Penguins Announce 2017 National Letter of Intent Signing Day Class

Head Coach Bo Pelini
Head Coach Bo Pelini

The Youngstown State Football program added 17 student-athletes on National Letter of Intent Signing Day to go along with two who had joined the program in January. Of the 19, the Penguins added 10 players on the defensive side of the ball, eight on offense and one athlete.

YSU's biggest area for additions came in the secondary and at linebacker. The Penguins added four at each position. On offense, YSU added three tight ends in its biggest position haul.

Signed With @YoungstownStFB Today

Ray Anderson

6-1 | 210 | Linebacker
Youngstown, Ohio
Cardinal Mooney High School

High School: Had 138 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, six sacks and six forced fumbles as a senior…also played running back…Mooney finished the season 8-3 in 2016 advancing to the second round of the Region 13 playoffs…coach was P.J. Fecko.


Naz Battee-Diggs

6-1 | 195 | Linebacker
Warren, Ohio
Warren Harding High School

High School: First-Team All-American Conference Gold Tier selection as a senior linebacker…as a junior, had 54 tackles and five sacks…coach was Steve Arnold.


Dan Becker

6-5 | 260 | Offensive Line
Cincinnati, Ohio
Indian Hill High School

High School: Special-Mention All-Ohio Division IV selection as a senior and a junior…was a first-team Division IV All-Southwest District pick as a senior…named a Cincinnati Hills League Athlete of the Year…first-team all-league selection as a senior…had 88 total tackles, including 71 solo stops…returned two interceptions for touchdowns against New Richmond…as a junior was also a first-team Cincinnati Hills League pick on defense…had 111 total tackles, including 69 solo stops…Braves won their first conference championship since 2008 going 10-0 in the regular season…was the third-leading tackler in the CHL…coach was Tony Arcuri.


Terray Bryant

5-11 | 205 | Linebacker
Lithonia, Ga.
Arabia Mountain High School

High School: Georgia Sports Writers Association and Atlanta Journal-Constitution First-team Class 5A All-Georgia selection…two-time 5A All-Region and All-County selection…DeKalb County Defensive Player of the Year…was an all-metro selection…program made the playoffs for the first time in school history in 2016…team posted a 9-3 mark setting the school record for wins…coach was Stanley Pritchett.


Josh Burgett

6-5 | 240 | Tight End
Grove City, Ohio
Grove City High School

High School: Played tight end and defensive end at Grove City…honorable-mention Division I All-Central District pick as a senior…second-team All-Ohio Capital Conference selection…coach was Mike Lanza…also plays basketball.


Braxton Chapman

6-2 | 215 | Running Back
Farrell, Pa.
Farrell High School

High School: A two-star recruit by 247sports.com…ranked as the No. 52 recruit in Pennsylvania by 247sports.com…First-team Pennsylvania Writers and Pennsylvania Football News Class A selection…named Region 1 Player of the Year…earned Region All-Star status on offense and defense (linebacker)…named to WKBN TV's Big 22…as a senior, rushed for 1,437 yards, averaging 11 yards per carry…also scored 16 touchdowns…finished high school career with a school-record 3,067 yards rushing…as a junior, earned first-team all-region honors…in 2015, Farrell won the District 10 Championship and played in the Class A State Championship Game...Steelers were 14-2 on the season falling to Bishop Guillfoyle in the state title game...coach was Jarett Samuels.


Jake Coates

5-10 | 170 | Athlete
Warren, Ohio
Warren JFK High School

High School: As a senior, helped lead Warren JFK to the Ohio Division VII State Championship…JFK finished the season 14-1 and defeated Minster 24-6 in the title game…in the championship game had five tackles, including three solos and a pass breakup…also had four rushes for eight yards and returned two punts…missed a portion of the regular-season in 2016 with an injury…had more than 700 yards receiving and 2,000 all-purpose yards during career…as a junior was a Second-Team All-Ohio Division VII selection…was also a First-Team Division VII All-Northeast Inland District honoree as a junior…as a sophomore was a Special Mention All-Ohio Division VII selection…coach was Jeff Bayuk…is also a standout in track and field…in 2015, won the Ohio Division II race in the 200m dash with a time of 21.71 seconds and was second in the 100-meter dash at 10.80 seconds.


Antoine Cook

6-4 | 215 | Defensive End
McKeesport, Pa.
McKeesport High School

High School: A three-star recruit by 247sports.com and rivals.com…ranked as the No. 25 recruit in Pennsylvania by rivals.com and No. 38 recruit in Pennsylvania by 247sports.com…second-team Pennsylvania Football News Class 3A selection…was a standout defensive end at McKeesport… first-team all-conference selection as a senior and a junior…as a senior helped McKeesport to a 9-3 record and appearance in the WPIAL Class 5A Championship…lost 2016 title game 38-37 in overtime to West Allegheny…in the semifinals, McKeesport beat Gateway on a final-play Hail Mary…Tigers went 9-2 overall advancing to the WPIAL Class 4A Quarterfinals in 2015…coach was Matt Miller.


Joe Craycraft

6-3 | 190 | Quarterback
Marion, Ohio
Marion Pleasant High School

High School: Third-Team All-Ohio Division V selection as a senior…first-team Division V All-Central District selection… completed 84 passes for 1,448 yards and 18 touchdowns…led the team in rushing with 98 carries for 922 yards and 12 touchdowns…was a first-team pick in the MOAC Red Division and Central District…selected as Marion County's All-Star Offensive Player of the Year…Spartans were 8-3 overall and reached the playoffs in 2016…in the playoffs against Eastwood threw for 276 yards and had four touchdowns…second-team All-Ohio Division V honoree as a junior…threw for 2,082 yards completing 158-of-289 attempts and had 20 touchdowns in 2015…also ran for 668 yards and nine touchdowns…coach was Aaron Cook.


Bryce Gibson

5-10 | 185 | Defensive Back
Johnstown, Pa.
Greater Johnstown High School

High School: Honorable-Mention Pennsylvania Class 4A PFN All-State selection…rushed for 1,356 yards and scored nine touchdowns…Greater Johnstown had one of its best years in school history winning a record 12 games and advancing to the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals in 2016…had 40 tackles and two interceptions…in the playoff win over Jersey Shore, returned the opening kickoff 72 yards and had two rushing scores…finished with 120 yards in the game…coach was Tony Penna Jr….transferred to Greater Johnstown following his sophomore year at Archbishop Carroll in Washington D.C...had 48 tackles, including 34 solos stops, as a sophomore at Carroll…also competes in track and field…was part of the 4x100-meter relay squad that advanced to the 2016 Class 3A state meet.

Personal: Parents are Charlynn Durham and B.J. Gibson…in February 2016, helped first responders resuscitate a man found unresponsive outside an area grocery store…cousin Kareem Gibson, is a defensive back at Virginia.


Zachary Hauschild

6-6 | 315 | Offensive Line
Clearwater, Fla.
Clearwater High School

High School: Second-team All-Tampa Bay area honoree as a senior by the Tampa Bay Times…named first-team All-Pinellas County as a senior…played in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl…played left tackle…Clearwater was undefeated in the regular season for the first time since 1970…the Tornadoes won their first playoff game in 13 seasons…posted a 10-win season…as a junior, was a second-team All-Pinellas County selection…two-time all-conference pick as an offensive lineman…coach was Don Mesick.


James Jackson

6-2 | 230 | Defensive End
St. Paul, Minn.
Cretin-Derham High School

High School: A two-star recruit by 247sports.com…ranked as the No. 30 recruit in Minnesota by 247sports.com…First-team all-state selection by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and The Associated Press as a defensive lineman…also a first-team USA Today 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Minnesota Football Team selection…played in the 2016 Minnesota High School All-Star Game…KARE 11 All-Metro Defensive selection…Minneapolis Star Tribune All-Metro First-team Defense pick…as a senior had 62 total tackles, including eight TFLs and two sacks…as a junior had 33 tackles, 10 TFLs and four sacks…coach was Mike Scanlan.


Melvin Jackson

6-0 | 170 | Defensive Back
Cleveland, Ohio
Lakewood St. Edward High School

High School: A two-star recruit by 247sports.com…ranked as the No. 94 recruit in Ohio by 247sports.com…second-team Division I All-Ohio selection as a defensive back and third-team pick as a running back…was a first-team Division I All-Northeast Lakes District pick as a defensive back…named to the Cleveland.com Defense All-Star team…as a senior, had 63 tackles, 10 pass breakups and four interceptions…also blocked four kicks…St. Ed's was 9-3 dropping a tough 38-31 decision in overtime to Cleveland St. Ignatius in the state quarterfinals…as a junior, was an honorable-mention All-Northeast Lakes District pick…coach was Tom Lombardo.


Miles Joiner

6-4 | 215 | Tight End
Dayton, Ohio
Butler High School

High School: Played just two years of high school football…spent senior season at Butler High School…caught 21 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown…Butler went 5-5 in 2016…coach at Butler was Nathan Hyatt…played wide receiver and tight end at Chaminade Julienne in 2015… key contributor on the basketball team at Butler.


Sherrod Paige

6-2 | 190 | Safety
Tampa, Fla.
Tampa Bay Tech High School / Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College: Had a team-best 54 tackles in 2016…was second on the squad with 36 solo stops…intercepted three passes…had a season-best 10 stops in finale vs. Saddleback.

High School: Played safety and cornerback…Honorable-Mention All-Hillsborough County selection as a senior…had 59 total tackles, including 32 solo stops…intercepted two passes…coach was Jayson Roberts.


Tyler Sims

6-2 | 220 | Linebacker
Columbia, S.C.
Richland Northeast High School / Highland CC

Highland CC: As a sophomore had 39 total tackles, including seven sacks and 11 TFLs…recorded sacks in six of 10 games during the year…had six tackles in three contests…finished with a high four solo stops against Garden City…Highland posted a 7-4 record…Scotties had best record since 1994…as a freshman had 29 tackles, three TFLs and a pair of sacks…coach was Aaron Arnold.

High School: Played outside linebacker and defensive end...credited with 103 tackles, 10 TFLs, six sacks and 13 QB hurries...also played halfback...coach was Jay Frye.


Christian Turner

5-10 | 190 | Running Back
Cincinnati, Ohio
La Salle High School

High School: Second-Team Ohio Division II selection…versatile player who saw time at running back and wide receiver…First-Team Division II All-Southwest District honoree…named the GCL South and Cincinnati Enquirer's Offensive Player of the Year…was a first-team All-Greater Catholic League selection…caught 45 passes for 628 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season…also rushed for 385 yards on 59 attempts and had two scores…had 1,083 all-purpose yards in the regular season…overall La Salle was 12-3 and won the Ohio Division II State Championship beating Massillon Perry 14-7 in the title game…in championship game had 76 yards rushing on 10 carries…also in 2016, La Salle won its first outright Greater Catholic League South title in school history…as a junior had 35 rushes for 345 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season (10 games)…caught 14 passes for 176 yards and two scores…La Salle also won Division II State Championship in 2015 posting a 14-1 record…La Salle defeated Macedonia Nordonia 55-20 in the title game.


Joined the @YoungstownStFB Program in January

Chris Durkin

6-4 | 220 | Tight End
Youngstown, Ohio
Ursuline High School / Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech: In 2016, appeared in three games playing against Liberty, Boston College and North Carolina as a tight end…in 2015, played in three games ... logged nine total plays, six at quarterback and three on special teams...made collegiate debut vs. Furman...had four carries for 25 yards vs. Furman…also saw action against Purdue and East Carolina…redshirted in 2014…played for coaches Frank Beamer and Justin Fuente.

High School: Played quarterback for Ursuline...an Offense-Defense All-America Game selection…threw for more than 500 yards and rushed for more than 500 yards despite battling turf toe part of his senior season in 2013…passed for 887 yards and six touchdowns and ran for 722 yards and seven scores as a junior in 2012…listed as the No. 16 pro-style quarterback in the nation and the No. 20 prospect in Ohio by Rivals...ranked as the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 15 player in his state by 247Sports...coach was Larry Kempe…graduated in 2014.

Personal: Father played baseball at YSU from 1989-91 and was inducted in the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.


DJ Smalls

6-0 | 180 | Cornerback
Irmo, S.C.
Dutch Fork High School / Hutchinson CC

HUTCHINSON: As a freshman, played in 10 games…recorded 29 total tackles, 19 of which were solo stops…recovered a fumble for a touchdown against Butler CC…coach was Rion Rhoades.