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WSSU Football Inks 14 To National Letters Of Intent

 

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The Winston-Salem State University football program announced the signing of 14 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on 2008 signing day on Wednesday in what many have described as one of the most talent-laden classes in WSSU history.

 

The Rams inked student-athletes from six states and the District of Columbia as WSSU signed four athletes from North Carolina, three from Virginia, three from Washington, D.C., and one athlete each from the states of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Maryland.

 

"This is probably one of the best recruiting classes that I have had in my 15-year tenure.  I may have had individual athletes with higher acclaim but when I look at the scope of this recruiting class, as a whole, I am truly pleased with the level of talent that we have been able to bring to Winston-Salem State University.

 

Ninety-nine percent of these kids are eligible to play and are exceptionally academically and athletically sounds.  I am really, really happy about this recruiting class as we continue to bring in student-athletes that will help move us forward in the transition to NCAA Division I status.

 

Coach Gaither, our recruiting coordinator did a masterful job of putting this class together.  To be able to bring this level of talent into our program, I really have to commend my coaching staff.  I am really fortunate to have a staff as dedicated and hard working as these guys.  This just shows the level of dedication and hard work that everyone on my staff and in the athletic department has put in as we continue to move forward in our transition." WSSU head coach Kermit Blount added in interviews on Wednesday.

 

The Rams, who finished their first full season of MEAC membership this past year while turning in a 6-5 overall record continue in their transition to the NCAA Division I level by adding talent to an already powerful roster.

 

WSSU coaches anticipate the signing of more student-athletes in the next several days.  Stay tuned to WSSURams.com for future updates.

 

Name                          Ht.       Wt.       Pos.     Hometown                  High School

Cameron Demps          5'11"    180      DB/PR  Suwanee, GA               Peachtree Ridge

Dallas McDaniel           6'3"      325      OL       Lynchburg, VA             Heritage

Darren Everette           6'4"      205      LB        Murfreesboro, NC        Hertford County          

Dominique Fitzgerald   6'0"      180      WR      Danville, VA                 G. Wash. Danville

Edgar Sheppard          6'4"      305      OL       Washington, D.C.        Georgetown Prep

Jimmy Johnson, III        6'3"      230      TE        Washington, D.C.        Georgetown Prep

Branden Williams         6'1"      190      QB       Seale, AL                     Glenwood

Akiem Smart                6'4"      260      DL        Fairfax, SC                   Allendale-Fairfax

Eric Wiggins                 6'4"      290      OL       Washington, D.C.        Gonzaga College

David Luckett               6'3"      280      OL       Pomfret, MD                 McDonough

Dave Harris                  6'3"      245      DL        Charlotte, NC               West Mecklenburg

Lamar Whidbee           6'3"      180      WR      Hertford, NC                 Perquimans County

Stephen Young              6'3"      260      DL        Woodbridge, VA          Gar-field

Akeem Ward                6'4"      260      DE       Holly Springs, NC         Middle Creek

 

Signees By State:

North Carolina (4), Virginia (3), Washington, D.C. (3), Georgia (1), South Carolina (1), Alabama (1), Maryland (1)

 

Signees By Side Of The Ball:

Offense (8), Defense (6)

 

Signees By Position:

Offensive Line (4), Linebacker (1), Defensive End (1), Defensive Line (3), Tight End (1), Defensive Back (1), Quarterback (1), Wide Receiver (2)

 

Cameron Demps

5'11"/180 lbs.

Defensive Back/Punt Returner

Suwanee, Georgia

Peachtree Ridge H.S.

 

Cameron Demps (5'11"/180) from Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwannee, Georgia is a speedy defensive back and punt returner that had committed to Virginia Tech University in the summer with a total of more than 15 Division I-Bowl Subdivision offers.  His speed and cover ability should make an immediate impact in the secondary as Demps has been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40 yard dash and has a vertical leap of 34 inches.  Cameron also earned all conference and all state honors along with being rated one of the 40 best players at his position by Rivals.com and garnered a ranking of three stars (a top 750 player).  Earned a position rating of 78th by Scout.com and turned in a 40-yard dash time of 4.35 seconds and a vertical leap of 29 inches in Scout.com's Atlanta-area combine.  Demps turned in a broad jump of 9'1" and a short shuttle time of 4.16 seconds at that same combine.  Earned a three-star ranking from Scout.com.  The son of James and Tiajuana Dozer.                                                                                      

 

Dallas McDaniel

6'3"/325 lbs.

Offensive Line

Lynchburg, Virginia

Heritage H.S.

 

Heritage High Shool (Va.) linemen Dallas McDaniel (6'3"/325) played both ways for MHS and had an unbelievable year earning all-district, all-region and second team all-state honors.  Heritage head football coach Jones said. "He's one of the best linemen I've ever coached and we've got two of the best linemen in the state".  The son Richard and Phyliss McDaniel he turned down offers from Delaware State, Liberty and Norfolk State.  His WSSU position coach Aaron Federpsiel commented by describing McDaniel as a "big, physical, agile offensive lineman who will help us immediately".  The son of Phyllis McDaniel.

 

Darren Everette

6'4"/205 lbs.

Linebacker

Murfreesboro, North Carolina

Hertford County H.S.

 

Darren Everette (6'4"/205) is a Hertford County High School linebacker product.  Darren was an all-conference and all-region performer, amassing over 100 tackles in his sophomore and junior seasons.  A four-year starter and will be joining two former teammates here at WSSU as he played high school football with current Rams Jaquin Sessoms (SS) and Lamarcius Jenkins (TE).  The son of James Everette.

 

Dominique Fitzgerald

6'0"/180 lbs.

Wide Receiver

Danville, Virginia

George Washington Danville H.S.

 

Dominique Fitzgerald (6'0"/180) a George Washington Danville star wide receiver led the team in three receiving categories with 27 total catches for a team-high 539 yards and six touchdowns while also making an impact on the ground with eight rushing attempts for 50 yards and a touchdown.  Turned in a time of 4.6 seconds in the 40 yard dash and recorded a vertical leap of 32 inches.  Also excelled in the punts and kick return areas.  Dominique was a 2006 and 2007 first team all-district wide receiver as well as being team captain and team co-mvp.  He turned down offers from Hampton, Coastal Carolina, Elon, Delaware State, Norfolk State, Liberty and Old Dominion.  The son of Michelle Foster.

 

Edgar Sheppard

6'4"/305 lbs.

Offensive Lineman

Washington, D.C.

Georgetown Preparatory School

 

Edgar Sheppard (6'4"/305) is a strong and powerful offensive lineman that combines a very big frame along with an agile motion.  Edgar's accolades include first team all independent honors from the Washington Post, a berth on the Baltimore Touchdown Club all-star team, as well as first team all-conference, all-gazette, all-central and all-state honors.  A Two-way player who excels on both the offensive and defensive line he originally committed to Grambling State before signing with the Rams.  The son of Paula Sheppard.

 

Jimmy Johnson, III

6'3"/230 lbs.

Tight End

Washington, D.C.

Georgetown Preparatory School

 

Jimmy Johnson (6'3"/230) is a big, rangy tight end that can both catch and block who runs excellent routes and can punish defensive lineman.  Jimmy also earned all MIAA (Maryland Independent Athletic Association) conference honors.  Jimmy's father played for both WSSU  coaches Kermit Blount and Nicholas Calcutta during their tenures at Howard University on his way to a successful career in the National Football League playing with the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles before becoming the current Tight Ends coach for the Minnesota Vikings.  The Son of Jimmy Johnson, II and Trian Johnson.

 

Branden Williams

6'1"/190 lbs.

Quarterback

Seale, Alabama

Glenwood H.S.

 

Branden Williams (6'1/190) is a standout quarterback from Glenwood HS in Seale, Alabama.  Branden is a dual threat quarterback with a cannon arm who mixes in speed and elusiveness that can give defenses fits.  Branden is a highly recruited quarterback prospect who is a proverbial "feather in the cap for the WSSU recruiting class".  Spent his first three years at Russell County High School where he was a three-year starter before transferring to Glenwood High School for senior season.  Over the span of his career he has passed for close to 3,100 yards and rushed for 2,000 more while combining to score 45 touchdowns. 

 

Last season at Glenwood High School in Phenix City, Alabama he passed for more than 1,000 yards and rushed for 600 yards in a Wing-T offense that went 9-2 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

 

During his junior season at Russell County High School Williams he suffered a broken foot in the sixth game but still managed to pass for more than 1,000 yards and rush for 500 yards.  The Son of Arthur and Felicia Williams.

 

Akiem Smart

6'4"/260 lbs.

Defensive Line

Fairfax, South Carolina

Allendale-Fairfax H.S.

 

Akiem Smart (6'4"/260) is a tough physical lineman from Allendale-Fairfax HS in Fairfax, SC.  Smart is a rangy athletic lineman that will add depth and agility to the defensive front.  HE was selected as an all-region, all-state and elite eleven selection last season.  The son of Darrell Behlin.

 

Eric Wiggins

6'4"/290 lbs.

Offensive Line

Washington. D.C.

Gonzaga College H.S.

 

Eric Wiggins (6'4"/290) is a quick, agile, offensive lineman from Gonzaga College HS in Washington, D.C.  Eric is a powerful run blocker and an athletic pass protector with great feet that helped him earn all-WCC honors.  The son of Frederic and Traci Wiggins he turned down offers from Delaware State and Morgan State.  Wiggins was being considered by Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Vanderbilt and was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio, Texas.  A two sport athlete who also competed in the shot put in high school, Wiggins played basketball his freshman and sophomore seasons at Gonzaga College High School.

 

David Luckett

6'3"/280 lbs.

Offensive Line

Pomfrett, Maryland

McDonough H.S.

 

David Luckett (6'3"/280) is an offensive lineman from McDounough High School in Pomfrett, Maryland.  David is a standout lineman earning both all southwest Maryland, and all-state honors last year.  He is a very athletic strong lineman that will excel inside at center and guard.  The son of Tanya Luckett

 

Dave Harris

6'3"/245 lbs.

Defensive Line

Charlotte, North Carolina

West Mecklenburg H.S.

 

Dave Harris (6'3"/245) is a defensive lineman from West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Dave will bring his shifty pass rush abilities to the Rams' defensive line next season.  Was a two-year starter as well as being an all-conference and all-Mecklenburg area player this past year.  The son of Eunice Haris.

 

Lamar Whidbee

6'3"/180 lbs.

Wide Receiver

Hertford, North Carolina

Perquimans County High School

 

Lamar Whidbee (6'3"/180) is a Perquimans County High School standout wide receiver who was a three-sport athlete in high school.  He also competed in basketball and track earning the state championship 200 meter title last year.  Whidbee's football honors include all-conference and all-region selections in both his junior and senior seasons.  The son of Lewis and Gloria Whidbee

 

Stephen Young

6'3"/260 lbs.

Defensive Line

Woodbridge, Virginia

Gar-field H.S.

 

Stephen Young (6'3"/260) is a standout lineman from Gar-field Senior High School in Woodbridge, Virginia.  Stephen has very quick feet and plays low and fast with long arms. He will add speed and depth to the Rams' defensive line.  Stephen was a four-year starter and a two way lineman at Gar-field Senior High School and is explosive, dynamic, fast and powerful on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  He received All-Conference honors his sophomore, junior and senior years at Gar-field H.S.  Additionally, in his senior year, he also received All-Region, All-Area and All-Extra honors as well.  He was considered by Virginia Tech, Virginia, Boston College, Tennessee, Maryland, N.C. State, SyracuseTemple, James Madison, Hampton, NC Central, Towson, Richmond, Monmouth, Central Connecticut State, Maine and others. He was invited to the U.S. Army All-American combine at the Pittsburgh Steelers Training Facility in Pennsylvania.  Stephen is also a four year heavyweight wrestler and is currently undefeated.  He is ranked third in the state of Virginia.  Stephen won the 2006 Greco Roman wrestling championship, was a 2007 Virginia State qualifier, the 2007 Cardinal District Champion, the 2008 Cardinal District Champion and is advancing to the Regional Championship Tournament with a season record of 42 wins zero losses. He is the son of Stephen M. Young.          


Akeem Ward

6'4"/260

Defensive End

Holly Springs, North Carolina

Middle Creek H.S.

 

Akeem Ward, a 6'4", 260-pound defensive end from Holly Springs, North Carolina (Middle Creek High School) comes to WSSU as one of the top-ranked defensive lineman in the state of North Carolina.  A highly sought-after prospect who was recruited by, and turned down offers from recruited by Ohio University, North Carolina A&T , and Western Carolina University, he has an opportunity to make an immediate impact on the Rams' defense.  Athletic and physical enough to play both inside and outside he Ward was an all-conference selection and earned honorable mention all-state honors.  He is the son of Letha Ward.