Shepherd Football Adds to 2024 Recruiting Class

Martinsburg, W.Va – National Signing Day meant for a busy few hours on Wednesday as Shepherd made some of the final additions to its 2024 football roster:

 

Offense

  • Patrick Thomas (6’2, 205, QB) Woodgrove High School, VA – Thomas threw for 1,446 yards and 24 touchdowns and added another 612 yards on the ground in 2023. His arm strength/talent is immediately noticeable and is consistently able to hit receivers in stride. A wiry build means more strength will come after time in a college weight room. Seemed poised in the pocket in his tape.

  • Gavin Solito (5’7, 170, WR) Stephen Decatur High School, MD – Solito was a four-year, two-way starter for Stephen Decatur and was the Bayside Conference 2-way player of the year, leading the conference with 99 receptions. He is a three-time state champion in both football and wrestling where he amassed over 100 career victories. His top highlight from his senior year was a blocked punt returned for a touchdown which certainly caught the attention of special teams coordinator Luke Wright.

  • Donavan Phillips (5’10, 175, RB) Massaponax High School, VA – Phillips rushed for 557 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior campaign in a triple option offense for the Panthers. A physical runner who is similar to Jordan Barnett who was second in rushing yards for the Rams last season.

  • Roman Spikes (5’10, 170, RB) Paint Branch High School, MD – Spikes is a classic one-cut running back who gets through the hole in a hurry and shows great lateral quickness to make defenders miss in the open field. He also flashes the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, providing the Rams with another threat in the passing game.

  • Will Patterson (5’11, 180, WR) Mountain Ridge High School, MD – Patterson transitioned from receiver to quarterback his senior year and put up eye-popping numbers (1,739 passing yards, 21 TDs, 1,166 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, 79 tackles, 2 INT, 2 FF). Patterson has shown the ability to make an impact an wither side of the ball with Shepherd planning to start him out at wide receiver.

  • Antonio Berry (5’9, 155, WR) Northwest High School – Berry boasts a 23 foot long jump as a track star and track speed to match. He checks a lot of boxes: downfield speed, route running, the ability to make defenders miss in the open field, and also took snaps at running back showing he’s not afraid of contact.

  • Christian Hancock (6’5, 235, TE) St. Michaels -What jumps out first is how quickly Hancock gets off the line either as a TE, or DE, that quick first step paired with great strength for a young player means he may see the field soon for a Shepherd team that more often than not played with two TE sets. As he develops as a pass catcher, Hancock can also be a go to threat in the red zone.

  • EJ Hendrix (6’1, 250, OL) Martinsburg High School, WV – Hendrix anchored a Martinsburg offensive line that paved the way for the tenth state championship in program history, earning 1st Team All-State honors in the process. He adds to the legacy of Bulldogs that have gone on to play at Shepherd with eight other Martinsburg alums currently on the roster.

  • Andrew Racosky (6’7, 335, OT) Brunswick High School, MD – Racosky moves well for his size and still has space to grow into his 6’7 frame. A solid project for Shepherd who is graduating several key starters from the O-line after this season.

  • Braylon Brown (6’2, 300, OL) Morgantown High School, WV – Brown took significant snaps at both tackles and as a guard for Morgantown this past fall. At 6’2, he projects to be a guard at the next level and is already a polished run blocker coming from a rush-heavy Mohigan program.

  • Jack Boulton (6’2, 285, C) Northwest High School – Boulton’s tape is a fun watch, he’s very phyisical with a good lower half. He may be the best”ready now” lineman in this draft class.

  • Camron Banks (6’2, 270, OL) Fort Hill High School, MD – Banks can play on the interior on both sides of the ball but most likely will play guard in college. He shows a mean streak to finish plays and is a perfect fit for head coach and O-line coach Ernie McCook.

  • Solomon Sidbury (C, 6’3, 290) Dunbar High School. The DCIAA Player of the year moves people. He’s massive for an interior lineman but still moves well. Plenty of tape of Sidbury seeking contact down the field and opening up massive lanes to run through.

Defense

  • Datangnan Pittman (6’2, 255, DL) Dundalk High School, MD – Pittman certainly favors strength over speed and may project long term as a defensive tackle. With Shepherd recording 13 fewer sacks in 2023 than 2022, a player like Pittman can help the Rams get back after opposing quarterbacks.

  • Jaden Marine (DT) Concordia Prep, MD –  Marine recorded 64 tackles and 14.5 TFLs as a senior and is like being tackled by a Coke machine with legs. He finishes blocks and plays with impressive strength and is extremely quick off the ball.

  • Malachi Barnes (6’0, 220, MLB) Millford Mill Academy, MD –  Barnes possesses all the necessary traits of a middle linebacker with sideline to sideline speed and he’s not afraid to play up at the line of scrimmage. He is a great form tackler and has room to put weight on his frame.

  • Kyvon “KK” Cutchin (DT) Dunbar High School- Cutchin looks more to be a true DT he can be a guard for Shepherd as well. As a DT he would immediately become one of the strongest players on the defense.

  • Abdoulaye Dieng (6’4, 215,EDGE) MT Zion Prep – The man who put “QB Killer” in his twitter bio has the tape to back it up. Dieng is not just a disrupter in the passing game but against the run as well with tremendous closing speed. Very reminiscent of Shepherd standout Malik Holloway in both size and playing style.

  • Dorein Bryant (6’4, 240, DL) Great Bridge High School – Much of Bryant’s tape is him bear hugging players moving at full speed, immediately stopping their progress, and slinging them down. Perhaps the top run defender in this class, Bryant is a massive DT built to excel at the D2 level.

Special Teams

 

  • Blake Powell (5’9, 170, K/P) Allegany High School, MD –  A converted soccer player with a powerful leg, Powell draws comparisons to Shepherd’s 2023 kicker James Bozek who is currently in the transfer portal. He has shown the ability to make field goals from 50+ yards.