Towson announces 17 man football recruiting class

February 05, 2014 | WNST Staff


   TOWSON, Md. –  A large and talented group of 17 football players has signed National Letters of Intent to attend Towson University and play football, it has been announced by Coach Rob Ambrose.

“I am so grateful to all of those team members who have worked so tirelessly for the betterment of the future of Towson University,” said Ambrose. “The hours of behind-the-scenes work done by our coaches, support staff, professors, administrators and community teammates have culminated into an incredibly talented and diverse recruiting class whose presence will be felt for years to come.

“Congratulations to the young men and their families who have seen first hand this year the magic created by hard work, faith, sacrifice, commitment and love coupled with a team first attitude,” he added. “Their desire to join this effort, to continue to help us build and write the next chapter in our storied history makes today a very special day and once again, a great day to be a Tiger.”

2014 Towson University Football Recruits

Player                            Pos.  Ht.  Wt.     High School                                  Hometown           Other School

Dontea Ayres                 RB   5-8  205    Middletown (Del.) H.S.                 Salisbury, Md.      Rutgers

Jesus Barrio                   OL   6-5  276    McKinney Boyd H.S.                    McKinney, Texas

Reece Burnett                DT   6-2  350    Lake Braddock H.S.                      Springfield, Va.

Niquekko “Nico” Cook  DE   6-5  225    Meade H.S.                                     Odenton, Md.

Monty Fenner                CB   6-0  171    Oscar F. Smith H.S.                      Chesapeake, Va.

Sam Gallahan               WR   6-1  190    Sts. Stephen’s and St. Agnes H.S.      Springfield, Va.

James Hall                      OT   6-5  317    Cape Coral H.S.                            Cape Coral, Fla.

Will Hayes                       LS    6-1  219    North Forsyth H.S.                        Winston-Salem, N.C.

Zach Heron                    TE    6-5  220    Manchester Valley H.S.               Hampstead, Md.

Matt Kauffman               OT   6-5  291    York Suburban H.S.                     York, Pa.

Ellis Knudson                QB   6-2  240    Hayfields (Va.) H.S.                      Alexandria, Va.

Tyron McDade               CB  5-10 170    Friendship Collegiate Academy Bowie, Md.

Eddie Releford               DE   6-4  225    Lakes H.S.                                      Tacoma, Wash.    Pima C.C.

James Scott                    LB    6-1  215    Gloucester H.S.                             Gloucester, Va.

Danny Sutton              PK-P 6-0  165    New Hope Solebury H.S.             New Hope, Pa.

Marquise Watts              TE    6-4  232    North Point H.S.                            LaPlata, Md.

Greg White                     RB   5-9  190    West Catholic H.S.                        Philadelphia, Pa.



DONTEA AYRES, Running Back

5-8, 205-lbs., Middletown (Del.) H.S., Salisbury Md. 

Transfer from Rutgers University … mid-year enrollee who will practice in the spring … began his high school career at Wicomico High School … totaled 3,370 yards and averaged 9.4 yards per carry in three seasons of high school football … rushed for 1,471 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior … averaged 11.9 yards per carry his junior season … versatile back who also caught 13 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns his junior year … rated the No. 26 prospect and No. 2 running back by SuperPrep in its Mid-Atlantic preseason preview … three-star recruit according to and the nation’s No. 82 running back … three-star recruit and the No. 3 player in Delaware by … listed as the No. 48 running back nationally and a three-star recruit by … rushed for 1,196 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore for the Indians … averaged 8.7 yards per carry and 119.6 yards per game … finished freshman season with 703 rushing yards and eight touchdowns … PERSONAL: .Lists foster mother, Heidi Sawyer, as the person he admires the most … born on Nov. 1, 1993 in Hampton, Va.

JESUS BARRIO, Offensive Lineman

6-5, 276-lbs., McKinney Boyd H.S., McKinney, Texas 

All-District selection as offensive lineman for the Broncos … led team to a 7-4 record in a berth in the Texas state playoffs … three-year starter for Coach Don Drake … helped the Broncos make back-to-back appearances in the state playoffs … also played high school basketball …PERSONAL: Has one younger sister … very active in community service work with P.A.L.S. … devoted fan of the Dallas Cowboys … favorite NFL player is Peyton Manning … lists lasagna as his favorite meal … parents are both graduates of the Texas-El Paso … father works as a business manager … mother is paralegal … son of Jesus and Olga Barrio … born on May 3, 1996 in El Paso, Texas.

REECE BURNETT, Defensive Tackle

6-2, 350-lbs., Lake Braddock H.S., Springfield, Va. 

Three-time selection as first team All-District … two-way performer who was honored as offensive and defensive lineman … earned first team All-State honors as a senior for Coach James Poythress … led the Bruins to a 13-1 record and a berth in the Virginia state quarter-finals in 2013 … member of conference championship team as a senior … member of back-to-back district championship teams as a sophomore and junior … all-district performer in the shot put for the Bruins’ track and field team … also threw discus …PERSONAL: Has one older brother … lists father as the person he admires the most … avid fan of the Carolina Panthers … favorite NFL player is Ndamukong Suh of the Lions … lists “Forrest Gump” as his favorite book … favorite movie is The Avengers … lists Morgan Freeman as his favorite actor … has done community service work with the boy scouts … son of Rolanda Burnett … born on Nov. 3, 1995 in Wilmington, N.C.


6-5, 225-lbs., Meade H.S., Odenton, Md. 

All-State first team selection who led Meade to back-to-back regional championships … two-time All-Arundel County selection who made 78 tackles as a senior … also had 10.5 sacks and blocked three field goals … helped the Mustangs post an 11-3 record … selected to play in NUC All-America game in South Carolina … named first team All-Metro … had 68 tackles as a junior for Coach Rich Holzer … made 9.5 sacks as a junior … played for state championship team as a sophomore … also played basketball for the Mustangs … PERSONAL: Has one sister … lists godfather, Frank Voive, as the person he admires the most … roots for the New England Patriots … favorite NFL player is Cameron Wake …  enjoys music by J. Cole … favorite meal is spaghetti … lists “The Goonies” as his favorite movie … son of Shara Williams … born on May 22, 1996 in Dayton, Ohio.

MONTY FENNER, Cornerback

6-0, 171-lbs., Oscar F. Smith H.S., Chesapeake, Va. 

Two-way standout at Oscar Smith H.S. who led the Tigers to a 14-1 record and a berth in the state championship game … All-State selection as a senior … caught 42 passes for  735 yards and 14 touchdowns as a wide receiver … broke up 12 passes and intercepted four passes as a cornerback … also recovered two fumbles … earned all-region and all-conference honors for Coach Richard Morgan … honor roll student who also competes for indoor track team … intercepted five passes as a junior … caught 20 passes for 430 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012 … PERSONAL: Cousin of Chandler Fenner, cornerback for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks … favorite NFL team is the Tennessee Titans … lists Richard Sherman as his favorite NFL player … lists “Friday Night Lights” as his favorite movie … favorite actor is his cousin, Nate Parker … has done volunteer work at  a local recreation center … son of Janet M. Fenner … born on Aug. 31, 1995 in Virginia Beach, Va.

SAM GALLAHAN, Wide Receiver

6-1, 190-lbs., Sts. Stephen’s and St. Agnes H.S., Springfield, Va. 

All-State selection for Coach Bernard Joseph … named All-Metro and all-conference … played wide receiver and defensive back for the Saints … caught 63 passes for 946 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last two seasons … also played basketball and ran track for the Saints … PERSONAL: Has one younger brother and one younger sister … lists parents and grandfather as the people he admires the most … had summer job as a lifeguard … avid fan of the Washington Redskins … lists Eric Decker as his favorite NFL player … lists Jerry Rice as his favorite all-time player … enjoys reading books from the Harry Potter series … favorite actress is Megan Fox … enjoys eating Mexican food …. favorite movie is “Wolf on Wall Street” … most memorable experience was catching game-winning touchdown pass in Homecoming game of junior year … father is an East Carolina graduate who played football for the Pirates … mother graduated from Maryland … great grandfather is a member of the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame … son of Chris and Cathy Gallahan … born on Jan. 17, 1996 in Alexandria, Va.

JAMES HALL, Offensive Tackle

6-5, 317-lbs., Cape Coral H.S., Cape Coral, Fla. 

Honorable mention all-conference offensive tackle … team captain for Coach Larry Gary’s team … can bench-press 380 pounds … named as the Seahawks’ Most Improved Player … two-way lineman who helped the Seahawks post an 8-3 record in senior season … also a member of the Seahawks’ wrestling team and track and field squad …  PERSONAL: Favorite NFL team is the Houston Texans … lists J.J. Watt as his favorite NFL player … favorite movie is “Iron Man” … favorite actor is Adam Sandler … favorite book is “Of Mice and Men” …  enjoys music by Eminem … son of James and Patricia Hall … born on Nov. 8, 1995 in Middlesburg Heights, Ohio.

WILL HAYES, Long Snapper

6-1, 219-lbs., North Forsyth H.S., Winston-Salem, N.C. 

Four-year starter who earned all-conference honors as a junior and senior … three-year captain for Coach Peter Gilchrist … played offensive line and defensive end … led the Vikings to an 8-6 record and the conference championship … helped team reach the third round of the state playoffs … ranked as the number one long snapper in the state … also threw shot put and discus for the Vikings’ track and field team … honor roll student … member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes … along belongs to the National Honor Society … PERSONAL: Has one younger brother … career goal is to become a physical therapist … lists mother as the person he admires the most … has done community service work with the Special Olympics … devoted fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers … lists Chris Long as his favorite NFL player … lists “Remember the Titans” as his favorite movie … favorite athlete is Tiger Woods … father played basketball at Richard Bland College … father is a respiratory therapist who graduated from Richard Bland … mother is a nurse … son of Kevin and Charleen Hayes … born on August 6, 1995 in Winston-Salem, N.C.


6-5, 220-lbs., Manchester Valley H.S., Manchester, Md. 

All-State selection who led the Mavericks to a 6-5 record as a senior … two-time All-Monocacy Valley League selection who caught 30 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns … member of first Manchester Valley team to earn a state playoff win … played tight end and defensive end for Coach Anthony Shermeyer … made 55 tackles and recorded 12 sacks as a senior … caught 17 passes for 188 yards and five touchdowns as a junior … made 52 tackles with three sacks in junior year … caught game-winning touchdown pass against Reginald Lewis as a junior … also played baseball and basketball … record-setting performer for track and field team … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has one younger sister … favorite actor is Tom Hanks … avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens … favorite NFL player is Jacoby Jones … enjoys music by Coldplay … favorite book is “Animal Farm” … father is a police officer … mother is a registered nurse … son of Peter Heron and Kim Carrick … born on November 23, 1996 in Baltimore, Md.

MATT KAUFFMAN, Offensive Tackle

6-5, 291-lbs., York Suburban H.S., York, Pa. 

Two-time All-York County selection as a two-way lineman … team captain as a senior for Coach Jeremy Jones … made 20 tackles with four sacks and one pass deflection for the Trojans … helped the Trojans post a 5-5 record … made 10 tackles with two sacks as a junior … earned All-East Coast honors … three-year starter … PERSONAL: Lists parents as the people he admires the most … has done community service work for Habitat for Humanity … avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers … favorite athlete is Michael Jordan … lists “Friday Night Lights” as his favorite movie … favorite actor is Gene Hackman … favorite author is Mike Lupica … father is a heavy equipment operator … mother works as a buyer … son of Brian and Nora Kauffman … born on April 10. 1996 in York, Pa.

ELLIS KNUDSON, Quarterback

6-2, 240-lbs., Hayfields H.S., Alexandria, Va. 

All-district quarterback for the Hawks … two-year co-captain for Coach Roy Hill … led the Hawks to the state playoffs three times … threw for 1,504 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior … also played lacrosse for the Hawks … member of track and field team … PERSONAL: Has two older brothers … ldevoted fan of the San Diego Chargers … favorite NFL player is Tom Brady … favorite actress is Megan Fox … enjoys music by Jay-Z … favorite movie is “Savages” … lists LeBron James as his favorite athlete … enjoys eating pizza … father is a Shippensburg graduate who works as a management consultant … mother is a hair stylist … son of Scott and Heather Knudson … born on July 11 1996 in Fairfax, Va.


TYRON MCDADE, Cornerback

5-10, 170-lbs., Friendship Collegiate Academy, Bowie, Md. 

All-State selection at cornerback in Virginia … played defensive back and wide receiver for Coach Azaar Abdul Rahim … intercepted one pass and returned it for a touchdown as a senior … scored seven touchdowns as a junior … track and field standout who was the state champion in the high jump … finished second in the high jump at the New Balance National Championships … very good student who ranked seventh in his class … honor roll student … attended Fork Union for one year … PERSONAL: Has two brothers and one sister … devoted fan of the Washington Redskins … ,favorite NFL player is Joe Haden … lists Leonardo DiCaprio as his favorite actor … enjoys eating steak … mother is a hair dresser … son of Byron Mcdade and Tracey Williams … born on ay 9, 1996 in Washington, D.C.


6-1, 225-lbs., Lake H.S., Tacoma, Wash. 

Transfer from Pima Community College in Arizona … ranked second on team with 54 tackles in 2013 … also had 4.5 sacks and earned all-conference honors … earned first team All-State honors at Lakes High School in Washington … led the Lancers to the state semi-finals three times … helped Coach Dave Miller’s team post an 11-2 record as a senior … two-way lineman for the Lancers … named as Regional Defensive Player of the Year … earned All-Region and All-District honors as a wrestler in higjh school …PERSONAL: Has two brothers and three sisters … career goal is to work in law enforcement … avid fan of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks … favorite NFL player is Bruce Irvin … favorite actor is Will Smith … lists “The Wood” as his favorite movie … enjoys eating fried chicken with macaroni and cheese … favorite athlete is Ray Allen … father is a pastor … mother works as a receptionist at a hospital … son of Eddie Releford and Jeannett Alonzo … born on August 12, 1993 in Lakewood, Washington.

JAMES SCOTT, Linebacker

6-1, 215-lbs., Gloucester H.S., Gloucester, Va. 

Two-way performer at linebacker at running back for the Dukes … also saw action at quarterback for Coach Brandon Kelly … ran for 1,300 yards as a senior with 13 touchdowns … earned all-district honors … named second team all-region … named as the Conference 10 Player of the Year … ran for 1,157 yards as a junior … standout performer for track and field squad … set school record in the long jump … honor roll student … PERSONAL: Has two brothers and one sister … lists father as the person he admires the most … had a summer job work for the Washington Capitals … favorite NFL team is the Philadelphia Eagles … favorite NFL player is Calvin Johnson … lists Morgan Freeman as his favorite actor … favorite meal is chili … enjoys music by Drake … father is a logistics coordinator … mother is a director of catering … son of Calvin and Terri Scott … born on March 31, 1996 in Newport News, Va.

DANNY SUTTON, Place Kicker-Punter

6-0, 165-lbs., New Hope Solebury H.S., New Hope, Pa.

Talented punter and place kicker who helped the Lions win their first Centennial Conference championship … earned all-conference honors three times … kicked game-winning 48-yard field goal on the final play of the game in the Lions’ Thanksgiving Day victory … four-year performer at kicker who helped the Lions post an 8-3 record as a senior for Coach Jim Ditulio … made 11 of 13 field goal attempts in career … booted 70 percent of kickoffs into end zone for touchbacks … made 67 of 72 conversion attempts in career … also played lacrosse and basketball … four-year starter for the Lions’ lacrosse team …PERSONAL: Has one brother and one sister … older brother Tommy, plays lacrosse at the University of Pennsylvania … lists parents as the people he admires the most … avid fan of the Philadelphia Eagles … lists Brian Westbrook as his favorite NFL player … parents are Bucknell graduates … father works for Johnson & Johnson … mother is a teacher … son of Craig and Sue Sutton … born on January 25, 1996 in Easton, Pa.



6-4, 232-lbs., North Point H.S., LaPlata, Md. 

All-conference selection at tight end who led the Eagles to a 6-4 record as a senior … record-settting receiver who caught 34 passes for 534 yards as a junior … also caught five touchdown passes … set single game records with nine receptions for 134 yards … caught 44 passes 814 yards in last two seasons … averaged 28.0 yards per catch as a senior … had 10 receptions for 280 yards and two touchdowns … also played basketball for the Eagles … member of state championship team as a freshman …PERSONAL: Lists his mother, Regina Thompson, as the person he admires the most … hobbies include video games … favorite NFL team is the Washington Redskins … lists Calvin Johnson as his favorite NFL player … favorite book is “Gifted Hands” … favorite movie is “Dark Knight” … lists LeBron James as his favorite athlete … favorite actor is Will Smith … enjoys eating spaghetti … enjoys music by Eminem … mother works as a meat-cutter … father is a barber … son of William Watts and Regina Thompson … born on January 22, 1996 in LaPlata, Md.

GREG WHITE, Running Back

5-9, 190-lbs., West Catholic H.S., Philadelphia, Pa. 

All-State selection at running back … also named All-City and All-Catholic League … two-time team Most Valuable Player … led Coach Brian Fluck’s team to a 9-3 record and the league championship … rushed for 1,338 yards on 169 carries as a senior … scored 19 touchdowns … also caught 17 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown … ran for 1,469 yards on 197 carries as a junior … scored 28 touchdowns in 2012 … ran for 2,807 yards and scored 48 touchdowns in two seasons for the Burrs … scored five touchdowns and had three two-point conversions in a win over Carroll … also played basketball and ran tracl at West Catholic … PERSONAL: Has two younger sisters … lists mother as the person he admires the most … favorite NFL team is the Carolina Panthers … lists LeSean McCoy as his favorite NFL player … favorite athlete is LeBron James … favorite actor is Mark Wahlberg … enjoys eating cheesesteaks … son of Lamar and Vive Williams … born on February 18, 1996 in Philadelphia, Pa.