App State football welcomes 2020 football recruiting class


Ben Brady, Reporter

After hitting the recruiting trail, App State football finished the signing period with 20 recruits from the class of 2020. 

Adding to a 17-player class from the early signing period in mid-December, the Mountaineers topped off their recruiting class with defensive back Anderson Castle from Watauga High School, former University of Florida tight end commit August Drews and three-star running back Nate Noel. App finished the signing period with the highest-ranked incoming class in the program’s FBS history. 

“We’re excited to welcome the 2020 signing class to The Rock,” head coach Shawn Clark said in a press release. “These young men that signed with us in December and today come from great families, have strong academic backgrounds and add a lot of talent to our football team.” 

The signing class includes five defensive backs, four defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, three linebackers, two tight ends, one quarterback, one receiver and one running back.

The Mountaineers’ recruiting class scored an average player grade of 82.57 from 247Sports, the highest since the FCS-to-FBS transition, and the second-highest average by any Sun Belt team since App State joined the league. It ranks second in the Sun Belt this year, behind Louisiana’s 82.93 average, and among the top 15 nationally for Group of Five programs.

“Overall, we’re excited,” App State recruiting coordinator Justin Watts said. “They have to get here, and then they have to do what we think they can do, and it’s our job to coach them up to what we think they can be. We signed some guys that are long at positions we needed that, and at places like the defensive side of the ball, at receiver, guys that can really run.”

Offensive lineman Damion Daley, linebacker Kevon Haigler, offensive lineman Austin Reeves, quarterback Navy Shuler, defensive back Mike Smith and offensive lineman Seth Williams are in Boone as early enrollees.

  “Our coaches and staff are committed to giving them a world-class experience and continuing to compete for championships,” Clark said. “We will work together every day to carry on the proud tradition of App State Football.”

The 2020 class includes eight of the Mountaineers’ 20 highest-graded prospects since their move to the FBS level, with defensive back Stan Ellis, linebacker Je’Mari Littlejohn, defensive back Tommy Wright and running back Nate Noel all ranking among the top 10.

App State opens in 2020 against Morgan State on Sept. 5 before traveling to Wake Forest and Wisconsin in the following weeks.