February 7, 2008
Football Announces Initial Recruits for the 2008 Year
The Catawba College football staff has announced the commitments of 14 players for the 2008 football season. The Indians are coming off an 11-2 season that included a South Atlantic Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA II Playoffs. Following is a list of the initial signees.
Whit Beavers, LB, 6-2, 200, Wilmington, NC/Hoggard HS
Tyon Bennett, DB, 5-11, 180, Gretna, VA/Gretna HS
Kenneth Boulware, DB, 5-10, 185, Matthews, NC/Butler HS
Princeton Brooks, RB, 5-11, 180, Gastonia, NC/N. Gaston HS
Chris Enos, DE, 6-4, 250, Fayetteville, NC/Grays Creek HS
Casey Hall, RB, 5-10, 175, Concord, NC/NW Cabarrus HS/Averett College
Kewone Harris, LB, 6-1, 190, Durham, NC/Webb HS
Jered Hensley, DB, 6-0, 215, Wyoming, MI/Hudsonville HS/Grand Rapids CC
Octavis Hough, DB, 6-2, 185, Charlotte, NC/E. Mecklenburg HS
Decarius Kanyinda, OL, 6-3, 280, Raleigh, NC/Apex HS
Bobby Morrison, RB, 5-9, 190, Statesville, NC/W. Iredell HS
Lakeem Perry, LB, 5-11, 190, Louisburg, NC/Louisburg HS
Ian Shankland, LB, 5-10, 205, Wilmington, NC/Hoggard HS
Bryant Vennable, DB, 6-0, 180, Gretna, VA/Gretna HS
Morrison, a senior at West Iredell HS, rushed for the school's single-season record of 1,930 yards this past season and 37 touchdowns during his final two years. He earned MVP honors at the Shrine Bowl. The all-state running back set six school records.
"Bobby fits the same mold as Kory Fisher did when he came to Catawba," said Hester. "He was extremely successful in their offense and showed a lot of people what he could do in the Shrine Bowl."
Brooks recorded 245 carries for 2,450 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior for the Wildcats. He helped lead North Gaston HS to the 3AA state championship game against Western Alamance and a 12-3 record.
"Princeton is more of a slasher who really excelled in the return game," Hester gleamed. "He was a guy, along with his quarterback, who made an impact in their state championship team. "He is a real fun guy to be around too."
Enos racked up 75 tackles and 7 sacks as a sophomore for a Bear squad that advanced to the second round of the 3A playoffs and sported an 11-2 mark. During an injury-plagued junior season where Enos was only able to play in eight games, he still mustered 74 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 9 sacks.
"Chris is a big-bodied guy who has a frame to get really big," warned Hester. "He is a throwback kind of guy and has a really good chance of being an impact player for us down the road. He will be most suited with his hand on the ground and that is where his future lays, but our coaching staff will have the luxury of utilizing his combination of power and speed."
Hester acknowledged that Enos was a big steal from the Division I ranks and that perhaps his best playing days are ahead of him. "He can learn and compete when he comes to Catawba in the fall from the defensive ends we have at the moment."
Shankland, who had 105 tackles and two interceptions, and Beavers, who collected 118 stops and two picks, helped Hoggard to an unblemished 15-0 season and 4A state title. The combination of these two outstanding linebackers led to three regular season shutouts, not to mention a 28-0 state championship game score against Mount Tabor.
Defensive backs Tyon Bennett and Bryant Vennable are from Gretna High School in Virginia, who finished the 2007 season a perfect 14-0 and enjoyed a 52-0 state championship win over Gate City HS. The dominating secondary helped accumulate seven shutouts for the Hawks.
The Virginia High School Coaches Association placed Vennable on their First Team All-State ballot at cornerback. "Bryant was considered their best cover corner and had really great feet," said Hester.
The other Gretna star, Bennett, produced 157 carries for 1,246 yards and an additional 26 touchdowns during his stint at running back as a senior. As a junior, Bennett quarterbacked the Hawks to the Region B championship game in November 2006.
"Tyon is such a great young man," said Catawba's sixth year head coach. "He played both ways for their program and was their 'go-to-guy'. Our basis for recruiting was to get the best available players and Bennett fits that criteria perfectly. He will strike you hard at safety and run past you in the return game."
Harris, from Oxford Webb HS, was one of the state's leading tacklers last fall with 171 tackles, two sacks, an interception, and three fumble recoveries. The Warriors put the 6-1, 195-pound linebacker at wide out in clutch situations, where he caught four touchdown passes on the season.
"For us, Kewone fits that linebacker mold here at Catawba," Hester commented. "He reminds me of his new position coach Todd McComb, because he runs extremely well and has great football instincts like Todd did."
Louisburg HS linebacker Lakeem Perry collected a whopping 158 tackles during his senior campaign for the 12-2 Warriors. "Lakeem is very similar to Kewone Harris in physical stature and football ability," complimented Hester. "I believe he slipped through the cracks of Division I because of the size those schools are looking for in their linebackers."
Boulware racked up 129 tackles and returned two of his many interceptions for touchdowns. He possesses 4.3 speed and is already built like a college football player says Hester. "Coach Mike Newsome called me before the season started and told our coaching staff about Boulware," Hester grinned. "He played safety for Butler and when we worked him out in our combine setting, he was one of the better performers by far."
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