BOONE, N.C. — App State Football has assembled another record-setting recruiting class with the addition of 22 newcomers Wednesday on the first day of the December early signing period.
With head coach Shawn Clark, recruiting coordinator Justin Watts and the rest of the staff preparing the Mountaineers (8-3) for a Myrtle Beach Bowl matchup against North Texas on Monday, the program’s 2021 signing class is ranked first among Sun Belt Conference schools and sixth among Group of 5 schools, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
With all 22 December signees earning a three-star rating from 247Sports, the average player rating of 83.08 is also the school’s best mark.
“Today was a great day for the future of App State Football,” Clark said. “The players who signed with us today are tough and talented competitors on the field. They are dedicated students in the classroom who come from great families. These young men will help us continue our pursuit of championships into the next few years, and we are excited for them to officially join the App Family.”
Only the classes from Cincinnati, Memphis, SMU, UCF and Boise State are rated higher among Group of Five schools as the Mountaineers posted an overall FBS class ranking of 64th, the highest-ranked App State class by 247Sports since the FBS climb and a 21-spot improvement from the program’s next-highest ranking of 85th from a year ago. This year’s class is ranked 62nd nationally by ESPN and 85th by Rivals.
Eight of the 15 highest-rated App State recruits in the history of the 247Sports rankings are members of this class – Jaden Lindsay (OL), Colston Powers (OL), DC Tabscott (QB), Jordan Favors (DB), Troy Everett (OL), Da’Shawn Brown (WR), Jonathan Streeter (DB) and Dalton Stroman (WR). In ESPN’s rankings, Powers and Lindsay are both listed among the top-25 offensive guard recruits in the country. Michael Hughes is rated the nation’s 24th-best kicker, while Andre Goodman comes in as the No. 26 dual-threat quarterback.
The signed paperwork from wide receiver Coen Sutton, who will join his older pass-catching brother, Corey, and both of their parents in attending App State, arrived first Wednesday at 7:07 a.m. The signing class to date includes five offensive linemen, four receivers, four defensive backs, three linebackers, two defensive linemen, two quarterbacks, one tight end and one kicker.
“You always want to finish first and do the best product, but for us, we don’t look at stars,” Watts said. “We evaluate kids. This has been a program that has been built on signing the right kind of men and developing them. By the time those guys are getting out of here, they’ve got a degree and they’ve played for championships.”
Geographically, there were nine signees from the Carolinas, including in-state recruits Lindsay (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Streeter (Cary, N.C.), Stroman (Rockingham, N.C.) and Sutton (Huntersville, N.C.). The Palmetto State products to sign were Brown, Goodman, Jayden Ramsey (OL), Caden Sullivan (DB) and Deshawn McKnight (LB).
App State added four more standouts from Florida high schools — Travis McNichols (DB), Trevor Moffitt (LB), Cole Essek (OL) and Jaquan Lowman (WR) — as well as three Virginia players from the same Roanoke-area high school — Lord Botetourt’s Powers, Everett and Kyle Arnholt (LB).
Favors and Justin Isler (DL) signed from Georgia, while the states of Tennessee (Tabscott), West Virginia (Hughes), Alabama (KaRon White, DL) and Ohio (David Larkins, TE) are also represented. Hughes is from Charleston, W.Va. and attends George Washington High School, the alma mater of App State’s head coach.
“I know the guys, so I’m excited about the type of people they are and the families that they come from,” Watts said. “A majority of these guys come from winning programs, and you should be excited that they’re excited about App State. These guys wanted to come be a part of our culture and wanted to be a part of what we’re building here.”
CLASS OF 2021 SIGNEES
* Kyle Arnholt — LB
Roanoke, Va. (Lord Botetourt)
BIO: With Lord Botetourt’s fall season pushed to the spring, helped the Daleville school near Roanoke go 14-1 in 2019 and reach Virginia’s Class 3 state final, where he had a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown while also catching three passes and completing one … Named a Virginia High School League Class 3 second-team all-state selection as a defensive back who played safety … Region 3D first-team defensive back and receiver … Had three touchdown returns and four interceptions on defense while amassing 10 touchdown catches with more than 700 receiving yards in 2019 … Coached by Jamie Harless at Lord Botetourt … High school teammates at Lord Botetourt with fellow App State recruits Colston Powers (offensive lineman) and Troy Everett (offensive lineman) … Also plays basketball and baseball at Lord Botetourt … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Da’Shawn Brown — WR
York, S.C. (York Comprehensive)
BIO: Missed part of an abbreviated 2020 season with injury but still made 18 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown in four games, highlighted by an eight-catch, 83-yard performance against Chapin … As a junior in 2019, amassed 550 receiving yards with seven touchdowns and returned two kicks for touchdowns … Named to the All-Region III 4-A team as a junior … Ranked as the No. 17 Class of 2021 overall prospect in the state of South Carolina by 247Sports.com … Coached by Dean Boyd at York Comprehensive … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Cole Essek — OL
Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Catholic)
BIO: A multi-position standout who projects as an offensive lineman, helped lead Tampa Catholic to a 4-A regional title game and a 7-3 record as a senior in 2020 … Also contributed at tight end and defensive end, where he recorded 58 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 12.0 tackles for loss and 34 quarterback hurries … Blocked two kicks in a 4-A regional semifinal victory … Named to the Hillsborough County all-star team in 2020 and received Tampa Catholic’s Coaches Award in 2019 … Coached by Jeris McIntyre at Tampa Catholic … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Son of Paul and Lisa Essek … Has two older brothers: Jake and Zack … Father played football at Ohio University … Born Oct. 10, 2002.
* Troy Everett — OL
Daleville, Va. (Lord Botetourt)
BIO: With Lord Botetourt’s fall season pushed to the spring, helped the Daleville school near Roanoke go 14-1 and reach Virginia’s Class 3 state final in 2019 … Named a Virginia High School League Class 3 first-team all-state selection and the Blue Ridge District’s Offensive Lineman of the Year … Ranked as the No. 1 Class of 2021 offensive guard in the state of Virginia by 247Sports.com … High school teammates at Lord Botetourt with fellow App State recruits Colston Powers (offensive lineman) and Kyle Arnholt (linebacker) … Coached by Jamie Harless at Lord Botetourt … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Jordan Favors — DB
Griffin, Ga. (Griffin)
BIO: 5A Region 2 Athlete of the Year at Griffin returned an interception for a touchdown, forced two fumbles, had 6.0 tackles for loss, recorded 2.0 sacks and made 53 tackles during a senior season in which he excelled at several positions for the Bears … Also averaged 8.2 yards per carry while rushing for 616 yards (with five touchdowns) and totaled 547 kickoff return yards with two scores in 2020 … Had kickoff returns of 93, 84 and 83 yards as a senior … As a junior, picked off three passes, made 43 tackles, added 402 kickoff return yards and scored twice while rushing for 128 yards on 30 attempts … Coached by Kareem Reid at Griffin, which went 11-2 in 2019 and 7-5 in 2020 … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Andre Goodman — QB
Piedmont, S.C. (Greenville)
BIO: All-purpose threat threw for 1,182 yards for a 10-3 team and also player receiver before suffering an injury in the final regular-season game of his junior season and didn’t take the field in 2020 … Ranked the No. 3 Class of 2021 “Athlete” in South Carolina by 247Sports.com … In 2019, had nine touchdowns while leading Greenville to the Region II 4-A championship … Coached by Greg Porter at Greenville … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Goodman’s father starred at South Carolina, was a third-round NFL draft pick and played 10 NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos.
* Michael Hughes — K
Charleston, W.Va. (George Washington)
BIO: Ranked the No. 1 Class of 2021 kicker in the state of West Virginia and the No. 13 kicker in the nation by 247Sports.com … Finished career with 13 made field goals and 118 extra points … As a senior, made a long field goal of 47 yards against Woodrow Wilson, had touchbacks on 21 of 25 kickoffs, converted all 18 extra points and had six punts downed inside the 20 … First-team 3-A all-state selection as a senior and junior (as a punter) … All-Mountain State Athletic Conference and All-Kanawha Valley recognition from the Charleston Gazette-Mail as a senior … Mid-Ohio Valley High School Football Awards Outstanding Kicker nominee for players in both West Virginia and Ohio … Attends George Washington High School, the alma mater of App State head coach and former long snapper Shawn Clark … As a junior, made four field goals, converted 33 of 34 extra points and had 20 touchbacks … As a sophomore, made four field goals, converted 41 of 43 extra points and had a game-winning field goal as time expired in a 39-36 win against Riverside … Coached by Steve Edwards at George Washington … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Justin Isler — DL
Villa Rica, Ga. (Temple)
BIO: As a four-year varsity standout at Temple, totaled 197 tackles, 49.5 tackles for loss, 17.0 sacks, 35 quarterback hurries and five forced fumbles … Standout senior year included 65 tackles in 10 games, 18.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 17 hurries and two forced fumbles … As a junior named a 5-AA first-team all-region selection, recorded 55 stops in 11 games, 10.0 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and 15 hurries … Contributed 52 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks as a sophomore after having 8.0 tackles for loss among his 25 stops as a freshman … Coached by Scotty Ward at Temple … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* David Larkins — TE
North Bend, Ohio (Elder)
BIO: All-Greater Catholic League as a senior this fall thanks to his standout blocking and nine catches for 116 yards with one touchdown as a tight end/H-back … Team captain as a senior … Finished career with 24 consecutive starts and added two sacks (among his 15 tackles) while contributing at defensive end … Ranked the No. 4 Class of 2021 tight end in the state of Ohio by 247Sports.com … As a junior in 2019, helped Elder go 12-3, win the Region 4 title and reach the OSHAA Division I state final … Also plays basketball at Elder, with averages of 8.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and a GCL-leading 1.7 blocks as a junior … Played for coach Doug Ramsey at Elder … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Attended the same high school as NFL tight end Kyle Rudolph … Son of Andrew and Jennifer Larkins … Has one sibling: Evelyn … Born April 3, 2003.
* Jaden Lindsay — OL
Winston-Salem, N.C. (East Forsyth)
BIO: With no NCHSAA football this fall, moved forward from junior season in which he was an Associated Press All-State selection who made the All-Northwest team from the Winston-Salem Journal and the All-Central Piedmont Conference team … Ranked the No. 4 Class of 2021 offensive guard in the state of North Carolina by 247Sports.com … As a standout offensive tackle, helped East Forsyth win 4-A state titles in 2018 with a 15-0 record and 2019 with a 13-2 record, as the Eagles beat Scotland 35-28 in the 2018 final and Cardinal Gibbons 24-21 in the 2019 final … East Forsyth rushed for 286.0 yards per game in Lindsay’s junior year as he averaged more than five pancake blocks a game and 248.3 yards per game in 2018 … Coached by Todd Willert at East Forsyth … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Jaquan Lowman — WR
Zellwood, Fla. (Apopka)
BIO: An athletic, all-purpose threat, began prep career near Orlando as a defensive back and has also excelled as a quarterback for a team with a combined 20-6 record over his final two seasons, including an appearance in the Class 8-A state title game in 2019 … Rushed for 1,109 yards and 15 touchdowns in 10 games as a senior … Rushed for 1,396 yards and 23 touchdowns for a 12-2 team as a junior, when he also scored on one kickoff return … Rushed for 249 yards in the 2019 state title game … Totaled 1,433 yards passing in his two seasons at quarterback … Coached by Jeff Rolson at Apopka … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Deshawn McKnight — LB
Sumter, S.C. (Sumter)
BIO: Appeared in seven games for an 8-1 team at Sumter as a senior, returning from injury for the three playoff games and posting six tackles in loss to Dutch Fork in the 5-A lower state title game … Ranked the No. 1 Class of 2021 outside linebacker in the state of South Carolina by 247Sports.com … Totaled 30 tackles in his seven games as a senior … Also had a 35-yard interception return and one sack in 2020 … For a 10-1 team as a junior, made 51 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 tackles … Had 12 tackles in a 45-7 playoff win against Woodmont and 10 stops in a 30-28 win against Spring Valley … Coached by Mark Barnes at Sumter … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Travis McNichols — DB
Miami Gardens, Fla. (Northwestern)
BIO: As a senior at Miami’s Northwestern High School, part of a program that played only five games in 2020 … Played at Carol City prior to his senior year … As a sophomore at Carol City, named to the Class 6-A/8-A first-team defense as part of the Miami Herald’s All-Dade Football team — he was the only sophomore on the first-team defense that year … Coached by Max Edwards at Northwestern … Third App State recruit in recent years from Northwestern, joining defensive end Demetrius Taylor (2020 senior) and running back Nate Noel (2020 true freshman) … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Trevor Moffitt — LB
Bushnell, Fla. (South Sumter)
BIO: Helped lead South Sumter (about an hour west of Orlando) to a regional final while finishing his senior season with 83 tackles (8.3 per game), 8.0 sacks and 28.0 tackles for loss … Had three games with 13 tackles and one more in double digits in 2020, with 5.0 tackles for loss in 13-tackle games against Palatka (won 28-7) and Bradford (won 9-6) … Had 110 tackles, 22.0 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks as a junior for a 9-3 team that allowed just 18.7 points per game and reached the Class 4A-Region 2 championship game … Daily Commercial All-Area Defensive Player of the Year as a junior … Coached by Ty Lawrence at South Sumter … Moffitt’s father, Ben, played at South Florida … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Colston Powers — OL
Blue Ridge, Va. (Lord Botetourt)
BIO: Helped the Daleville school near Roanoke go 14-1 and reach Virginia’s Class 3 state final in 2019 … Named a Virginia High School League Class 3 first-team all-state selection, an all-region selection and a Blue Ridge All-District choice … Ranked as the No. 3 Class of 2021 offensive tackle in the state of Virginia by 247Sports.com … Also has played baseball at Lord Botetourt and been an all-district performer that sport, working primarily as a first baseman … High school teammates at Lord Botetourt with fellow App State recruits Troy Everett (offensive lineman) and Kyle Arnholt (linebacker)Coached by Jamie Harless at Lord Botetourt … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Jayden Ramsey — OL
Anderson, S.C. (Westside)
BIO: All-Region I 4-A selection who helped lead Westside to a regional championship … Helped Westside amass nearly 400 yards of offense a game, including 232.8 rushing yards per game … Was a starting varsity tight end as a high school freshman, suffered an injury as a sophomore and excelled following a move to offensive tackle as a junior … Ranked the No. 2 Class of 2021 offensive tackle in the state of South Carolina by 247Sports.com … High school teammates with current App State linebacker Nick Hampton at Westside … Has already added 30 pounds to his athletic frame this year … Coached by Scott Early at Westside … Also plays basketball for the Rams … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Jonathan Streeter — DB
Cary, N.C. (Panther Creek)
BIO: With no NCHSAA football this fall, Streeter already totaled 11 interceptions in his last two seasons for Panther Creek in Cary … Had seven interceptions and three defensive scores as a junior in 2019 … Recorded three interceptions in one game against rival Cary as a junior, returning one for a score, and also had three receptions for 111 yards in that win … A receiving threat with 801 yards as a junior and 686 yards as a sophomore, with double-digit TD receptions in his career … Has scored three touchdowns in the return game … Coached by Sean Crocker, a fourth-round NFL draft pick as a defensive back, at Panther Creek … Father, Roswell, played football at East Carolina and was a team captain in 1988 … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Dalton Stroman — WR
Rockingham, N.C. (Richmond Senior)
BIO: With no NCHSAA football this fall, in two varsity seasons for Richmond Senior in Rockingham from 2018-19, totaled 1,023 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns for teams with a combined record of 24-3 … During a 13-1 season in 2019, had 716 receiving yards on 31 catches, good for a 23.1 average, and scored nine touchdowns for a 4-AA state semifinalist … Scored seven touchdowns in the first six games of 2019, highlighted by a 143-yard game against Cardinal Gibbons and 118 yards against Clayton …Had 19 catches for 307 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore for an 11-2 team … Ranked the No. 8 Class of 2021 receiver in the state of North Carolina by 247Sports.com … Coached by Bryan Till at Richmond Senior, and Richmond receivers coach Andy Shuler played receiver at App State from 2011-14 … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Caden Sullivan — DB
Inman, S.C. (Boiling Springs)
BIO: Multi-position standout intercepted six passes and returned two for touchdowns in just seven games as a senior at Boiling Springs … Had 10 interceptions in 19 varsity games over three seasons and a combined 74 tackles over his final two seasons … Picked off two passes in each of his first two games in 2020, as he had a 99-yard interception return and a 67-yard touchdown reception against Nation Ford … As a senior, also scored four offensive touchdowns on pass receptions and one on a punt return … Ranked the No. 3 Class of 2021 safety in the state of South Carolina by 247Sports.com … Coached by Rick Tate at Boiling Springs … Two-year captain for the Bulldogs … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* Coen Sutton — WR
Huntersville, N.C. (Hough)
BIO: With no NCHSAA football this fall, had a junior season in which he averaged 20.1 yards a catch and scored on three of his 15 receptions … Had four catches of at least 29 yards, with a season-long gain of 45 against Providence, during Hough’s 8-5 season in 2019 … Coached by Matthew Jenkins at Hough … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com … Older brother, Corey, is tied for fifth place in App State history with 17 career touchdown catches … Father, Clarence, signed with the Chicago Bears after playing current App State assistant Shawn Clark as a standout safety for the Mountaineers from 1993-95.
* DC Tabscott — QB
Franklin, Tenn. (Father Ryan)
BIO: Finalist for the 2020 Mr. Football Award for the Division II, Class 3-A level in the state of Tennessee and named the Division II, Class 3-A East Region Offensive Player of the Year … Threw for 4,454 yards and 40 touchdowns over his final three seasons at Father Ryan High School in Nashville … Ranked the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the state of Tennessee by 247Sports.com … Led team to the Division II, Class 3-A quarterfinals in 2020 … Had 15 touchdown passes and only two interceptions while completing 63.2 percent of his passes and throwing for 1,542 yards in eight games as a senior … Also rushed for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns in 2020 … Threw for 1,542 yards with 17 touchdowns in 2019 and 1,370 yards with eight touchdowns as a sophomore … Coached by Brian Rector at Father Ryan … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.
* KaRon White — DL
Madison, Ala. (Sparkman)
BIO: Appeared in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in December 2020 … As a four-year varsity standout at Sparkman, totaled 256 tackles in 34 games (7.5 average), 43.0 tackles for loss, 19.0 sacks, 50 quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries … Senior year included 109 tackles in 11 games (9.9 average), 18.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and a whopping 34 hurries … Top games came against Albertville (12 stops, 5.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks) and Grissom (15 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss) … As a junior for an 8-3 team, posted 73 stops in 11 games, 12.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and 16 hurries … Had 12.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks among his 72 stops as a sophomore … Coached at Sparkman all four years by his father, Laron, and also developed under defensive coach Matt Smith … Rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com.