Coastal Carolina

See CCU’s recruiting class and its plan for an anticipated loss of players to transfers

Coastal Carolina coach Chadwell talks transfers and recruiting

Coastal Carolina head football coach Jamey Chadwell discusses four Chanticleers, including three starters in 2018, entering the new NCAA transfer portal.
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Coastal Carolina head football coach Jamey Chadwell discusses four Chanticleers, including three starters in 2018, entering the new NCAA transfer portal.

New Coastal Carolina head football coach Jamey Chadwell added eight players Wednesday to his incoming 2019 recruiting class and addressed how he’s managing the anticipated transfer of up to four impact players this offseason.

CCU had already signed 22 players to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period in December, prior to the resignation of head coach Joe Moglia and promotion of Chadwell from offensive coordinator and associate head coach on Jan. 18.

The Chants had four remaining scholarships to give during the signing period that began Wednesday.

They added one scholarship player in defensive lineman Kennedy Roberts of Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic and seven preferred walk-ons, including four from South Carolina high schools on Wednesday to bring the recruiting class to 30 players – 23 on scholarship.

“It’s a pretty good haul for us,” Chadwell said. “We saved three of those [scholarships]. We recruited some other people and didn’t quite get the guys we wanted. So instead of going another route we decided to keep those.”

On offense, the Chants signed seven offensive linemen, three quarterbacks, two running backs, three wide receivers and a tight end. On defense, they added seven defensive backs, two linemen, two defensive ends and two linebackers, as well as kicker/punter Kieran Colahan of Australia.

The Chants were considered the youngest team among the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision programs last season with 92 underclassmen (76 percent of the roster), and will remain young.

Defensive back Enock Makonzo of New Mexico Military Institute is the only transfer or junior college transfer among the 30 additions to the team. But with three scholarships remaining this year, Chadwell hopes to add JUCO transfers to the positions of offensive line, defensive line and wide receiver.

The period to sign players to binding National Letters of Intent ends April 1.

“We still actually have some offers out there for some [JUCO] kids who have not signed yet,” Chadwell said. “. . . I would expect maybe you’ll see us signing one or two from the junior college or transfer ranks, that’s why we saved those scholarships because there are some position needs we really need to fill. We’ve got some guys we brought in for those positions but you’d like to have some experience if you can.”

Coastal expected to have about 80 scholarships assigned to players after the addition of the 2019 class, as the program continues to complete its transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to FBS.

But with three scholarships remaining from this year’s allowance and an expected loss of up to four players to transfer after the spring semester, the Chants may be around 75 scholarship players, which is 10 less than established FBS schools are allowed and just five more than they had last season.

Three starters in 2018 – sophomore offensive lineman Brock Hoffman, sophomore defensive end Jeffrey Gunter and junior safety Jave Brown – and contributing sophomore running back Alex James of Florence have entered their names in the new NCAA transfer portal, allowing them to speak to other colleges about transferring.

“I think anytime somebody wants to leave there’s a disappointment obviously because there are some good players there that have done a lot for Coastal Carolina,” Chadwell said. “I think they all have different reasons for why they want to explore different opportunities and I don’t know all the reasons why.

“. . . But I shared with them that every dream that they have they can reach at Coastal Carolina.”

Those players remain on scholarship through this semester so those four scholarships are tied up until the 2020 class if those players indeed transfer.

They can remained enrolled at CCU and request a return to the football team but aren’t guaranteed their scholarships beginning next season.

“We let them know up front we want them to be part of the team, we don’t want them to leave,” Chadwell said. “We want them to be part of what we’re building because they’ve been good players for us and told them if they went to the portal we’d want to welcome them back if they were willing to buy into the philosophy of what we’re doing.

“. . . But more importantly than anything you want people that want to be here and be part of what you’re doing and be part of a solution. That’s what we’re focused on now, guys that want to be part of it, and hopefully those guys want to come back and we’d love to talk about that situation for sure.”

Coastal signed just one player from a South Carolina high school to a scholarship, though it has five recruits from S.C. if you include four walk-ons, and nine from North Carolina. Chadwell said in-state recruiting was and will be a point of emphasis moving forward.

“There were 50 total signees or committed guys in the state of South Carolina that were FBS level,” Chadwell said. “Half of those chose to sign with Power 5, the other half went to other different schools. We tried hard this year and for whatever reason we didn’t get those guys. I think we really ramped up that effort last year and we’ll continue to do that and continue to reach out to these in-state coaches and let them know what we’re about at Coastal Carolina.

“We want young men that want to be a part of what we’re doing . . . and hopefully we can get as many of those guys as we can from this state.”

CCU added 10 combined players from Florida and Georgia, and others from Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan and Virginia, in addition to Colahan and Mackonzo, who is Canadian.

Five incoming scholarship players enrolled in January and are eligible for spring practices: Makonzo; defensive end/linebacker Nyronn Barr-Thomas of Deltona, Fla.; defensive backs Myles Baker of Huntersville, N.C., and Coleman Reich of High Point, N.C.; and running back Terry Bennett of Jacksonville, Fla., who was a minor league baseball player for three years. This is the second year the NCAA has allowed football players to sign in December.

“They’re getting acclimated and making progress,” Chadwell said. “It’s a big jump, obviously, but anytime you can get a young man to come in early I think it’s a benefit.”

The Class

OFFENSE

Jarrett Guest – Marietta, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain, 6-3, 170, QB: Rated three stars by ESPN, holds Kennesaw Mountain High records in season passing yards, season touchdown passes, all-time passing yards and all-time passing touchdowns.

Grayson McCall – Indian Trail, N.C./Porter Ridge, 6-3, 200, QB: Rated three-star dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports. Named the 2017 Southwestern 4A Player of the Year as a junior. Threw for 3,863 yards and 34 TDs, rushed for 3,003 yards and 41 TDs in career.

Reese White – Sandy Springs, Ga./Riverwood, 5-10, 195, RB: Three-star recruit by 247Sports, named the 2018 Georgia 6-AAAAA Player of the Year, tallied 3,145 rushing yards and 34 TDs in career, also played safety.

Deon Fountain – Valdosta, Ga./Brooks County, 5-11, 165, WR: Three-star recruit by 247Sports, all-purpose player with 16 TDs as senior.

Aaron Bedgood – Richmond Hill, Ga./Richmond Hill, 5-8, 165, WR: All-purpose player with 1,800 career yards, coming off ACL injury as senior.

Will McDonald – Matthews, N.C./Porter Ridge, 6-2, 300, OL: Participated in the Blue-Grey All-American Combine in the spring of 2018, 2017 Associated Press North Carolina all-state, teammate of QB recruit quarterback Grayson McCall.

Isaac Owusu-Appiah – Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park Senior, 6-4, 255, OL: Played on both offensive and defensive lines with 15 tackles for loss as senior.

Will Robertson – Acworth, Ga./Etowah HS, 6-6, 275, OL: 247Sports two-star recruit.

Kameren Stewart – Irmo/Dutch Fork, 6-6, 240, OL: 247Sports three-star recruit, the No. 20 prospect in S.C. by Rivals, Shrine Bowl selection, three-time state champion.

Donnell Wilson – Whiteville, N.C./Whiteville, 6-5, 290, OL: Two-star recruit, helped Whiteville go 20-5 past two years.

DEFENSE

Kennedy Roberts – Clearwater, Fla./Clearwater Central Catholic, 6-3, 250, DL: Rivals two-star recruit helped his high school team go 32-4 over the past three years and recorded 86 tackles, including 16 for loss and 6.5 sacks in 13 games as a senior.

Davon Bomar – Havre De Grace, Md./Bel Air, 6-3, 245, DE: Tabbed defensive player to watch by Baltimore Sun, threw shot put and discus in track.

Quewon Hilliard – Fayetteville, N.C./Trinity Christian Academy, 6-2, 235, DE: Registered 52 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions in seven games as senior at LB.

Nyronn Barr-Thomas – Deltona, Fla./Evans, 6-3, 205, DE/LB: Had 19.5 sacks as senior and ran 4.38 40-time at a Mercer University camp.

JT Killen – Lake Wylie, S.C./Charlotte Christian (N.C.), 6-3, 215, LB: Two-time all-state selection totaled 320 tackles and 36 tackles for loss in career. Will consider playing baseball at CCU as well.

Myles Baker – Huntersville, N.C./Hough, 5-10, 165, DB: Totaled 91 tackles, including 71 solo stops, and seven tackles for loss in 32 career games.

Coleman Reich – High Point, N.C./Ledford Senior, 6-0, 185, DB: Three-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN, was previously verbally committed to North Carolina. Recorded 267 tackles and 15 interceptions in 50 games.

Mateo Sudipo – Wake Forest, N.C./Wake Forest, 6-1, 185, DB: Shrine Bowl selection. Moved to QB midway through senior season and led team to third straight state title at 14-0.

Luke Ellenberger – Pisgah Forest, N.C./Brevard, 6-1, 185, DB: 247Sports two-star WR recruit with 1,883 yards of offense in career.

Jaden Gragg – Melbourne, Fla./Eau Gallie, 6-0, 165, DB: Rivals A two-star WR recruit totaled 1,273 career all-purpose yards.

KJ Johnson II – Buford, Ga./Buford, 6-1, 185, DB: Three-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals at powerhouse Buford High.

Enock Makonzo – LaChine, Quebec, Canada/New Mexico Military Institute, 5-11, 195, DB: Played two years of JUCO and named one of 35 safeties to watch nationally in the NJCAA by JCGridiron.com.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kieran Colahan – Earlville, Australia/University of Australia, P: Rated as a five-star punter by Ray Guy Kicking and ProKicker.com, also accomplished swimmer and rugby player.

PREFERRED WALK-ONS

Tony Bennett – Jacksonville, Fla./Atlantic Coast, 5-11, 195, RB (played three seasons of minor league baseball)

Jayden Addison – Blythewood/Blythewood, 6-2, 275, OL/DL

Payton Bunch – Pendleton/Pendleton, 6-3, 195, TE/LS

Cole Collins – Sumerville/Summerville, 6-1, 250, OL/LS

Jake Hill – Abbeville/Abbeville, 6-2, 265, OL

Drew Leszczynski – Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield Central, 6-1, 190, QB

Nino Mastromatteo – Clarkston, Mich./Everest Collegiate, 6-0, 175, WR



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Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.

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