The University of Tennessee at Martin football team added 17 players today during National Signing Day. Head coach Jason Simpson introduced each player and showed video clips during a press conference in the Boling University Center on campus.
Among the 17 signees are six from Tennessee, three each from Georgia and Missouri, two each from Alabama and Mississippi and one from Illinois. The list includes nine offensive players, seven defensive players and a specialist (kicker). “We had to address some immediate needs and some needs for the future,” UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson. “We had to be very selective,” Simpson said.
Devontay Barnett, DB, 6‐1, 198, Taylorsville, Miss. Jones County CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Jones County Junior College where he played for head coach Ray Perkins … He was third on the team in 2012 with 73 total tackles … Had one interception and one fumble recovery … Was a second team MACJC South Division Athlete … Played in the MACJC All‐Star Game.
Kadarren Bond, OL, 6‐4, 282, Brownsville, Tenn. (Haywood County HS)
Played defensive line for head coach Slade Calhoun … Recorded 200 tackles and six forced fumbles … Made 10 interceptions … Participated in the Atlanta Diamond Flight Camp and The Prodigy Camp … Was runner‐up in the fastest man competition at The Prodigy Camp … Named to the all‐region team … Selected to the Jackson Sun’s All‐West Tennessee Team … Played on the North team in the inaugural West Tennessee All‐Star game.
LaQuante Bone, ATH, 5‐11, 170, Gurley, Ala. (Madison County HS)
Was a four‐year starter for head coach Scott Peavey at Madison County High School in Gurley, Ala. …. Played wide receiver on offense, cornerback on defense and also was the team’s primary kick/punt returner … Helped lead the Tigers to a 12‐2 record and a No. 3 state ranking in 2012, making their first‐ever state semifinal postseason appearance in school history … Was an All‐Region wide receiver in 2012 … Had a four‐touchdown game (three receiving, one punt return) against DAR … Returned four kickoffs/punts for touchdowns … Best defensive game came against Hazel Green, when he tallied eight tackles.
Robert Burleigh, OL, 6‐5, 170, Gurley, Ala. (Madison County HS)
Played football for head coach Jerry Hayes at South Side High School where he was a two‐year starter … Was named first team All‐ District 14‐AA his junior and senior years … Named to Murphy Fair Class 4‐A All‐State Preseason team and Jackson Sun All‐ West Tennessee … Named the Bancorp South Player of the Week vs. McNairy County … Played in the Toyota East‐West All‐ Star Classic and also invited to play in the North vs. South All‐Star game. Had 43 tackles and four tackles for loss his junior season … Had 41 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one sack, three hurries, and two caused fumbles his senior season … Was a team captain his senior year.
James Cotton, LB, 6‐3, 223, Belleville, Ill. (Belleville‐East HS)
Played at Belleville‐East where he was the recipient of the Lancer Medallion award … Played both offense and defense … Made 34 catches for 265 yards … Rushed for 20 yards and had seven touchdowns … Made 69 tackles and had nine sacks, four forced fumbles, two interceptions, one blocked punt and three fumble recoveries.
Reuben Duckworth, RB, 5‐11, 210, Mt. Olive, Miss. (Jones County CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Jones County Junior College where he played under the direction of head coach Ray Perkins … Led the state and finished six in the nation with 1,030 rushing yards on 184 rushing attempts … Led the state in scoring with 16 total touchdowns … Was NJCAA Honorable Mention All American … Named MACJC South Division Most Valuable Back … First‐ team MACJC South Division … Also was a member of the Mississippi All Region 23 team … Cousin of former Skyhawks Jason McNair and Julius McNair.
Khalid Hagens, QB, 6‐3, 195, Maplewood, Mo. (Maplewood‐Richmond Heights HS)
Joins the Skyhawks after a prolific run at Maplewood‐Richmond Heights High School under head coaches Brandon Gregory and Rich Nixon … In three years as the starting quarterback, Hagens compiled 6,222 passing yards, a 59.6 percent completion percentage (344‐for‐577) and 63 passing touchdowns (against only 14 interceptions) to go along with 1,971 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns … Led the Blue Devils to a 35‐7 record in three years, guiding the team to their first‐ever Class 2 state championship game (2010), state semifinals (2011) and state quarterfinals (2012) … Was named a Missouri state honorable mention by ESPN.com in 2011 and was a 2012 all‐state Class 2 second team quarterback … In his three‐year tenure as starting quarterback, MRHS scored 1,590 points in 42 games (37.9 per game), scoring season‐highs of 80 points in 2010, 75 points in 2011 and 60 points in 2012.
Donte Harrell, RB, 6‐0, 187, St. Charles, Mo. (Francis Howell HS)
One of the top 20 recruits from Missouri … Rushed for more than 1,490 yards his senior season … averaged 6.6 yards per carry … Had more than 200 yards receiving … Scored 25 touchdowns … Also played defense … Helped lead the Vikings to a 12‐2 won‐loss record and a No. 2 ranking in Missouri’s Class 6.
Chauncey Ingram, RB, 5‐11, 175, Austell, Ga. (South Cobb HS)
Joins the Skyhawks out of South Cobb High School, playing for head coach Ed Koester…Was part of a dynamic offensive attack at SCHS, as he tallied 1,022 rushing yards on 132 carries and 429 receiving yards on 31 receptions in 2012…Racked up 15 touchdowns as a senior…Caught 26 passes for 286 yards as a junior, leading the Eagles to an 8‐4 record…Was part of the school’s first‐ever state playoff victory (over Windsor Forest in 2011) in its 60‐year history…Was named first team all‐region and second team all‐county as well as earning team MVP honors.
Justin Jackson, DB, 5‐10, 175, Johns Creek, Ga. (Chattahoochee HS)
Was a big part of Chattahoochee High School’s success the past three seasons, as the Cougars tallied a 32‐6 record on their way to three straight playoff appearances under head coach Terry Crowder … CHS won the state championship in 2010, won the Region 7AAAA championship and 2011 and eached the playoffs again in 2012 with a 7‐4 overall record …Played wide receiver and cornerback but made his biggest impact on special teams, where he was named an All‐Region 6AAAAAA first eam returner by the Atlanta Journal Constitution …Best game of the season came against North Forsyth, when he returned two punts for touchdowns.
Tae Martin, ATH, 6‐3, 187, Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Seigel HS)
Played for head coach Greg Wyant … Helped the Stars compile a 5‐0 District 7AAA worksheet and a perfect 10‐0 record … Helped the team advanced to Class 6A state semifinals … Made 51 catches for 1,012 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season … Was a two‐time all‐state selection … Named all‐region and all‐district for the past two seasons … Elected to participate in the Toyota East vs. West All‐Star Game.
Mitch Mersman, K, 6‐2, 190, Dickson, Tenn. (Dickson County HS)
Played at Dickson County High School under head coach Troy Williams…Helped lead the Cougars to a 10‐2 record and a second‐round berth in the TSSAA state playoffs in 2012…Tallied 41 touchbacks in 49 kickoff attempts…Also added eight field goals and 46 PAT’s…Was a big part of DCHS’s prolific offense, as he had five games of six or more PAT’s…Played a big part in the Cougars’ 19‐14 win over Springfield, racking up four field goals and a PAT (13 points)…Kicked a career‐long 48‐yard field goal as a junior…Was selected to participate in the Kentucky‐Tennessee National Guard Border Bowl on Jan. 12 at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky.
Alex Roberts, OL, 6‐5, 265, Webster Groves, Mo. (Webster Groves HS)
Comes from the highly successful Webster Groves High School program, which has produced a 44‐6 record over the past four seasons under head coach Cliff Ice … Helped lead the Statesmen to a 9‐3 mark in 2012 and an appearance in the Class 5 district 2 championship game … WCHS ended the season with a No. 8 state ranking in the Missouri Class 5 ranks … Helped block for one of the top scoring teams in Class 5 (28.1 points per game)…Helped WCHS rush for 2,488 yards (6.8 yards per carry, 207.3 yards per game) in 2012 … Was named by the St. Louis Post Dispatch as a 2011 Suburban South first team offensive player and second team offensive player in 2012.
DJ Simmons, LB, 6‐0, 200, Rogersville, Ala. (Lauderdale County HS)
Played for Bob Grisham at Lauderdale County High School … He is a two‐time honorable mention all‐state selection … three‐time All‐Lauderdale County … Named the 2012 Lauderdale County Defensive Player of the Year … Made first‐team All‐Region 8 … two‐time Daily all area … 2012 Lauderdale County High School MVP … Voted 2012 permanent team captain … Led the team with 91 solo tackles … Presented the 2012 Big Play Award.
Trey Warren, DE, 6‐2, 193, Marietta, Ga. (Marietta HS)
Comes to UT Martin from Marietta High School, where he played under head coach Scott Burton…Led the Blue Devils to an appearance in the second round of the Georgia state playoffs last season…Tallied 57 tackles and 9.5 sacks as a senior…Had four sacks in a 27‐13 victory over Hillgrove…Came up big in the postseason, recording a pair of sacks on the final drive of a 30‐27 road win over Lowndes in the first round of the playoffs.
Caylon Weathers, WR, 6‐4, 207, Germantown, Tenn. (Germantown HS)
Joins the Skyhawks from Germantown High School where he played under the direction of Charlie White … Tallied 35 receptions for 1,067 yards and nine touchdowns for his career … Averaged 23.6 yards per catch … Played free safety on defense … Named first‐team all‐conference and all‐county … Recognized as second team all‐region … Played in the Autozone Liberty Bowl High School All‐star Game.
Will Whitley, WR, 6‐3, 187, Memphis, Tenn. (Memphis University School)
Joins the Skyhawks from Memphis University School under the direction of Bobby Alston … Whitley caught 34 passes for 437 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior … Averaged 12.85 yards per catch … Caught four passes against Briarcrest Christian for 92 yards and two touchdowns … Led the Owls to a 10‐3 finish and a spot in the TSSAA Class 2A State Championship … Played in Autozone Liberty Bowl High School All‐star Game.
Release provided by UT Martin Athletics