Salukis announce 2015 recruiting class

By Brent Meske, @brentmeske

SIU’s 2015 football recruiting class was announced throughout Wednesday as National Signing Day for high school players took place around the country.

The Salukis announced signed players as their individual national letters of intent were cleared by compliance.

SIU’s recruiting class was named in full by 11 a.m. Wednesday. The recruiting class consists of 26 players, including 11 offensive players, 14 defensive players and one special teams player.

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In a previous interview, coach Dale Lennon said the points of emphasis for this recruiting class were the running back, linebacker and cornerback positions.

The Salukis lost 21 seniors to eligibility and graduation last season, including eight offensive, 10 defensive and three special teams players.

The signing began at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday as the first three players were announced.

Quarterback Tanner Hearn from East River High School in Orlando, Fla., offensive lineman Zack Ingle from Corbin High School in Corbin, Ky., and running back Chris Perkins from Carmel High School in Carmel, Ind., were first.

Hearn was rated as the No. 25 prospect in central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel. He passed for more than 3,000 yards and scored 34 touchdowns his senior year.

Ingle was a 2014 honorable mention All-State selection by the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Perkins, a four-year starter, had 2,682 career rushing yards and 3,192 career all-purpose yards, which is No. 5 and No. 9 in school history, respectively.

Fifteen minutes later, the signing of inside linebacker Withney Simon from Jones High School in Orlando, Fla., and tight end Jacob Varble from Jersey Community High School in Jerseyville were announced.

Simon was a first-team All-Central Florida linebacker and compiled 254 career tackles in 21 games. He had 110 tackles, 7 sacks and 1 interception his senior year.

Varble was named to the IHSA All-State team twice and played three different positions in high school. He comes to SIU as a tight end after throwing for more than 2,000 yards and rushing for 423 as starting quarterback his senior year. As a junior he caught 66 passes for 940 yards and 6 touchdowns and on defense he recorded 40 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery.

At 7:45 a.m., outside linebacker Deondre Barnett from the University of Central Florida and linebacker D’Eddric Wiliams from Eastern Arizona Junior College were announced.

Barnett made 5 tackles and 2 sacks as a true freshman on the Fiesta Bowl Championship team and earned two defensive Scout Team Player of the Week honors in 2013 at UCF.

Williams made 81 tackles in two seasons at East Arizona College.

At 7:50 a.m., safety Airan Reed from South Gibson County in Medina, Tenn., and outside linebacker Kamahl March from East English Village Prep High School in Detroit were announced.

Reed recorded 104 tackles, 5 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries in his career. On the offensive side of the ball, Reed had 2,364 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. In his senior year he rushed for 454 yards and 10 touchdowns as well as compiling 270 yards as a kick returner.

March is the record holder with 55 sacks and 203 tackles at his alma mater. He was named a 2014 Associated Press Division 1-2 All-State selection.

At 8:30 a.m., the signing of defensive lineman Jake Summers from Eureka High School in Wildwood, Mo., was announced.

Summers was named a first-team 6A All-State honoree by the Missouri Football Coaches Association as a senior. He had 57 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks his senior year.

At 8:35 a.m., inside linebacker Cody Crider from Graves County High School from Mayfield, Ky., and offensive lineman Graham Lawrence from Trigg County High School in Cadiz, Ky., were announced.

Crider was a 2014 first-team All-State selection for Kentucky by The Associated Press. He recorded 95.5 tackles, 3 interceptions, 1 interception returned for a touchdown, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown as a senior.

Lawrence was named one of the top 40 prospects in the state of Kentucky by the Louisville Courier-Journal his senior year.

At 8:45 a.m., offensive linemen Ernest Dye Jr. from Milton High School in Milton, Ga., and Jacob Marnin from Southeast Polk in Altoona, Iowa were announced.

Dye did not allow a sack his senior year and was named a North Fulton All-Area offensive lineman by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His father, Earnest Dye Sr., played in the National Football League for six seasons with the Cardinals and the Rams.

Marnin was a 2014 first-team 4A All-State offensive lineman. He also had opportunities to wrestle in college, as he was ranked the No. 2 heavyweight wrestler in the nation by intermatwrestle.com.

At 9:00 a.m., the signing of offensive lineman Michael Zeigler from Sacred Heart Griffin High School in Springfield was announced.

Zeigler played offensive and defensive line in high school and was a two-time honorable mention All-State selection.

At 9:15 a.m., cornerback Torian Lewis from Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing and kicker Josh Haynes from Herrin High School were announced.

Lewis was named the No. 8 cornerback in Illinois by Rivals.com, compiling 155 tackles, 21 pass breakups, 11 interceptions and 5 forced fumbles in his career. Lewis also totaled 1,200 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns on offense.

Haynes had 46 touchbacks on 85 kickoffs and averaged 42.6 yards a punt his senior year. He also had 538 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns as a wide receiver in 2014. He made two 47-yard field goals his junior year. He holds Herrin’s records for longest field goal, most PATs in a season, most PATs in a career and most field goals in a career.

At 10 a.m., defensive back ShawnTrez Spates from Douglas MacArthur High School in Decatur was announced.

Spates was named to USA Today’s All-USA Illinois Football Team in 2014. He recorded 78 tackles, 23 pass breakups and 6 interceptions in his career. He did not allow a touchdown in 2014. He also played quarterback his senior year and finished with 2,747 yards and 36 total touchdowns.

At 10:40 a.m., defensive lineman Parker Buenzli from Casey-Westfield High School in Casey was announced.

Buenzli was a 2014 IHSA Football Coaches Association 1A first-team All-State selection.

At 10:57 a.m., running back Daquan Isom from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., cornerback Julius Washington from Lake Mary High School in Lake Mary, Fla., and outside linebacker Rondarian Bell from American Heritage High School in Boynton Beach, Fla., were announced.

Isom was rated the No. 56 all-purpose player in the nation by 247 Sports. He set a school-record with a 99-yard touchdown run in his senior year. He rushed for 1,440 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior. His cousin is Saluki redshirt freshman inside linebacker Jaylon Graham.

Washington intercepted 8 passes as a junior and was named a two-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Bell was named one of the top 60 recruits in south Florida by ESPN Radio. He recorded 13 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks his senior year.

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269.

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