In Tony Trisciani's first official week as the new head coach of Elon University football, he has helped seal the deal with 11 future student-athletes.
These players have all signed their National Letters of Intent to play in the 2019-2020 season. Five of the 11 are from North Carolina.
The group consists of three offensive lineman, three defensive backs, one quarterback, one tight end, one wide receiver, one running back and one all-around athlete.
The announcement follows a historic week within Elon University football, following the resignation of former-head coach Curt Cignetti on Dec. 14.
The Defensive Backs
The Phoenix reloaded with three defensive backs in the class. This position in the past has been a star-studded one with players like seniors Greg Liggs Jr. and Daniel Reid-Bennett anchoring the group.
“We like the skill set they bring to our program and they have the ability to play multiple positions in our secondary,” Trisciani said in a press release about the defensive backs in this signing class. “That will be key for us over the next few years after graduating six defensive backs across the 2018 and 2019 season.”
Antonio White, Chazz Harley and Omar Rogers are the three defensive backs who joined the Phoenix on Signing Day.
Antonio White | Defensive Back | 6 feet 1 inch | 180 lbs | Manassas, Va. | Osbourn Senior High School
Trisciani calls Antonio White “a long, skilled defensive back.” The Virginia native played defensive back, wide receiver and kick returner for Osbourn Senior High School under head coach Cortez Whiting. White also got All-District honors as a junior and was tabbed Regional MVP in his junior year.
White described himself as a "guy that works hard, is very coachable and has love for the game of football" in a comment to Elon News Network.
"My mindset is focused on coming in and getting right to work, I'm ready for these next 4 years," White also said.
Chazz Harley | Cornerback | 6 feet 1 inch | 184 lbs | Upper Marlboro, Md. | Landon High School
“A big defensive back who knows how to win,” Trisciani said about Chazz Harley, the All-Conference cornerback. Harley attended Landon High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and played under coach Paul Padalino.
Harley earned All-Conference honors as both a junior and senior, while also playing basketball at Landon High School in the winter.
Omar Rogers | Defensive Back | 6 feet | 195 lbs | Burlington, N.J. | Burlington Township High School
Omar Rogers was a four-year starter at defensive back for head coach Tom Madeira at Burlington Township High School. Rogers finished with 100 tackles – 61 solo – to go with four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles as a senior and helped Burlington Township allow just 11.5 points per game as a senior. Rogers earned All-State, All-County and All-Conference honors as a senior and was even picked as the county and conference Defensive Player of the Year. Trisciani calls the defensive back “an all star performer.”
The Offensive Line
Elon’s offensive line, in part, has been driven by first team all-conference offensive tackles CJ Toogood and Olisaemeka "Oli" Udoh. With their graduation ahead, Elon is in need of lineman to protect sophomore quarterback Davis Cheek.
“With the graduation of All-Conference and All-American offensive linemen, we needed to rebuild there and we did with Zane Gilbert, Jabril Williams and Jack Cutler,” Trisciani said in a press release.
Zane Gilbert, Jabril Williams and Jack Cutler are the three offensive lineman the Phoenix pulled onto its roster.
Zane Gilbert | Offensive Lineman | 6 feet 5 inches | 280 lbs | Wake Forest, N.C. | Heritage High School
Zane Gilbert played tackle for nearby Heritage High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina under head coach Wallace Clark. Trisciani calls Gilbert “a long OT with a huge upside.”
His father, Bruce Gilbert, played football at St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania.
Jabril Williams | Offensive Lineman | 6 feet 2 inches | 300 lbs | Statesville, N.C. | Statesville High School
Jabril Williams is another offensive lineman from Statesville, North Carolina who Trisciani calls, “a physical interior offensive of line lineman staying at home.”
Williams earned All-Conference honors as a sophomore, junior and senior, picking up All-County accolades both in his junior and senior seasons.
Jack Cutler | Offensive Lineman | 6 feet 5 inches | 295 lbs | Mooresville, N.C. | South Iredell High School
Jack Cutler is also from the Tar Heel state, and was a member of the offensive line at South Iredell High School for head coach Scott Miller.
He played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas on Dec. 21 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. At South Iredell, Cutler earned All-Conference honors in each of his final two seasons.
Cutler told Elon News Network he plans “on bringing a solid tackle position that [the team] can rely on,” and that he is “excited and ready to be part of Elon and the family.”
The All-around athlete
Bo Sanders | Athlete | 6 feet 1 inch | 180 lbs | Indianapolis, Ind. | Cathedral High School
Sanders is the all-around athlete signed by the Phoenix. Trisciani called Sanders, “an all-star athlete that can do it all.”
The Indianapolis, Indiana native set single-season school records in receptions and receiving touchdowns as a senior at Cathedral High School for head coach Bill Peebles. Sanders hauled in for 84 catches for 1,075 yards with 18 touchdowns as a senior to go with five interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. His brother, Luke Sanders, is a wide receiver at Western Michigan.
“Bo Sanders has been a very productive football player on both sides of the ball and in the return game,” Trisciani said in a press release.
More Offensive weapons
Ian Drummond | Tight End | 6 feet 3 inches | 230 lbs | Lewis Center, Ohio | Olentangy High School
Drummond played for Olentangy High School under head coach Mark Solis and earned All-County and All-District honors each of his final three seasons. The son of Ohio State football player Ron Drummond caught 103 passes for 1,600 yards with 17 touchdowns in his final three seasons of high school football.
"It was very important that we sign a tight end who would be a factor in our ground attack and the passing game," Trisciani wrote. "Ian Drummond definitely brings that skill set for us."
Justin Allen | Quarterback | 5 feet 10 inches | 185 lbs | Leesburg, Va. | Tuscarora High School
Trisciani is also excited about the newly picked up dual-threat quarterback. Justin Allen of Leesburg, Virginia tallied over 3,000 yards of offense and was responsible for 30 touchdowns as a junior.
Allen helped Tuscarora to the Class 5 State Championship game with a 12-3 record as a junior and the semifinals as a senior.
Chandler Brayboy | Wide Receiver | 6 feet | 185 lbs | Pembroke, N.C. | Purnell-Swett High School
Another North Carolina signee, Brayboy earned Player of the Year for the Sandhills Athletic Conference as a senior at Purnell Swett for head coach Jon Sherman. Brayboy was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year and MVP for his efforts during his senior campaign. He finished his last year with 1,700 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns. Brayboy will enroll at Elon in February 2019 for the upcoming spring semester.
McKinley Witherspoon | Running Back | 5 feet 9 inches | 182 lbs | Lenoir, N.C. | Hibriten High School
Witherspoon’s athleticism helped Hibriten High School to a 14-1 record, rushing for 1,861 yards on 112 carries with 12, 100-yard games and 39 touchdowns on the way to an appearance in the state semifinals. The Lenoir, North Carolina native earned Conference Player of the Year as a senior and All-State honors as both a junior and senior.
“We have an electric running back in McKinley Witherspoon who has run for nearly 4,000 yards the last two seasons of high school ball” Trisciani said in a press release.
While the recent change in leadership concerns some, Jack Cutler wrote in a direct message to Elon News Network, “I’m not concerned at all,” about the change in leadership.
“Trisciani has been with the program and knows what is expected,” he wrote.
Antonio White is also confident in Trisciani.
"I look forward to meeting the new coaches, but I know Coach Trisciani will do his best to bring in great coaches," he said.