WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 04, 2004
Football Gets Signing Period Off To Strong Start
Feb. 4, 2004
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville University football team signed eight players to national letters of intent on national signing day, head coach Steve Gilbert announced Wednesday. The initial group of signees has a local flavor with five players from the Jacksonville area.
"We are pleased with the players we have signed on the first day but it is still early in the recruiting process for us," said Gilbert, who has guided the Dolphins since the inception of the program in 1998. "We are only through one-third of our visits and we still have two big recruiting weekends remaining."
The Dolphins addressed some of their defensive needs by signing outside linebacker Tremaine Mack from Raines High School and defensive tackle Matthew Barbieri from St. Thomas Aquinas High. Mack, who will move to strong safety for the Dolphins, was the third-leading tackler for the Vikings, who went 9-2 last season and won the district and Gateway Conference championship. Barberieri played three seasons for one of the top programs in the state, as the Raiders went 9-3 this past fall and finished 11-2 during his junior season. St. Thomas finished as the 4A state runner-up and was ranked 17th nationally during Barbieri's sophomore season.
JU also signed a pair of offensive linemen from Jacksonville. Brandon Griffis from First Coast High and Adam Booth from Mandarin High will both challenge for playing time as freshmen. Quarterback Chad Garraway from First Coast High also signed from the Jacksonville area. With the graduation of free safety Charlton Williams, the Dolphins will try and fill the void in the defensive backfield by signing cornerbacks Weidner Maxime and Mike Creary, as well as strong safety Tyler Thomas. Maxime earned all-district honors and was tabbed Honorable-Mention All-Broward County at Northeast High in Ft. Lauderdale, while Creary played in the Broward/Dade All-Star Game after being tabbed the most improved defensive player at Deerfield Beach High. Thomas, the oldest son of JU women's soccer coach Mike Johnson, had 60 tackles and forced three fumbles for Ridgeview High in Green Cove Springs.
"Since we started, I made it a point to emphasize recruiting in Jacksonville, trying to keep as many top-notch players at home as possible," Gilbert said. The regular signing period continues until April 1, while the late signing period lasts until Aug. 1.
2004 JACKSONVILLE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL SIGNEES