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Akron Zips 2015 National Signing Day recap

Akron had a very small class for a majority of the recruiting season, but finished with a huge January.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Akron Zips are coming off of their second straight 5-7 season. The 2014 season was disappointing in that the Zips went 1-5 to close out the season. There are multiple returning starters, and some big losses.


A position that Akron has excelled at during Bowden's tenure is linebacker. In 2015, Justin March will no longer be there as the defensive captain. Akron's secondary lost a couple of key members to graduation in Bre Ford and Johnny Robinson. The secondary of Akron was a concern going into the 2014 season, and it will still be a concern in 2015. The offense is keeping many of its top performers. The only key losses are running back Jawon Chisholm and center Travis Switzer. Akron's offense wasn't great in 2014, but has the potential to be great with many starters returning.


Terry Bowden and his staff broguht in a smaller recruiting class because there are many red shirts and grey shirts that are going to be eligible in the 2015 season. Ulysees Gilbert, a 3-star linebacker, will add tremendous depth to an already strong corps of linebackers, the best being Jatavis Brown. Helping the linebackers will be Washington State transfer Darryl Monroe. In the 2014 season, Monroe was PAC-12 honorable mention defense.

Another position that Akron needed to improve upon was the wide receivers. There were a lot of dropped passes in 2014 that could have easily changed some games. Richie Cooper and Michael Means are both 2-star receivers that could create competition during practice, and make everyone better.

Other key additions to the Akron Zips come on the offensive line. Bowden was able to pick up three beasts today in Mitchell Hlay, Montel Jordan and Richie Kallay. Last year's offensive line was typically good enough, but the whole offense would struggle to make plays at times because there was no push up front. Kallay and Jordan are each 2-star players.


Newman Williams, a linebacker from St. Vincent St. Mary, will be eligible to play in 2015 after utilizing his red shirt in 2014. He will start as a freshman. Another player that is eligible to play after sitting out a year due to transfer guidelines is quarterback Tra'von Chapman, who originally went to Pittsburgh out of high school. Brock Boxen, a defensive linebacker, was originally recruited for the 2014 season, but just enrolled in January.


A list of players with bios is available at

Tyler Shipman Buford, Geogia (Buford) DT NR 6'1"/240 Yes
Jaquavis Dixon Oviedo, Florida (Hagerty) ATH 2-Star 6'2"/177 Yes
Chris Bivins Gainesville, Florida (Highland CC) DB 2-Star 5'11"/185 Yes
Michael Means Cincinnati, Ohio (Scottsdale CC) WR 2-Star 6'2"/200 Yes
Richie Kallay Clearwater, Florida (Clearwater Central) OL 2-Star 6'5"/287 Yes
Avery Cagle Gainesville, Georgia (Riverside Military Academy) TE 2-Star 6'4"/230 Yes
Mitchell Hlay Richfield, Ohio (Revere) OT NR 6'7"/275 Yes
Van Edwards Cape Coral, Florida (Island Coast) RB 2-Star 5'8"/195 Yes
Ulysees Gilbert Ocala, Florida (Trinity Catholic) LB 3-Star 6'1"/225 Yes
Richie Cooper Hallandale, Florida (Hallandale) WR 2-Star 5'10"/171 Yes
Montel Jordan Deerfield Beach, Florida (Deerfield Beach) OT/DT 2-Star 6'4"/310 Yes
Brock Boxen New Galilee, Pennsylvania (Beaver Falls) DL 3-Star 6'3"/272 No
Bryce Jones University Heights, Ohio (Boston College) CB NR 6'0"/178 No
Travonte Junius Akron, Ohio (St. Vincent St. Mary) DE/LB 2-Star 6'3"/205 Yes
Darryl Monroe Orlando, Florida (Washington State) LB NR 6'1"/235 No
Kevin "Ray Ray" Smith Hollywood, Florida (Apopka) ATH NR 5'9"/190 Yes
Jason Williams Hialeah, Florida (Milford Academy) DB 2-Star 6'3"/185 No
K'Von Wilson Maitland, Florida (Boca Raton) DB NR 5'11"/182 Yes