the official visits."
The majority of James Madison's 2018 recruiting class was completed by the Dec. 20-22 signing period, but the Dukes added three players at the start of the traditional signing period Wednesday. They were wide receiver Rakeem Davis, safety Que Reid and defensive lineman Tony Thurston. Davis is the younger brother of former Dukes wide receiver Rashard Davis, a member of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
While the level of high school recruit is on the rise under Houston, the CAA Football power has long been attractive to transfers, such as former Pittsburgh quarterback Ben DiNucci, who will compete for the starting job this year.
"I think what we got is a very talented top-to-bottom class," Houston said. "We especially were able to sure up offensive line, secondary, wide receiver. I think those were the areas that needed the most attention going into this.
"I think the linebacker out of Richmond (Mateo Jackson) is going to be a really great player. He's a guy who may play next year. (Cornerback) Jamari Currence, out of South Carolina, he's already on campus training with our guys."
James Madison 2018 Signing Class
Reggie Brown, WR, 6-1, 175, Lakeland, Fla. (Kathleen)
Chris Chukwuneke, S, 5-11, 185, Edison, N.J. (St. John Vianney/Peddie School)
Jamari Currence, CB, 5-10, 165, Rock Hill, S.C. (South Pointe)
Rakeem Davis, WR, 5-8, 160, Charlottesville, Va. (Charlottesville)
*Ben DiNucci, QB, 6-2, 220, Wexford, Pa. (Pine-Richland/Pittsburgh)
Willie Drew, DB, 6-0, 187, Smithfield, Va. (Smithfield)
Mateo Jackson, LB, 6-1, 220, Richmond, Va. (Hermitage)
Nick Kidwell, OL, 6-5, 300, Knoxville, Md. (Boonsboro)
Hayden Mann, S, 6-4, 190, Mebane, N.C. (Eastern Alamance)
Amelio Moran, OL, 6-6, 300, Virginia Beach, Va. (Princess Anne)
*Juwan Moye, DE, 6-3, 285, Lilburn, Ga. (Parkview/Virginia)
Drew Painter, TE, 6-4, 250, Hershey, Pa. (Hershey)
Devin Ravenel, WR, 6-0, 155, Stafford, Va. (North Stafford)
Que Reid, S, 6-0, 190, Concord, N.C. (Jay M. Robinson)
Henry Schroeder, OL, 6-4, 260, Richmond, Va. (St. Christopher's School)
*Matt Terrell, LB, 6-4, 245, Lynchburg, Va. (Lynchburg Christian/Garden City CC)
Tony Thurston, DL, 6-5, 270, Louisa, Va. (Louisa)
Camden Wise, PK, 6-0, 160, Blacksburg, Va. (Blacksburg)
* - Transfer
Updated February 7, 2018