National Signing Day: Garrett recruits his first batch of new Leopards

New head coach John Garrett. (Courtesy of Athletic Communications)

New head coach John Garrett. (Courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Michael Keating

Whenever a new coach comes to town, it’s usually difficult to bring in a strong recruiting class in their first year. But for new head coach John Garrett, he said he believes that he brought in a good group of players for the class of 2021.

“It’s a great day for the Lafayette Leopards’ football program as we add an impressive group of student-athletes to our team as members of the 2017 recruiting class,” said Garrett in a press release. “It’s a group of smart, tough, dependable and talented players who love football and who will be great ambassadors for Lafayette College.”

Of the 17 new Leopards, eight committed to Lafayette during former head coach Frank Tavani’s tenure. Garrett made it a point when he took over to make sure no one de-committed following Tavani’s retirement – something he succeeded in doing.

One of the points Garrett made when he was named to the position was that he was going to make the Leopards a passing offense again. And with this recruiting class, it sure looks like he is committed to that goal. Three quarterbacks, Reed Aichholz, Brycen Mussina and Cole Northrup, were added to the roster, while just one running back, Selwyn Simpson, signed with the Leopards.

Another point of focus for Garrett was the offensive line. Gavin Barclay, John Burk, Trey Fallon, Taron Hampton and Austin Pyne will makeup a strong and rather large freshman class on the offensive line, with an average weight of just over 300 lbs. Wide receiver Quinn Revere rounds up the offensive side of the ball.

As for the defense, Garrett was able to get commitments from a trio of linebackers: Ryan Dickens, Major Jordan and Evan Smith. The secondary, which has been one of the strong points for the Leopards in recent years, was shored up by the signings of cornerback Otis Thrasher and defensive back Mike Murdock. Rounding out the defense is Jake Taggart, a defensive end.

Last, but certainly not least, the Leopards got a commitment from Jeffrey Kordenbrock, a kicker/punter.

After bringing in 26 players last year, this year’s class is significantly smaller. Only time will tell if the class of 2021 can match the contributions seen by last year’s freshman class – most notably wide receiver Yasir Thomas, running back Mike Dunn and cornerback Eric Mitchell.

It’s still unclear if any of the newcomers will start next season. With senior quarterbacks Drew Reed and Blake Searfoss graduating, the Leopards will go into spring camp with an open quarterback competition. With three new recruits going up against rising junior Mike Lewis and rising sophomores Austin McCrum and Blake Meyer, a good training camp performance could result in a true freshman making a start for the Leopards in their opener against Monmouth next season.

Garrett seems to have assembled a strong first class, but for now, as with every other recruiting class, all we can do is wait until they hit the field in September to truly evaluate them.