Pictured: Florida Tech Football’s staff of John Thomas, Willie Tillman, Steve Englehart, Jayson Martin, Mike Nahl and Ray Herring (left to right) after Wednesday’s press conference. Photo by Amanda Stratford.
Head Coach Steve Englehart introduced his inaugural recruiting class at Florida Tech and the Panthers’ second overall class in a Signing Day press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Clemente Center.
The class features commitments primarily from areas throughout Central Florida, including Brevard County, and South Florida. It also includes several standout student-athletes who turned down Division I offers to be a member of a brand new program that will begin in fall 2013.
“We worked really hard to put this class together,” Englehart said. “My assistants deserve all the credit. We were in over 300 high schools in the state of Florida. Our main focus this year was to get embedded in Central and South Florida. In the future, I think we’ll expand out more into North Florida and some other states.
“Overall it is a good class. It was exciting to get my first class locked in place. I think they’ll blend in really well with the 48 student-athletes we have on campus that are working hard and doing everything we’ve asked. The new student-athletes have a lot of competition when they arrive.”
Englehart and his staff of Jayson Martin, Willie Tillman, Ray Herring and Mike Nahl received commitments from seven players from Brevard County. They include linebacker Andrew Adair (Merritt Island HS/Merritt Island), linebacker Maxx Amato (Jacksonville University/Cape Canaveral), offensive lineman Taylor Corn (Bayside HS/Palm Bay), linebacker Mike Ferguson (Cocoa HS/Cocoa), running back Devonte Jones (Bethel University/Titusville), defensive back Anthony Storm (Holy Trinity/Melbourne) and defensive back Steve Thomas (North Dakota State College of Science/Rockledge).
“We tried to attack every position, but our focus offensively was with the offensive line,” Englehart said. “We wanted to bring in five to six offensive linemen and I think we’ve done a good job. We have some offensive linemen that are capable of starting all four years in the Gulf South Conference. They are really good.”
Josh Farr (East River HS/Orlando), Bradey Karrick (South Fork HS/Palm City, Fla.), Glenn Nichols (Lake Gibson HS, Lakeland, Fla.) and Chris Sadler (Lake Gibson HS/Lakeland, Fla.) highlight the offensive linemen. When the team kicks off, they could very well protect transfer Dan Owen, a 6-2, 200-pound quarterback from Los Angeles Valley College.
“On defense, our key was to get a lot of dual type guys, guys that can play multiple positions and be good on special teams,” Englehart said. “We were able to pick up three defensive linemen and focused on linebackers, defensive backs and safeties, who can add experience to our special teams.”
Manny Abad (South Plantation HS/Fort Lauderdale) led his team in interceptions as a defensive back. Adair was Merritt Island High School’s leading tackler his junior and senior years. Ferguson, a 6-foot, 205-pound linebacker, helped Cocoa High School win three state championships with Jones.
Although Englehart introduced his 2012 recruiting class on Wednesday, he and his staff will continue to recruit for their inaugural season in fall 2013 as a member of the Gulf South Conference.
An archived version of the press conference is available by clicking here and clicking the “On Demand” tab.