FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona football program looks to build on a 2013 season that saw the Lumberjacks reach the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, finish second in the Big Sky Conference and go undefeated at home during the regular season. With that the Lumberjacks announce the signing of 28 players to a National Letter of Intent.
"When you start the recruiting process and create your RECRUITING BOARD of possible prospects, your board will have multiple guys at each position," said head coach Jerome Souers. "This year we got the TOP GUY at EVERY recruited position on that board. That not only proves how hard our coaching staff worked recruiting these student/athletes, but it also speaks to our success as a program. Most of those kids are turning down multiple offers to be a Lumberjack. Our recruits can see the direction the program is headed and it's an exciting time!"
Souers is infamous for his pledge to Arizona players to "Stay In State," and this signing class proves that he and his staff were able to get a strong commitment from in-state products.
The 2014 NAU football signing class has 16 in-state products, including Chandler HS cornerback Wesley Sutton and defensive lineman Cruz Flores, Central HS defensive tackle Kelepi Fifita, Pinnacle HS wide receiver Dan Galindo and punter/kicker Ben Sweet, Salpointe Catholic linebacker Jake Casteel, Horizon HS/Scottsdale CC defensive end Siupeli Anau, Mesquite HS/Glendale CC linebacker Josh Bamrick, Mountain Pointe HS wide receiver Emmanuel Butler, Mountain View HS linebacker Corbin Gouby, Desert Edge HS wide receiver Elijah Marks, Blue Ridge HS/Cal University safety Jordan Morgan, North Canyon HS wide receiver Bryant O'Georgia, Agua Fria HS running back Marquice Paige, Sahuaro HS athlete Cole Sterns, and Kingman HS offensive lineman Rod Gilleo, younger brother of former NAU standout Trey Gilleo.
"We've made a concerted effort to outwork every other program when it comes to recruiting the State of Arizona," said Souers. "Our goal is always to have more than 50% of our roster consist of Arizona kids. We want everyone in this state to be Lumberjack Fans! When they fill the "Sky Dome" we know they'll feel connected to this team on a personal level. The High School programs in Arizona have great coaches that have elevated these programs. The talent in this state is all over the place and we don't want these kids going anywhere else. We want the BEST Arizona student/athletes to know they have a home here in Flagstaff."
The Lumberjacks signed 12 players from the state of California, including Diamond Bar HS running back Tyler Brown, Edison HS safety Calvin Gray, Turlock HS tight end Patrick Green, St. Augustine HS offensive lineman Cole Habib, Granada HS/Chabot CC safety Eddie Horn, South Lake HS (Mich.)/Palm Desert CC defensive lineman Nick Johnson, Madison HS wide receiver Vincent Parrish, Hart HS offensive lineman Blake Porter, Moreno Valley HS/Chaffey CC defensive lineman Andrew Robateau, Jurupa Hills HS offensive lineman Josh Sparks, and Tulare Union HS/Nevada-Reno linebacker Xavier Stephens.
"Obviously the state of California has a long tradition of outstanding recruiting areas," Souers said. "When we can't satisfy a recruiting need in state, were always going to turn our attention to California. We've had a long history of outstanding California student/athletes that have made big contributions to this program on and off the field. There's no doubt that tradition will continue this year with some of the guys that we're bringing in. We played 3 games in California last year and won them all! The coaches and players in California are more aware of NAU than they've ever been and that's something we'd be crazy not to take advantage of."
NAU signed 27 of 28 players from either Arizona or California. The Lumberjacks signed O'Dea HS defensive tackle Jarius McDade from Auburn, Wash.
The Lumberjacks are coming off a 9-3 record and playoff appearance in 2013, as they return 10 starters in 2014.
Siupeli Anau, DE, 6-2, 242, Phoenix, Ariz. (Horizon HS/Scottsdale CC)
Josh Bamrick, LB, 6-1, 240, Glendale, Ariz. (Mesquite HS/Glendale CC)
Tyler Brown, RB, 5-8 165, Walnut, Calif. (Diamond Bar HS)
Emmanuel Butler, WR, 6-3, 210, Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Pointe HS)
Jake Casteel, LB, 5-11, 200, Tucson, Ariz. (Salpointe Catholic HS)
Kelepi Fifita, DL, 6-0, 275, Phoenix, Ariz. (Central HS)
Cruz Flores, DL, 6-2, 275, Tempe, Ariz. (Chandler HS)
Dan Galindo, WR, 6-0, 175, Phoenix, Ariz. (Pinnacle HS)
Rod Gilleo, OL, 6-6, 245, Kingman, Ariz. (Kingman HS)
Corbin Gouby, LB, 6-2, 215 Tucson, Ariz. (Mountain View HS)
Calvin Gray, S, 6-0, 180, Stockton, Calif. (Edison HS)
Patrick Green, TE, 6-4, 235, Turlock, Calif. (Turlock HS)
Cole Habib, OL, 6-5, 254 San Diego, Calif. (Saint Augustine HS)
Eddie Horn, S, 5-11, 208 Livermore, Calif. (Granada HS/Chabot CC)
Nick Johnson, DL, 6-3, 270, Saint Clair Shores, Mich. (South Lake HS/Palm Desert CC)
Elijah Marks, WR, 6-1, 175, Goodyear, Ariz. (Desert Edge HS)
Jarius McDade, DT, 6-3, 300, Auburn, Wash. (O'Dea HS)
Jordan Morgan, S, 6-0, 210, Chandler, Ariz. (Blue Ridge/Cal University)
Bryant O'Georgia, WR, 6-0, 180, Phoenix, Ariz. (North Canyon HS)
Marquice Paige, RB, 5-11, 190, Litchfield Park, Ariz. (Agua Fria HS)
Vincent Parrish, WR, 6-3, 175, San Diego, Calif. (Madison HS)
Blake Porter, OL 6-0, 270, Newhall, Calif. (Hart HS)
Andrew Robateau, DL 6-3, 260 Moreno Valley, Calif. (Moreno Valley/Chaffey CC)
Josh Sparks, OL, 6-6, 285, Fontana, Calif. (Jurupa Hills HS)
Xavier Stephens, LB, 6-0, 230, Tulare, Calif. (Tulare Union HS/Nevada-Reno)
Cole Sterns, Athlete, 5-11, 175, Tucson, Ariz. (Sahuaro HS)
Wes Sutton, CB, 6-0, 170, Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler HS)
Ben Sweet, P/K, 6-2, 200, Phoenix, Ariz. (Pinnacle HS)