The Troy football coaching staff put the finishing touches on the highest-rated recruiting class in Troy history during Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
The Trojans wrapped up the day with a class that averaged an 81.02 rating according to 247sports.com. That average rating is the second highest in the Sun Belt, while the class finished fourth in recruiting in the conference overall.
It was a relatively quiet day, though, thanks to the early signing period accounting for the first 15 signatures.
Troy added four more recruits and announced the addition of Oklahoma transfer Will Sunderland Jr. as well.
Three-star defensive tackle Will Choloh and three-star wide receiver Demontrez Brown stayed true to their commitments and inked their letters of intent.
Choloh is ranked in the top 100 at his position in the country according to 247sports, while Brown is ranked as the 35th best prospect in the state of Alabama.
The other two high school recruits Troy signed on Wednesday were three-star tight end Anthony Lewis out of Mobile and two-star safety T.J. Harris from Leesburg, Georgia.
Lewis gives Troy Head Coach Neal Brown something he hasn’t had in his time at Troy: a true play-making tight end. Lewis can add an extra wrinkle to Brown’s offense and force more one-on-one coverage on the outside.
Altogether, Troy added 11 players who played high school football in Alabama.
Perhaps the most interesting addition of the day was the announcement of the former Sooners’ transfer.
Sunderland was a four-star recruit and the number two player in Oklahoma coming out of high school, according to 247sports. He played in 16 games for Oklahoma, where he totaled 18 tackles and one interception.
In the summer following his sophomore season, however, Sunderland was arrested on a felony burglary charge after turning himself in to authorities for an incident related to the theft of student property in an Oklahoma residential hall.
Sunderland was suspended indefinitely from the team and did not play for the Sooners in 2017. He had his hearing on the Tuesday before signing day, where his charges were dropped to a misdemeanor.
Sunderland was given a one-year deferred sentence and 40 hours of community service. He has been cleared to play for Troy and will be immediately eligible in 2018 with two years of eligibility remaining.
“We did a lot of research on Will,” Brown said during Wednesday’s press conference. “Vic (Koenning) has a great relationship with his high school coach.
“We felt very good about Will. He and his parents came on an official visit, and we felt great about the family. We feel that Will will have a great opportunity to come in here and be productive and finish up his academics as well.”
With the 2018 class set in stone, the Troy coaching staff can now turn its focus on preparing for the 2019 campaign.
Troy will open next season by hosting Boise State and debuting the new north end zone stadium expansion.
“In a little over 200 days, we’re going to open up with a brand new north end zone facility in front of what I think will be our first sellout crowd,” Brown said. “I think our best is still to come.”
The original version of the above story contained three factual errors, explained below. The Tropolitan regrets the errors and will run a correction in the Feb. 15 print edition.
- The original version stated that the Troy football Twitter account’s graphic of transfer Will Sunderland did not mention that Oklahoma was his previous school, and that Midwest City High School was instead. However, that graphic did in fact list Oklahoma as Sunderland’s previous school, and did not list Midwest City High School as his previous school, simply that he was from Midwest City, Oklahoma.
- The original version stated that Sunderland played one season at Oklahoma. He in fact played 16 games over two seasons.
- The original version compared Sunderland’s announcement via his personal Twitter account on Jan. 31, 2017, to that of graduate transfer Traveon Samuel, saying that Samuel’s transfer was announced by Troy University and local media but that Sunderland’s was not. However, Sunderland’s transfer announcement was not an official signing, and therefore could not be advertised as such by the university until Sunderland signed a national letter of intent, which he did on Feb. 7.