2019 was a tumultuous season for Tom Arth in his first year at the helm of the Akron Zips as team went 0-12, but there is reason for optimism as the Zips hauled in a solid recruiting class for 2020 at this point in the process. 17 student-athletes signed their letter of intent yesterday, 11 of which are three-star recruits per 247Sports.com. Akron filled a lot of needs yesterday, but let’s take a closer look at the transfer-heavy class that will be instrumental to the rebuild at Akron.
Jerry Marousek (6’2”, 195 lbs., North Royalton, OH, North Royalton HS)
Getting the right QB is the first step in engineering a turnaround, and Marousek seems to be a solid project to develop for Akron. He missed the last three games of his senior season due to injury, but he holds school records with 8,400 passing yards and 90 touchdowns. On his Hudl film, you can see why Akron is excited about him: his ball placement is outstanding, especially on the run, and he has good instincts as a runner. You don’t really see him make a lot of throws from a messy pocket, and that will be his adjustment in college.
Isiah Childs (6’1”, 205 lbs., Manhattan, KS, Wamego HS)
Teon Dollard (Jr., 5’11”, 200 lbs., Lake City, FL, Columbia HS, Independence CC)
Cole Gest (Sr., 5’9”, 195 lbs., Solon, OH, St. Edward HS, Indiana University)
Jonzell Norrils (5’10”, 205 lbs., Toledo, OH, Toledo Central Catholic HS)
The Zips’ RB room got a huge makeover as they brought in four prospects, including a couple of transfers that will hope to make an impact early. Dollard is a powerful, explosive runner that handle his business in pass protection, while Gest is shifty and effective as a receiver. Meanwhile, Childs has good vision and is decisive with his runs, while Norrils is a powerful, elusive runner.
Tristian Brank (6’4”, 230 lbs., Asheville, NC, Clyde A. Irwin HS)
Brycen Yarmo (So., 6’5”, 250 lbs., Hudson, NH, Exeter HS, Coffeyville CC)
Akron also added some interesting prospects at tight end Wednesday as Yarmo is an effective blocker, a rock-solid route runner and pass-catcher. He’s not elite at any of these things, but he can definitely be a solid starter. On the other hand, Brank has a high ceiling as he possesses wide receiver skills and is a solid blocker. Adding mass will be key for him as he will be taking on defensive linemen as a college tight end.
Ronan Chambers (6’5”, 270 lbs., Olmsted Township, OH, St. Edward HS)
Nate Williams (6’6”, 295 lbs., Utica, OH, Newark Catholic HS)
The Zips filled some need on the offensive line with some local prospects as Ronan Chambers looks like he has All-MAC potential (his feet are very fast, he blows people off the ball in run blocking, and he holds his own in pass pro) while Nate Williams is a powerhouse at tackle with his strength. Locking down the edges is important, and Akron looks like it has done so with some good prospects at tackle.
Deacon Allen (6’1”, 320 lbs., Rockmart, GA, Rockmart HS)
Janirr Wade (6’4”, 280 lbs., Stone Mountain, GA, Stephenson HS)
UA got a big pick-up on the defensive interior as Allen possesses strength and moves well for someone his size; he has to be more refined in his technique with his hands if he is to be an every down player. Also, Wade is a little more explosive at DT and has decent block shedding skills, but he’ll have to add strength if he’s going to succeed against college OLs.
Juan Jarrett (6’2”, 185 lbs., Cincinnati, OH, Princeton HS)
Ryan McClain (Jr., 6’4”, 250 lbs., Albuquerque, NM, La Cueva HS, Garden City (KS) CC)
Michael Snowden (6’2”, 195 lbs., Pittsburgh, PA, University Prep)
What was already a strong defense got stronger as Jarrett looks like a strong OLB/slot CB as he is athletic, has a good burst to the ball, and is a sure tackler. McClain showed explosiveness at DE in Garden City, so it will be interesting to see how he transitions into the second level of the defense where he has to make reads before he can attack the ball carrier. Meanwhile, Snowden has a lot of good traits as a LB prospect: he’s explosive, has some strength, and can tackle. The freshmen need to add weight before they can take on college RBs and TEs while getting acclimated to a more sophisticated defense than what they are used to.
Woobendy Guerrier (Jr., 6’1”, 200 lbs., Homestead, FL, South Dade HS, Butler CC)
MyJaden Horton (6’2”, 190 lbs., Cincinnati, OH, Princeton HS)
Chu Ogbonna (Jr., 6’2”, 180 lbs., Marietta, GA, Wheeler HS, Hutchinson CC)
The back end of the defense gets a little more interesting as a pair of transfers will be looking to earn some playing time from the jump. Guerrier boasts a 4.39 40-yard dash and has a refined technique to go along with it as he has good ball skills, is excellent at reading receivers’ movements, and isn’t afraid to come up in run support. Ogbonna is a superb corner in a different way as he is very good at breaking up passes, regardless of whether he’s in zone or man. Meanwhile, Horton will be an interesting project at DB as he was an effective quarterback, but he did show a lot of explosiveness on offense.