NEW BRITAIN - The Central Connecticut State football team already locked up eight recruits during the early signing period in December, and on National Signing Day Wednesday, the Blue Devils landed 11 more.
The 18 recruits is one up one up from last year’s total of 17.
“I really like our whole class,” CCSU head coach Pete Rossomando said. “We were able to shore up some positions back in December and then we were able to go right down the list after the first signing period to see what other positions we needed.”
Of the 11 new signees, five are from Connecticut.
One of the areas the Blue Devils wanted to add to was the secondary.
In addition to early signee defensive back Elijah Harrison, CCSU secured letters of intent from four other cornerbacks - Bloomfield native Dexter Lawson; Tyler Boatwright from Hillsborough, N.J.; Jahlil Brown, a Baltimore native; and Ordadell, N.J. native Jaden Budka - that should all compete for playing time early on.
“We graduated seven kids from the secondary and we wanted to go out and get kids that could play right away,” Rossomando said. “We had to go out and get some young kids that were talented. We started off with safety in the first signing period and looked for speed and athleticism in this period.”
The Blue Devils also targeted the linebacker position following the graduations of Randall Laguerre and Seth Manzanares. The program addressed those by adding four on Wednesday to bring their total to five for the incoming class.
Joining Windsor’s Shayne Manson are Norwalk High School’s Marlon Brown, Old Saybrook-Westbrook High’s Vincent Dyer, Tyler Smith from Archbishop Wood outside of Philadelphia and Noah Washington from Wilbur Cross High School.
“Noah Washington is great pure pass rusher,” Rossomando said. “We haven’t really had that, especially on third down. He’s a guy that really stood out to us; a guy that can just fit in both on and off the field and can do a number of different things.”
But even with all of the defensive additions, perhaps the highlight of the class is Mason Schloop, an offensive lineman from Utica, N.Y. and West Canada Valley High, who played tight end and along the defensive line in high school.
“I think he’s possibly the gem of the class,” Rossomando said. “He’s someone we weren’t necessarily expecting to get, but are definitely excited to have signed him. He’s athletic and has the ability to be physical at the point of attack.”
The only other offensive players brought in during National Signing Day were offensive lineman Reis Spicer and tight end Elijah Parker, the latter from New London High.
And with a majority of the starters returning, especially on the offensive side of the ball, there is going to be plenty of competition for playing time.
It could be especially interesting for the backup quarterback spot behind starter Jacob Dolegala.
Along with sophomore Tanner Kingsley, who started the team’s playoff game last season, and redshirt-freshman Edison Galan, Rossomando signed two quarterbacks during the early signing period in Capital Prep’s Kyle Zajack and Romelo Williams from Miramar, Fla.
“All the players know there is going to be competition when they arrive,” the head coach said. “If you go to a quality program, you’re going to have to compete for playing time. That’s just how it is. The kids that are going to be good enough to earn playing time are going to play and the kids that aren’t right now aren’t.”
With National Signing Day now over, CCSU turns its attention to offseason workouts, spring practice, training camp and finally the season opener as the Blue Devils look to defend their Northeast Conference title.
“Our yield with keeping recruits’ commitments was very high this year,” Rossomando. “Obviously, it speaks to what we’re doing and what we’re building here. I feel good about it and I like where we are. I’m ready to get the offseason started.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org