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Roster revamp: App State football affected by transfer portal

Ashton Woodruff
Quarterback Joey Aguilar prepares to take the snap against No. 17 North Carolina Sept. 9. Aguilar will return to the Mountaineers in 2024.

In the new college football landscape, the transfer portal has become key to the offseason for teams across the country. App State lost 13 players this offseason to the portal, but brought in eight of their own, including five players from Power Five schools.

Outgoing Transfers:

Nate Noel, running back

Noel departs from App State with the eighth-most career rushing yards in program history at 3,074. He contributed 18 touchdowns over his four years as a Mountaineer and was awarded with All-Sun Belt First Team honors in 2021 for leading the conference in rushing yards. Injuries held back Noel the last two years at App State, affecting what could have been monstrous season rushing totals. This past season in the first five games, Noel had already totaled 651 yards and was at the top of the leaderboard for several rushing statistics amongst all college running backs. Noel has committed to play the 2024 season with the Missouri Tigers and former App State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz.  

Dashaun Davis, wide receiver

Davis hauled in 926 receiving yards and seven touchdowns over his five years at App State. His best game came against North Carolina in 2023 when he caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown in an overtime loss. Davis has committed to play for the UT Martin Skyhawks in the upcoming 2024 season.

Milan Tucker, wide receiver

During his Mountaineer tenure, Tucker took snaps as a wide receiver, cornerback and kickoff return specialist. In 2022, he was awarded with Second Team All-American honors as a kick returner. In that season, he totaled 620 yards including a 96-yard kickoff return touchdown against Marshall. In 2023, he added 547 kick return yards to his resume and contributed 305 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. Tucker committed to the Florida Atlantic Owls, returning to his home state. 

Donovan Spellman, edge rusher

In two seasons, Spellman tallied 18 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and an interception that came in 2023 against Marshall. Spellman will stay in-state and transfer to the UNC-Charlotte 49ers.

Quarterback Ryan Burger rushes away from the Bulldog defenders Sept. 2. Burger will suit up for the Liberty Flames in 2024. (Ashton Woodruff)

Ryan Burger, quarterback

Burger played in two games as a Mountaineer. First, in a blowout win over Robert Morris in 2022 and then the 2023 season-opener against Gardner-Webb. Head coach Shawn Clark gave Burger the starting job going into the 2023 season, but a finger injury in his first game as the starter led to missed time and eventually losing the starting job with the emergence of transfer quarterback Joey Aguilar. Burger leaves App State totaling 11 completions for 113 yards and a touchdown. He’s committed to play for the Liberty Flames in 2024.

Deshawn McKnight, defensive line

Over three seasons, McKnight accumulated 23 total tackles, two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble against James Madison in 2022. He was a three-star recruit out of Sumter High School in Sumter, South Carolina. Currently, McKnight does not have a transfer destination. 

Connor Maynard, punter

Maynard contributed as the backup punter and the holder on extra point and field goal attempts. He’s decided to transfer to in-state rival East Carolina. 

Seth Williams, offensive line

Williams served as a backup interior offensive lineman, appearing in several games over the last three seasons. He was a three-star recruit out of Statesville High School in Statesville. Williams will suit up for the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in the 2024 season.

Coen Sutton, wide receiver

The younger brother to successful Mountaineer Corey Sutton, Coen Sutton never saw significant action for the Mountaineers. He was a two-star recruit out of high school. Sutton’s next step is the Georgetown Hoyas.

James Edwards, cornerback

A three-star recruit out of high school, Edwards appeared in one game as a true freshman. He will transfer to Tennessee Tech and become a Golden Eagle.

Joseph Solomon, offensive line

Solomon transferred from Tulane in 2023, but didn’t make any significant on-field contributions for the Mountaineers. Solomon has not yet announced where he will transfer to in 2024. 

Tony Harris, cornerback

Harris didn’t get any defensive snaps for the Mountaineers, but came to App State as an all-state and all-conference high school defender. Harris will play in 2024 for the Lafayette Leopards.

Jake Mann, long snapper

Mann came to App State as a transfer from Oklahoma. He served as the long snapper on every kick or punt in 2022, but did not make any appearances in 2023. Mann plans to transfer again, but his transfer destination has not been announced. 


Incoming Transfers:

Charles Wright, quarterback

A three-star recruit out of high school, Wright originally committed to play college football at Texas. Wright appeared in four games, but accumulated no stats for the Longhorns. Wright comes to Boone to seemingly serve as the next-in-line behind Aguilar.

Myles Farmer, safety

Farmer is another three-star high school player that got a shot in the Power Five conferences, spending time with Nebraska and Syracuse. In his five seasons he racked up 133 total tackles, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. The Mountaineers get an experienced safety that knows how to play at the highest level.  

William Fowles, wide receiver

Fowles played just one year at Louisville before moving onto the Mountaineers. He caught one pass for seven yards in his lone season with the Cardinals. Fowles is a big-body receiver at 6’3”, 205 pounds and was a three-star recruit out of high school.

Thomas Shrader, offensive line

Shrader appeared in several games as a Florida State Seminole and got one start at left guard his freshman year. Add Shrader to the list of former three-star recruits, transferring to App State from a Power Five school.

Jason Chambers, cornerback

Chambers comes from playing at North Carolina Central at the FCS level. In two years, he totaled 62 tackles, 11 pass deflections, a forced fumble and three interceptions. He was awarded with All-Conference honors in 2023. 

Zavier Short, wide receiver

Short enrolled at South Carolina as a three-star recruit, made the switch from tight end to wide receiver, but didn’t get any playing time in his time as a Gamecock. Short will have to navigate a crowded wide receiver room for the Mountaineers in 2024.

Michael Marotta, offensive line

Coming from Division II Valdosta State, Marotta brings experience at center on the offensive line. He started all 14 games for Valdosta State in 2023 and appeared in several others. Marotta comes to App State with two years left of eligibility.

Avarion Cole, safety

Cole comes from North Carolina A&T to play the “star” position in defensive coordinator Scot Sloan’s scheme. In two seasons, he contributed 72 total tackles, six tackles for  loss, seven pass deflections and three interceptions. The Charlotte-native brings experience to a secondary that is losing key contributors from 2023. 

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About the Contributors
Kolby Shea
Kolby Shea, Reporter
Kolby Shea (he/him) is a senior journalism major, photography minor, from Statesville, NC. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Ashton Woodruff
Ashton Woodruff, Photo Editor
Ashton Woodruff (she/her) is a junior IDS Criminal Justice/Photojournalism major, and a Social Work minor. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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    Michael HilliardFeb 17, 2024 at 7:16 am

    Great article , my sister served on Applachian’s staff, and latter taught journalism as reporter for the Watauga Democrate.Nita Hilliard Smith went on to being an award winning journalist with several newspapers arond the state. She past away this past year but i would like to think she was one of the founding fathers of ASU ‘s journalism dept. This article shows how it can stand up to any other school in the state.

  • S

    Steve GriffinFeb 9, 2024 at 8:51 am

    Really outstanding article. Concise and well broken down. Great job!