KINGSTON, R.I. - Rhode Island football head coach Jim Fleming announced the addition of 19 recruits for the 2014 season Wednesday afternoon as part of National Signing Day.
The newest Rams come from six different states, with a heavy focus on players with New Jersey ties. Nine players from this year's class hail from the Garden State. There were three each from Massachusetts and Connecticut, two from New York and one apiece from Pennsylvania and Florida.
Of the 19 players, 18 have four years of eligibility. Fleming and his staff added one junior college transfer – Miami native Dunston Payne from Monroe College. Another transfer, quarterback Mack Lowrie from Boston College, has four years remaining after sitting out last fall at Boston College.
The members of the 2014 Rhode Island recruiting class are:
One of the most decorated linemen out of New Jersey, Allen earned Third-Team All-State honors, and was a First-Team All-State Group 5 selection. He also earned first-team All-Greater Middlesex Conference and All-Red Division honors. Allen was a New Jersey Super 100 pick and the Metuchen Rotary Club Lineman of the Year. A three-year varsity player, Allen had 144 tackles, 37 tackles for loss and nine sacks for Edison. He also had two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and seven pass break-ups.
Projected as a linebacker at Rhode Island, Anderson was an imposing player on both sides of the ball for Holy Spirit. He was a First-Team All-Coastal Athletic League selection at quarterback. The Philadelphia Enquirer and Atlantic City Press both named him a First-Team Cape Atlantic American. He led his team to four state championship appearances and three titles. Anderson attended the N.J. Nike Sparq Combine, where he was rated as the fourth best player out of 300 athletes attending the camp.
Shawn Antoine - Video
6-0 | 185
Bronx, N.Y. | Cardinal Hayes
An All-Bronx, All-City and All-Catholic High School selection, Antoine is an aggressive defensive back who played three years of varsity for Cardinal Hayes. He helped his team win a Class AA City Championship. During his career, Antoine had 149 tackles, four interceptions, 17 pass break-ups and one forced fumble.
A two-year starter at Eastern Regional, Ayeni is described as a high-energy player who brings a physical style to the defensive side of the ball. An All-West Jersey Football League American Division selection, he also earned All-Group 5 Defense honors. As a senior, Ayeni had 43 tackles, including nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He also rushed for 614 yards and eight touchdowns on 80 attempts (7.7 yards/attempt).
Tyrone Barge - Video
6-2 | 270
Philadelphia, Pa. | Imhotep Charter
A two-way lineman at Imhotep, Barge will play defensive line for the Rams. Active up front, Barge was a First-Team All-State 2A pick in Pennsylvania, a First-Team All-City pick for Philadelphia and a First-Team All-Public League selection. As a senior, he had 83 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He finished his career with 211 tackles, 18 sacks, seven fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles, two blocked field goals and an interception.
Corey Barrett - Video
Norwalk High School
A defensive lineman, played three years of varsity. Totaled 56 tackles, five forced fumbles, two pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries and nine sacks.
An athletic lineman, Boyd earned All-Essex County honors while leading West Side High to the New Jersey state playoffs. Had a large frame and can still fill out more. He is described as a "next-level talent" for the offensive line.
A powerful back, Clarke led DePaul Catholic to a New Jersey Parochial Group 2 state championship. He earned All-State, All-Passaic County, All-Parochial and All-Big North recognition after averaging 8.3 yards per carry as a senior. Clarke rushed for more than 1,000 yards and scored nine touchdowns as a senior.
A running back and defensive back, played four years of varsity. Totaled 645 carries for 6661 yards and 99 touchdowns, both of which are the fourth most in Connecticut history. Cooper was a four-time All-Conference pick, a three-time All-State selection and a two-time Walter Camp honoree. Cooper twice led Hillhouse to a Class M state title. On defense he totaled 140 tackles, 21 for a loss, an interception, a fumble recovery, a blocked field goal and 27 pass break-ups. He also returned 25 kickoffs for an average of 25.65 yards per return and 24 punt returns for an average of 22.67 yards per return.
Jose Duncan - Video
6-3 | 220
Queens, N.Y. | Erasmus High School
Duncan was an explosive playmaker for Erasmus, earning 2013 New York City Defensive Lineman of the Year honors as a senior. Duncan was a two-time All-City and All-Conference selection. He also was recognized as a New York City All-Star. He led his team to a 10-2 record as a senior, recording 38 tackles, including nine sacks. Duncan added four pass break ups, two interceptions, two blocked punts and one forced fumble as a senior.
A mid-year transfer from Milford Academy in New York, Hill played at Don Bosco, one of the top football programs in the country. He projects as a defensive back for the Rams, but was his team's leading receiver while earning All-Bergen County honors for Don Bosco. Last fall he helped lead Milford Academy to a 9-3 record while part of a defense that held six of 12 opponents to 20 points or less.
Ezra Holmes - Video
6-3 | 200
West Hartford, Conn. | Canterbury School
A three-sport athlete in high school, Holmes was a Second-Team All-Colonial pick in football and an All-New England performer in track. Offensively, he caught 35 passes, including five for touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, he had 45 tackles last fall. An excellent leaper, Holmes clear 6'8 in the high jump and 22 feet in the long jump during high school.
Emmanuel Jalbert - Video
6-2 | 210
Shrewsbury, Mass. | Shrewsbury High
A three-year varsity player on both sides of the ball for Shrewsbury, Jalbert will play linebacker for Rhode Island. Named the Mid-Wach A Defensive MVP and First-Team All-Mid-Wach selection, Jalbery had 89 tackles as a senior. Tabbed as a Worcester Telegram All-Star, he had four sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception his senior season.
Michael LeBlanc - Video
6-3 | 305
Charlton, Mass. | Salisbury School (Conn.)
The Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the Salisbury School as a senior, LeBlanc earned All-Housatonic League and All-New England honors in 2013. He had 42 tackles, including 6.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss. LeBlanc also had one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one blocked field goal. His father, two uncles and two older brothers all played college football.
As a two-way player at linebacker and wide receiver, Lewis led Cheshire to a New England Prep School Championship last fall. He had five touchdown receptions on offense, and defensively was second on the team in tackles, had two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. While at Glastonbury, he helped his team with three conference titles and advance to the state semifinals three years in a row. As a senior, he led his team in receptions and reception yardage. In his three seasons, Glastonbury was 28-7.
Mack Lowrie - Video
6-4 | 215
Foxboro, Mass. | Roxbury Latin | Boston College
A Massachusetts all-state selection for Roxbury Latin in 2012, Lowrie transferred from Boston College in time for the spring semester. Lowrie earned All-Scholastic honors from both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald after passing for an Independent School League-record 35 touchdowns as a senior. The ISL MVP, he earned NEPSAC Division C Player of the Year honors and was named to the "Super 26" All-State Team. In his high school career, Lowrie passed for more than 5,000 yards and 75 touchdowns while also rushing for more than 1,600 yards. He comes to Rhode Island with four years of eligibility after redshirting at BC.
Marcus Pantoja - Video
6-3 | 275
Paramus, N.J. | Paramus Catholic
An All-Bergen County and All-Parochial honoree, Pantoja averaged 4.9 tackles per game as a senior. He finished the season with 54 tackles, but was especially strong in the state playoffs, where he had 25 tackles and five sacks while leading Paramus Catholic to a New Jersey State Parochial Group 4 Championship. For his career, Pantoja had 125 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 3 seasons. Paramus Catholic was nationally ranked in each of his final two seasons.
Dunston Payne - Video
6-0 | 183
Miami, Fla. | Monroe College
A junior college transfer from Monroe College in New York, Payne has two seasons of eligibility and should help the Rhode Island secondary immediately. Last fall, he has 22 tackles, 10 pass break ups, one interception, one sack and one forced fumble. He also blocked a pair of kicks on special teams. During his senior season at Miami Senior High, Payne had 75 tackles and three interceptions. He also had a 43-foot leap in the triple jump during his high school track career.
Monte Sinisi - Video
6-2 | 260
Manasquan, N.J. | Manasquan High School
A two-time All-Division selection for Manaquan, Sinisi also earned All-Shore Conference and All-Monmouth County honors as a senior. He was chosen as the William Spencer Osborn Football Outstanding Lineman Award winner. As a senior, he made 67 tackles, including nine sacks, to go with two pass break ups and two forced fumbles. He led a defense that allowed just 12.5 points per game.
Russell Walton - Video
6-1 | 170
Montclair, N.J. | Don Bosco | Fork Union Military Academy
A mid-year transfer from Fork Union Military Academy, Walton is enrolled at Rhode Island for the spring semester. A lanky defensive back, he was ranked as the No. 49 prep school recruit nationally for 2014 by 247sports.com. He earned All-Essex County honors after making 20 tackles and intercepting three passes. He is the fourth Fork Union player on the Rhody roster, joining safety Rondell Lane, offensive lineman Sam Hartman and defensive lineman Mike Ezirike.