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2016 National Signing Day Recap: Akron Zips

After a season which ended with the program's first bowl win, Coach Bowden signs another class full of potential impact-players.

Nick Cammett-USA TODAY Sports

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

Offensive Standouts

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.

Defensive Standouts

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.

Overall Outlook

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.