When Terry Bowden came into this job several years ago, the program was in near shambles. Throughout his time as a Zip, Bowden and his staff have focused on signing junior college players as well as adding transfers that can make an early impact. While this class is small in size, it addresses the needs left by the graduating seniors. Today is the day each one of these recruits officially become a Zip.
Meet The Class
|POS||Name||Hometown (HS)||Height/Weight||247Sports Rating|
|QB||Kato Nelson||Hollywood, FL (Flanagan)||5'11/155||3-star|
|OT||Brandon Council *||Matthews, NC(Jireh Prep)||6'4/340||2-star|
|OT||Jonathan Neeley||Youngstown, OH (Ursuline)||6'5/280||2-star|
|SDE||Trevor Brown *||Matthews, NC(Jireh Prep)||6'5/275||2-star|
|G||Jovann Letuli||El Cajon, CA (Grossmont College)||6'5/305||2-star|
|DL||Davon'te Jest||Ocala, FL (Forest HS)||6'1/280||2-star|
|OL||Montel Jordan||Deerfield Beach, FL (Deerfield Beach)||6'2/310||2-star|
|S||Alvin Davis Jr.||Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas)||5'11/170||NR|
|WR||Domonick Holley||Akron, OH (East)||6'2/175||NR|
|RB||Jaleel Davis||Titusville, FL (Titusville)||5'10/200||NR|
|LB||Jamal Davis II*||Canton, OH (Pittsburgh)||6'3/230||NR|
|S||Shawn Featherstone *||Pittsburgh, PA (Penn Hills)||6'1/177||NR|
|OL||Cedric McCoy *||Palatka, FL (Ellsworth CC)||6'4/343||NR|
|LB||DeMarcus Lloyd||Vienna, GA (Butler CC)||6'0/215||NR|
|RB||Trevon Richardson||Kent, Ohio (Roosevelt)||5'8"/175||NR|
* Early enrollees
The standout on the offensive side of the ball is the standout of the entire class: Kato Nelson. Nelson is a three-star pro-style quarterback from Flanagan HS. Landing him was hug for the Zips. Akron fended off a late offer from Illinois, and the tendency of Florida kids to stay in Florida. He has the arm talent that will grow as he gets into a Division I weight room.
Nelson will definitely be looking up in terms of the depth chart when he gets to camp in the Fall. He will need to improve his accuracy on downfield throws, but he was terrific in his senior season. When the play breaks down, Nelson has the athleticism needed in today's game to win consistently. Nelson is lucky to have OL commits such as Jonathan Neeley and Jovan Letuli potentially blocking for him the next several years.
Defensively, the past several seasons Coach Bowden's team has relied on a bevy of transfers, and the down side of that is the limited time they spend on campus. Bowden's latest transfer, Jamal Davis II from Pittsburgh is going to have the chance to maximize the limited eligibility he's given. Davis, a linebacker who went to HS at nearby McKinley HS in Canton, was rated a three-star coming out of HS. Davis will have the chance to improve a linebacker corps suffering the loss of Jatavis Brown.
Flipping Devon'Te Jest from Georgia Southern late was a big addition to this class. A defensive front seven that is being ravaged by graduation will have plenty of options for Jest to play early.
Akron has signed a small, but impactful class. Something many teams in the state of Ohio tend to do, is overlook players in their own backyard. Akron seems to have placed an emphasis on the northeast Ohio area in this class, landing 4 players from the area. As Akron moves forward into 2016 and beyond, look for more transfers, more in-state kids, and most importantly more wins. Akron heads into 2016 as a team to watch after winning the first bowl game in program history last season. The MAC East is wide open, and Akron seems poised to use members of this class to take control.