Signing Day: With numbers capped, NCCU Coach Frazier deals with needs
N.C. Central coach Henry Frazier III didn’t get lazy after the Eagles’ first winning season since 2007, sitting in his warm office while coaches from other schools were freezing up and down the recruiting trail.
Frazier signed 26 players in 2011 and 27 in 2012.
Entering his third season with the Eagles, Frazier on Wednesday’s national signing day announced the addition of just 13 players.
There’s a reason for that.
“The NCAA has rules, man,” Frazier said. “They only give you a certain amount of scholarships.”
Football Championship Subdivision schools like NCCU are allotted 63 scholarships.
The 13 student-athletes Frazier is bringing in represent the changing culture in NCCU football, no longer scrambling to stock the program with bodies. That job is done, Frazier said.
NCCU now is in a position to be selective, getting players here and there to address specific needs, an ideal position to be in, Frazier said.
“We have what we need to be successful on campus right now,” Frazier said. “We just need to add a few pieces to the puzzle.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job over the years of putting players in the program, and they’re staying.”
NCCU went 6-5 last season and tied for third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at 5-3.
Gone from last year’s team are guys like John Drew, the burly nose guard whose reputation preceded him around the MEAC.
Last season was also the final lap around the MEAC for NCCU wide receiver Geovonie Irvine, the diminutive playmaker from Hillside High School.
NCCU was in particular need at the positions those two played, as well as at tight end, and Frazier said he and his assistant coaches were able to go out and fill those voids.
Among the newcomers is defensive lineman Daniel Rhodes (6-3, 265), a transfer from the University of Illinois. He played tight end at Charlotte Independence and may line up on the offensive side of the ball for NCCU, depending on how he develops, Frazier said.
Wide receiver Antonio Belt (6-0, 170) is transferring from Temple and, like Rhodes, is expected to be in the immediate mix for playing time, Frazier said.
Frazier said he recruited Belt when he was coaching at Prairie View A&M prior to arriving at NCCU.
Felix Small (6-3, 250), a transfer from Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania, is expected to have an immediate impact, Frazier said.
Frazier landed seven defensive linemen who average 6-2 and 259 pounds.
NCCU’s position needs being so specific played a part in the Eagles getting just three recruits from North Carolina, Frazier said.
“We’ll continue to recruit North Carolina,” Frazier said. “Great football.”
Frazier said it’s tough to recruit in North Carolina due to the number of colleges in the state that have football teams.
But if NCCU keeps winning, more and more North Carolina high school seniors will stay in state and play for the Eagles, Frazier said.
2013 N.C. CENTRAL SIGNEES
|William Aaron Jackson||WR/DB||6-0||165||Lorton, Va.||South County HS|
|JaCory Fitzgerald||DL||6-2||245||Dinwiddie, Va.||Dinwiddie County HS|
|Antonio Brown||DL||6-3||245||Jacksonville, Fla.||Nathan B. Forrest HS|
|Tyus White||WR/CB||5-9||160||Stafford, Va.||Brooke Point HS|
|Jon MacBride||TE||6-3||230||Fuquay-Varina||Fuquay-Varina HS|
|Roderick “Dee” Harris||DL||6-1||260||Simpsonville, S.C.||Hillcrest HS|
|Kenjorie Ware||DL||6-0||290||Greenwood, S.C.||Greenwood HS|
|Keiton Burgess||OL||6-4||290||Sumter, S.C.||Crestwood HS|
|Felix Small||DL||6-3||250||Brooklyn, N.Y.||Lackawanna College|
|Antonio Belt||WR||6-0||170||Forestville, Md.||Temple University|
|Ismail Williamson||WR||6-3||200||Fayetteville||E.E. Smith HS|
|Ja’Quan Smith||DL||6-2||260||Miramar, Fla.||Miramar HS|
|Daniel Rhodes||DL||6-3||265||Charlotte||Univ. of Illinois|