Photo by Andrew Brown / MTSU Sidelines
In college football’s first-ever early signing day, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders got to work on their 2018 class by signing 11 players on Wednesday.
MTSU added depth along the offensive line and at quarterback, while also filling some holes on both sides of the ball.
By position, the Raiders inked five offensive lineman, two quarterbacks, one cornerback, one safety, one linebacker and a wide receiver.
Offensive tackle, Lake Brantley High School (Florida)
The 310-pound Falvey boasts the size and strength needed to excel as an offensive tackle.
In high school, he spent time at the guard and tackle position. While playing in a “flexbone” offense, he garnered exceptional run blocking skills.
The Altamonte Springs, Florida native benched 325 pounds and squatted 500 pounds, according to his hudl.
Overall, his 6’4 frame certainly gives him the chance to develop into a well-rounded offensive lineman.
“Tyler is as equally smart on the football field as he is in the classroom,” said Director of Player Personnel Will Redmond. “His awareness and strength are two factors that drew us to him immediately. Tyler’s size is a great upside as well.”
Guard, Chaminade College Prep (Missouri)
Two-star guard Marcus Greer’s toughness and athletic ability make him a perfect fit for MTSU’s offense.
With a 5.09 second 40-yard dash time and a bench max of 330 pounds (per his hudl), Greer has both the speed and strength to take on interior defensive lineman and linebackers.
As a senior at Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis, the two-star guard earned the city’s Offensive Lineman of the Year Award for helping Chaminade to a 5-4 record and a playoff berth.
“Everyone we spoke to about Marcus could not say enough about how tough he was,” Redmond said. “Whether our staff was on the road at summer camps, in high schools, or talking with area coaches, everyone said the same thing … Marcus is tough.”
Center, Trinity Valley Community College (Texas)
Martin gives the Blue Raiders valuable depth behind Robert Behanen at the center position.
With Behanen battling a hip injury this season, MTSU used guard Josh Fannin at center.
Martin’s arrival gives Middle Tennessee a true center with collegiate experience.
The redshirt sophomore started 12 games at Trinity Valley Community College (Texas) this season, and earned First-Team, All-Conference honors as well as bring named a First-Team Junior College All-American.
The three-star center’s finishing ability and urgency to get to the second level allow him to make a huge impact while combo and lead-blocking in the screen game.
“The moment you turn on Matt’s film, you notice the consistency with which he finishes blocks,” Redmond said. “It doesn’t matter if he’s blocking on the line or out in the flat, Matt is going to put everything into his finish.”
Offensive lineman, Blinn College (Texas)
A high school teammate of Martin at Deer Park High School (Texas), Gilchrist brings Middle Tennessee a solid option anywhere along the offensive front.
At Blinn College, Gilchrist played in eight games at tackle as a freshman, and had reps at guard, tackle and center as a sophomore.
The junior’s versatility likely means he should be competing for a starting position next season.
After being offered by Conference USA rival North Texas just two days ago, Middle Tennessee received Gilchrist’s national letter of intent on Wednesday morning at 7:22 a.m.
“Will is one of those players that loves contact,” Redmond said. “He’s constantly searching for the next block and works hard getting to the second level of defenders. Recruiting Will was fun because he was high school teammates with (Matt Martin).”
Guard/tackle, Central High School (Alabama)
Ryles is another ‘big cat’ that can play both the guard and tackle spots.
The Phenix City, Alabama native earned All-State honors as both a junior and senior, and was invited to play in the Alabama vs. Mississippi All-Star game following an 11-1 run at Central High School this season.
Ryles possesses elite strength, especially in the legs and hips. The two-star lineman squats 445 pounds, dead lifts 525 pounds and power cleans 285 pounds.
“Jahlil continues the theme of tough-nosed offensive lineman,” Redmond said. “He was an Alabama vs. Mississippi All-Star selection and his work this season proved that. Jahlil has seen a lot of success on and off the football field, and we are excited he will be joining us here in Murfreesboro.”
Dual-threat, Northwest Whitfield County High School (Georgia)
Shiflett’s ability to run a spread offense much like that of Tony Franklin‘s gives one reason to be optimistic about this being the biggest splash for MTSU.
Voted the Region 6-4A Player of the Year as just a sophomore, Shiflett’s dominance in the high school game against some of Georgia’s toughest competition will prepare him to take over the reigns after Brent Stockstill‘s departure next year.
In his high school career, Shiflett eclipsed the 5,000 yard passing and 2,000 rushing yard marks.
The three-star recruit is rated as the 36th best dual-threat quarterback in the nation per 247 sports.
“Luke is a fantastic quarterback and athlete from the Dalton, Georgia area,” Redmond said. “We witnessed his ability at our summer camps over the years and knew he would be a player for us to keep an eye on.”
Pro-style quarterback, Paloma Valley High School (California)
Chance Nolan embodies a true ‘west coast’ quarterback mantra, as the pro-style quarterback from California provides the Raiders with another hat to throw in the mix for the post-Stockstill era.
Nolan is also rated in the top 100 best quarterbacks in the nation for his skill set, coming in as the 87th best signal caller per 247 sports.
In his career at Paloma Valley High School (California), Nolan threw for 9,024 yards and 104 touchdowns. As a senior, he led the Wildcats to a 10-2 record and CIF playoff berth.
“Chance is a great quarterback and competitor,” Redmond said. “His football intelligence and driven personality make him a great fit for what coach Stockstill and coach Franklin want in their quarterbacks.”
Cornerback/safety, ASA College (New York)
Gladney’s footwork and sound tackling gives MTSU the option to use him as either a corner or safety.
Gladney did everything as a sophomore. The three-star recruit racked up 35 tackles, seven tackles for loss, a pair of sacks, eight pass deflections and an interception.
“Kendricks is a hard worker and a hard hitter,” Redmond said. “In both run fits and pass coverage, Kendricks will have an opportunity to make an impact with our team next season.”
Cornerback, Northwest Mississippi Community College
With SEC and JUCO experience in the highly-touted Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC), Stamps has a good shot of stepping in as a starting cornerback in his redshirt junior season.
Last season at Northwest Mississippi Community College, the Mississippi native tallied 34 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a pass breakup and an interception.
Stamps chose MTSU over C-USA champion Florida Atlantic after visiting FAU last week.
“Chris is a great football player and young man,” Redmond said. “He has SEC experience, which will be nice to add in our secondary, and was a target early in the recruiting process for us. Coupled with his leadership skills and athletic ability, Chris has the makeup to be a special player at MT.”
Wide receiver/slot back, Santa Ana Community College (California)
The shifty Devon Jackson’s hands and speed allow him to be plugged in as both a slot and outside receiver.
The Washington native averaged over 100 yards receiving per game this season and hauled in 14 touchdown receptions.
“It’s hard not to like Devon Jackson when you meet him,” Redmond said. “Devon is a highly productive player and competes for every ball thrown his way. Devon’s work after the catch is also very impressive.”
Inside linebacker, Golden West College (California)
Jones’ JUCO experience at the linebacker spot should be a key factor into helping him make an impact on an ever-changing MTSU linebacker corp.
With the departures of D.J. Sanders, Miles Harges and Malik Hawkins, Jones should work his way into the rotation and possibly fill the starting slot vacated by Sanders in 2018.
In his sophomore campaign at Golden West College (California), Jones proved he could be a defensive stalwart. The California native amassed 45 tackles, eight tackles for loss, an interception, two sacks and two fumble recoveries.
“Avery is an exciting linebacker to watch,” Redmond said. “He’s constantly around the football as a middle-backer. At one point in his career, Avery played on the defensive line, and we loved the idea of taking an athletic middle linebacker with some (defensive line) experience.”