TOLEDO - University of Toledo Head Coach Jason Candle announced today that the Rockets have added 20 signees and seven preferred walk-on student-athletes to their 2019 football recruiting class. For the third straight year, UT has compiled the top recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference according to 247 Sports.
"I am excited about the class we put together," Candle said. "After a successful early signing period back in December, this staff did a tremendous job of putting the finishing touches on another recruiting class filled with talented football players and, more importantly, young men who fit the culture of our program."
This is the fourth recruiting class for Candle as head coach, and the third to be ranked as best in the MAC. Toledo's 2017 and 2018 classes were also ranked No. 1 in the MAC by all major recruiting services, and his 2016 class was ranked No. 2 in the MAC by 247 Sports, and No. 3 by Rivals and Scout.com.
Candle and his staff signed players from eight different states, including 10 players from Ohio, seven from Florida, and three from both Michigan and Pennsylvania. Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi and North Carolina were all represented as well.
The following is a brief look at each of the Rockets' 2019 signees:
Darius Alexander | Highlights
Defensive Tackle, Fr., 6-4, 255, Fort Wayne, Ind. / Wayne
Darius Alexander comes to Toledo after a successful career at Wayne High School, where he was a three-time letterwinner as a defensive lineman. A two-time all-state performer and former Summit Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Alexander tallied 87 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks in 2018, to go along with 97 tackles and 16 tackles for loss in 2017.
Najeh Baker | Highlights
Wide Receiver, Fr., 5-10, 157, Homestead, Fla. / South Dade
Najeh Baker was a big contributor on a South Dade team that went 10-3 and reached the regional finals in the FHSAA state tournament. Baker was the star in his team's playoff opener, catching three touchdown passes in the big 49-14 win. He totaled 36 catches for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns this past season.
Michael Bergen | Highlights
Offensive Lineman, Fr., 6-4, 272, Avon, Ohio / Avon
Michael Bergen was the starting left tackle for Avon High School, and helped the Eagles to an 11-2 record and a spot in the semifinals of the OHSAA Division II state tournament this past season. Bergen is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Mike Coleman | Highlights
Safety, Fr., 5-11, 155, Pittsburgh, Pa. / Woodland Hills
Mike Coleman played on both sides of the ball at Woodland Hills, spending time as a cornerback and wide receiver. He was a first-team defensive selection to the Class 5A All-Section team. Coleman is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Offensive Lineman, Fr., 6-5, 275, Fr., Marysville, Ohio / Marysville
Tyler Connolly comes to UT after a successful career as an offensive lineman at Marysville High School. A multi-sport athlete, Connolly also represented Marysville at the OHSAA state wrestling tournament.
Evan Davis | Highlights
Placekicker, Fr., 5-9, 170, Shelby, N.C. / Crest
Evan Davis is a North Carolina 3A state champion and a four-year starter at Crest High School, contributing 28 field goals and 191 PATs during his career. He was named the 2015 South Mountain AA/AAA Kicker of the Year and 2016 Big South Conference Special Teams Player of the Year. Davis is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Linebacker, Fr., 6-2, 220, Fr., Marion, Ohio / Pleasant
Alex Enders was a four-time letterwinner at Pleasant High School. A 2017 first-team All-Ohio selection, Enders tallied 70 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, and seven sacks that season. He followed that up with another All-Ohio distinction in 2018. Enders was also a team captain and team MVP during his time at Pleasant.
Terrel Ferrell | Highlights
Wide Receiver, Fr., 6-0, 180, Brandon, Fla. / Bloomindale
Terrel Ferrell earned all-conference and all-county accolades during his career at Bloomindale High School, helping his team to an 11-2 record in 2018 and an FHSAA Class 7A regional semifinal appearance. He totaled 91 catches for 1,993 yards and 22 touchdowns combined during his junior and senior seasons, averaging 21.9 yards per reception during that time. Ferrell is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Dequan Finn | Highlights
Quarterback, Fr., 6-1, 190, Detroit, Mich. / King
Dequan Finn is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. An all-city and all-state performer for King High School, he led his team to a state championship in 2018, throwing for 1,960 yards and 24 touchdowns. Finn earned all-city and all-state honors during his career and was named Mr. Football for the state of Michigan this past season.
Willie Gaines | Highlights
Wide Receiver, Fr., 5-10, 165, Cocoa, Fla. / Cocoa
Willie Gaines enjoyed a standout career at Cocoa High School, where he tallied 3,932 all-purpose yards in his final two high school seasons. In 2018, Gaines caught 83 passes for 1,278 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also recorded 422 yards on the ground and six rushing touchdowns. Gaines is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Elija Griffin | Highlights
Cornerback, Fr., 6-0, 167, Detroit, Mich. / Harper Woods
Elija Griffin is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. A standout at multiple positions, he was named the team's defensive player of the year and specialist of the year this past season.
Quarterback, Fr., 6-1, 170, Holland, Ohio / Springfield
A.J. Gucciardo was a three-year starter at Springfield High School in nearby Holland, Ohio. He threw for 7,930 yards and 84 touchdowns in his career, including 2,709 yards and 30 TDs during his senior season. Gucciardo set career highs in completions (180), completion percentage (67.7%), and passing touchdowns this past season. He joins high school teammate Logan Whitson as a member of Toledo's 2019 recruiting class.
Running Back, Fr., 5-10 200, Granville, Ohio / Granville
Brandon Haley was a three-time all-league, two-time all-district, and 2017 third-team all-state running back at Granville High School. Though he missed the 2018 season due to injury, Haley recorded at least 1,300 yards rushing in both the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. During his all-state year as a junior, he combined for over 1,800 all-purpose and scored 26 touchdowns.
Jerome Henderson | Highlights
Defensive End, Fr., 6-5, 235, Erie Pa. / McDowell
Jerome Henderson was a three-year letterwinner at McDowell High School, where he earned all-state honors during his career. Henderson tallied six tackles for loss and three sacks on the defensive end, and caught 10 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns on offense. He is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Gaige Hill | Highlights
Defensive Tackle, Fr., 6-3, 285, Altoona, Pa. / Altoona
Gaige Hill is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. He was a 2017 Big 56 All-Section Banquet First Team selection and earned first-team preseason all-state honors prior to his senior season in 2018.
Micah Kelly | Highlights
Running Back, Fr., 5-10, 194, Ocean Springs, Miss. / Ocean Springs
In 12 games for Ocean Springs last season, Micah Kelly rushed for 1,560 yards and 16 touchdowns, eclipsing 100 yards 10 times. He also caught 10 passes for 150 yards and two TDs out of the backfield. During his career, Kelly earned first-team all-state and all-region honors. Kelly is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Chris McDonald | Highlights
Cornerback, Fr., 5-10, 175, Miami, Fla. / Southridge
Chris McDonald is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. He helped Miami Southridge to a 9-3 record in 2018, a regional semifinal appearance in the FHSAA playoffs and a state championship in 2016. He was selected as a defensive back for the South team in the 2018 Miami-Dade All-Star Game. He is a high school teammate of fellow UT commit Joe Smith.
Jerjuan Newton | Highlights
Wide Receiver, Fr., 5-11, 178, Fr., St. Petersburg, Fla. / Clearwater Central Catholic
While starring at Clearwater Central Catholic High School, Jerjuan Newton hauled in 92 catches for 1,394 yards and 13 touchdowns combined between his junior and senior seasons, tallying 13 receiving touchdowns. On the ground, he recorded 516 rushing yards and 10 TDs during that same timespan. He helped Clearwater Central Catholic reach the 2018 FHSAA Class 3A state semifinals as a senior. Newton is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Troy Simon | Highlights
Cornerback, Fr., 6-0, 184, Alpharetta, Ga. / Milton / Coffeyville CC
Troy Simon comes to UT after spending a season at Coffeyville Community College after originally signing on to play at Wake Forest. For Coffeyville last season, he tallied 37 tackles, eight pass breakups, and two interceptions in 11 contests.
Joe Smith | Highlights
Linebacker, So., 6-1, 193, Homestead, Fla. / Southridge
Joe Smith is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. He helped Miami Southridge to a 9-3 record in 2018 and a regional semifinal appearance in the FHSAA playoffs and won a state championship in 2016. He is a high school teammate of fellow UT commit Chris McDonald.
Justin Stephens | Highlights
Tight End, Fr., 6-5, 235, Trotwood, Ohio / Trotwood-Madison
Justin Stephens led Trotwood-Madison with 307 receiving yards on 23 catches and five touchdowns as a senior in 2018. The tight end was also a Division III OPSWA All-Ohio honoree this past season. In 2017, he was a member of the Trotwood-Madison team that went 15-0 and won a state championship, defeating Dresden Tri-Valley 27-19. Stephens is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports.
Chris'Seon Stringer | Highlights
Wide Receiver, Fr., 6-2, 214, Cincinnati, Ohio / Taft
Chris'Seon Stringer is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. He was a three-time all-league selection at Taft High School in Cincinnati. Stringer also earned All-Ohio honors after his senior season in 2018.
Jacquez Stuart | Highlights
Wide Receiver/Running Back, Fr., 5-9, 170, Miami, Fla. / Miami Northwestern
Jacquez Stuart is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. He helped lead Miami Northwestern to a 2018 FHSAA Class 6A state title this past season, a 22-0 win over Armwood. Stuart is also a track and field star, winning state championships at the 2018 FHSAA 3A state finals in the 100-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay.
Wide Receiver, Fr., 5-11 180, Oregon, Ohio / Clay
Adam Ummel was a four-year letterwinner at Clay High School. The Oregon, Ohio native was an offensive weapon during his high school career, and in 2018 he was named to the Three Rivers Athletic Conference all-league team as a running back, while also being named to the Toledo Blade's All-Blade squad as a wide receiver.
Defensive Tackle, Fr., 6-3, 285, Brownstown, Mich. / Woodhaven
Dorian Wesley was a first-team all-league honoree while playing at Woodhaven High School, he helped his team to an 8-2 record in 2018. Wesley received honorable mention all-state accolades last year from the Detroit News, collecting 63 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and six sacks.
Offensive Lineman, Fr., 6-8 265, Holland, Ohio / Springfield
Logan Whitson recently concluded his career as an offensive lineman at Springfield High School. He joins high school teammate A.J. Gucciardo as a member of Toledo's 2019 recruiting class.
Adrian Woliver | Highlights
Defensive End, Fr., 6-2, 230, Stow, Ohio / Stow-Monroe Falls
Adrian Woliver is a three-star prospect, according to Scout.com and 247 Sports. He did it all for Stow-Monroe Falls in his senior season, tallying 51 tackles and five tackles for loss on defense, 34 receptions for 438 yards and four touchdowns on offense, and 345 return yards with two kickoff return TDs on special teams. Woliver is a former all-conference and all-district performer who earned a Division I All-Northeast Ohio Inland Defensive Player of the Year award in 2018.
Bowling Green, Ohio - Bowling Green State University football head coach Scot Loeffler announced the addition of three student-athletes to the 2019 signing class Wednesday. Following the announcement of 17 student-athletes in December, Loeffler's initial recruiting class now runs 20 deep.
To see the full list of BG's signees click on the link to the right or at the bottom of this page (mobile users).