With the team set to move to the Colonial Athletic Association next season, as well as graduating many key players such as Miguel Maysonet, Kevin Norrell and Kyle Essington, head coach Chuck Priore restocked his team on National Signing Day on Wednesday, signing 24 players for next year’s squad.
“It’s a very well-rounded group of guys, we met our positional needs, and we added talent for the future.” Priore said. “Based on their accolades, and based on our evaluations of them, we think it’s going to be a good foundation for us to build upon.”
Of the 24 players who committed, 17 are high school seniors, five are junior college transfers and two are transfers from FBS schools. Seven of the players are defensive backs, while five are linebackers.
While Priore does not expect many of the high school recruits to challenge for playing time immediately, he has high hopes for the older transfers, particularly tight end Will Tye, a transfer from Florida State who Priore considers the top recruit of this class.
The other FBS transfer, kicker Nick Ferrara, hit 18 of 25 field goal attempts last year playing for Maryland, and had 35 punts with an average of 39.8 yards per punt. He will be the favorite to succeed the graduated Wesley Skiffington, who handled the kicking duties last season.
“We took him because he’s got game experience, our hope is that he comes here and is successful here as he was at Maryland,” Priore said. “He knows he’s got to compete on the field.”
Along with Tye, several of the junior college transfers, including defensive back Zedrick Gardner, quarterback Conor Bednarski, running back James Kenner and defensive back Max Martinez have already enrolled at Stony Brook for this semester and will participate in spring practices.
“They are going through the process of learning our system now, how we prepare in the off-season,” Priore said. “We’re expecting them to progress and hopefully, contribute to our team success.”
Three of the high school recruits are local products from Long Island: linebacker John Haggert from Sayville, running back Tyler Fredericks from Lawrence and Ousmane Camara from Bay Shore.
“It certainly was our starting point and what we try to do, and we got three kids who could really impact our program,” Priore said.
With the team moving to the CAA, one of the top FCS conferences in the NCAA, Priore believes this recruiting class can help set a foundation as the team adapts to a higher level of competition in future years.
“Some kids looking at us and looking at our schedule, seeing that we’re going to be playing at the best conference at the FCS level,” Priore said. “This certainly is the largest class we’ve brought in numerically, largest number of freshmen in one class since I’ve been here, I do think it has real good quality.”