PEMBROKE — A healthy dose of lineman and defensive backs make up the 25-member class for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team that signed on Wednesday’s national signing day.
Both the offensive and defensive line and secondary were points of emphasis for the Braves and coach Shane Richardson is pleased with the depth they were able to fill the positions with.
“Through this class, we were able to cover the areas of depth concerns going in,” Richardson said. “We were able to get quality signees at all three positions we were looking for and this really evens out the quality of depth across the board.”
Along with addressing areas with a lack of depth, Richardson sees two linebackers that could make an immediate impact for the Braves in North Brunswick’s Jordan Howard and Weddington’s Myles Moore. The duo joins three other linebackers the Braves signed.
Howard is expected to play outside linebacker and totaled 127 tackles as a senior to earn all-county and all-area honors.
“His skill set is probably the best overall in this class,” Richardson said. “He’s able to do a lot of different things and he’s a good addition for us.”
Over his final two seasons in high school, Moore was named all-conference as Weddington accumulated a 25-5 record. As a senior, he tallied 132 tackles and two sacks.
“Myles gives us a physical presence between the tackles,” Richardson said. “He’s a good instinctual player and is everything you could want in a linebacker.”
The Braves picked up seven offensive lineman to go along with all five starters returning from last season.
“The good thing is all the guys that started last year will be back, but you always need big bodies up front,” Richardson said. “I really feel good about this class with seven guys that give us good depth.”
Antone Tavares of Jack Britt, Zachary Davis from Seventy-First and Scotland’s Timon McMillan and J’Quan Breeden were local products at offensive line that joined the class. Conover’s Gage Baldwin, Ashbrook’s Brandon Conner, and Bunn’s Ian Land were other lineman that signed as well.
With injuries and graduation depleting the depth in the secondary this past season, UNCP signed six defensive backs.
“We knew we needed help there after the fall,” Richardson said. “We had injuries and didn’t have a good quality of depth and that was frustrating. So we tried to address the issue with good bodies that could fill those positions if we needed them right away.”
Signing for the secondary was Phillip O. Berry Academy’s Joshua Barrett, Davidson Day’s Michael Clark, Lake Norman’s Devin Jones, Holly Springs’ Yavel Morris, Northern’s Ankhenaten Truitt-Martin and Crest’s Tyriek Ramseur.
Outside of two quarterbacks and one tight end, UNCP did not sign any other skill players due to how deep it runs at those positions. The Braves have 11 running backs and 17 wide receivers currently listed on the roster.
“We’re thick and young at the skill positions and have a lot of great guys at running back and wide receiver right now,” Richardson said. “While we were recruiting, I said we would not offer any scholarships to running backs and only offer the right kind of receiver and we had a few of those fall through.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.