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Everything I Know about Lehigh's Class of 2015, Part One

I remember, early on in my blogging career, when I thought I would be able to spend the many weeks of the so-called college football "offseason" just leaving the blog for months at a time, without updating.

But the truth is, there is never really an "offseason."  Once the season is done, there's always something to talk about, even if there's no more football being played until spring practice.

For the months following Lehigh's season-ending defeat to FCS Championship finalist Delaware in the playoffs, the focus has been recruiting, and the class of 2015.  And yesterday, we learned from the composition of the latest incoming class, too.

So exactly, who did we get?  And what does everyone think?  You'll find out the answer to that - and more - below the flip. (more)

New this year - possibly spurred on by Lafayette's signing day celebration - was signing day ceremony at Lehigh's athletic department, contained in the video portion of Lehigh's announcement. It added something to what some years had been simply a press release, and while it was more than a week after "Letter of Intent" day, it added something to the proceedings.

“We’ve yielded another very fine recruiting class,” explained head coach Andy Coen, the 2010 Patriot League Coach of the Year. “We needed to make sure we brought in a number of big guys and continue to add bigger bodies to the program. We’ve brought in a 15 guys who come in at 220 pounds or bigger or project to be there. Those guys are critical. We’ve brought in five linebackers and those are always guys we’re looking for to help on special teams.

“I’m real excited about our skill,” Coen said. “Our skill level in this class is really good. We’ve brought in three wide receivers who are multitalented guys. All three are very good basketball players. We needed to recruit another good tailback and we’ve done that with the addition of RB Rich Sodeke. We’ve also brought in four guys in the defensive secondary that have all the skills to be fast and physical, so we’re pleased with where we are there.”

Thanks to my work on the Patriot League Commit Tracker, I was able to see some of the big guys and skill guys he was talking about. Before Lehigh's official announcement, I confirmed 20 of the 26 players in the incoming class, so I knew that Lehigh would once again have a fairly large class of players.

Interestingly, Lehigh announced their incoming class as having five linebackers: LB Mark Coleman, LB Tyler Coyle, LB John Gonos, LB Jared Heschke and LB Ryan Wills. I had only listed Wills as being recruited as a pure linebacker; I had Heschke pegged as a Athlete, and the other three as either LBs, H-Backs or running backs. While all are clearly going to compete for time at linebacker, it bears watching if one or more may work their way into the lineup at fullback or tight end, as LB Al Pierce did at one point two years ago. (Coyle, in fact, has a highlight in the recruits' highlight reel showing him catching a pass.)

Not that I would expect any different, but coach Coen was perfectly frank about the challenges of recruiting after a playoff run, calling it a "flurry. We lost to Delaware on the road on Saturday, then on Sunday you're on the road, working hard at it. We lost a little time on the recruiting calendar, but we were able to make it up from the hard work the coaches did. Playing two extra weeks in the playoffs gave us two fewer weeks on the road, which didn’t really affect us regionally but did affect us with some out-of-region kids."

Aside from the five linebackers - all with good size - three other things jumped out at me about this recruiting class.

One is the overall size, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. It's always great to see big bodies like C Cornell Harriot become part of the Mountain Hawk program, but it's the 260 lb defensive guys like DL Ned Daryoush and DL Reed Remington that look like promising players to potentially become defensive tackles or nose tackles in Lehigh's 3-4 defense - such a crucial part of the overall scheme that Dave Kotulski runs.

Two is the athleticism and size of the wideouts in this incoming class. 6'4 WR DeShawn Murphy, from Choate Prep in Connecticut, 6'2 WR John Parris from nearby Palisades High School, and 6'3 WR Alex Buford from powerhouse Poly Prep out of New York City, look like real winners from the videos helpfully provided in Lehigh's release.

Three is the presence of QB/ATH Matthew McHale, a Wildcat-like quarterback that shows me that Coen and offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini are serious about keeping the Wildcat as a part of Lehigh's offensive package. If you see his highlights, his plays look almost identical to those of current Wildcat back QB Michael Colvin.

Coen had good things to say about McHale and QB Gerald Poutier, a strong-armed QB out of Agoura Hills, CA. "He played in a wide-open style of offense. The neat thing about a California quarterback is that they get, in effect, tutored at quarterback from the time they're very young. He's a tremendous competitor, very good leadership skills, and a very good athlete as well."

There's plenty more, too, from the local press beat writers.

The Morning Call, Keith Groller: Lehigh brings in bulk with its recruiting class

Lehigh University football coach Andy Coen and his staff still used a lot of traditional sources in recruiting 26 new players for the program.

The Class of 2015 was unveiled on Thursday afternoon, complete with a video presentation outside the school's Hall of Fame in the Taylor Gym complex.

As Coen went over the names and gave a brief synopsis of each incoming player, it was interesting to note how many had previous links to Lehigh.

Coen's brother, Tom Coen, for example, is the head coach at New Jersey's Cherry Hill East, which is where incoming DB Isaiah Campbell played his high school ball.

DL Tim Newton, a defensive lineman from Lakewood, Fla., is the brother of current Lehigh LB Colin Newton.

OL Wenner Nunes from Kearny, N.J., was coached by former Lehigh lineman Oscar Guerrero.

Former Lehigh quarterback and broadcaster Marty Horn also suggested one of the nine New Jersey products coming to South Mountain.

"Everybody uses those past connections and that's neat when those things come through," Coen said. "A lot of times people recommend kids to you, suggest recruits, and for whatever reason you don't always follow through. It worked out in these cases. I know Marty, my brother and the Newton family are really excited to have those kids coming here."


Coen sees Palisades' all-time leading scorer WR Josh Parris in basketball as a versatile offensive playmaker who will likely play in the slot for the Mountain Hawks.

"I watched Josh two years ago as a receiver and I liked how he caught the ball," Coen said. "This past year, he had the ball in his hands all the time and he got to run with it more. He really impressed me with his change of direction. Josh can play on the outside for us, but he'll also come in the slot for us because he's got size and can get yards after the catch for you."

The Express-Times, Michael Lore: Lehigh football team introduces 26 athletes for Class of 2015

Colin Newton said he never has played competitive football with his younger brother.

Not Pop Warner. Not middle school. Not high school.

Colin and Tim Newton finally get the chance to suit up for the same team next fall.

"It's going to be real good; it's going to be fun," said Colin, a rising senior linebacker. "I'll have to see if Coach can let me play offense for a play or something so we can go head-up and see what's up. He's a little bigger, but I still keep him in line when I go home.

"We never played on the same team -- Pop Warner, high school or anything. I'm really excited to hopefully get on a kickoff or a tackle together."

"We're obviously thrilled with that. We'll see how it goes," Coen said. "Colin's really matured here as a guy from when he got here to now. If we have any problems with Tim, I'm sure Colin can take care of him for us.

"It's a great family and the kids love playing football, so I'm excited for that."


"All three receivers are outstanding basketball players. WR DeShawn Murphy won a high school championship in football and basketball in Connecticut," Coen said. "What I like about that group, too, is that they'll get better when they're in an offense like ours. We put a premium on those guys.

"They'll be able to come in and compete against some really good skill guys we have now and that will only make them better. To me, that's a highlight of the group."


ngineer said…
Looks like a nice class with good distribution. Hopefully the kicker will give Peery a push, unless Smith is also in the mix. Special teams is critical as I see a good number of close games on this year's schedule

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