LEWISBURG, Pa. – Bucknell head football coach Joe Susan announced the signing of 12 players to National Letters of Intent Wednesday as part of NCAA football’s first ever Early Signing Period.
“We are fortunate to be able to sign 12 student-athletes in this year’s initial signing period,” Susan said. “This group represents the start of an outstanding class that will become complete in the early part of the month of February.”
The players hail from five states: New Jersey (3), Pennsylvania (3), Texas (3), New York and Ohio as well as Washington, D.C. The class is already balanced as nine different position groups are represented, including two each at offensive line, wide receiver and cornerback.
In addition, nine of the players had at least one family member who was a collegiate athlete while two had a relative play in the National Football League.
“This signing class represents a great deal of effort by our recruits, their parents and our coaches in doing what it takes to make sure they will be great additions to Bucknell,” Susan said. “This reflects these young men’s excellence as students, as athletes and, more importantly, as people who will thrive at Bucknell. They will benefit by their experience here and will have a positive impact on our campus by their presence at this special place.”
Susan and the Bison football staff will continue to add to the class of 2022 during the traditional signing period of February 7 through April 1.
Bucknell went 5-6 (2-4 Patriot League) in 2017, posting the Patriot League’s best nonconference winning percentage. The Bison graduate 19 seniors, including nine regular starters and six of their eight 2017 all-Patriot League selections.
DL, 6-3, 255, Phoenixville, Pa., Malvern Preparatory School
Malvern Preparatory School: Lettered in football … served as team captain … all-state … all-area … all-city … all-Inter-Ac … 2017 and 2016 Inter-Ac champion … team went undefeated in league play en route to its 2016 title … recorded 73 solo tackles, 24 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks … played for the USA National Football team that shut out Team Canada, 26-0, in conjunction with the 2017 NFL Pro Bowl.
Personal: Ryan Conrad Betz … born June 29, 1999 in Wynnewood, Pa. … son of John and Anne Betz … has three siblings: J.B., Sean and Ellie … father John played football at Lycoming College … former Malvern teammate, Cole McCabe, is also a member of Bucknell’s class of 2022.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Ryan will be a positive addition to our interior defensive line. He has the size and strength to help us. He combines these skills with excellent movement ability, which we feel is critical to what we do as a defensive front. He possesses excellent football IQ and benefitted from playing both offense and defense in high school.”
DE, 6-4, 240, Hampton Bays, N.Y., Saint Anthony’s
Saint Anthony's: Two-year letterwinner in football … NYCHSFL Lineman of the Year … all-league first team … all-metro first team … all-Long Island second team … 2017 and 2016 regular-season league champion … went undefeated in league play in 2016 and lost in tournament championship game in 2017 … recorded 54 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks during varsity career.
Personal: Grayson Michael Cherubino … born September 30, 2000 in New York City … son of Jeff Kennedy and Toni Cherubino … father Jeff played club hockey at Syracuse University … grandfather, John "Bozo" Kennedy, played hockey and lacrosse at New Hampshire and was an All-American lacrosse goalie in 1959 … all-county Jazz ensemble tenor sax player in middle school … featured in KIDZ BOB video of Sean Kingston’s "Fire Burning" … valedictorian of Hampton Bays Middle School.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Grayson comes from one of the better high-school programs on Long Island. He is a very good athlete as a defensive end and uses his length and leverage to be an excellent pass rusher. He is good against the run and uses his pad level and hand quickness better than many of the high-school athletes we have seen.”
CB, 5-10, 160, Flower Mound, Texas, Flower Mound High School/Jireh Preparatory Academy
Flower Mound High School: Lettered in football and track & field … Academic All-State … two-time all-league … in 2016-17, posted 60 tackles (30 solo), three tackles for a loss and nine pass breakups … in 2015-16, recorded 48 tackles (25 solo), three tackles for a loss, two interceptions, including a 30-yard pick 6, eight pass breakups and a 45-yard punt return touchdown.
Personal: Vaughn Sterling Deary … born December 8, 1998 in Flower Mound, Texas … son of Vaughn and Kim Deary … has two older sisters: Vanessa and Ashley … father Vaughn was an all-conference wide receiver during his senior season at Texas State … sister Ashley played basketball at Northwestern, where she became the third player to win two Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year awards and also set the Big Ten steals record … achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Sterling is a young man who we recruited out of high school. He chose to do a prep year. He has excellent man-to-man skills as a cover corner. During his prep year, he developed in the areas of size and strength, which will aid him in the physical requirements needed to tackle within our scheme.”
TE, 6-4, 225, Princeton, N.J., The Lawrenceville School
The Lawrenceville School: Three-year letterwinner in football and lacrosse … captured all-MAPL first team honors as a junior and second team accolades as a sophomore … recorded 300 yards and four touchdowns on 30 receptions as a junior … in 2017, earned Lawrenceville’s Sally and Sam Slaymaker Award, which is awarded to the football player who has shown the greatest degree of character development over the course of his high-school career.
Personal: Dylan James DeMarco … born July 7, 1999 in Mount Holly, N.J. … son of Jim and Susan DeMarco … has three siblings: Nolan, Jameson and Meggie … Nolan played tight end at Colgate while Jameson is a defensive end at Williams College.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Dylan is an athletic tight end with excellent size and speed. We will be able to use him as an attached tight and will be able to put him in space to take advantage of match-up concepts against linebackers and safeties.”
CB, 5-9, 175, Frisco, Texas, Independence High School
Independence High School: Three-year letterwinner in football and four-year letterwinner in track & field … two-time all-district selection in football … member of team’s defensive leadership council … finished high-school career with 24 total touchdowns, five kick return touchdowns, eight interceptions, 64 pass breakups and 48 tackles … caught first ever interception at the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility, The Star in Frisco, during Independence’s game against Reedy in 2016.
Personal: Micah Dennis … born December 9, 1999 in Dallas, Texas … son of Christopher Dennis and Sabrina and André Bryant … has two sisters: Marianna Dennis and Zoe Bryant … uncle Patrick Dennis played collegiate football for Louisiana Monroe and went on to play in the NFL for the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans … father Christopher played football at Grambling University … stepfather André was a member of the football and track & field teams at Sterling College.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Micah came to our camp this summer and impressed our staff as one of the better athletes we have seen. He has the ability to be a boundary corner in our scheme. He possesses excellent quickness and ball skills.”
QB, 6-3, 185, Montclair, N.J., Montclair High School
Montclair High School: Three-year letter football letterwinner … graduated with Montclair records in career passing yards (6,239), career passing touchdowns (61), career completions (369), single-season passing yards (2,587), single-season passing touchdown (29), single-season completions (146) and single-season points (571) … ran for 10 rushing touchdowns … posted a 24-10 record as a starter … two-time team captain … three-time all-conference first team … two-time all-Essex County first team … 2017 North 1 Group 5 State champion with a perfect 12-0 record … three-time conference champion … two-time state semifinalist … also four-year letterwinner in basketball and a team captain.
Personal: Tarrin James Earle … James and Susan Earle … born October 9, 1999 in Greenville, S.C. … has three older sisters: Ashley, Brittney and Chelsea … father James played linebacker at Clemson University and for the Pittsburgh Steelers … he is currently the principal of Montclair High School … uncle Dan Wirnsberger wrestled for Michigan State and is the current head coach of the Bucknell wrestling team … lived in four different towns growing up.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Tarrin possesses the ability to be a multiple threat as a quarterback. He has many of the intangibles that we look for at that position. He has a strong and accurate arm and is quick and athletic enough to make time for himself outside of the pocket. He will be a threat in the quarterback run concepts that we will employ.”
S, 5-11, 185, Cincinnati, Ohio, La Salle High School
La Salle High School: Three-year letterwinner in football and two-year letterwinner in basketball … helped football team capture three state championships and achieve a No. 3 national ranking in 2015 … all-league first team … all-city first team … all-district first team … all-state second team … three-time WCPO defensive back of the week … served as captain as a senior … posted two forced fumbles, three receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns and two kick return touchdowns, including a 98-yard return.
Personal: Samuel Leonard Hildebrand … born August 17, 1999 in Cincinnati, Ohio … son of Kevin and Katie Hildebrand … has two younger siblings: Cole and Grace.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Sam came to our camp this summer and was impressive as someone who can play either of the three safety positions we employ in our defensive schemes. He has very good range to be able to play at the deep level of our defense. He is also a physical player who can support the run.”
WR, 6-2, 185, Washington, D.C., DeMatha Catholic
DeMatha Catholic High School: Three-year football letterwinner … 2017 and 2016 all-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference … helped team win WCAC championship as a sophomore and as a junior … 2015 DeMatha Catholic team finished 11-1 and was ranked No. 11 in the final USA Today High School rankings … 2016 squad went 12-0 and was fourth in the final USA Today High School poll … also played freshman basketball and was selected as the team’s Unsung Hero.
Personal: Dominic Cristian Lyles … born December 6, 1999 in Washington, D.C. … son of Victor and Simone Lyles … has one brother, Chaz, who is a wide receiver at Stevenson University … father Victor played football at Morgan State … member of the National Honor Society … made Dean’s List every semester at DeMatha Catholic … DeMatha Catholic Gentleman’s Award winner … nominee for the Thomas Eastman Award, which recognizes a student who embodies the traits of scholarship, character and commitment to DeMatha Catholic.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Dominic combines excellent size with speed, hands and ability to change directions. He can be a very good receiver in our system and can play either to the field or into the boundary. He does a very good job in his route definition and with his breaks. He is also a willing blocker which is critical to the success of our offense.”
LB, 5-11, 210, Norristown, Pa., Malvern Preparatory School
Malvern Preparatory School: Three-year letterwinner in football … two-time all-area … two-time all-Inter-Ac … 2017 and 2016 Inter-Ac champion … team went undefeated in league play en route to its 2016 title … also a two-year letterwinner in basketball.
Personal: Cole Nicholas McCabe … born March 7, 1999 in Philadelphia, Pa. … son of Sean and Nikki McCabe … has one younger sister: Shaunna … grandfather, John Pergine, was an All-American linebacker at Notre Dame and played in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins … Pergine was a member of the 1966 Fighting Irish national championship team and was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 … former Malvern teammate, Ryan Betz, is also a member of Bucknell’s class of 2022.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Cole is a linebacker who combines many of the characteristics we look for in our defense. He is very physical and an excellent tackler. He is a fluid athlete who will be good against the pass. He possesses excellent football IQ, which is critical at the position he will play in our system.”
OL, 6-3, 270, Arlington, Texas, Arlington High School
Arlington High School: Three-year letterwinner and starter in football … also lettered in baseball and track & field … two-year football captain … captured all-district honors at three different positions on the offensive line … all-area … all-state … 2017 6A Division II Bi-District and Area champion with a 10-3 record … started at all five offensive line positions during high-school career … totaled 250 career knockdown blocks … back-to-back Texas State Lineman Challenge champion.
Personal: Jacob Christopher Russ … born December 30, 1999 in Arlington, Texas … son of Lenny and Stephanie Russ … has two sisters: Lauren and Hannah … ranks in the top 20 of his class of over 600.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Jacob has the size to be an offensive tackle in our system. He is also strong enough to be a guard or center for us, which will provide us with flexibility. He is a talented athlete who will be good in pass protection at whatever position he plays on our offensive line.”
WR, 5-11, 195, Downingtown, Pa., St. Joseph’s Prep
St. Joseph's Prep: Three-year letterwinner in football and two-year letterwinner in baseball … served as both teams’ captain as a senior … 2017 6A all-state ... member of 2016 PIAA 6A state championship team that went undefeated … team went 27-1 over the course of his junior and senior seasons … as a senior, recorded 521 yards and nine touchdowns on 39 receptions, averaging 13.4 yards per catch … in baseball, won the 2016 Catholic League regular-season title and was on the Southeastern Pennsylvania hitting leaders list.
Personal: Brandon Samuel Sanders … born July 29, 2000 in Philadelphia, Pa. … son of Omar and Nicole Sanders … has two younger siblings: Shawn and Maya … father Omar played basketball at Columbia … mother Nicole competed for the Columbia track & field team … uncle Chad Johnson played basketball at Cal State Stanislaus … aunt Courtney Johnson played basketball at Cal Berkeley … aunt Stacey Johnson played basketball at Arizona State and Houston.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “Brandon comes to us from one of the better programs in the state of Pennsylvania. He attended one of our summer camps and was impressive in how hard he worked as a receiver. He has outstanding speed and quickness. He takes a lot of pride in his ability as a blocker. He is also talented as a punt and kick returner.”
OL, 6-4, 255, Vineland, N.J., Vineland High School
Vineland High School: Four-year football letterwinner … two-time all-WJFL first team … 2017 all-South Jersey first team … 2017 all-state second team … Press of Atlantic City first team All-Star … SJ Varsity region super 60 player … Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club Scholar-Athlete … conference champion … Cumberland County champion … played offensive tackle, defensive tackle and middle linebacker during time at Vineland … began playing football as a high-school freshman.
Personal: Noah Anthony Sansalone … born March 11, 2000 in Vineland, N.J. … son of Wayne and Amy Solomon.
Coach Susan’s Scouting Report: “We were fortunate to see Noah in camp and were immediately impressed by his toughness. He has the potential to be a left tackle in our system. He has excellent size and athletic ability. He does a very good job as a run blocker and has the ability to handle defensive ends in protection.”