Football Signs First 2002 Recruits

Feb. 6, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University football coach Steve Gilbert has announced the signing of three players to letters of intent for the upcoming 2002 season. JU, which is coming off its first winning season (6-5) and captured the Pioneer Football League Southern Division Championship, will have to replace 25 seniors as the program enters its fifth season.

The Dolphins signed Nicholas Fulp, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound offensive lineman from Jacksonville's Fletcher High School, as well as Anthony Campanella, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound linebacker from Daytona's Spruce Creek High School. Mike Sturgill, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound quarterback from Vero Beach High also enrolled at JU in January after graduating a semester early.

Fulp played guard on Fletcher's offensive line which paved the way for two-time All-First Coast Offensive Player of the Year, Ciatrick Fason, one of the top players in the state of Florida who rushed for 7,479 career yards and 96 TD's, and has signed to play at the University of Florida. Campanella, who was also recuited by UCF as a long snapper, is an intelligent, hard-working player who will have an opportunity to compete for playing time right away at outside linebacker. JU's top three linebackers (Dan Irby, Tommy Swindell, Pete Satur), who played all four years of the program's history, are part of a large senior class that will have to be replaced.

"With us losing 25 experienced seniors our recruiting philosophy is different this year," said head coach Steve Gilbert, who is entering his fifth season at JU. "The majority of our recruits last year came in knowing that they would probably be redshirted. This year, we are letting players know that they will have an opportunity to come in and compete immediately for playing time."

One of the biggest holes the Dolphins have to fill is at quarterback with the graduation of four-year starter Gary Cooper (Jacksonville, Fla.) and fellow senior Scott Brickley. Sturgill, who threw for more than 700 yards as a senior, will have an opportunity to battle for the starting quarterback position with sophomore transfers Kyle Hicks and Dom Girardi. Sturgill was an Honorable-Mention All-State player in 6-A as a junior after throwing for 1,331 yards and 14 touchdowns, and possesses the strongest arm of any quarterback to have played at JU.

"The quarterback job is wide open next season," said Gilbert. "Whoever starts is going to be inexperienced, but at least Mike is able to go through spring practice with us and participate in our off-season strength and conditioning program. He should be a step ahead of the other incoming freshmen."

The Dolphins hope to sign 30-35 more players as they prepare for their second season in the Pioneer Football League.

2002 Jacksonville University Football Signees

Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Hometown (High School) Anthony Campanella 6-2 195 LB/LS Dayton Beach, Fla. (Spruce Creek HS) Nicholas Fulp 6-0 235 OL Jacksonville, Fla. (Fletcher HS) Mike Sturgill 6-2 195 QB Vero Beach, Fla. (Vero Beach HS)