Troy University 2015 signing class - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Troy University 2015 signing class

 The following is from a press release provided by Troy University.

TROY, Alabama – Troy football head coach Neal Brown announced the signing of 17 student-athletes to a grant-in-aid Wednesday to push his initial signing class as Troy's head coach to 22 players for the 2015 season.

“I thought our staff did a tremendous job with only about six weeks to work and a big chunk of that coming during a dead period,” Brown said. “I'm really proud of the work those guys put in. Looking at the board, we put an emphasis on length and I think we were able to do that. From an offensive standpoint, we put a huge emphasis on the offensive line and defensively wanted to get as many long and athletic bodies as we possibly could.

“I think we set the tone with this class. As we look forward to the 2016 class, where we have a full 12 or 13 months to recruit, I think we put some schools on lookout that have traditionally come into our territory and had some success that past few years. We were able to flip some guys late in the process and I'm proud of the staff for the tiresome work they put into this class.” 

Troy's signing class features eight players on the offensive side and 14 on the defensive side. The Trojans focused heavily on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball with the addition of four offensive linemen and four defensive linemen.

The signing class features 10 players who earned a three-star rating from the major recruiting services. Brown's staff pulled nine players from the state of Alabama and five from Georgia. Troy also signed players from Mississippi (3), South Carolina (2), Florida (2) and Louisiana (1).

2015 Troy Football Signing Class

Name                                           Pos.                 Ht.             Wt.                                                       Hometown / Previous School

Antione Barker                           DE                    6-3            215                                      Pensacola, Fla. / Pensacola Christian HS

Zach Branner                              OL                    6-4            320                                                       Huntsville, Ala. / Buckhorn HS

Payton Carter                             WR                   6-3            185                                        New Brockton, Ala. / New Brockton HS

* LaMarcus Farmer                    CB                    6-0            167                                                                        Pensacola, Fla. / UAB

Tron Folsom                               S                       6-1            196                                                         Alma, Ga. / Bacon County HS

Richard Hallman                        WR                   6-4            185                                                Powder Springs, Ga. / Hillgrove HS

Kirk Kelley                                    OL                    6-4            295                                                           Marrero, La. / John Ehret HS

Damien Kemp                             OL                    6-6            294                                           Greensboro, Ga. / Greene County HS

Demone Kemp                           DT                    6-3            269                                           Greensboro, Ga. / Greene County HS 

* William Lloyd                           LB                     6-0            215                                          Rosedale, Miss. / East Mississippi CC

* Justin Lucas                             LB                     5-10         220                                         Aberdeen, Miss. / East Mississippi CC

Jawon McDowell                       CB                    5-10         180                                              Mobile, Ala. / UMS-Wright Prep HS

Uvakeious McGhee                   DE                    6-4            235                                                  Montgomery, Ala. / Jeff Davis HS

* Gardner Minshew                  QB                    6-1            215                                                        Brandon, Miss. / Brandon HS

James Peach                               OL                    6-6            275                                                          Brewton, Ala. / T.R. Miller HS

Cedarius Rookard                      S                       5-11         195                                               Spartanburg, S.C. / Spartanburg HS

* Jalen Rountree                        CB                    5-11         170                                              Warner Robins, Ga. / Coffeyville CC

Ismail Saleem                              WR                   5-10         172                                                        Montgomery, Ala. / Carver HS

Doug Salter                                 LB                     6-0            210                                                              Brantley, Ala. / Brantley HS

Trevon Sanders                          DT                    6-1            308                                Charleston, S.C. / Garrett Academy Tech HS

A.J. Smiley                                    LB                     6-2            210                                                           Hoover, Ala. / Spain Park HS

Melvin Tyus                                S                       6-0            198                                                        Montgomery, Ala. / Carver HS

* Enrolled spring semester

 Positional Breakdown

Quarterback – 1

Wide Receiver – 3

Offensive Lineman – 4

Defensive End – 2

Defensive Tackle – 2

Linebacker – 4

Cornerback – 3

Safety – 3

State Breakdown

Alabama – 9

Georgia – 5

Mississippi – 3

Florida – 2

South Carolina – 2

Louisiana – 1

Antione Barker (DE, 6-3, 215, Pensacola, Fla. / Pensacola Christian HS)

High School

Selected to play in the Subway High School All-Star Game after recording 73 tackles, 7.0 sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior at Pensacola Christian High School … Added 71 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and three fumble recoveries as a junior for the Crusaders … Returned a fumble for a touchdown during his junior season


Full name is Antione Sebastian Barker … Son of Coreine Barker … Born May 29, 1996

Zach Branner (OL, 6-4, 320, Huntsville, Ala. / Buckhorn HS)

High School

Two-time first team all-region selection at Buckhorn High School … Also earned back-to-back all-metro honors for the Bucks … Named all-state honorable mention following his senior year … Finished his senior season with 121 pancake blocks as Buckhorn made the Alabama 7A playoffs


Full name is Zachary Todd Branner … Born Nov. 5, 1996, in Huntsville, Ala. … Son of Paula and Phillip Branner … Has one brother, Brandon, and two sisters, Taylor and Savannah

Payton Carter (WR, 6-3, 185, New Brockton, Ala. / New Brockton HS)

High School

Earned all-county honors following his senior season at New Brockton High School … Earned AHSAA Spotlight honors after rushing for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, including runs of 75 and 49 yards, against Providence Christian; also threw a 6-yard touchdown pass … Named the Southeast Sun All-Around Player of the Year … Played wide receiver, quarterback and safety … Also played basketball and baseball


Full name is Anthony Payton Carter … Son of Cynthia and Anthony Carter … Born Sept. 9, 1997 … Has one brother, Taylor, and one sister, Timaya

LaMarcus Farmer (CB, 6-0, 185, Pensacola, Fla. / UAB)



Finished the 2014 season with 25 tackles, two interceptions, 70 interception return yards, three pass break ups and a fumble recovery ... Started five games as a junior and 20 in his career ... Had a season-high five tackles against Western Kentucky and North Texas ... Intercepted passes against Alabama A&M and North Texas


Saw action in seven games, the first four and the last three (due to injury) ... Started five contests (LSU, Northwestern State, Vanderbilt, Rice and Southern Miss) ... Recorded 34 tackles during the season to rank No. 8 on the team in overall stops ... Had 20 solo tackles ... Finished the year with 4.0 tackles for loss and one sack (vs. Southern Miss) ... Recorded a pair of tackles for loss in final game vs. Golden Eagles ... One interception (vs. Southern Miss) for the season, returning the pick 17 yards ... Had season-best seven tackles against Southern Miss ... Also registered six tackles against East Carolina and Rice ... Recovered a fumble in season opener against Troy


Started at corner in 10 games for UAB ... Finished the season as the fifth-leading tackler on the team with 50 stops, including 28 stops ... Had four tackles for loss (-17 yards) ... Led Blazers with eight pass breakups ... Registered season-high 13 tackles against Houston ... Also had a tackle for loss against the Cougars ... Recorded seven tackles in UAB's win at Southern Miss ... Posted five tackles against East Carolina and had four versus Tulsa ... Had second-most punt returns on the team with nine for 66 yards

High School

Attended West Florida Tech in Pensacola ... Family moved to Birmingham after he graduated from high school ... Also played basketball and ran on track team at West Florida Tech


Full name is LaMarcus Farmer … Born Sept. 22, 1992, in Pensacola, Fla. ... Son of Sabrina and Marcus Farmer … Has a brother, Damarius, and two sisters, LaChina and Elasha … Cousin Nelson Rosario played at UCLA and in the NFL … Majoring in sociology 

Tron Folsom (S, 6-1, 196, Alma, Ga., Bacon County HS)

High School

Named to the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AA All-State Second Team as a defensive back … Earned first team all-region honors as a wide receiver at Bacon County High School … Versatile player for the Raiders as he played running back, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and safety


Full name is Tron Folsom … Son of Tasharah Folsom … Born Sept. 27, 1996 … Has two brothers, Tavares and Demetrius Barnes

Richard Hallman (WR, 6-4, 185, Powder Springs, Ga. / Hillgrove HS)

High School

Earned all-region and all-county honors as a senior at Hillgrove High School … Finished his senior season with 65 receptions for 875 yards and nine touchdowns … Set the Hillgrove school record with a 97-yard touchdown reception against Roswell High School … Helped lead the Hawks to the playoffs all four year … Hillgrove finished with at least nine wins in three of his four seasons and with 11 wins twice


Full name is Richard Hallman … Son of Robyn Mitchell … Born Aug. 26, 1997, in Miami, Fla. … Has one brother, Devin, and one sister, Tayhlor

Kirk Kelley (OL, 6-4, 295, Marrero, La. / John Ehret HS)

High School

Earned first team all-district honors as a senior at John Ehret High School ... Named to the Jefferson Parish All-Star Team … As a junior and senior, helped lead an impressive turnaround for the Patriots – John Ehret went 2-17 combined the prior two years and 17-3 during his final two seasons … Also played baseball – two-time all-district selection … Went 7-4 with a 2.49 ERA and 86 strikeouts as a junior


Full name is Kirk Kelley, Jr. … Son of Tiffany Chambers and Kirk Kelley … Born Aug. 14, 1997, in Metairie, La. … Has one brother, Brian Chambers, and one sister, Kobe Kai

Damien Kemp (OL, 6-6, 294, Greensboro, Ga. / Greene County HS)

High School

Named to the Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State Second Team (Class AA) following his senior and junior seasons at Greene County High School … Two-time all-region selection for the Tigers … Finished his senior season with 38 pancake blocks … Member of the Greene County basketball and track & field teams


Full name is Damien Ramaud Kemp … Son of Daphne Reid and Ricardo Kemp … Born Nov. 8, 1995, in Greensboro, Ga. … Has a twin brother Demone, who also signed with the Trojans, and one sister, Shanteal Merritt … Damien is the youngest of the twins

Demone Kemp (DT, 6-3, 269, Greensboro, Ga. / Greene County HS)

High School

Named to the Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State Second Team (Class AA) following his senior season at Greene County High School … Finished his career with 262 tackles, 37 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 18 quarterback hurries … Named the Region Co-Defensive Player of the Year … Set the Greene County school record with 15.5 sacks as a senior … Second-leading scorer on the Tigers' basketball team … Also a member of the track & field team


Full name is Demone Rashaund Kemp … Son of Daphne Reid and Ricardo Kemp … Born Nov. 8, 1995, in Greensboro, Ga. … Has a twin brother Damien, who also signed with the Trojans, and one sister, Shanteal Merritt … Demone is the oldest of the twins

William Lloyd (LB, 6-0, 215, Rosedale, Miss. / East Mississippi CC)

East Mississippi CC

Helped lead East Mississippi CC to back-to-back NJCAA National Championships in 2013 and 2014; the Lions were a perfect 24-0 during his career … Recorded 72 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, an interception, nine pass break ups and recovered three fumbles as a sophomore … East Mississippi held opponents to 7.6 points, 181.3 yards of total offense and 44.8 rushing yards during his sophomore campaign … As a freshman, recorded 27 tackles and three tackles for loss … The Lions held opponents to just 9.8 points, 142.1 yards of total offense and 59.2 rushing yards his freshman season

High School

Named the Mississippi 2A Player of the Year following his junior season; helped lead the Eagles to a 15-1 record and the Mississippi state championship … Finished the year with 140 tackles and 636 rushing yards … Earned first team all-state honors as a junior and senior at West Bolivar High School … As a senior, helped lead the Eagles to an 11-3 record as he finished with 139 tackles; was a two-way star as he rushed for 821 yards and eight touchdowns and had 245 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver … Finished his sophomore season with 133 tackles … Three-time all-district selection


Full name is William Ju'Fon Lloyd … Son of Debbie Tucker and Willie Lloyd, Sr. … Has a brother, Willie Lloyd, Jr., and two sisters, Na'Tashia Lewis and Monique Lewis … Born Oct. 24, 1994, in Bessemer, Ala. … Majoring in accounting

Justin Lucas (LB, 5-10, 220, Aberdeen, Miss. / East Mississippi CC)

East Mississippi CC

Helped lead East Mississippi CC to back-to-back NJCAA National Championships in 2013 and 2014; the Lions were a perfect 24-0 during his career … Named EMCC's Defensive MVP in the 2014 NJCAA Football Championship Game as he finished with 14 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in East Mississippi's 34-17 victory over Iowa Western CC … Earned first team all-state honors after he finished his sophomore season with 85 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, one pass break up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery … East Mississippi held opponents to 7.6 points, 181.3 yards of total offense and 44.8 rushing yards during his sophomore campaign … As a freshman, finished the season with 22 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception and two pass break ups … The Lions held opponents to just 9.8 points, 142.1 yards of total offense and 59.2 rushing yards his freshman season  … Earned all-state (3A) honors as a senior at Aberdeen High School as he finished with 108 tackles, five tackles for loss, three interceptions and a fumble recovery … Also rushed for 225 yards and nine touchdowns, while catching six passes for 94 yards and three scores as the Bulldogs finished the year 11-3

High School

Earned all-state and all-district honors at Aberdeen High School … Finished his senior year with 108 tackles, three interceptions, 225 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns … Helped lead the Bulldogs to a pair of Mississippi 3A state title games (2009 & 2010)


Full name is Justin Javar Lucas … Son of Jayne Lucas and David Williams … Born Nov. 10, 1994, in Aberdeen, Miss. … Has one brother, Jordan … Cousin Channing Word plays football at Ole Miss … Majoring in physical education

Jawon McDowell (CB, 5-10, 180, Mobile, Ala. / UMS-Wright Prep HS)

High School

Earned all-state, all-area and all-region honors as a senior at UMS-Wright Prep High School … Helped lead the Bulldogs to the fourth round of the Alabama 4A playoffs his final two seasons with a combined 23-5 record … Finished his senior season with 53 tackles, an interception, 12 pass break ups, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles … Offensively, rushed for 523 yards and 10 touchdowns and finished with 886 all-purpose yards … As a junior, totaled 55 tackles, two interceptions, six pass break ups and a forced fumble … Had a breakout season as a sophomore as UMS-Wright won the Alabama 4A state title … Finished the year with 53 tackles, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 12 pass break ups … Finished his career with 188 tackles, seven interceptions, six fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles, 10 blocked field goals and 32 pass break ups … Also ran track for the Bulldogs and won the Alabama 4A 400 meter championship


Full name is Jawon Isiah McDowell … Born Feb. 18, 1997, in Mobile, Ala. … Son of Ebony and Carl McDowell … Has one sister, Aryn

Uvakeious McGhee (DE, 6-4, 235, Montgomery, Ala. / Jeff Davis HS)

High School

Earned all-state honors as a senior at Jeff Davis High School … Helped lead the Vols to the Alabama 7A playoffs … Finished the year with 60 tackles, 10.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles … Named all-metro … As a junior, posted 82 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks … Played defensive end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker and tight end … Also played soccer and competed in track & field for the Vols


Full name is Uvakeious Darnell McGhee … Son of Joann and Billy Davis … Born Oct. 23, 1996, in Montgomery, Ala. … Has two brothers, Joseph Davis and Quirous McGhee, and a one sister, Koaliyah Young

Gardner Minshew (QB, 6-1, 215, Brandon, Miss. / Brandon HS)

High School

Three-time all-state selection at Brandon High School, including first team all-state honors as a senior … Graduated early and enrolled at Troy during the Spring 2015 semester … Threw for 3,541 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior as he helped lead the Bulldogs to the Mississippi 6A semifinals … Finished his career with 11,222 passing yards and 105 total touchdowns … Named MVP of the Rivals Regional Camp and the Nike Football Training Camp … First three-time Metro Player of the Week winner … Named Jackson TD Club Metro Player of the Year as a sophomore; threw for 3,000 yards and 33 touchdowns … Threw for 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior … Holds all of Brandon High School's major passing records … Threw 12 touchdowns in six varsity games as a freshman … Threw for 455 yards and four touchdowns in a win over rival Meridian High School


Full name is Gardner Flint Minshew … Born May 16, 1996, in Flowood, Miss. … Son of Kim and Flint Minshew … Father played football at Millsaps College and is a member of the school's hall of fame … Has two sisters, Meredith and Callie … Majoring in business

James Peach (OL, 6-6, 275, Brewton, Ala. / T.R. Miller HS)

High School

Two-time all-state selection at T.R. Miller High School; earned first team honors as a junior and second team honors as a senior … Helped lead the Tigers to a combined 41-8 record over his four years, including a 22-3 mark as an upperclassman … Named to the Coastal Alabama All-Region Second Team


Full name is James Edward Peach III … Son of Ann and Chip Peach … Born Sept. 19, 1996, in Brewton, Ala. … Has two sisters, Amelia and Carli

Cedarius Rookard (S, 5-11, 195, Spartanburg, S.C. / Spartanburg HS)

High School

Finished his senior season at Spartanburg High School with 69 tackles, four interceptions, which he returned for 105 yards, one sack, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and a pair of pass break ups … Also accounted for 840 kickoff return yards, with an average of 44.2 yards per return … Averaged 26.7 yards per punt return … Returned four kickoffs and three punts for a touchdown … Caught five passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns … Helped lead Spartanburg to a 12-3 record and the South Carolina 4A Division 2 state title … Selected to play in the Shrine Bowl … Featured on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays (No. 2 play) with a one-handed 58-yard touchdown reception … As a junior, recorded 45 tackles, three pass break ups, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown


Full name is Cedarius Rookard … Son of Shalanda Dawkins

Jalen Rountree (CB, 5-11, 170, Warner Robins, Ga. / Coffeyville CC)

Coffeyville CC

Earned first team All-Jayhawk Conference honors following his sophomore season as he helped lead Coffeyville to a berth in the Heart of Texas Bowl and a No. 10 final ranking in the NJCAA poll … Finished the season with 48 tackles, half a sack and an interception … Recovered a couple of fumbles as the Red Ravens finished the season 9-3 … As a freshman, Rountree forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, intercepted one pass, recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and finished with 34 tackles

High School

Named to the Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State First Team in Class AAAA as a senior at Warner Robins High School after he finished with eight interceptions, two of which he returned for a touchdown … Helped lead Warner Robins to an 11-3 record and a trip to the fourth round of the playoffs … Also played basketball for the Demons


Full name is Jalen Marquette Rountree … Son of Katrina Efford and Jermaine Rountree … Born Sept. 24, 1993, in Warner Robins, Ga. … Has two brothers, Jermaine and Quavion … Majoring in sociology

Ismail Saleem (WR, 5-10, 172, Montgomery, Ala. / Carver HS)

High School

Helped lead Carver High School to a 9-3 record as a senior and a trip to the second round of the Alabama 6A playoffs … Caught 47 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns; averaged 14.9 yards per reception and 70.1 yards per game … Also rushed once for 26 yards and a score … Returned kicks and punts in addition to playing wide receiver … As a junior (St. Jude High School), won the Alabama 1A state title in the 100m and 200m dash … Earned 1A-4A all-state honorable mention distinction at St. Jude … Also won track state titles in the 60m and 400m dash … Posted career-best times of 6.95 (60m), 10.84 (100m), 21.97 (200m), 50.0 (400m)


Full name is Ismail Nep Saleem … Son of Glenda Davis and Akmal Saleem … Has two sisters, Victoria and Veronica Davis … Born Sept. 5, 1997, in Montgomery, Ala.

Doug Salter (LB, 6-0, 210, Brantley, Ala. / Brantley HS)

High School

Named second team all-state after finishing his senior season at Brantley High School with 88 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions and five forced fumbles; also rushed for 223 yards and seven touchdowns … Helped lead the Bulldogs to a 12-1 record and a berth in the Alabama 1A quarterfinals … Named first team all-state as a junior … Finished with 114 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss, two sacks and eight forced fumbles; also rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns … Started 42 consecutive games to close out his career … Participated in the Nike and Under Armour Elite Combine … Also earned all-county as a junior and senior … Started as a sophomore on Brantley's 2012 state championship team that recorded 10 shutouts; named to the all-state honorable mention list … Brantley went a combined 38-4 over his three years as a starter … Was the Student Council President


Full name is Douglas Lee Salter, Jr. … Son of Annie and Douglas Salter, Sr. … Born Jan. 12, 1996, in Andalusia, Ala. … Has four brothers, Jermany, Johnathan, Andre and William

Trevon Sanders (DT, 6-1, 308, Charleston, S.C. / Garrett Academy Tech HS)

High School

Selected to play in the Shrine Bowl following his senior season at the Garrett Academy of Technology


Full name is Trevon Sanders … Born April 25, 1997, in Charleston, S.C. … Son of Shawn Sanders … Has one sister, Tre'Asia Anderson … Cousin Jarriel King played football at South Carolina and for the Seattle Seahawks, currently plays for the Toronto Argonauts (CFL)

A.J. Smiley (LB, 6-2, 210, Hoover, Ala. / Spain Park HS)

High School

Named to the Alabama 7A ASWA All-State Second Team … Selected to the All-Over the Mountain Football Team following his senior year at Spain Park High School … Totaled 43 tackles, one tackle for loss and a pair of interceptions for the Jaguars as a senior … As a junior, accounted for 32 tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss … Two-year starter for the varsity basketball team


Full name is Anthony Bruce Smiley … Son of Candace Grimes-Smiley and Anthony B. Smiley … Born Aug. 16, 1996, in Birmingham, Ala. … Father played football at Alabama under Bear Bryant (1980-83) and cousin Rickey Smiley is a radio personality and comedian

Melvin Tyus (S, 6-0, 198, Montgomery, Ala. / Carver HS)

High School

Helped lead Carver High School to a 9-3 record as a senior and a trip to the second round of the Alabama 6A playoffs … Played wide receiver, running back and free safety in addition to returning kicks and punts for the Wolverines … Selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game after he finished his senior season with 78 tackles, four interceptions and eight pass break ups … Earned all-metro honors … As a junior, finished with 62 tackles, two interceptions and six pass break ups … Caught 55 passes for 730 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore  … Also played baseball and ran track for the Wolverines


Full name is Melvin Nathaniel Tyus, Jr. … Son of Latonja and Melvin Tyus, Sr. … Born Jan. 27, 1997, in Montgomery, Ala. … Has two brothers, Steven Bell and Therrell Tyus, and one sister, Andrea Tyus … Brother Therrell played football at Alabama State
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