GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix today welcomed the addition of 10 recruits to the Paladins' program on the NCAA's new December National Signing Day.
The newest Paladins cover most of the positional spectrum and include two wide receivers, two defensive lineman, as well as one running back, tailback, offensive lineman, tight end, inside linebacker, and defensive back.
Geographically four recruits hail from Georgia, two each from Tennessee and Florida, and one from South Carolina and Alabama.
The two running backs, Corey Watkins (Evans, Ga./Evans H.S.) and Devin Abrams (Pensacola, Fla./West Florida High School), registered impressive 2017 seasons, rushing for 1,432 yards and 1,500 yards, respectively, in leading their squads to region championships and state playoff appearances. Watkins, who accounted for 2,100 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdown responsibilities this fall, also excelled as a return specialist en route to earning region athlete of the year and all-state honors at the athlete position.
The Paladins' two wide receiver additions, Dejuan Bell (North Augusta, S.C. /North Augusta H.S.) and Louis Hall (Canton, Ga./Woodstock H.S.) also enjoyed highly productive prep careers. Bell keyed North Augusta to 10-2 campaign, region championship, and state playoff berth in 2017 by registering 21 touchdown responsibilities and eight interceptions. He's also a member of two 4A state championship 4x400m relay teams at North Augusta. Hall, meanwhile, was a two-time all-state selection at Woodstock who tallied a combined 169 receptions for 2,084 yards, and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore and junior before a knee injury sidelined him five games and six scoring grabs into his senior season.
Tight end addition Ryan Miller (Jackson, Tenn./University School of Jackson) is one of the group's most heralded performers. Serving as team captain this fall, the two-time all-state selection and Tennessee East-West All-Star Classic participant caught 69 passes for 1,149 yards and eight touchdowns, and rushed 51 times for 520 yards and 10 scores in 2017.
Furman's lone offensive lineman signee is tackle Anderson Tomlin (Birmingham, Ala./Mountain Brook H.S.), who helped lead Mountain Brook into the second round of the 7A state playoffs in 2017.
The two additions to the defensive front include nose guard Cameron Coleman (Elizabethton, Tenn./Elizabethton H.S.) and Taylor Hodge (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek H.S.). One of the recruits' most heralded performers, Coleman played on state playoff teams in each of his final three years while Elizabethton made the move from 3A to 4A ball in 2017. A two-time region defensive player of the year and all-state selection, he also served as team captain of the East squad in Tennessee's prestigious 2017 East-West All-Star Classic.
Braden Gilby (St. Petersburg, Fla./Jesuit High School) represents the Paladins' addition at inside linebacker. He tallied 385 tackles over his final three seasons, including 119 tackles and 19 for-loss this past year in helping Jesuit capture a district championship. An all-state honoree in 2016 with this year's state-wide teams yet to be announced, he played on region championship, state playoff squads that combined to go 25-2 his sophomore and junior seasons.
The Paladins' addition in the secondary, Jonah Griffin (Savannah, Ga./Benedictine Military School), is a product of a 2A football powerhouse that produced a 54-3 record, three state championships, and a 24-game winning streak during his four-year tenure that saw him tally 156 tackles, 11 interceptions, and three all-region scrolls.
2018 Furman Football Recruits (Dec. 20-22 NCAA Early Signing Period)
Devin Abrams, RB, 6-1, 205, Fr., Pensacola, Fla. (West Florida High School)
Dejuan Bell, WR, 5-9, 160, Fr., North Augusta, S.C. (North Augusta High School)
Cameron Coleman, NG, 6-3, 285, Fr., Elizabethton, Tenn. (Elizabethton High School)
Braden Gilby, ILB, 6-2, 220, Fr., St. Petersburg, Fla. (Jesuit High School)
Jonah Griffin, DB, 5-11, 180, Fr., Savannah, Ga. (Benedictine Military School)
Louis Hall, WR, 6-0, 180, Fr., Canton, Ga. (Woodstock High School)
Taylor Hodge, DT, 5-9, 255, Fr., Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek High School)
Ryan Miller, TE, 6-1, 205, Fr., Jackson, Tenn. (University School of Jackson)
Anderson Tomlin, OT, 6-5, 275, Fr., Birmingham, Ala. (Mountain Brook High School)
Corey Watkins, TB, 5-9, 185, Fr., Evans, Ga. (Evans High School)
DEVIN ABRAMS, RB
6-1, 205, Freshman
Pensacola, Fla. (West Florida High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of West Florida (5A) High School...football coach was Rhett Summerford...played running back...ran for over 1,500 yards his senior year in helping lead West Florida to to a 12-2 record and region and district championships...played on three district title squads....selected to play for the West Team in the Pensacola Sports Association in the Subway High School All-Star Series.
Personal: Full name is Devin Amari Abrams...born January 26, 2000, in Pensacola, Florida...son of Spencer and Gwen Abrams...has three brothers, Daylan, Darius, and Davi-yon, and two sisters, Divine and Destiny.
DEJUAN BELL, WR
5-9, 160, Freshman
North Augusta, S.C. (North Augusta High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of North Augusta (4A) High School...head coach was Brian Thomas...played wide receiver and defensive back and also handled punt and kickoff returns...helped lead North Augusta to 10-2 record and region championship in 2017...two-time all-region and All-Central Savannah River (CSRA) selection...caught three touchdown passes and recorded two interceptions in a 40-14 win over Lexington this past fall...picked of three passes to key North Augusta to a 21-7 win over No. 4 ranked South Aiken...finished the season with 21 touchdown responsibilities and eight interceptions...member of North Team that claimed a recent 24-12 victory in North-South All-Star Game...also selected to play in South Carolina-Georgia Border Bowl V...caught 53 passes for 850 yards and 14 touchdowns his junior year...member of two state championship 4x400 relay squads...posted a winning time of 3:23.06 in 2016 and a school record mark of 3:21.0 in 2017...earned all-region honors in basketball his junior year.
Personal: Full name is Dejuan Anthony Bell, Jr....born September 6, 1999, in Augusta, Georgia...son of Josette and Dejuan Bell...has a brother, Ty House, and a sister, Aaliyah Bell.
CAMERON COLEMAN, NG
6-3, 285, Freshman
Elizabethton, Tenn. (Elizabethton High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Elizabethton (3A & 4A) High School...head coach was Shawn Witten...played defensive end and defensive tackle on Elizabethon teams that competed in class 3A through his junior year before moving up to 4A in 2017...member of conference championship and state playoff squads his sophomore (10-2) and junior (11-2) years...as a senior helped lead Elizabethton 9-3 campaign and playoff berth in first year in class 4A...selected as team captain and recorded a pair of tackles for winning East Team (16-10 victory) in 2017 East vs. West Tennessee All-Star Classic...2016 Tennessee Sportswriters Association (TSWA) All-State pick (2017 teams has yet to be announced)....three-time all-region choice...two-time defensive player of the year pick.
Personal: Full name is Cameron Neal Coleman...born January 7, 2000, in Tampa, Florida...son of Valorie and Robbie Coleman...has a brother, Robert, Jr.
BRADEN GILBY, ILB
6-2, 220, Freshman
St. Petersburg, Fla. (Jesuit High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Jesuit (5A) High School...head coach was Matt Thompson...played middle linebacker and also handled punting duties...racked up 385 tackles over his final three seasons...served as team captain his junior and senior campaigns...member of region championship and state playoff teams in 2015 (13-1) and 2016 (12-1), and district title squad in a 2017 campaign that saw him record 119 tackles, 19 tackles for-loss, three sacks, two caused fumbles, and a blocked punt he returned for a touchdown...registered a career high 19 tackles against St. Joseph's (Pa.) Prep...two-time second team all-state pick in 2015 & '16 (2017 teams have yet to be announced)...two-time Tampa Tribune All-Hillsborough County choice...first team all-conference, all-region and all-area pick as a junior....also competes in track & field in the shot put and discus events.
Personal: Full name is Braden Connor Gilby...born August 19, 1999, in Tampa, Florida...son of John and Jennifer Gilby...has a sister, Julia..father was a walk-on football player at Texas A&M and member of the famed "12th-Man" kickoff squad.
JONAH GRIFFIN, DB
5-11, 180, Freshman
Savannah, Ga. (Benedictine Military School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of football powerhouse Benedictine (2A) Military School...football coach was Danny Britt...played defensive back, running back, and wide receiver...member of three state championship teams that combined to produce 54-3 record and include a 24-game winning streak over his prep tenure...registered eight tackles, an interception, and two pass breakups in a 49-26 state title game win over Fitzgerald his junior year, finishing off a 15-0 campaign...earned an invite to the 2016 Georgia Elite Classic...three-time all-region selection...served as a team captain in 2017...career statistics include 156 tackles, 11 interceptions, and six forced fumbles...also competes in track in the 110 and 300m hurdles and 4x100 and 4x400m hurdles.
Personal: Full name is Jonah Timothy Griffin...born August 5, 2000, in Savannah, Georgia...son of Summer and James Ivanowski...has a brother, Jackson.
LOUIS HALL, WR
6-0, 180, Freshman
Canton, Ga. (Woodstock High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Woodstock (7A) High School...football coach was Brent Budde...played wide receiver, strong safety, and cornerback, and also returned kicks...three-time all-region and two-time all-state and all-county selection...registered 704 yards in receptions and six touchdowns in his first five games in 2017 before sustaining a season ending knee injury...still earned all-region honors for the third time in his career that also saw him tally 169 receptions for 2,084 yards, and 24 touchdowns in 2015 & '16.
Personal: Full name is Louis Kemp Hall...born May 18, 2000, in Charlotte, North Carolina...son of Lori and Ted Hall...has a bother, Brandon.
TAYLOR HODGE, DT
5-9, 255, Freshman
Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Sandy Creek (4A) High School...football coach was Brett Garvin...played defensive line...earned first team all-county honors as a junior and was a preseason all-state choice for 2017...registered 37 tackles and four sacks this fall...helped lead Sandy Creek to state playoff appearances his sophomore and junior seasons.
Personal: Full name is Taylor Rasean Hodge...born July 10, 2000, in Killeen, Texas...son of Rashad and Charlett Hodge...has three siblings: Torian Bunn, Charli Hodge, and Elijah Hodge.
RYAN MILLER, TE
6-1, 205, Freshman
Jackson, Tenn. (University School of Jackson)
High School: Projected 2017 graduate of University School (Division 2 AA) of Jackson...football coach was Michael Stroup...played tight end, wide receiver, running back, middle linebacker, and defensive end during his prep career...member of three state playoff teams...served as team captain, caught 69 passes for 1,149 yards and eight touchdowns, and rushed 51 times for 520 yards and 10 scores his senior year...top performance came in first round playoff contest versus Harding Academy (20 rushes, 254 yards, 5 TDs)...caught 82 passes for 1,529 yards and 18 TDs in 2016...three-time all-district and two-time all-state and All-West Tennessee pick...named 2017 D2-AA Offensive MVP...participated in 2017 East vs. West Tennessee All-Star Classic along with fellow Paladin signee Cameron Coleman...also played basketball and ran track, specializing in the high jump...voted Mr. USJ by senior class...four-year member of USJ band as a trombonist.
Personal: Full name is Ryan McKnight Miller...born February 20, 2000, in Jackson, Tennessee...son of David and Denise Miller...has a brother, Keaton...father, David, played baseball at Auburn (1983-86)...mother, Denise, was a cheerleader/dance team member at Middle Tennessee State (1983-87)...grandfather, Bill McKnight, played basketball at Lambuth University, and grandfather, Ed Miller, played tennis at Auburn.
ANDERSON TOMLIN, OT
6-5, 275, Freshman
Birmingham, Ala. (Mountain Brook High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Mountain Brook (7A) High School...football coach was Chris Yeager...played offensive tackle...fashioned a solid senior season in helping lead lead Mountain Brook to 8-3 and 8-4 seasons and playoff appearances his junior and senior seasons...also played lacrosse.
Personal: Full name is Anderson Harper Tomlin...born July 7, 1999, in Birmingham, Alabama...son of Christopher and Perrie Tomlin...has a sister, Alexandra, and a brother, William.
COREY WATKINS, TB
5-9, 185, Freshman
Evans, Ga. (Evans High School)
High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Evans (6A) High School...football coach was Lemuel Lackey...played running back and linebacker, and also returned kicks...spent his freshman and sophomore years at Jenkins County High School in Millen, Ga., before moving to Evans for the 2016 and '17 football campaigns...rushed for 1,432 yards and accounted for over 2,100 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior in helping Evans to a 9-3 record, region championship, and second round appearance in the state playoffs...named to the preseason Augusta Chronicle "Dream 16"...selected region athlete of the year this past season after earning region player of the year honors in 2016...picked to the Scout Smart All-Academic Team...was also a 2017 All-Central Savannah River (CSRA) choice...selected to play in South Carolina-Georgia Border Bowl V...won a region championship in the 100m in the spring of 2017.
Personal: Full name is Corey Dashawn Watkins...born October 29, 1999, in Augusta, Georgia...son of Carey and Lakeshia Watkins...has four siblings: Juwaun and Malia Watkins, Briana Thompson, and Imari Jackson.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information