Charleston Southern football coach Mark Tucker signed 18 players for the 2018 recruiting class. Photo provided
Charleston Southern’s Mark Tucker was feeling pretty positive on Wednesday about his 2018 signing class, completing his first full year as head football coach.
Last year, Tucker was named head coach in January and though he was already on the previous staff, the rush to fill out the 2017 class with limited coaches on board was rather hectic.
The mood was a bit more relaxed for the coach and his staff Wednesday morning as they awaited the official letters-of-intent to arrive.
Tucker said he and his staff were able to identify the program’s needs and set out on filling those positions.
“No coach will talk poorly about their class on signing day but I can honestly say I feel really good about the young men and their families that we are bringing into our program,” Tucker said. “We filled some areas of need with some quality football players. Due to some depth issues, a lot of these young men will get an early opportunity.”
With the exception of special teams and linebacker, Tucker said there were needs across the board, which led to a balanced class in terms of offense and defense.
With two quarterbacks in the program for spring practice, Tucker signed one more, Christian Reid of Newnan, Ga.
“I am really excited about this young man,” Tucker said of Reid, who actually signed in December but chose not to announce it until Wednesday. “He is an unbelievable fit for our place. He’s very talented with a high football I.Q. He’s also of great character and a flat-out leader.”
Tucker also added talent along the offensive line.
“I really like the offensive linemen we brought in,” he said. “We will graduate four, possibly six, next year so we needed guys that could come in and compete right away. I feel like we upgraded there.”
The top offensive linemen in the class include Caleb Brame, Bailey Ottaway and Preston Nichols.
Defensively, the primary focus was along the front and in the secondary. The Bucs signed four down linemen and three quality players in the secondary.
Tucker feels linemen Zack Summers, Taequan Washington, John Brown and Spurgeon Gaither could potentially make a quick push up the depth chart in August. The lone junior college signee, Ramero Rock of Georgia Military College, prepped at Sumter High School. Rock recorded 25 tackles for loss and 15 sacks as a rush end this past season.
CSU signed only one player from the state of South Carolina, a fact that Tucker said is a concern.
“For all my years here (five), we have been close to or above 50 percent in-state and this year, for whatever reason, we didn’t hit on many in-state kids,” Tucker said. “It wasn’t due to a lack of effort. We recruited some kids but they chose to go elsewhere. It is something we will work on moving forward.”
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. HS/Hometown
Christian Reid QB 6-0 171 East Coweta HS/Newnan, Ga.
Kendrick Bell RB 5-8 183 Southern Nash HS/Rocky Mount, N.C.
Zack Summers DE 6-4 215 Ponte Vedra HS/Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Trevontez Price DB 6-1 178 Hunter Huss HS/Gastonia, N.C.
Taequan Washington DT 5-11 285 Calvary Day/Savannah, Ga.
Bryce Green FS 6-3 180 St. Petersburg HS/St. Petersburg, Fla.
Cayden Jordan WR 6-2 180 Gaither HS/Tampa, Fla.
John Brown, Jr. DL 6-3 246 Douglas County HS/Douglasville, Ga.
Spurgeon Gaither DL 6-0 265 Eastside HS/Covington, Ga.
Tyree Baptiste WR 5-11 165 East Ridge HS/Clermont, Fla.
Caleb Brame OT 6-4 250 Conley HS/Greenville, N.C.
Preston Nichols OL 6-3 265 West Mecklenburg HS/Charlotte, N.C.
Bailey Ottaway OL 6-5 275 Flowery Branch HS/Flowery Branch, Ga.
Aquantis Sajna LB 6-1 207 Pebblebrook HS/Atlanta, Ga.
Damyjai Foster CB 5-10 170 Spartanburg HS/Spartanburg S.C.
Tyler Thomas RB 5-9 160 Pebblebrook HS/Carrollton, Ga.
Ramero Rock LB 6-1 240 Georgia Military/Sumter S.C.
Thaddeus Underwood DB 6-2 186 Eagles Landing Christian/Atlanta, Ga.