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Furman Football Announces Six Signees, Bringing 2018 Recruiting Class To 19

Signing Day
Signing Day

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix today announced the signing of six more recruits as part of the Paladins' 2018 recruiting class.

The six additions join the 10 Furman recruits announced during the NCAA's December signing period and three transfers who joined in the program in early January to comprise the current 19-member class.

Wednesday's additions feature a pair of quarterbacks, as well as a wide receiver, inside linebacker, cornerback, and safety.

The two signal callers include Darren Grainger (Conway, S.C./Conway H.S.) and Hamp Sisson (Birmingham, Ala./Mountain Brook H.S.).  In his first season at quarterback last fall, the 6-foot-4 Grainger proved to be a true dual threat, passing for 2,125 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 641 yards and four scores in leading Conway to a 10-2 record, region championship, and state playoff appearance.   A starter for over two seasons, Sisson fashioned similar passing numbers last fall, connecting on 66.1 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,451 yards and 18 touchdowns for a 2017 Mountain Brook squad that made a quarterfinal appearance in Alabama's 7A playoffs — the state's highest classification.

Zack Peterson (Roswell, Ga./Wesleyan School) is the third wide receiver to sign with Furman this year.  A multiple position standout at Wesleyan, he caught 60 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior and averaged 41.5 yards per punt.  He is the son for former NFL kicker Todd Peterson, who spent 12 years in the NFL.

Furman's newest inside linebacker is Dax Hackett (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford H.S.), the son of former Appalachian State All-America linebacker and seven-year NFL standout Dino Hackett.  Hackett registered 110 tackles and three interceptions as a senior.

The addition of Travis Blackshear (Savannah, Ga./Benedictine Military School) gives the Paladins a second player from one of Georgia's most successful programs that claimed a pair of state championships and posted a 24-game winning streak over the past three seasons.  A two-way standout who recorded three interceptions last year playing alongside Dec. 20 Paladin safety signee Jonah Griffin, he earned a pair of first team all-state scrolls in 2017 as a running back after rushing for 1,444 yards and 19 touchdowns while also pacing Georgia 2A in scoring with 174 points.

Safety Dae'one Wilkins (Spring Hope, N.C./Southern Nash H.S.) helped lead Southern Nash to back-to-back 12-1 and 12-2 seasons in 2016 and '17 in a career that saw him garner all-area and all-conference honors three times.  He intercepted seven passes over this final two seasons and returned three for touchdowns.

2018 Furman Football Recruits (Dec. 20-22, 2017/Feb. 7, 2018, Signing Periods, and Transfers)

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)
Travis Blackshear, CB, 5-10, 175, Fr., Savannah, Ga. (Benedictine Military School)
Melton Brown, DE, 6-3, 264, So., Louisville, Ga. (Georgia Southern/Jefferson County 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)
Darren Grainger, QB, 6-4, 190, Fr., Conway, S.C. (Conway High School)
Jonah Griffin, DB, 5-11, 180, Fr., Savannah, Ga. (Benedictine Military School)
Jax Hackett, ILB, 6-2, 205, Fr., Greensboro, N.C. (Southeast Guilford High School)
Louis Hall, WR, 6-0, 180, Fr., Canton, Ga. (Woodstock High School)
Cooper Hardin, ILB, 6-1, 228, So., Chattanooga, Tenn. (Navy/Farragut 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)
Zach Peterson, WR, 6-2, 180, Fr., Roswell, Ga., (Wesleyan School)
Hamp Sisson, QB, 6-0, 185, Fr., Birmingham, Ala. (Mountain Brook High School)
Anderson Tomlin, OT, 6-5, 275, Fr., Birmingham, Ala. (Mountain Brook High School)
Amir Trapp, CB, 5-8, 170, Jr., Clemson, S.C. (Clemson/Daniel High School)
Corey Watkins, TB, 5-9, 185, Fr., Evans, Ga. (Evans High School)
Dae'one Wilkins, S, 6-0, 200, Fr., Spring Hope, N.C. (Southern Nash High School)

Bold & Italics (Feb. 7, 2018 signee)
Underlined (Transfer announced Jan. 4, 2018)


5-10, 175, Freshman
Savannah, Ga. (Benedictine Military School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of football powerhouse Benedictine (2A) Military School, where he was a football teammate of defensive back Jonah Griffin, a Dec. 20, 2017, Furman coach was Danny Britt...starred as a running back, wide receiver, and defensive back on two state championship teams his sophomore and junior years, and played a key role in a program record 24-game winning streak...served as a team captain and earned Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sportswriters Association First Team All-State honors as a running back in 2017 after pacing Class 2A in scoring (174 points)...rushed 123 times for 1,444 yards and 19 touchdowns...averaged a stellar 11.7 ypc...also caught 26 passes for 548 yards and seven scores...ran 18 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and had two touchdown catches in a 45-0 win over Metter...posted 218 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries in a 70-21 second round playoff win over Jefferson County...registered three interceptions his senior year...also competes in track, specializing in the triple jump and 4x100m relay.
Personal: Full name is Travis Blackshear, Jr....born May 25, 2000, in Savannah, Georgia...son of Lakisha Freeman and Travis Blackshear, Sr....has a sister Dynesha Grant and Michael Jackson, Jr.

6-4, 190, Freshman
Conway, S.C. (Conway High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Conway (5A) High coach was Carlton Terry...played wide receiver before making the switch to quarterback prior to his senior year...2017 season marked a complete comeback following injuries sustained in a car wreck in the fall of 2016...2017 Myrtle Beach Sun News Toast of the Coast All-First Team honoree...also named to All-Region VI-5A, WPDE All-Zone, and WBTW All-Blitz Teams...connected on 120-of-233 passes for 2,125 yards and 18 touchdowns, and rushed 115 times for 641 yards and four scores as a senior in pacing Conway to a 10-2 record, region championship, and second round playoff appearance...accounted for 307 yards in total offense and four touchdowns in a 40-14 first round playoff win over dropped a 35-28 decision to Spring Valley in Lower State semifinals the next week in a game that saw him rush for 108 yards and pass for 174 and a touchdown...also stars in basketball.
Personal:  Full name is Darren D'Waun Grainger...born July 21, 2000, in Conway, South Carolina...son of Dwayne and Danita Grainger...has two brothers, Dwayne and Devin, and a sister Courtney.

6-2, 205, Freshman
Greensboro, N.C. (Southeast Guilford High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Southeast Guilford (3A) High coach was Kennedy Tinsley...played tight end and linebacker during his prep career...served as team captain, racked up 110 tackles and three interceptions, and earned all-conference and second team all-area honors as a senior in helping his squad to a 9-3 season and state playoff appearance...was also named all-conference as a junior...played third base for Southeast Guilford's powerhouse baseball team.
Personal: Full name is Jaxon Dean Hackett...born July 12, 2000, in Greensboro, North Carolina...son of Dino and Cindy Hackett...has a sister Dustin...father was an All-American linebacker at Appalachian State (1982-85), who was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft...played seven years in the NFL (1986-92), including six with the Chiefs, and was a 1998 Pro Bowl selection.

6-2, 180, Freshman
Roswell, Ga. (Wesleyan School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Wesleyan (A) coach was Franklin Pridgen...saw action at mutiple positions, including wide receiver, cornerback, safety, punter, holder, and return statistics include 103 receptions for 1,239 yards and 15 touchdowns in 25 games...compiled 1,802 all-purpose yards...averaged 41.5 yards per punt...fashioned a stellar senior season, serving as team captain and catching 60 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns...set two records, including most receptions in a game (13) and season punting average...first team all-region selection in 2017 after collecting second team honors as a junior...also competed in track.
Personal: Full name is Joseph Zachary Peterson...born May 9, 2000, in Gainesville, Georgia...son of Todd and Susan Peterson...has a sister, Hannah...father was a placekicker who played at Georgia and later spent 12 seasons (1994-05) in the NFL with six teams, experiencing his most success with the Seattle Seahawks (1995-95) and his last campaign with the Atlanta Falcons (2005).

6-0, 185, Freshman
Birmingham, Ala. (Mountain Brook High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Mountain Brook (7A) High School, where he was a football teammate of offensive tackle Anderson Tomlin, a Dec. 20, 2017 Furman coach was Chris Yeager...took over starting quarterback duties midway through his sophomore season...completed 321-of-485 passes for 5,845 yards and 43 touchdowns in his career...serving as a team captain, fashioned a stellar 2017 season, passing for 2,451 yards and 18 TDs, completing 131-of-198 passes (66.1%) in helping his squad to an 8-4 record and quarterfinal appearance in state playoffs...connected on 17 of 21 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns and accounted for four touchdowns in all in a 51-50 win over rival Spain Park, completing the game winning two-point conversion pass to seal the verdict...named the Birmingham All-Over the Mountain Team and All-Over The Mountain Co-MVP in 2017...honorable mention and AFCA 7A All-State a junior earned All-Birmingham Over-the-Mountain honors after throwing for 2,267 yards and 18 TDs...starting shooting guard on Mountain Brook's basketball team, which has been ranked No. 1 in Alabama in 2017-18 season after winning the state title his junior year...also competes in track in the 100m, 200m, and 4x200m relay.
Personal: Full name is Andrew Hampton Sisson...born December 9, 1999, in Birmingham, Ala...son of Leigh Ann and Tommy Sisson...has two brothers, Miller, a graduate of the University of Virginia, and John, who attends the United States Naval Academy, and a sister, Ann, a 2017 Furman graduate and former cross country/track standout who was a member of four Southern Conference championship cross country teams and was a two-time All-SoCon Indoor Track selection during her Paladin career.

6-0, 200, Freshman
Spring Hope, N.C. (Southern Nash High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Southern Nash (3A) High School...played safety, linebacker, and running coach was Brian Foster...played on three conference championship teams and helped Southern Nash compile a 42-11 record during his tenure, including 12-1 and 12-2 campaigns, respectively, in final two seasons...served as team captain his junior and season seasons...three-time all-conference and All-Area selection by the Wilson Daily Times and Rocky Mount Telegram...registered 107 tackles and 3.5 sacks and was named Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year  in 2016, his junior year...credited with 76 tackles, six tackles for-loss, and five interceptions — three of which he returned for touchdowns — as a senior while also rushing for three scores...has also played in basketball and competed in track, winning a pair of conference titles in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay squads as a sophomore.
Personal: Full name is Dae'one Gumar Wilkins...born Janruary 13, 2000, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina...son of Sylvia Richardson...has a brother, Khalaeb Richardson, and a sister Douglas Pridgen.


6-1, 228, Sophomore
Chattanooga, Tenn. (Navy/Farragut High School)

2017 (Navy) — Saw action in one junior varsity contest...transferred to Furman in January of 2018.
High School: 2017 graduate of Farragut (5A) High School in Knoxville, Tenn...earned Tennessee Sportswriters Association All-State honors as a linebacker in 2016 after helping lead his squad to a 14-1 record and state championship...ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns in Farragut's, 45-35 state title game win over Independence, helping his squad erase a 35-7 second quarter deficit...participated in Tennessee's East-West All-Star Classic.
Personal: Son Kevin Hardin and Laura Gearhiser.

5-8, 170, Junior
Clemson, S.C. (Clemson/Daniel High School)

2017 (Clemson) — Saw duty in 10 games, including six in the Clemson secondary and four as a contributor on special teams...registered a tackle against both Kent State and The Citadel...most action (18 plays) came against The Citadel...had one punt return for five yards....transferred to Furman in January of 2018.  2016 (Clemson) — Saw action in three games, totaling 36 plays...registered a tackle in his career debut versus S.C. State...had three tackles against Syracuse...also played against South Carolina. 2015 (Clemson) — Redshirted...awarded extra year of eligibility
High School: 2015 graduate of Daniel High coach was Randy Robinson...earned first team all-state and Shrine Bowl honors after totaling 55 tackles, four interceptions, and nine pass breakups his senior year...also averaged 22.7 yards on 12 punt returns...
Personal: Born November 17, 1997...father, James Trapp, was a standout defensive  back at Clemson (1989-92) who went on the play 11 years in the NFL and win a Super Bowl Championship ring with the Ravens at the end of the 2000 season...also won an Olympic gold medal with the 4x100 at the 1992 Olympics.

6-3, 264, Sophomore
Louisville, Ga. (Georgia Southern/Jefferson County High School

2017 (Georgia Southern) — Saw action in one game, registering a pair of tackles versus New Hampshire...transferred to Furman in January of 2018.
High School: 2016 graduate of Jefferson County (2A) High coach was J.B. Arnold...was a senior-year teammate of Paladin nose guard Parker Stokes...earned all-region honors after racking up 65 tackles, including 10 for-loss, and forced three fumbles on a 10-2 squad in 2016...was a Georgia Sportswriters Association second team all-state honors in 2015, his junior year...participated in Border Bowl IV (Georgia-South Carolina).
Personal: Full name is Melton Brown, Jr....born September 28, in Augusta, Ga...son of Adell Stone Brown.


6-1, 205, Freshman
Pensacola, Fla. (West Florida High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of West Florida (5A) High 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.

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 24-12 victory in North-South All-Star Game...also picked up Border Bowl V Defensive MVP honors after recording a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown in Team South Carolina's 32-25 win over Team Georgia on Jan. 6, 2018...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.

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) 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....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.

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...three-time second team all-state pick in 2015, '16, and '17)...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.

5-11, 180, Freshman
Savannah, Ga. (Benedictine Military School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of football powerhouse Benedictine (2A) Military School, where he was a teammate of Travis Blackshear, a Feb. 7, 2018, Furman 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 during 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 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.

6-0, 180, Freshman
Canton, Ga. (Woodstock High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Woodstock (7A) High 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.

5-9, 255, Freshman
Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Sandy Creek (4A) High 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.

6-1, 205, Freshman
Jackson, Tenn. (University School of Jackson)

High School: Projected 2017 graduate of University School (Division 2 AA) of 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 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 Tennessee Sportswriters Association (TSWA) and All-West Tennessee pick...also selected to 2017 Tennessee Football Coaches Association (TnFCA) All-State squad...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.

6-5, 275, Freshman
Birmingham, Ala. (Mountain Brook High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Mountain Brook (7A) High School, where he was a football teammate of quarterback Hamp Sisson, a Feb. 7, 2018, Furman coach was Chris Yeager...played offensive tackle...earned second team All-Birmingham and second team Alabama Sportswriters Association All-State honors in 2017...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.

5-9, 185, Freshman
Evans, Ga. (Evans High School)

High School: Projected 2018 graduate of Evans (6A) High 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...played in the 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