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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Football team signs 24

Several months of dissecting films and thumbing through scouting reports has recently resulted in 24 victories for the BGSU football program.

Falcon coach Gregg Brandon announced his third complete recruiting class yesterday during National Signing Day at Doyt Perry Stadium, the site where many of the two dozen commitments will spend their next four to five years.

“To me this is game day,” Brandon said, sitting before a reporter-filled third floor suite. “We’ve been busting our tails for 364 days to celebrate on one day. I’m jacked up about this group.”

In all, eight of BG’s recruits hail from Ohio, five from Florida, three from both Illinois and Michigan, two from New Jersey and one each from Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. 20 of the signees were captains of their high school teams and nine helped their squads advance to the playoffs.

“I think it’s one of our better [classes],” said Brandon, who attributed much of the success to Troy Rothenbuhler, the team’s recruiting coordinator. “We’ve won a lot of games in the three years I’ve been head coach, more than anybody in the conference. You look at the history of why we’re winning, well, our recruiting has been pretty good.”

Brandon and his staff made a strong emphasis to recruit the defensive side of the ball, attempting to cure a unit that struggled last season to stop both the run and big pass plays as the Falcons limped to a 6-5 record. A total of 13 defensive players – five linemen, five backs and three linebackers – will begin their Falcon careers in the fall.

“I like the defensive speed,” Brandon said. “I think we really helped ourselves out at linebacker and in the secondary.”

The linebacker corp consists of two out-of-state recruits – Eugene Fells III from Palatka, Fla., Brandon Jackson from Collierville, Tenn. – and local product, Angelo Magnone from Steubenville.

Jackson, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, was a first-team all-state pick three times and Magnone (6-3, 218) was the 2005 Ohio Division III Defensive Player of the Year. Fells III averaged about 116 tackles the last two seasons at Palatka High School, which is also the alma mater of BGSU record-breaking wide receiver Charles Sharon.

“The three linebackers we signed could all play as freshmen, particularly on special teams,” Brandon said.

As promising as the group of linebackers are, the defensive backs just might prove to be better.

Jahmal Brown and PJ Mahone were offensive standouts in Northeast Ohio but will move to the other side of the ball beginning next season. Calvin Marshall (Miramar, Fla.), Tarell Lewis (Redford, Mich.) and Jerett Sanderson (Long Branch, NJ) will also battle for time in the defensive backfield, which returns just one player who started to begin last season.

Sanderson, who attended Fork Union Military Academy, enrolled for the spring semester at BGSU and will have a head start over the other 23 members of the class. Brandon has already got a glimpse of Sanderson during the Falcons’ winter conditioning drills, and the coach has certainly saw positives.

“He is really going to be a good player for us,” Brandon said. “He’s got a chance to start.”

As do a couple interior defensive linemen, who will compete for vacant spots left by the graduation of tackles Mike Thaler and Monte Cooley. DJ Young, an imposing 6-5, 278 pound tackle could ultimately team up nicely in the middle with Orlando Barrow, another recruit who measures at 6-2, 268 pounds.

“We don’t have anybody that looks like DJ Young,” Brandon said, referring to his team’s lack of dominating big men. “Those two guys are the big body guys that I think we’ve been lacking since I’ve been here. We really haven’t had a dominant player on the defensive line since Brandon Hicks in 2001.”

Again this year, BG kept a close eye on the Sunshine State, continuing a pipeline that has served the University nicely over the past few seasons. Omar Jacobs, who bolted for the NFL last month, Sharon and Antonio Smith are just a few of the standout players BG has snagged from Florida.

In addition to Fells III and Marshall, BG traveled to Florida to sign receiver Kelvin Davis (Ocala), kicker Sean Ellis (Merritt Island) and punter Alonso Rojas (Miami).

“We have access to a lot of great players down there,” Brandon said. “We could have probably taken more but we ran out of scholarships.”

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