Troy football signs 16 new recruits as part of National Signing Day

(PHOTO/ Drew Akers)
(PHOTO/ Drew Akers)
Troy Head Coach Neal Brown and other football coaches met with media Wednesday to talk about the incoming class of recruits for the 2017-2018 season.
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Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

For the second consecutive year, Troy football Head Coach Neal Brown and staff have hauled in a historic recruiting class.

On National Signing Day yesterday, Troy signed 16 new football players to go along with the two who signed in December. The end result is a class that ranks second in the Sun Belt, the highest signing day finish since 2011.

Brown made a point to lock down home base, signing 11 players from the state of Alabama.

“We concentrate on our own areas, and that’s our home state of Alabama,” said Brown at Wednesday’s signing day press conference. “This is the third class in a row we’ve been heavy on Alabama student-athletes.”

Highlighting the group of Alabama signees are Wiregrass athletes wide receiver Bubba Johnson of Montgomery and cornerback Marcus Jones of Enterprise.

“Johnson has the most upside of this class,” said Recruiting Coordinator Al Pogue at the same press conference. “He’s 6-4 and about 210 pounds, catches the ball well, and he’s a basketball player, so he knows how to use his body. I’m excited to get him in our program. He has an opportunity to come in and contribute right away.”

Brown also had high praise for Johnson, who is a top-50 prospect in the state according to ESPN and a three-star athlete according to Rivals.com.

“Marcus is a kid I’ve got to know since I’ve gotten here,” Brown said. “He’s athletic, got a great personality and he’s smart. The added benefit to Marcus is that he can return punts and kicks. He’s not only local, but he’s a great player. I think he will push for immediate playing time.”

Troy received two of its top signees as part of a gift-wrapped two-for-one package in twins Kevin and Kyle Nixon from Peach County, Georgia. Kevin, a linebacker who is listed as the highest rated high school signee in the Trojan class, feels that this group of players can elevate Troy to its former glory.

“I feel like we can run the table and try for a New Year’s bowl game,” said Kevin in an interview with the Tropolitan. “I think this class has more grit and more ‘football players’ — guys that will lay it on the line for their teammate on every play.”

There were several holes on the roster created by graduation, but perhaps the most pressing opening is the one left by kicker Ryan Kay. Kay acted as the team’s kicker and punter while at Troy and cemented his name into the kicking record books.

Troy found his replacement in Evan Legassey of Pensacola, Florida. Legassey is listed as a top-25 kicking prospect by both ESPN and 247sports. He earned Florida 6A first team all-state honors as a punter following his senior year.

Brown noted that although signing day has ended, the class is still not complete.

“We will continue to add to this class. We fully anticipate adding a quarterback in the near future, and we’ve got a couple local guys that we hope are a part of this class down the road.”

The quarterback Brown is referring to is three-star Bubba Thompson of Mobile. Thompson, a two-sport athlete and former Auburn baseball commit, holds offers from Tennessee and Ole Miss and is expected to sign next week, according to Ben Thomas of al.com.

The full list of the 2017 signees is provided below:

DK Billingsley             (5-9, 195, RB, Scottsboro, Ala. / Scottsboro HS)
Bret Clark                    (5-11, 180, WR, New Hope, Ala. / New Hope HS)
*Rasool Clemons       (6-5, 245, DE, Aiken, S.C. / Aiken HS / East Mississippi CC)
Terence Dunlap         (5-11, 170, ATH, Maplesville, Ala. / Maplesville HS)
Travius Harris            (6-1, 315, OL, Tallahassee, Fla. / Rickards HS)
Bubba Hudson           (6-4, 260, OL, Dawson, Ga. / Terrell County HS)
Bubba Johnson          (6-4, 210, WR, Montgomery, Ala. / Lee-Montgomery HS)
Marcus Jones             (5-9, 170, CB, Enterprise, Ala. / Enterprise HS)
Evan Legassey            (6-3, 195, K/P, Pensacola, Fla. / Tate HS)
Travon Mathis            (6-2, 275, DL, Lanett, Ala. / Lanett HS)
Tyler Murray               (6-1, 185, DB, Baldwin, Fla. / Baldwin HS)
Kevin Nixon                (6-1, 210, LB, Fort Valley, Ga. / Peach County HS)
Kyle Nixon                  (6-1, 185, DB, Fort Valley, Ga. / Peach County HS)
Shon Spralling            (6-0, 170, CB, Huntsville, Ala. / Mae Jemison HS)
Austin Stidham          (6-5, 250, OL, Russellville, Ala. / Russellville HS)
Justin Whisenhunt    (6-1, 200, LB, Birmingham, Ala. / Ramsay HS)
Luke Whittemore       (6-2, 185, WR, Gainesville, Fla. / Buchholz HS)
*Damion Willis           (6-4, 185, WR, Meridian, Miss. / Southeast Lauderdale HS /East Mississippi CC)

*Mid-year signees