MARTIN, Tenn. – In conjunction with the inaugural mid-year early signing period, University of Tennessee at Martin head football coach Jason Simpson announced the signings of 15 players.
The early signing period for NCAA Division I football is new this season. Previously, prospective student-athletes signed with their school of choice on the first Wednesday of February only. The February singing period still remains.
Seven states are represented among the group, including seven from Mississippi, two from Tennessee and Georgia along with one each from Florida, Maryland, Missouri and Ohio.
“We feel like we addressed several areas of concern after a big graduating class with our mid-year signees,” said Simpson. “The first area of need was the defensive back group with the loss of so many players while also looking to fortify our wide receivers. After a disappointing season where we finished 4-4 in league play, we feel like we were able to add to a talented roster which will get us back to competing for a conference championship in the future.”
John Bachus III, QB, 6-2, 210, Fr., Pulaski, Tenn. (Giles County HS)
Prepped at Giles County High School, playing for head coach David O’Connor…As a senior, completed 215-of-341 pass attempts for 3,055 yards…Tallied 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions…Averaged 277.7 yards per game and 14.2 yards per completion…Averaged 3.5 touchdowns per game…Tallied a quarterback rating of 120.5…Notched 90 carries for 434 yards and two touchdowns…Between his junior and senior campaigns, completed 433-of-680 attempts for 6,362 yards and 67 touchdowns…Tallied 185 carries for 1,032 yards and five touchdowns in two seasons…Member of the Elite 3 Foundation…Named to TSWA All-State Class 3A first team…Played in the Toyota East vs. West Tennessee All Star Classic…Named Toyota East vs. West Tennessee All Star Classic Offensive MVP…Named Gentle Giant Performer of the Week after passing for 399 yards and five touchdowns against East Nashville Magnet…Eclipsed three passing touchdowns in eight of 12 games – including three games with five touchdowns…Ranked as a two-star quarterback by 247Sports.
Philip Benker, WR, 6-2, 203, R-So., Jacksonville, Fla. (Indiana)
Joins the Skyhawks from Indiana where he spent the past two seasons playing for head coach Kevin Wilson and Tom Allen…Did not see game action in 2017…Named scout team player of the week against Wisconsin…Redshirted the 2016 season…Scout team player of the week against Purdue…Prepped at Sandalwood High School, playing for head coach Adam Geis…Posted 104 receptions, 1,914 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career…The school’s all-time leader in catches and receiving yardage…Named an all-state selection…Selected to the 2015 Times-Union Super 24 team…Two-time all-conference and All-First Coast honoree…Named Sandalwood’s most valuable player in 2014 and 2015…Made 59 receptions for 1,061 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior…Ranked as a three-star wide receiver by 247Sports.
Tyree Bryant, DL, 6-2, 230, Jr., Southaven, Miss. (Itawamba CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Itawamba Community College, playing for head coach Sean Cannon…Finished his sophomore season with 31 total tackles – including 20 solos and 11 assists…Notched 4.5 sacks for a loss of 27 yards…Tallied two forced fumbles against Holmes Community College…Notched three pass breakups – two against Northeast Mississippi Community College and one against Pearl River Community College…Tallied a blocked kick against Mississippi Delta Community College…Tallied a season-high seven tackles against Northeast Mississippi Community College, including one sack...Prepped at North Point Christian, playing for head coach Greg Wallace…Compiled 212 total tackles – including 171 solos and 35 assists…Notched 33.0 tackles for loss, including 27.5 sacks totaling 171 yards…Tallied 22 hurries, four pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two blocked punts.
Keenan Davis, OL, 6-3, 315, R-Jr., Horn Lake, Miss. (Northwest Mississippi CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Northwest Mississippi Community College, playing for head coach Benjy Parker…Helped pave the way for the nation’s sixth-ranked offense at 485.5 yards per game…Guided a Rangers program which finished the 2017 season ranked seventh nationally…Signed with Memphis out of high school…Redshirted the 2016 season…Did not see game action as a true freshman at Memphis, a team which played in the Birmingham Bowl…Prepped at Horn Lake High School, playing for head coach Brad Boyette…Named a 2013 MHSAA All-Region 1 Class 6A first team selection…Earned 2013 Commercial Appeal Best of Preps and all-district honors…Named Offensive Line MVP…Blocked for an Eagles offense that averaged nearly 360 yards of total offense as a senior…Ranked as a two-star offensive lineman by 247Sports.
Josh Dodd, DB, 6-1, 210, Jr., Kosciusko, Miss. (Holmes CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Holmes Community College, playing for head coach Jeff Koonz…Helped lead the Bulldogs to their first NJCAA Bowl Game in school history, winning the Graphic Edge Bowl…Will make a switch to defense after playing quarterback at throughout his prep and collegiate career…Finished his sophomore season by completing 23-of-50 pass attempts for 414 yards and two touchdowns…Tallied 64 carries for 405 rushing yards and two touchdowns…Finished the season ranked seventh in the nation as a freshman…Prepped at Kosciusko High School, playing for head coach Trac Baughn…Completed 76-of-154 pass attempts for 1,089 yards and 11 touchdowns…Tallied 302 carries for 2,159 yards and 38 touchdowns…Averaged 112.8 yards per carry…Notched seven 100-yard rushing games…Tallied 29 receptions for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Davin Dyal, TE, 6-5, 230, Fr., Cookeville, Tenn. (Cookeville HS)
Prepped at Cookeville High School, playing for head coach Jimmy Maynord…Tallied 12 receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns…Averaged 17.7 yards per catch…Tallied 17 career carries for 171 yards…Best game came against White County, catching four passes for 90 yards and a touchdown…Notched 46 total tackles – including 29 solos and 17 assists…Tallied 8.0 tackles for loss, including four sacks as a senior…For his career, he tallied 121 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two interception, six fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and a blocked punt…Named Cookeville HS Offensive Receiver of the Year…Placed in the top five for tight ends at the Nike Football/The Opening Regionals…Played in the Toyota East vs. West Tennessee All Star Classic…Named to the 2017 Region 3-6A team…Named an All-Region 2-6A honorable mention selection as a junior…Ranked as a two-star tight end by 247Sports.
Korbin Harmon, DE, 6-5, 255, R-So., Oxford, Miss. (Pearl River CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Pearl River Community College, playing for head coach Ted Egger…Tallied 33 total tackles, including 16 solos and 17 assists…Notched 2.5 tackles for loss, including 2.0 sacks against East Central Community College and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College…Notched fumble recoveries against Southwest Mississippi Community College and Copiah-Lincoln Community College– which he returned for a touchdown…Tallied one pass breakup at Southwest Mississippi Community College…Tallied a season-high six tackles and 1.5 sacks at East Central Community College…Named to MACJC All-State second team…Preferred walk-on at Ole Miss out of high school…Prepped at Oxford High School, playing for head coach Johnny Hill…As a senior, tallied 95 total tackles, including 29 solos and 66 assists…Notched 3.5 sacks, four quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and two fumble recoveries…For his prep career, he tallied 249 tackles, 16.0 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles and one blocked field goal…Ranked as a three-star defensive end by 247Sports.
Devan Hollins, DB, 5-11, 205, Jr., Southaven, Miss. (Itawamba CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Itawamba Community College, playing for head coach Sean Cannon…Finished his sophomore season with a team-high 71 tackles – including 48 solos and 23 assists…Notched two tackles for loss, including a sack against Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College…Recorded one forced fumble at Coahoma Community College…Named MACJC Defensive Player of the Week after tallying a career-high 18 tackles, including on tackle for loss against No. 5 Northwest Mississippi Community College…Named to the MACJC All-State second team…Prepped at Southaven High School, playing for head coach Ed Rich…Played in the 29th annual Mississippi-Alabama All Star game.
Jeremy Horton, WR, 5-9, 175, Fr., Bonaire, Ga. (Veterans HS)
Prepped at Veterans High School, playing for head coach David Bruce…Notched 945 all-purpose yards as a senior, including 412 receiving yards, 275 rushing yards and 358 yards on kick returns…As a junior, tallied 1,089 all-purpose yards along with four touchdowns…Averaged 12.27 yards per touch…Tallied a pair of 100-yard rushing performances…Named to the all-region second team…Best game came against Worth County where he tallied nine carries for 119 yards and a touchdown while collecting three receptions for 108 yards a touchdown…Named 2017 Golden Helmet Team MVP…2016 Region 1-5A Special Teams Player of the Year…2016 All-Middle Georgia honorable mention…Named Veterans Best Varsity Back/Receiver/Specialist of the Year…Ranked as a four-star wide receiver by RecruitGeorgia.com and a three-star athlete by 247Sports.
David Little, DB, 5-10, 175, Jr., Saltillo, Miss. (Itawamba CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Itawamba Community College, playing for head coach Sean Cannon…Finished his sophomore season with 37 total tackles – including 29 solos and eight assists…Notched nine pass breakups…Recorded an interception against Hinds Community College…Blocked a pair of kicks against Hinds Community College and No. 5 ranked Northwest Mississippi Community College…Tallied a season-high seven tackles against Holmes Community College…Notched a season-high five pass breakups against No. 5 ranked Northwest Mississippi Community College...Prepped at Saltillo High School, playing for Pat Byrd…As a senior, tallied 38 receptions for 683 yards and eight touchdowns…Notched 108 career tackles, eight interceptions – including three returned for a touchdown, 12 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and a blocked field goal.
DaVonte Maura, DB, 6-0, 175, R-Jr., Baltimore, Md. (Butler CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Butler Community College, playing for head coach Tim Schaffner…Tallied 15 total tackles, including 13 solos and two assists…Notched four pass breakups, including three against Garden City Community College…Tallied a season-high six tackles against Iowa Western…Helped lead the Grizzlies to a No. 15 ranking in the country…Sat out the 2016 season…Transferred to Butler from Globe Tech Community College…Tallied 14 tackles as a freshman…Tallied an interception – which was returned 35-yard for a touchdown – against Stevenson College…Recovered a fumble for a touchdown against Ellsworth…Prepped at Mount St. Joseph High School, playing for head coach Rich Holzer.
Shane McGroarty, OL, 6-4, Fr., St. Louis, Mo. (Mehlville HS)
Prepped at Mehlville High School, playing for head coach Kent Heinemann…Named to the Suburban West National Division 2017 all-conference first team offense…Trained at Elite Football Academy…Also served as long snapper…Started for three seasons on the offensive line…Was elected team captain as a senior…Named to the all-conference second team as a junior along with being selected as the team’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman.
Benjamin Phillips, Jr., WR, 6-2, 190, R-Jr., Youngstown, Ohio (Garden City CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Garden City Community College, playing for head coach Jeff Sims…Helped the team to a 2016 NJCAA national championship…For his career, he tallied a total of 92 receptions for 2,100 yards and 23 touchdowns…Averaged 20 yards per catch…His best game came against Coffeyville Community College with 10 receptions, 165 yards and two touchdown...Prepped at Liberty High School, where he was a two-way player, notching 525 rushing yards and 503 receiving yards…Notched 16 touchdowns…Defensively, notched five interceptions, six pass breakups, 24 solo tackles and a tackle for loss…Returned four punts for touchdowns.
Terry Williams, WR, 5-10, 175, Jr., Southaven, Miss. (Itawamba CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Itawamba Community College, playing for head coach Sean Cannon…Finished his sophomore season with 79 receptions for 1,095 receiving yards – ranking third in the nation - to become the Indians’ all-time leading receiver…Notched nine touchdown receptions…Averaged 121.7 receiving yards per game…Averaged 13.9 yards per catch… Named to the MACJC All-State first team…Named NJCAA All-Region 23…Named JCGridiron All-American…Named NJCAA First Team All-American… Best game came against Mississippi Gulf Coast with 10 receptions for 213 yards and three touchdowns…Tallied six 100-yard reception contests…Notched a season-high 16 receptions against No. 1 ranked East Mississippi CC to total 197 yards… Returned nine kickoffs for 191 yards and a touchdown…Averaged 31.8 yards per kick return…Returned a kickoff 69-yard for a touchdown against Northeast Mississippi CC… Named to the NJCAA All-America second team as a freshman…Tallied 66 receptions for 910 yards and four touchdowns…Prepped at Southaven High School, playing for Ed Rich…Tallied 56 receptions during his junior and senior campaigns, totaling 634 yards and two touchdowns…Ranked as a three-star wide receiver by 247Sports.
Loren Young, DL, 6-2, 255, So., Atlanta, Ga. (Highland CC)
Joins the Skyhawks from Highland Community College, playing for head coach Aaron Arnold…Finished his freshman season with 52 total tackles, including 18 solos and 34 assists…Notched 12.0 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks…Blocked four kicks on the season against Dodge City, Hutchinson, Grizzlies and Independence…Tallied one fumble recovery against Hutchinson…Notched a fumble recovery against Fort Scott….Tallied a season-high 10 tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss against Fort Scott…Prepped at Carver High School, playing for head coach Darren Myles…As a senior, compiled 88 total tackles, including 69 solos and 19 assists…Notched 41.0 tackles for loss and 12 sacks…Ranked as a two-star defensive lineman by 247Sports.com
UT Martin will complete its 2018 signing class on National Signing Day, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 7.