February 4, 2009

Flashes announce signing class

On Wednesday, Kent State head coach Doug Martin announced the signing
of 19 high school prospects, as well as three others already enrolled in classes
at the school.

Included in the Golden Flashes' 2009 recruiting class are a total of
six players ranked by Rivals.com as 3-star prospects or better-one 4-star and
five 3-star prospects.

"I think that this class has exceeded our expectations," Martin
said. "We were able to land a few young men that we weren't sure
we'd be able to get. I really think the stadium improvements played a
big role in that--we're no longer showing recruits drawings and plans,
they're seeing the finished product."

The recruiting class included six prospects that project to play in the defensive
backfield, where Kent State loses standout Rico Murray, but has several
starters returning in 2009. The Flashes also signed four linebackers to help
replace All-MAC performer Derek Burrell, Cedrick Maxwell
and Stevon Moss.

"Defensively, linebackers and defensive backs were at a premium," Martin
said. "We really went after as many good athletes as we could sign at
those positions."

Additionally, Kent State signed a pair of offensive linemen.

Offensively, Martin went heavy on wide receivers and offensive linemen, signing
three players at each position. He also added two running backs, a tight end
and a placekicker.

"Obviously offensively, we've been weak at wide receiver the past
couple of years and I think we've found a couple of playmakers with this
class," he said. "We're also bringing in a kicker who we
fully expect to compete for the starting job this fall."

Of the 22 signees, eight hail from the state of Ohio, bringing the total of
in-state recruits to 41 in the five years under Martin. The class is also made
up of student-athletes from eight different states outside of Ohio: Florida
(4), Georgia (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (1), New York (1), North Carolina
(1), Pennsylvania (2) and Virginia (2).

Some random facts about the Kent State recruiting class:

  • The
    group includes six players from Hargrave Academy in Chatham, Va., including
    three who enrolled in classes at the beginning of the spring semester. They
    join five returners for KSU that are Hargrave alums.

  • Two of Dri Archer's high school coaches--head coach John Peacock and assistant
    Larry Shannon--played at East Carolina during Doug Martin's tenure
    as an assistant coach/offensive coordinator with the Pirates. Peackock lettered
    in 1994, Shannon from 1994-97.

  • Luke Batton's father,
    Ben, was a four-year letterwinner for the Golden Flashes from 1976-79, serving
    as a team captain his senior year.

  • Jacob Dooley's
    father, Kevin, lettered at Kentucky in 1984, '85 and '87. Doug
    Martin was a Wildcat from 1981-84. Dooley's .866 completion percentage
    (13-for-15) Sept. 19, 1987 against Indiana still stands as the second-best
    mark in school

  • Kent Walker's father, Edward, played at
    Wake Forest with Kent State Associate Head Coach Jerry McManus.
    lettered in 1976 and 1977, while McManus lettered in 1975 and 1976.

Here's a look at all of Kent State's signees:


Dri Archer, RB, Venice High School, Laurel, Fla.

5-foot-7, 155-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Was team MVP, first team all-area and a second team
all conference pick his senior year at Venice High School…rushed
for 1,482 yards and 17 touchdowns on just 145 carries (10.2 ypc), while
adding 21 receptions for 402 yards and five scores…helped lead team
to back-to-back district titles and an undefeated 2008 regular season…also
returned kicks for the Indians, averaging 22.3 yards on both kickoffs and
punts…returned one punt for a touchdown…also lettered in track
and baseball…coached by John Peacock.

Personal: Born Aug. 9, 1991…son
of Valerie Hart…has two brothers, Aaron and Derek…plans to
major in business.

Coach Martin Says: "Dri can be a great return man - he has
tremendous speed."

Tyler Arend, OL, Paulding High School, Paulding, Ohio

6-foot-5, 295-pounds

Prior to Kent State: All-area, all-county, all-conference, all-district,
Top 100 prospect in Ohio, Scholar Athlete award winner and team offensive
line MVP as a senior at Paulding High School…three-year varsity letterwinner
with 93 career pancakes…named a top 100 prospect in Ohio as a junior…member
of National Honor Society and FFA…coached by Chris Etzler.

Personal: Born May 25, 1991…son of Dave and Joanna Arend…has two brothers,
Scott and Shaun, and a sister, Jackie…intends on majoring in exercise
physiology or business..

Coach Martin Says: "Tyler has tremendous upside because of his frame - we
think he's going to be a 320-pound lineman in no time. He also has
great strength."

Luke Batton, LB, Nordonia High School,
Macedonia, Ohio

6-foot, 200-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Second team All-Ohio selection and
conference defensive MVP his senior season when he recorded 130 tackles
for the second consecutive
year…special mention all-state as a junior…two-time all-league
and all-district honoree…two-time team captain at Nordonia High School…team
MVP as a senior…helped team to region title as a sophomore and back-to-back
conference crowns in 2006 & '07…was also a three-year letterwinner
in baseball…coached by Al Huge.

Personal: Born March 20, 1991…son
of Ben and Carolyn Batton…has three sisters, Christina, Melanie and
Monica, and a brother, Ben…father was a four-year letterwinner at
Kent State from 1976-79, serving as a team captain his senior year…brother
played football at Malone and John Carroll…plans to major in physics

Coach Martin Says: "Luke is probably the most productive high school
player we saw all year. When you turn on his tape or watch him play, it
seemed like he was making every play."

Anthony Bowman, RB/ATH, Scottsdale CC, Detroit,

5-foot-10, 168-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Transfer from Scottsdale Community College where
he was a first team all-conference kick returner in lone season…coached
by Doug Madoski…began his college career at Iowa…returned four
kicks for 76 yards in 2006 as a freshman for the Hawkeyes…grabbed
26 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns to go along with 1,703 rushing
yards and 23 TDs on 219 attempts during career at St. Mary's High
School…helped guide the Eaglets to a Catholic League title in 2005…a
second-team all-state honoree as a senior…also enjoyed a standout
track career, winning 200-meter state championships his junior and senior
years…awarded three letters in football and track… two-time
state champion in the 200-meter dash and two-time runner-up in the 100-meter
dash…coached by George Porritt.

Personal: Born April 24, 1988…parents
are Anthony and Roxanne…has two sisters, Savannah and Macola…plans
to major in English.

Coach Martin Says: "Anthony is a Big Ten talent who can come in
and impact our program immediately, between kick returns and possibly at
wide receiver or running back. He can be an electric player."

Dana Brown, DL, McKeesport Area High School,
McKeesport, Pa.

6-foot-1, 265-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Second-team all-state pick as a senior and two-time
first-team all-conference member as a junior and senior…accumulated
219 tackles 23 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries during
service at McKeesport Area High School…posted 101 and 103 tackles
his senior and junior years, respectively…caused four and recovered
six fumbles during senior season…coached by George Smith.

Personal: Born Feb. 5, 1991…son of Dana Brown Sr. and Tracy Harrison…has
five siblings, Lauren, Tanaya, Daelin, Davon and Dalon…was on student
council…intends to major in education.

Coach Martin Says: "Dana has extraordinary quickness and is really
strong in his lower body. He'll be an interior lineman for us - probably
a nose guard."

Ed Cazenave,
WR, East Paulding High School, Dallas, Ga.

6-foot, 2, 180-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Totaled 30 catches, nine for touchdowns, en route
to earning all-region honors as a senior at East Paulding High School…hauled
in 50 receptions to garner first-team all-state accolades during his junior
campaign…Raiders complied a record of 33-6 during his career…lettered
in football and track…former teammate of fellow Flashes recruit Zack
Gonosz…played for John Reid.

Personal: Born April 11, 1991…parents
are Edward and Vanessa…has a brother, Jeremiah…intends on majoring
in communications…lists winning SCLC Youth Speak Out Competition
as proudest achievement…hopes to work in the broadcasting field.

Coach Martin Says: "Ed has tremendous size and great speed. He's
one of those players who is most dangerous after the catch. We think he
can really help us out this year."

Freddy Cortez, K, Fort Meade High School,
Fort Meade, Fla.

6-foot, 200-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Was an all-state selection as a sophomore at Fort
Meade High School…three-time all-county honoree, both as a kicker
and punter…was 106-for-113 on extra point attempts in his career
and 13-for-22 on field goal attempts…nailed a career-long 52-yard
field goal as a sophomore…also lettered four years in baseball and
three in soccer…coached by Jemalle Cornelius.

Personal: Born Oct.
10, 1990…parents are Alfonso and Maribel Cortez…has three brothers,
Alfonso Jr., Jesus and Jack, and two sisters, Maria and Perlita…Jesus
was a four-year letterwinner on the football team at Bethune-Cookman…plans
to major in business…helped fix roofs of houses that were damaged
by hurricanes.

Coach Martin Says: "Freddy won a highly-regarded kicking camp in
Florida and was very impressive when we saw him in person. We're
excited about what he can bring here."

Mike Daniels, DB, Hargrave Academy, Greenville,

6-foot, 195-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Was an all-state selection his senior year at Southeast
Raleigh High School after recording 112 tackles, two interceptions, a
pair of forced fumbles and a sack…helped team to a 10-3 mark while
earning defensive MVP honors for the second time…finished his career
with 337 tackles, 15 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and three sacks…was
a two-time all-region selection…also lettered in basketball and
track, winning the state long jump title as a senior…coached by
Daniel Finn at Southeast Raleigh and Robert Prunty at Hargrave.

Personal: Born Jan. 4, 1989…son of Laura Daniels…has a brother, Brian
Daniels, and two sisters, Ebony Daniels and Krystal Cleveland…plans
to major in business administration.

Coach Martin Says: "Mike is a great athlete. We think he can come
in here and play right away."

Jacob Dooley, LB, Mason High School, Mason,

6-foot-2, 215-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Earned all-league honors his senior season after
recording 102 tackles (40 solo) and eight tackles for loss…named
Mason High School's most outstanding defensive player and was a team
captain…earned Academic Award for the highest GPA on the team…was
a teammate of Josh Kline, who redshirted for the Flashes last year…also
lettered three years in lacrosse…coached by Dave Sedmak.

Personal: Born May 16, 1991…parents are Kevin and Lori Dooley…has a brother,
Josh, and a sister, Rachel…father played football at Kentucky, lettering
in 1984, '85 & '87…uncle, Joe Dooley, played at Ohio
State from 1980-84…plans to major in business management or computer
information systems.

Coach Martin Says: "Jake has tremendous upside in that he can play
three of the four linebacker positions here. He'll also contribute
on special teams because of his speed."

Zack Gonosz, DB, East Paulding High School,
Dallas, Ga.

5-foot-10, 185-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Two-time all-state honorable mention and all-region
selection following his junior and senior seasons at East Paulding High
School…selected as Paulding County's Player of the Year as
a senior…helped lead the Raiders to a region championship as a junior
and state semifinals as a sophomore…tallied 13 interceptions and
more than 350 tackles during his high school career…earned four football
and two baseball letters…former teammate of fellow Flashes recruit
Ed Cazenave…was coached by John Reid.

Personal: Born Oct. 8, 1990…son
of Mark and Judy Gonosz…enjoys fishing…plans on majoring in
education…aspires to coach high school football.

Coach Martin Says: "Zack is the best tackler in the secondary that
we saw in recruiting. He's a very physical player."

Tyshon Goode, WR, Hargrave Academy, Syracuse,

6-foot-1, 185-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Was a two-time all-state and three-time all-league
honoree at running back for Nottingham High School…compiled 3,771
yards rushing and 40 touchdowns over his final three seasons, including
a 1,400-yard, 15-TD effort as a senior…played for Paul Sealy at
Nottingham and Robert Prunty at Hargrave.

Personal: Born Feb. 20, 1990…son
of Diedra Glenn…has two sisters, Cintia and Cinte Johnson, and
a brother, Tommy Checks…Cintia was a three-year letterwinner at
guard for the Syracuse women's basketball team…plans to major
in business management.

Coach Martin Says: "Tyshon is an incredible athlete with a great
vertical leap. He gives us true playmaking abilities at wide receiver."

Danny Gress, LB, Clayton Northmont High
School, Englewood, Ohio

6-foot-1, 220-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Racked up 221 total tackles (29 for loss) and 10
sacks at Northmont High School…first-team all-conference and all-division
selection following senior campaign when he compiled 119 stops…helped
lead Thunderbolts to a 10-2 mark and berth in the 2008 region semifinals…team
captain and MVP as a senior…took down opposing quarterbacks 7.5 times
as a junior…twice earned a scholar-athlete nod…two-time letterwinner…coached
by Lance Schneider.

Personal: Born Oct. 3, 1990…parents are Dan and
Cindy…has four siblings, Dana Burkett, Alicia Gress, Anna Coyle and
Tommy Kitchen…intends to major in sports administration.

Coach Martin Says: "Danny is a solid tackler with good speed and
agility. He should contribute right away on special teams."

DeVonte Helms, DL, Potomac High School,
Waldorf, Md.

6-foot-3, 260-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Two-time honorable mention All-Met selection…piled
up 51 tackles (38 solo), nine sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles
as a junior at Potomac High School…part of 2005 state championship
squad that went 12-2…three-year varsity captain for Wolverines…coached
by Chris Davidson.

Personal: Born June 27, 1991…son of Suzanne Helms…siblings
are Diamond and Dierra…plans to major in criminal justice.

Coach Martin Says: "DeVonte' was a great find. He has really
good agility and strength. We think he can come in and play right away
as a freshman."

Garrick Piggott, DB, Hargrave Academy,
Williamsburg, Va.

6-foot-1, 200-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Twice earned all-region accolades
at Lafayette High School…was also a three-time all district selection…for
his career, tallied 1,353 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground while
posting 221 receiving yards and two scores…was a three-time all-state,
all-region and all-district selection on the track team…played
for Paul Wheeler at Lafayette and Robert Prunty at Hargrave.

Personal: Born Oct. 2, 1989…son of Cary Piggott and Richard Wiggins…hopes
to major in criminal justice.

Coach Martin Says: "According to the Hargrave coaches, Garrick
was one of their best athletes. He has played a variety of positions
and we think he'll be a very good defensive back because of his

Max Plunkett, OL, Archbishop Alter, Dayton,

6-foot-8, 305-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Was an All-Ohio honorable mention selection as a
senior, in addition to earning first team all-league, all-area and All-Southwest
Ohio accolades…helped Archbishop Alter High School to the 2008 Division
IV state title…team went 11-1 his junior year and 15-1 the year before
as the Division III runner-up…earned two varsity letters in football
as well as two in basketball…coached by Ed Domsitz.

Personal: Born
June 15, 1990…son of Gail and Theresa Plunkett…has two siblings,
Sandy and Michael…plans on majoring in finance.

Coach Martin Says: "Obviously with Max, his size speaks for itself.
Down the road he's going to be an excellent offensive lineman for

Darius Polk, DB, Hargrave Academy, Lynchburg,

6-foot, 180-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Was a three-time all-state selection as a cornerback,
wide receiver and kick returner at Virginia Episcopal School…made
39 catches for 1,139 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior…also lettered
in basketball and track, winning the state title in the 200 meters and
setting the school long jump record (22'-6") as a junior…played
for Kyle Alexander at V.E.S. and Robert Prunty at Hargrave.

Personal: Born July 18, 1990…son of Charlene Owens…has two brothers,
Martin and Malcolm Owen…volunteered at the Jubilee Family Development
Center in high school…hopes to major in business management or
criminal justice.

Coach Martin Says: "Darius has tremendous speed and is a very
good man-to-man cover corner. We also think he can help us out in the
kick return game."

Fabrice Pratt, DB, Sunset High School,
Miami, Fla.

6-foot-2, 180-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Earned All-Dade County honors his final three seasons
at Miami Sunset…also named the 21st best player in Dade County his
senior season after helping his team finish with a school-best 8-2 record…finished
his high school career with 168 tackles, three interceptions, three forced
fumbles and three blocked punts for a touchdown…besides football,
lettered in track for the Sunset Knights…coached by Jason Malkin.

Personal: Born Dec. 29, 1990…son of Mini Pratt…has two siblings,
Valerie and Taylor…plans
on majoring in buisiness.

Coach Martin Says: "Fabrice reminded us of Usama Young when you
look at his body and the way he plays with speed. He's versatile
enough to play either safety or corner."

C.J. Steward, LB, Hargrave Academy, Jacksonville,

6-foot-1, 215-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Finished his career with 233 tackles, eight sacks,
36 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles, highlighted by a 130-tackle
effort his junior campaign…was a four-year letterwinner at Wolfson
High School…also earned three varsity letters in soccer, two in
track and one in basketball, garnering all-state accolades in soccer
his junior year…played for Law Johnson at Wolfson and Robert Prunty
at Hargrave.

Personal: Born June 5, 1990…son of Anthony McClendon
and Celestine Holloway…has a sister, Celendra Williams…taught
Vacation Bible School and served as a YMCA counselor…participated
student government…plans to major in anthropology.

Coach Martin Says: "C.J. has great range from sideline to sideline.
He's an extremely good tackler and is a very athletic linebacker."

Bryan Wagner, TE, Crestwood High School,
Mantua, Ohio

6-foot-5, 290-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Named All-Portage Trail Conference, all-district
and All-Ohio his senior year as a defensive end…also received the
Jack Lambert Award for being the team's defensive MVP…earned
All-PTC his sophomore and junior seasons as a fullback…named underclassman
of the year his sophomore year with the Red Devils…besides football,
lettered all four years of high school in track, including being named
team MVP three times…played for Tom Hannan.

Personal: Born Aug.
8, 1990…son of Dona and Brad Wagner…is a cousin of Alan Vanderink,
who is a sophomore wide receiver for the Flashes…plans to major
in physical education.

Coach Martin Says: "With Ryan, we got a tight end that can do
a variety of things and is a little bigger than what we currently have
on the roster. He was also a running back in high school, so is pretty
athletic despite his size."

Jeff Walker, WR, Coventry High School,
Akron, Ohio

6-foot-5, 200-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Played wide receiver, running back and quarterback
for the Akron Coventry Comets…amassed 111 receptions, more than 1,500
yards receiving, 24 total touchdowns, 190.5 tackles, six interceptions
and four forced and recovered fumbles…his 111 receptions is a Coventry
school record…earned honorable mention All-Ohio honors his senior
season…named first team All-Portage Trail Conference and second team
all-district his final three years of high school…also recognized
as a Fox Sports player of the week his sophomore season…lettered
three years in football and one year in track for the Comets…coached
by Jay Newcome.

Personal: Born Sept. 25, 1990…son of Lorraine Walker…has
one older sister, Erin…related to Rob Davis, who boxed professionally
for more than 10 years…is undecided on a major.

Coach Martin Says: "Jeff is a great athlete with tremendous jumping
ability and great hands. With his size, we think he can contribute right

Kent Walker, LB, Hargrave Academy, Kittanning,

6-foot-2, 235-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Went to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia following
high school, where he was rated the fourth-best linebacker and was 20th
on the list of the Top 50 prep school players by Rivals.com for 2009…while
attending Kittanning high school, he was named first team all-conference
defensive end as a junior and senior…also named second team all-conference
his senior year as a tight end…tied a single-season school record
with 12 sacks in 2006…lettered in football and track with the Wildcats…played
for Sam Panchick.

Personal: Born Feb. 18, 1988…son of Edward and
Elizabeth Walker…has two older brothers, Karl and Kraig…related
to many current and former pro and collegiate football players, including:
Gus Frerotte, who currently is the starting quarterback for the Minnesota
Vikings; uncle Mitch Frerotte, a former guard at Penn State and a four-year
NFL veteran; father Ed played middle linebacker at Wake Forest with Kent
State assistant coach and running backs coach Jerry McManus and brother
Kraig plays for Division II Indiana of Pennsylvania University…is
undecided on a major.

Coach Martin Says: "Kent is really athletic. He has great instincts
and can play a variety of the linebacker positions. We're looking
for him to be an immediate contributor for us."

Brian Winters, OL, Hudson High School,
Hudson, Ohio

6-foot-5, 320-pounds

Prior to Kent State: Named All-Ohio and All-Northeast Ohio Conference
his senior season with the Hudson Explorers…also named all-conference
his sophomore and junior years…besides lettering in football twice,
also lettered three times in wrestling…named All-NOC in wrestling
his freshman and sophomore years…coached by Tom Narducci.

Personal: Born July 10, 1991…son of Stefani and Bill Winters…plans to
major is either criminal
justice or business.

Coach Martin Says: "We were impressed with Brian's aggressiveness.
We think he has a lot of upside and can play several different positions
on the offensive line."

Kent State Athletics Communications contributed to this report.

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