Norvell lands top recruiting class in Tigers’ history

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – University of Memphis football head coach Mike Norvell announced the Tigers 2017 signing class Wednesday. The class, the second of the Norvell era, is the best in Memphis football history.
The Tigers posted an 8-5 overall record and a 5-3 American Athletic Conference mark in Norvell’s first season in 2015. Memphis earned its third-straight bowl invitation and played in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Memphis begins 2017 spring drills in mid-March, with the annual Friday Night Stripes spring game set for Apr. 14 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Coach Norvell’s comments on the 2017 class
“To have the results that we have had today, we will finish up with the highest-rated recruiting class in school history and probably right there around the No. 1 non-Power 5 recruiting class in the country. For all of the rankings and excitement that comes with that, we were able to put together a class of an incredible group of young men. That’s what makes this group special.
“We wanted to focus on size, speed and playmaking ability. I believe we hit a home run in every one of those areas. We were able to address a lot of needs that we had and got guys that we feel can be instant impacts.
“Last year (recruiting) was wild. Basically, we had one month to recruit so we were selling a vision and what we wanted to be able to instill into the program. As we went through this year, the kids were able to see it. The relationships were huge. I talk a lot about ‘fit’ and ‘family,’ and they were able to see exactly what that fit looked like. To have a year to build those relationships was really important for us. Then, they got to see it play out this past season. It was great for a lot of our prospects and the guys that ended up signing today.”

Memphis 2017 Signees/Bios

Connor Adair
QB • 6-4 • 200
Trussville, Ala. • Hewitt-Trussville HS
Played final season of prep football at Hewitt-Trussville High School … Before his one season at Hewitt-Trussville, played at Mountain Brook High School … Both school are located in the Birmingham, Ala., area … Three-year varsity performer … Career stats included: 267-of-425 passing (62.8 percent), 3,518 yards and 38 TD … In his one season at Hewitt-Trussville, passed for 2,739 yards and 30 TD (only five INT) … Completed 69 percent of his passes (198-of-288) … Had a QB rating of 126.5 … Also ran for two TD … Named to the 2016 Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) Class 7A All-State second team … Also selected to al.com’s 2016 All-Birmingham first team … Earned Trussville Tribune Offensive Player of the Year honors … Helped lead the Huskies to the 2016 Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 7A state playoffs quarterfinal round … Team finished with an 11-1 overall record and a 7-0 Class 7A Region 4 record … The Huskies won the program’s first region title since 2008 … In his two varsity seasons at Mountain Brook High School, passed for 779 yards and eight TD.

Sanchez Blake Jr.
DB • 6-0 • 190
Olive Branch, Miss. • Olive Branch HS
Joined the Memphis program in January of 2017 … Four-year varsity performer for Olive Branch High School, starting the last three seasons … Career stats included: 233 total tackles (96 solo), 13.5 TFL, three INT, 19 PBU … Also saw time on the Conquistadors special teams/returns … Rated among the top-50 players in the state of Mississippi by 247Sports.com (No. 47) … As a senior in 2015, registered 110 total tackles (41 solos), 3.5 TFL, two INT, one blocked punt and one blocked field goal … 2015 honors included: Clarion-Ledger MS Preps All-State first team, USA Today American Family Insurance ALL-USA Mississippi second team defense, Mississippi High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class 6A All-State first team (CB) by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), Commercial Appeal Best of the Preps All-Metro Team (Mississippi/Arkansas) and Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game … After 2015 campaign, also named among the state of Mississippi’s top50 prospects by 3rdand57.com (No. 43) … As a junior, named to the 2014 Commercial Appeal’s Best of the Preps All-Metro Team (Mississippi/Arkansas).

Preston Brady
LS/OL • 6-1 • 205
Cordova, Tenn. • Evangelical Christian School
Played football and basketball at Evangelical Christian School … Played football for head coach Alan Durham … Earned D2A West 1 All-District first team honors (OL) as a senior in 2016 … Selected to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl All-Star Game (OL) … Also an All-District 2-A honorable mention basketball player his junior season … Averaged 4.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a junior.

Braylon Brown
DL • 6-4 • 265
Cordova, Tenn. • Cordova HS
Three-year varsity player for head coach Anthony Jones at Cordova High School … Racked up 175 total tackles (104 solo), 42 TFL, 24 sacks and 27 hurries from his DT position … Also had five fumble recoveries … Rated a top-60 player in the state of Tennessee by ESPN.com (No. 45) and 247Sports.com (No. 60) … Helped the Wolves to a 12-2 overall record and a 6-1 Class 6A Region 4 mark his senior campaign … Squad earned a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Class 6A Division I playoffs berth and reached the state semifinal round … Collected 79 total tackles (42 solo) with 18 TFL, eight sacks and 10 hurries his senior season … 2016 honors included: Commercial Appeal Class 6A All-Metro Team,
All-Region 4 6A (DL) first team and Toyota East-West All-Star Classic … In the summer of 2016, named to Murphy Fair’s preseason Class 6A All-State Team (defense) … As a junior, had 38 total stops (25 solo), 18 TFL, nine sacks and eight hurries … Helped his Cordova team to an 8-3 overall record in 2015 … Also recorded a safety and had a fumble return for a TD … In 2014, recorded 58 total tackles (37 solo), six TFL, seven sacks and nine hurries.

Terrell Carter
CB • 5-11 • 180
Nashville, Tenn. • Stratford HS
Two-way performer at RB on offense and DB on defense … Scout.com rates him the No. 1 DB in the state of Tennessee … Top-20 player in the state of Tennessee by 247Sports.com (No. 13), Rivals.com (No. 13) and ESPN.com (No. 19) … Top-50 DB nationally by Rivals.com (No. 32) and 247Sports.com (No. 46) … Played his final season of prep football for head coach Maurice Fitzgerald at Stratford High School in 2016 … Before Stratford, starred at Hendersonville High School in 2014 and 2015 … Posted impressive numbers his senior campaign, piling up 2,138 all-purpose yards and 22 TD … Rushed for 1,293 yards and 14 TD and caught 33 passes for 440 yards and six scores … Also rolled up 373 return yards and two TD on special teams … On defense, collected 66 total tackles, two INT and two PBU … Helped lead the Spartans to an 11-1 record and a 6-0 Class 3A Region 5 mark … Team posted a perfect 10-0 regular-season record … Spartans earned a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Class 3A Division I playoffs berth and advanced to the second round … 2016 honors included: Tennessee Titans Mr. Football for TSSAA Division I Class 3A Back semifinalist, Tennessean Mid-State Player of the Year finalist, TSWA Class 3A All-State Team (DB), TSSAA Class 3 Region 5 MVP and Toyota East-West All-Star Classic … In the preseason, named to the Tennessean’s Dandy Dozen list (No. 9) … As a junior at Hendersonville High School, finished 2015 campaign as the Commandos’ leading rusher (1,084 yards/155 carries/10 TD) and leading receiver (16 receptions/226 yards/3 TD) … On defense, had 25 total tackles and 11 PBU … Also returned 10 punts for 204 yards and one score … 2015 honors included: Tennessean All-Mid-State second team (DB), Region 6-5A Specialty Player of the Year, All-Region 6-5A, Sumner County Special Teams Player of the Year and Main Street Media of Tennessee All-Sumner County first team … Helped Hendersonville to an 11-2 record and a TSSAA Class 5A Division I playoffs berth … As a sophomore in 2014, earned All-District 9-AAA honors.

Connor Choate
LS • 6-1 • 200
Coppell, Texas • Coppell HS
Two-year letterwinner in both football and lacrosse … Rated the nation’s No. 5 long snapper at the Kohl’s Kicking Camp … ESPN.com ranks him as the nation’s No. 7 long snapper … In 2016, helped Coppell High School to a 10-3 record and a 6-1 Class 6A Region II District 9 mark (second in district) … The Cowboys advanced to the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A Division I Region 2 semifinal round (state’s Sweet 16) … Following his senior campaign, invited to play in the Blue-Grey All American Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas … Earned the school’s lacrosse Iron Man Award in 2015 and 2016.

Zay Cullens
STAR • 6-1 • 205
Ecru, Miss. • North Pontotoc HS
Two-way star for head coach Brian Sutton at North Pontotoc High School … Three-year starter for the Vikings … Piled up 6,336 all-purpose yards at his RB position … Rushed for 5,612 yards on 673 carries (8.3 ypc) and caught 36 passes for 464 yards … Had 28 career 100-yard rushing performances … Ran for 72 TD and caught five scores … Had 111 kick return yards and 149 punt return yards … Also starred his last two seasons at DB … Collected 159 total tackles, five INT and five caused fumbles … Ranked among the top-40 players in the state of Mississippi by 247Sports.com (No. 36) and ESPN.com (No. 38) … As a senior, helped lead North Pontotoc to the Mississippi High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class 3A state playoffs quarterfinal round … The Vikings finished 2016 with a 10-4 overall record and a 5-0 Class 3A Region 4 mark … In his final prep game, ran for 189 yards on 26 carries and four TD … Wrapped up senior campaign with 1,968 all-purpose yards, 1,754 rushing yards and 24 TD on offense and 94 tackles, one INT and three caused fumbles on defense … Earned MHSAA Class 3A All-State second team (offense; RB) honors from the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) … Also named to the Tupelo Daily Journal All-Area first team … Following the season, selected to play in the Bernard Blackwell North/South All-Statr Classic in mid-December … Prior to 2016, selected as one of the Clarion-Ledger’s top-125 senior players in the state of Mississippi … Also one of the Clarion-Ledger’s top-10 DB in the state of Mississippi for 2016 … As a junior, rushed for 2,201 yards on 244 carries (9.0 ypc) and 33 TD … Totaled 2,492 all-purpose yards … Finished as the state of Mississippi’s sixth-leading rusher (all classes) and MHSAA Class 3A’s second-leading rusher in 2015 … On defense, had 62 total tackles, four INT and two caused fumbles … Named to the MHSAA Class 3A All-State first team (offense; RB) by the MAC … Also collected Tupelo Daily Journal All-Area first team accolades … 2015 Vikings finished with a 9-4 record and earned a MHSAA Class 3A state playoffs berth … In 2014 (sophomore), helped lead North Pontotoc to an 11-2 record … The 11 wins were a school record for most victories in a season … As a sophomore, ran for 1,578 yards and 14 TD … Had 1,797 all-purpose yards … Also played basketball and baseball at North Pontotoc High School.

Tyce Daniel
TE • 6-4 • 238
Paducah, Ky. • McCracken County HS
Played WR, DB and KR for McCracken County High School … Three-year varsity performer for the Mustangs … Career statistics included: 1,052 receiving yards, 65 catches and 14 TD … Rated among the top-50 players in the state of Kentucky heading into 2016 campaign … In his last two seasons (junior/senior), had 55 receptions for 940 yards and 14 TD … Had four TD catches his senior season … Member of Mustangs receiving corps that rolled up over 2,000 receiving yards in 2016 … Helped lead McCracken High School to a Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Class 6A state playoffs berth … Pulled in 10 TD catches his junior season … Also played basketball at McCracken County High School.

Jared Edwards
TE • 6-4 • 255
Evensville, Tenn. • Rhea County HS
Three-year starter at tight end for head coach Mark Pemberton … Primarily used as a run blocker in the Rhea County High School offense … Career statistics were: 23 receptions, 416 yards and five TD … Member of Golden Eagles teams that had a combined 32-8 record, won three district crowns and earned three-straight Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) playoffs berths … A 2016 Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Class 5A All-State pick … Had five catches for 46 yards and one score … Helped block for nearly three 1,000-yard rushers in 2016 (rushing trio combined for 3,075 yards) … Team went 9-3 overall and 6-0 in district play … Golden Eagles won the TSSAA Class 5A Region 4 title … Squad received a TSSAA Class 5A/Division I playoffs berth and advanced to the second round … As a junior in 2014, had seven catches for 186 yards and one TD … His Rhea County High School team went 10-4 overall and 5-1 in the district … Team tied for the TSSAA Class 5A Region 4 championship … The 2015 Golden Eagles advanced to the TSSAA Class 5A/Division I playoffs semifinal round for a second-straight season … Named to the All-District 6-AAA second team his sophomore season … Had 11 receptions for 184 yards and three TD … In 2014, helped the Golden Eagles to a 13-1 overall record and a 5-0 district mark … Squad won the TSSAA District 6-AAA title … Team’s only loss was in the TSSAA Class 5A/Division I playoffs semifinal round … Also played basketball as a sophomore in 2014-15 … Named one of the basketball team’s Scholar-Athletes.

Obinna Eze
OL • 6-8 • 283
Nashville, Tenn. • Davidson Academy
First season of varsity football in 2016 … A junior varsity player his junior season in 2015 due to Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA eligibility) rules pertaining to exchange students … A native of Nigeria, originally came to the United States to play basketball … Played for head coach Jonathan Quinn at Davidson Academy … Consensus top-30 OT nationally by Scout.com (No. 19), 247Sports.com (No. 21), Rivals.com (No. 24) and ESPN.com (No. 27) … Scout.com rates him the No. 2 OT in the state of Tennessee and No. 8 OT in the South … Consensus top-10 player in the state of Tennessee by Scout.com (No. 8), Rivals.com (No. 9), 247Sports.com (No. 9) and ESPN.com (No. 9) … In his one season, blocked for an offense that accounted for 2,743 passing yards and 2,095 rushing yards … Helped pave the way for the Bears offensive unit that averaged 439.9 total yards of offense and 35.9 points per game … Led the Bears to a 7-4 record and a TSSAA Division II Class A playoffs berth … Named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Division II-A All-State team … Represented the West team in the 2016 Toyota East-West All-Star Classic (West won 45-21) … Participated in Nike’s The Opening, a four-day event for the nation’s top high school prospects held at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Coye Fairman
WR • 6-3 • 190
Humble, Texas • Atascocita HS
Joined the Memphis program in January of 2017 … Two-year varsity performer at Atascocita High School … Career stats included: 87 catches, 1,479 yards and 20 TD … Also had a fumble return for TD and kick return for TD … Had an incredible senior campaign in 2015 … As a senior, hauled in 80 receptions for 1,375 yards and 18 TD … Also one fumble return for TD and one kick return for TD … Earned 2015 University Interscholastic League (UIL) All-District 16-6A first team honors … Member of the Eagles 2015 squad that advanced to the UIL Class 6A Division I state playoffs quarterfinals … As a junior, received 2014 UIL All-District 16-6A honorable mention … Also ran track and field at Atascocita High School.

Marcus Green
DB • 6-2 • 190
Cedar Hill, Texas • Cedar Hill HS • Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
Joined the Memphis program in January of 2017 … Junior college transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M … Prior to his time at the junior college level, played a season at the University of Oklahoma (2015) … Played one season for the Norsemen in 2016 … Norsemen’s second-leading tackler with 83 total stops … Also second on team with 55 solo hits … Posted seven PBU … Named to the All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SJCFC) second team in 2016 … At Oklahoma in 2015, played eight games during his redshirt freshman season … In his eight appearances as a Sooner, registered nine total stops (7 solo) … Consensus top-50 CB nationally coming out of Cedar Hill High School … Rated among the country’s top-50 CB by ESPN.com (No. 29), Scout.com (No. 35), Rivals.com (No. 45) and 247Sports.com (No. 46) … Ranked among the top-80 players in the state of Texas by 247Sports.com (No. 76) and Rivals.com (No. 79) … As a senior in 2013, posted 53 total tackles (39 solo), 15 PBU and one INT … Member of 2013 Cedar Hill team that won the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 5A Division I state title.

Desmond Hawkins
DL • 6-5 • 280
Memphis, Tenn. • Craigmont HS • Hinds CC
Junior college transfer from Hinds Community College … Played the 2015 and 2016 seasons for the Eagles … Career stats at Hinds Community College included: 17 games played, 34 total tackles (29 solo), four TFL and three sacks (39 yards) … Played in nine games as a sophomore … Wrapped up 2016 season with 28 tackles, three TFL and a sack … Earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College (MACJC) All-State second team honors his sophomore season … Saw action in eight games as a freshman … Had 16 total stops (15 solo), one TFL and two sacks … Helped lead the Eagles to a 6-3 record in 2015 … Prior to his junior college career, a three-year letterman at Craigmont High School … Played for head coach Cecil Vanhooks … Following his senior season (2014), selected to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game … In 2012 (sophomore), named to the All-District 14-AAA first team offense (OL).

Mikhail Hill
OL • 6-4 • 315
Harvey, La. • West Jefferson HS
Rated the No. 1 OG in the state of Louisiana by Scout.com … Also ranked the No. 26 OG in the South and No. 89 OG nationally by Scout.com … Top-60 player in the state of Louisiana as rated by Rivals.com (No. 39) and ESPN.com (No. 52) … Ranked the No. 66 OG nationally by 247Sports.com … Four-year starter on the line at West Jefferson High School from 2013-16 … Played for head coaches Marcus Scott (2013-14) and Cyril Crutchfield (2015-16) … Only freshman to start for the Buccaneers in 2013 … Helped lead West Jefferson High School to the 2013 Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) Class 5A state playoffs as a freshman … The Buccaneers finished in second in the LHSAA Class 5A District 8 standings in 2013 (4-2 district record) … As a senior, earned 2016 New Orleans Times-Picayune/NOLA.com All-Metro Large Schools Team (5A/4A) honors … Member of the Buccaneers offensive line that paved the way for rushing game to pile up over 1,100 yards and 12 TD … Blocked for the team’s QB who passed for nearly 1,700 yards … Other 2016 honors included: No. 18 player in the state among Times-Picayune/NOLA.com 2017 Top-20 prospects in Louisiana … A Times-Picayune/NOLA.com 2016 preseason All-Metro Team pick … A 2015 Times-Picayune/NOLA.com All-Metro Large Schools honorable mention (5A/4A) selection.

Tanis Joseph
OL • 6-4 • 290
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. • Boyd H. Anderson HS • Ellsworth C.C.
Played one season for Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa … Named to the 2016 All-Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) first team (OL) … Member of the Panthers offensive line that allowed only five sacks in 2016 (12 games) … Blocked for a Panthers offense that averaged over 350 yards of total offense per game in 2016 … Prior to Ellsworth, played one season of junior college football for Fresno City College in 2015 … Earned 2015 All-California Community College Region I first team honors from the California Community College Football Coaches Association … Blocked for a Rams offense that averaged just over 400 yards of total offense per game in 2015 … Prior to junior college, played his prep career at Boyd H. Anderson High School.

Quindon Lewis
DB • 6-2 • 170
Moore, Okla. • Southmoore High School
Four-year varsity performer for head coach Jeremy Stark at Southmoore High School … Two-way player at WR on offense and DB on defense … Rated a top-10 player in the state of Oklahoma by ESPN.com (No. 6) and 247Sports.com (No. 9) … Scout.com rates him the No. 4 DB in Oklahoma and No. 16 DB in the region … Top-40 DB nationally by 247Sports.com (No. 34) and ESPN.com (No. 37) … For his career, had 131 total tackles (100 solo), seven TFL, seven INT, 20 PBU, three fumble recoveries and two caused fumbles … On offense career-wise, posted 64 catches for 1,064 yards and 24 TD … Had 1,358 career all-purpose yards … As a senior in 2016, had 42 total tackles (25 solo), one INT and eight PBU … Also hauled in 16 catches for 327 yards and nine scores … 2016 honors included: Oklahoman’s Big All-City second team (DB), All-District 6A-I-2 second team (WR) and Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference (COAC) second team (WR) … In 2016 preseason, named to the Oklahoman’s Class 6A All-State team and also appeared on the newspaper’s Super 30 player rankings (No. 17) … His junior season saw him record 31 total tackles (26 solo), four INT and nine PBU … Also had 25 receptions for 402 yards and 11 TD … Helped lead Southmoore High School to a 9-2 record and an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) Class 6A playoffs berth … As a sophomore, had 27 total stops (20 solo), one INT, one PBU, three fumble recoveries and two caused fumbles … Pulled in 19 catches for 270 yards and three scores … In 2013 (freshman), had 31 total stops (29 solo), one INT and two PBU … On offense, grabbed four receptions for 65 yards and one TD.

Cade Mashburn
LB • 6-2 • 210
Norman, Okla. • Norman North HS
Three-year starter for head coach Brent Barnes at Norman North High School … Consensus top-20 player in the state of Oklahoma by 247Sports.com (No. 16), ESPN.com (No. 18), Scout.com (No. 20) and Rivals.com (No. 20) … Top-80 OLB in the nation by ESPN.com (No. 70), 247Sports.com (No. 77) and Scout.com (No. 79) … For his prep career, had 254 total tackles, 14 TFL, three sacks, two INT, seven PBU and five fumble recoveries … Part of the Timberwolves’ short-yardage rushing game his senior season … Had 19 carries for 30 yards and six TD … As a senior, posted 84 total stops, nine TFL, two sacks, one INT, two PBU and one fumble recovery … Numerous 2016 honors included: Oklahoman’s All-State first team (LB), Oklahoma Coaches Association (OCA) All-State football game pick (West defense), Oklahoman’s Big All-City Defensive Player of the Year, Oklahoman’s Big All-City first team (LB), Class 6A-I-2 District Defensive Player of the Year, Class 6A-I-2 All-District Team, Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference (COAC) Defensive Player of the Year and All-COAC … Prior to 2016 season, named to the Oklahoman’s Class 6A preseason All-State team (LB) and listed as the No. 16 player in the Oklahoman’s Super 30 … Helped lead the Timberwolves to a 12-1 overall record and a 7-0 6A-I-2 District mark … Team advanced to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) Class 6A-I championship game … As a junior, had 108 total tackles, two TFL, one sack, one INT, two PBU and three fumble recoveries … Earned Oklahoman’s Big All-City honorable mention (LB) … Helped Norman North High School earn an OSSAA Class 6A-I playoffs berth … In 2014, posted 62 tackles, three TFL, three PBU and one fumble recovery.

Dylan Parham
TE • 6-3 • 230
Carrollton, Ga. • Carrollton HS
Played his prep career at Carrollton High School … Primarily used as a run/pass blocker at TE in 2016 … Moved to TE in 2016 after playing exclusively on defense (LB) in previous seasons … Extension of the 2016 Trojans offensive line that helped the offense pile up over 4,200 yards of total offense (2,300 rush/1,900 pass) … As a senior, caught nine passes for 96 yards and one TD … 2016 Times-Georgian All-Area first team (TE) … Helped the Trojans reach the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class AAAAA state playoffs quarterfinal round … Team finished with an 11-2 record in 2016 … As a junior in 2015, played on the defensive side of the ball … Collected 48 total stops (23 solo) and had four TFL in 2015 … Also a member of the Carrollton High School basketball and track and field squads … In track and field, competed in jumps and sprints … Participated in the 2014 USATF National Junior Olympic Championships (triple jump) in Houston, Texas.

Riley Patterson
PK • 5-11 • 180
Glen Carbon, Ill. • Edwardsville HS
Ranked as the nation’s No. 4 kicker in the 2017 class by Kohl’s Kicking and Punting … Rated among the nation’s top-15 kickers by 247Sports.com (No. 9) and ESPN.com (No. 11) … Served as the kicker and punter for head coach Matt Martin at Edwardsville High School … Three-year performer for the Tigers … Squad’s primary kicker and punter his junior and senior campaigns … Career statistics included: 81-of-91 PAT, 13-of-17 FG, 120 points and long FG of 54 yards … Also had kickoff average of 50.9 yards (122 KO) and punt average of 40.1 yards (34 punts) … Earned 2016 St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro third team honors … Named to the 2016 All-Southwestern Conference first team … 2016 stats included: 43-of-49 PAT, 6-of-9 FG and 61 points … Helped Edwardsville High School to a 10-2 overall record and a 6-1 Southwestern Conference mark his senior season … The Tigers advanced to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 8A playoffs quarterfinal round … Kicked the game-winning FG in a 23-20 IHSA Class 8A first-round playoff victory over Oak Park-River Forest … As a junior in 2015, named All-Southwestern Conference first team at punter and third team at kicker … 2015 statistics included: 37-of-39 PAT, 6-of-6 FG and 55 points … Booted a career-long 54-yard FG in a 27-6 win over Belleville West Oct. 9, 2015 … Edwardsville High School posted a 9-1 overall record and a 7-0 conference mark in 2015 … The 2015 Southwestern Conference title was the Tigers’ third straight.

Nick Robinson
WR • 6-4 • 200
Oklahoma City, Okla. • Putnam City West HS
Three-year football performer for head coach Rocky Martin at Putnam City West High School … Played the 2013, 2015 and 2016 seasons … Missed the 2014 campaign with injuries … His final two-seasons statistics were: 88 receptions, 1,486 yards and 23 TD … 2016 football honors included: Oklahoman Big All-City second team (offense; WR) … Oklahoman All-State third team (special teams; kick returner) … All-Oklahoma Big 10 Conference … Oklahoman Class 6A All-State preseason team (WR) … Rated The Oklahoman’s No. 8 player in its Super 30 recruiting rankings for 2017 … A consensus top-10 player in the state of Oklahoma by ESPN.com (No. 4), Rivals.com (No. 6) and 247Sports.com (No. 7) … 247Sports.com also ranked him the nation’s No. 72 WR … As a senior, had 48 catches for 773 yards and 11 TD … Helped lead the Patriots to their best season in more than 15 years … Squad went 7-4 overall and 5-2 in Class 6A-II District 1 … Putnam City West High School tied for second place in the district and earned an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) Class 6A-II playoffs berth … Team advanced to the quarterfinal round … As a junior, posted 40 receptions for 713 yards and 12 TD … Played half of his junior season recovering from injuries that caused him to sit out his sophomore campaign … Also played basketball for Putnam City West High School … Member of the 2015-16 basketball squad that won the OSSAA Class 6A state championship … Squad won state title with a 67-66 win over Norman North … Handed out four assists in the contest, including his final one on the game-winning layup in the final seconds … State crown was school’s first in boys basketball … The 2015-16 boys basketball state title was the school’s first championship in any sport since 1983 (softball) … Member of the varsity basketball squad his freshman season when the Patriots reached the state championship game.

JJ Russell
LB • 6-1 • 180
Grenada, Miss. • Grenada HS
Joined the Memphis program in January of 2017 … Three-year varsity performer for Grenada High School … Primarily played at LB … Top-25 player in the state of Mississippi by ESPN.com (No. 23) and 247Sports.com (No. 25) … Consensus top-75 OLB in the nation by ESPN.com (No. 54), Scout.com (No. 63) and 247Sports.com (No. 71) … Scout.com rates him the No. 2 OLB in the state of Mississippi and No. 26 OLB in the South … Career stats included: 242 total tackles, 30 TFL, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries … Named to the Clarion-Ledger MSPreps All-State second team in 2016 … Also picked up 2016 Class 5A All-State first team accolades … Registered 123 total tackles, 14 TFL, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries his senior season … After season campaign, played in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game … Posted seven tackles in the annual postseason classic.

Tamaurice Smith
DB • 5-9 • 165
Mobile, Ala. • Saint Paul’s Episcopal School
Two-way player (DB/RB) for head coach Steve Mask at St. Paul’s Episcopal School … Top-65 player in the state of Alabama by 247Sports.com (No. 59) and ESPN.com (No. 61) … ESPN.com rates him the nation’s No. 141 CB … As a senior, had 50 tackles and six INT on defense … Also rushed for 579 yards and 19 TD in 2016 … 2016 honors included: Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) Class 5A All-State first team and al.com’s Mobile/All-Coastal Alabama Team … Helped lead the Saints to a 9-4 overall record and an Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 5A state playoffs berth … Team advanced to the AHSAA Class 5A state playoffs quarterfinal round … Member of the 2014 and 2015 St. Paul’s teams that won consecutive AHSAA Class 5A championships … As a junior, collected 78 tackles, five INT, four PBU and a blocked punt … Also forced a fumble and had two fumble recoveries in 2015 … Comes from same high school program as current Memphis linebacker Bryce Huff.

Timothy Taylor
RB • 5-10 • 200
Memphis, Tenn. • East HS
All-purpose standout for head coach Marcus Wimberly at East High School in Memphis … Played RB, WR, KR, PR and LB in his prep career … 247Sports.com rates him the No. 37 all-purpose back nationally … Top-65 played in the state of Tennessee by ESPN.com (No. 43) and 247Sports.com (No. 64) … As a senior, helped lead the Mustangs to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Class 4A state championship … Title was East High School’s first since 1999 … Rushed for 119 yards on 21 carries and two TD in the championship game win … Squad finished 2016 with a 13-2 record … Semifinalist for the 2016 Tennessee Titans Mr. Football award for TSSAA Division I Class 4A Back … Other 2016 honors included: Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Class 4A All-State Team, Donovan Stewart’s Class 4A All-State Team, All-Region 8 4A first team (offense; RB), Commercial Appeal Metro Offensive Player of the Year semifinalist, Commercial Appeal All-Metro 4A/5A Team and AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game … As a junior, helped lead the Mustangs to a 12-2 overall record and a 4-0 Region 8 4A mark … Squad advanced to the TSSAA Class 4A state playoffs semifinal round … Earned 2015 Region 8 4A All-Region first team defense (LB) honors … Helped East High School to a 7-4 record his sophomore season in 2014 … Named to the 2014 All-District 16-AAA first team (LB).

La’Andre Thomas
QB • 6-1 • 180
Jackson, Miss. • Wingfield HS
Dual-threat QB … Top-50 dual-threat QB in the nation by 247Sports.com (No. 44) and ESPN.com (No. 47) … Rated among the top-40 players in the state of Mississippi by ESPN.com (No. 35) and 247Sports.com (No. 39) … Played on the Wingfield High School varsity squad his junior and senior campaigns … In his two varsity seasons, connected on 55.2 percent of his passes (260-of-471) for 4,300 yards and 35 TD … Also carried the ball 184 times for 1,674 yards (9.1 ypc) and 25 TD … Accounted for nearly 6,000 total yards (5,974) and 60 TD in 2015 and 2016 … Starter at QB in 2016 … Named to the 2016 Clarion-Ledger MS Preps All-State second team (offense; athlete) … Also named to the Mississippi High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class 5A All-State first team (offense; athlete), as voted on by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) … As a senior, connected on 197 of his 345 pass attempts for 3,363 yards and 30 TD … Ran for 1,068 yards on 128 carries and 18 TD … Averaged over 400 yards of total offense per game (402.8; 4,431 total yards) his senior season … In a 46-41 win over South Jones, threw for 507 yards (23-of-29 passing) and six TD … For his performance vs. South Jones, selected to MSGridiron.com/ National Guard High School Team of the Week … Helped lead the Falcons to a 7-5 overall record and a 3-4 MHSAA 5A Region 3 mark … The seven wins were the most for a season since before 2004 … Helped lead Wingfield High School to a spot in the MHSAA 5A state playoffs, where the Falcons lost in the first round … Selected to play in the MHSAA Bernard Blackwell North-South All-Star Classic in Gulfport, Miss., in mid-December 2016 … As a junior in 2015, saw action in six games … Passed for 937 yards (63-of-126) and five TD and also ran for 606 yards (56 carries; 10.8 ypc) and seven scores.

Tito Windham
DB • 5-9 • 180
Gulfport, Miss. • Harrison Central HS • Northwest Mississippi C.C.
Joined the Memphis program in January of 2017 … Junior college transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College … Prior to his junior college career, played at the University of Oklahoma in 2014 … Two-time Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-Conference pick at CB in 2015 and 2016 … Career junior college stats included: 67 total tackles (48 solo), five forced fumbles, four INT and 20 PBU … Named a 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-America second team honoree … Also earned NJCAA All-Region 23 accolades in 2016 … Registered 34 total tackles (25 solo), two forced fumbles, three INT and 10 PBU … Ranked ninth in NJCAA in PBU (10) in 2016 … Named to the 2016 MACJC All-Gridiron Team (preseason) … Redshirted his lone season at Oklahoma in 2014 … Played his prep football career at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, Miss. … Consensus top-65 CB nationally by 247Sports.com (No. 14), Scout.com (No. 57) and ESPN.com (No. 64) … Top-20 player in the state of Mississippi in 2013 by ESPN.com (No. 18) and Rivals.com (No. 20) … Scout.com also rated him the No. 1 CB in the state of Mississippi and No. 19 CB in the South … As a senior, registered 58 total tackles, six INT and two INT returns for TD … Also had six offensive TD and a punt return for TD in 2013 … Named to the 2013 Clarion-Ledger All-State first team.
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