RICHMOND, Va. – University of Richmond head football coach Russ Huesman announced a 12-member signing class Wednesday afternoon on the first day of the early signing period for National Letters of Intent. The class will be eligible to play beginning in the 2019 season.
“We feel really good about the 12 guys that we signed in the early period today,” Huesman said. “We focused hard on the offensive line and defensive line this time and that showed with the strength we brought in today. We are thrilled to have this entire group and they are all going to be really good players for us.”
Ben Castellano • WR • 6-4 • 225 • Purcellville, Va./Woodgrove
Led Woodgrove High School to the Virginia State Class 4A Championship as a senior, the school’s first ever title … Named First Team All-Region 4C as a senior when he hauled in 45 receptions for 390 yards … Scored eight touchdowns on the season, including two in the state playoff semifinals against Blacksburg … Scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime to send Woodgrove to the championship game … Two-Time All-Dulles District First Team selection … Named the Burg Sports Wide Receiver of the Year … Rated the No. 1 tight end in all of FCS football by HERO Sports and the No. 3 overall recruit in the Colonial Athletic Association … Ranked the No. 9 tight end in Virginia by Rivals … Earned Second Team all-State honors in Class 4A as a junior … Grabbed 61 catches for 804 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior … Posted 26 receptions for 306 yards and six touchdowns during his sophomore year.
Avery Close • TE • 6-5 • 225 • Salem, Va./Salem
Three-time state champion in Virginia’s Class 4A, winning three-straight from 2015-17 at Salem High School … Earned All-Conference honors as a senior … Posted 14 receptions for 269 yards in the run-heavy offense at Salem … Scored four touchdowns on the year, averaging 19.21 yards per catch … Earned First Team All-State as a junior at tight end while playing both outside linebacker and tight end … Posted 69 tackles and one interception as a junior … Grabbed seven receptions for 172 yards while scoring four touchdowns as a junior … Played at the same high school as former Spider standout and current Green Bay Packer Alex Light.
Cameron Cloud • WR • 5-10 • 180 • Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford
Four-year starter at Northwest Guilford, including a school-record 44 career starts … Named First Team All-Area by the Greensboro News & Record as a junior while picking up Honorable Mention All-Area accolades as a sophomore and freshman … Tabbed the Metro 4A Conference Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior … Two-time First Team All-Metro 4A Conference selection … Rated the No. 3 running back in all of FCS by HERO Sports and the No. 20 overall recruit in the Colonial Athletic Association … Recorded 1,486 all-purpose yards as a senior, averaging 124.6 yards per game and scoring 14 total touchdowns … Tallied 475 yards receiving, 477 yards rushing, 487 kickoff return yards and 57 punt return yards … Scored seven touchdowns, both rushing and receiving … Notched 1,430 all-purpose yards as a junior, averaging 130 yards per game and scoring 12 total touchdowns … Recorded 601 yards receiving, 218 yards rushing, 356 kickoff return yards and 225 punt return yards … Scored 11 of his 12 touchdowns receiving as a junior.
Ryan Coll • OL • 6-5 • 295 • Gainesville, Va./Battlefield
Three-time All-Conference selection as a defensive lineman at Battlefield High School and a two-time All-Conference selection as a tight end … Named First Team All-Region D Class 6 at tight end as a defensive lineman … First Team 6A All-State underclassman as a sophomore … Recruited as an offensive lineman … Rated the No. 14 offensive lineman in all of FCS by HERO Sports and the No. 16 overall recruit in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Tom Elia • OL • 6-3 • 280 • McDonald, Pa./South Fayette
Led South Fayette for the 2018 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) Class AAAA Championship at Heinz Field (home of the Pittsburgh Steelers) over Thomas Jefferson … Guided his team to a 12-2 record as a senior and a 7-0 mark in league play before falling in the PIAA state playoff quarterfinals … Two-time First Team All-Conference selection as an offensive lineman as a junior and senior … Anchored the South Fayette offensive line and he did not allow a sack for the entire 2018 season … Also played on the defensive line, notching 55 tackles and 3.5 sacks as a senior … Named All-Conference as a defensive lineman as well … Named to the top 100 players in the state of Pennsylvania in the class of 2019 … Team captain as a senior … Three-year starter on the offensive line.
Nick King • DL • 6-2 • 265 • Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic
Led Charlotte Christian to the 2018 3A North Carolina State Championship … Won three state championships during his career, including the 2017 state title with current Richmond running back Milan Howard … Named the 3A State Championship game Defensive Most Valuable Player with 6.5 total tackles … Earned First Team All-Conference as a senior … Posted 100 total tackles on the season with an impressive 17 sacks and 20 tackles for loss … Scored one defensive touchdown … Ranked the No. 20 defensive lineman in all of FCS by HERO Sports … Earned Second Team All-Conference as a junior.
Louis Montana • DL • 6-4 • 250 • Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII
Two-year standout at Pope John XXIII High School … Named First Team All-Conference on defense as a junior … Missed half of his senior season due to an injury … Combined for 65 tackles in his two years at Pope John XXIII … Recorded nine sacks and forced two fumbles from his defensive line position.
Cade Salyers • OL • 6-4 • 310 • Kingsport, Tenn./Dobyns-Bennett
Named the Region I-6A Offensive Lineman of the Year as a senior for Dobyns-Bennett High School … Earned First Team All-State as a senior … Two-time First Team All-Region selection … Selected by the Times-News as the captain of the All-Tough Guy Team as a senior … Participated in the Toyota East-West All-Star Classic in the state of Tennessee … Standout wrestler at Dobyns-Bennett … Region Champion and participated in the state tournament as a sophomore … Finished sixth in the state as a junior while repeating as Region Champion … Currently ranked third in the state in his senior season.
Gio Seigler • DB • 6-0 • 175 • Leesburg, Va./Heritage
Two-time First Team All-Region selection as a defensive back at Heritage High School … Also earned First Team All-Region accolades as a punt returner during his junior season … Invited to play in the VHSCA All-Star Game … Recorded 75 tackles, 50 solo, as a senior … Posted 7.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and one interception … Scored two defensive touchdowns as a senior and notched 10 pass breakups … Named the Burgh Sports Defensive Back of the Year … Also played on offensive with 43 receptions for 832 yards and 13 touchdowns … Registered 63 tackles and one forced fumble as a junior … Intercepted four passing and notched 17 pass breakups in 2017.
Jackson Walker • QB • 6-3 • 210 • Memphis, Tenn./Briarcrest Christian
Four-year starter for Briarcrest Christian High School … Passed for 7,060 yards in his career, connecting on 482-of-891 in 45 games … Accounted for 80 touchdowns in his career, 73 through the air and seven on the ground … Ranked the No. 6 quarterback in the state of Tennessee by Rivals … Ranked the No. 13 quarterback in all of FCS by HERO Sports and the No. 17 overall recruit in the Colonial Athletic Association … Named First Team All-Region D2AAA as a senior when he passed for 1,524 yards on 103-of-201 passing … Threw for 18 touchdowns while also rushing for a career-high 373 yards on 77 carries with five rushing touchdowns … Earned First Team All-State in D2AAA as a junior when he passed for a career-high 2,526 yards … Connected on 160-of-267 as a junior, with a career-best 29 touchdowns … Finished his sophomore season going 130-of-259 through the air for 1,943 yards and 19 scores … Played some as a freshman, passing for 1,067 yards on 89-of-164 passing with seven touchdowns.
Tristan Wheeler • LB • 6-2 • 225 • Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom
First Team All-Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPC) … Led Freedom High School to a 12-2 record, the most wins in program history as a senior … Guided the team to its first-ever District Championship and the first time appearing in the PIAA State Class 6A quarterfinals … Named the Calling All Sports EPC Defensive Player of the Year … Rated No. 8 linebacker in all of FCS recruiting by HERO Sports and No. 8 overall recruit in the Colonial Athletic Association … Recorded 125 tackles as a senior, including 8.0 sacks and 20.0 tackles for loss … Forced three fumbles and notched one interception … Also, played on offense as a running back, scoring six touchdowns on eight carries in short yardage situations … Named the Mini Max Award Winner by the Maxwell Club as a senior … Earned the Morning Call Player of the Week for District 11 in the Class 6A Championship win over Emmaus, with 11 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one rushing touchdown.
Roland Williams • DB • 6-0 • 180 • Memphis, Tenn./White Station (Ellsworth CC)
Originally committed to the Air Force Academy out of high school and attended for one semester, redshirting his freshman year in 2017 … Spent the 2018 season as Ellsworth Community College, earning Second Team All-Region accolades … Recorded 33 tackles, including one sack and four tackles for loss at Ellsworth … Tallied a pair of interceptions and six breakups … Rated the No. 10 junior college corner back in the country … Will have three years of eligibility remaining at Richmond as a redshirt sophomore … Played at White Station High School in Memphis and was teammate of Richmond punter Micah Breckenridge … Named First Team All-Region as a senior when he recorded seven interceptions and 23 pass breakups … Tallied 24 tackles and three forced fumbles, scoring two defensive touchdowns … Earned Second Team All-Region as a junior.