Coastal Carolina

How Coastal Carolina dealt with in-state recruiting, and what positions are now loaded

Coastal Carolina continued to load up on offensive skill players on national signing day, as the Chanticleers look to compete athletically in their upcoming second season in the Sun Belt Conference and first as a bowl-eligible Football Bowl Subdivision program.

Coastal signed 16 players Wednesday, adding to the 19 players it had already added since the new early signing period in December, and eight of the players were categorized as either running backs, wide receivers, tight ends or athletes, giving the Chants 16 such players in the 2018 recruiting class.

“We try to take care pragmatically of every position,” Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia said. “It wasn’t that we were targeting that position. As we were recruiting, there were some guys in those positions that we really thought could be great players for us one day and we thought we’d make that investment now rather than later on.”

Coastal also signed two quarterbacks in December, including Bryce Carpenter of Venice High in Sarasota, Fla. He has since been named the 2017 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football, beating out five players who are ranked among the top 25 prospects in the nation by at least one recruiting service.

Previous Florida Mr. Football winners include current or former NFL players Daunte Culpepper, Tim Tebow, Anquan Boldin, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry and Travis Henry.

The Chants searched near, far and wide for their talent, as they added six players Wednesday from South Carolina after not having any Palmetto State players among their first 19 signees, and also signed players from Arizona, Texas and even England.

“I think when we’re looking at the program, we could have done a better job in South Carolina,” Moglia said. “… It’s not that we don’t want a guy from South Carolina, it’s not that we’re emphasizing other people, it’s just the way the recruiting worked out this time.

“At the end of the day we didn’t get the amount of talent from South Carolina that we would have liked to. So we’re conscious of that, and I think we’ll do a better job of that as we go forward.”

The recruit from England is running back Tyrese Johnson-Fisher, a rugby and track standout who won the English national indoor 60-meter finals in 6.89 seconds and ranked third in the country in the Under-17 100 meters with a time of 10.73. Johnson-Fisher’s only American football game was the Under Armour All-America game, and Moglia said he reached out to the university for an opportunity.

“There are some parallels between rugby and football, and with Tyrese specifically, we feel great about his character, we feel great about his family, and if you had a chance to see him on tape, his skills as a running back with nobody blocking for him and no equipment, they’re really pretty good,” Moglia said. “And I thought he certainly held his own in the Under Armour All-America game.”

The majority of the signees are scholarship players, though three players added from the Grand Strand are all preferred walk-ons, according to their high school coaches. Conway linebacker Noah Freshley, Aynor offensive lineman Trevor Goude and Loris offensive lineman Jacob Porter have all joined the Chants as walk-ons.

“We recruit our walk-ons, it’s not somebody that just kind of shows up and he’s not as good as everybody else,” Moglia said. “That’s part of the reason … probably two or three times a year we end up giving a walk-on a scholarship because they earn it while they’re here.

“Once you’re here, it’s irrelevant to us. If you’re good enough to play, and you’re living up to your responsibility to our program and our university, you’re going to play. We don’t care if you’re a walk-on, we don’t care if you’re a freshman, we don’t worry about redshirting guys, our best guys will play as long as they deserve to play.”

All 16 signees Wednesday were incoming freshmen, and of Coastal’s 35 incoming players, only three are sophomores without at least four full years of eligibility remaining. So Coastal went after high school players and nearly eschewed more experienced junior college transfers for its continued move into the deeper FBS.

Moglia pointed to a number of past JUCO transfers to the program that didn’t work out as one factor in the larger recruitment of freshmen.

“I expect us to compete in 2018. We’re not doing this just building for our future,” Moglia said. “This year we just didn’t quite get enough of those [transfers] that we felt comfortable enough that we would have brought in to offer. That could change next year, that could change in the spring. That was more a function of us not getting the guys that we would have wanted to get and we didn’t want to settle.”

CCU signed 18 players in the new early signing period in December and added Michigan offensive line transfer Sean Fitzgerald, and had a total of 30 scholarships to award to its incoming class, not including any departing scholarship players. Moglia estimated Wednesday that three to five scholarship players have left the program since the end of the season.

The Chants are still catching up to other FBS programs in its transition from 14 years at the Football Championship Subdivision. The full allotment of scholarships this season would give the Chants 81 players on scholarship, which is four fewer than the FBS limit of 85, which could be reached by the 2019 season.

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin

CCU’s signees Wednesday

Offense

Name

Year

Position

Height

Weight

Hometown/School

Tyrese Johnson-Fisher

Freshman

RB

5-10

195

Leicester, England/Oakham School

Javontay Robinson

Freshman

RB

5-10

175

Darlington/Trinity Byrnes Collegiate HS

Conner McCarthy

Freshman

WR

6-2

185

Mount Pleasant/Wando HS

Steven Peterson

Freshman

WR

6-2

185

Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison HS

Grant Thompson

Freshman

WR

6-2

195

West Jefferson, N.C./Ashe County HS

Patrick McSweeney

Freshman

WR/TE

6-4

195

Staten Island, N.Y./Monsignor Farrell HS

Tyriq Goodman

Freshman

Ath.

6-3

190

Newberry/Newberry HS

Eric Stiemke

Freshman

Ath.

6-4

230

Bel Air, Md./Milton Wright HS

Trevor Goude

Freshman

OL

6-4

285

Aynor/Aynor HS

Jacob Porter

Freshman

OL

6-1

265

Loris/Loris HS

Owen Okonsky

Freshman

OL

6-4

270

Houston, Texas/Langham Creek HS

Defense

Name

Year

Position

Height

Weight

Hometown/School

Rolan Wooden II

Freshman

DE

6-4

240

Acworth, Ga./Allatoona HS

Cincir Evans

Freshman

LB

6-4

195

Memphis, Tenn./White Station HS

Noah Freshley

Freshman

LB

6-2

210

Conway/Conway HS

Derick Bush

Freshman

DB

6-1

180

Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic HS

Jordan Morris

Freshman

DB

6-1

165

Rock Hill/Rock Hill HS

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