SportsAppalachian State football

App State Adds 18 on National Signing Day

Last Updated on December 20, 2023 2:18 pm

BOONE, N.C. — Days after securing a Cure Bowl championship and closing a nine-win season, App State Football head coach Shawn Clark and his staff signed 18 high school recruits from the Class of 2024 on Wednesday, the first day of December's early period.

“We’re very excited for the kids we have that are committed to us who signed today,” Clark said. “I think we have an outstanding class with high character. I know with the kids we have right now and the kids we’re adding today, the future of App State is bright.” 

Signing day officially began at 7 a.m., and paperwork from all 18 signees had been secured by 8:14 a.m. The current class, split evenly with nine offensive players and nine defensive players, includes four offensive linemen, three defensive linemen, three receivers, three safeties, two cornerbacks, one quarterback, one outside linebacker and one tight end.
App State's class brings together talent from high schools in Georgia (nine signees), South Carolina (four), Florida (three), North Carolina and Ohio.

“If you look at the history of our program, we’re going to make a concerted effort to recruit high school players and develop them as both players but also as young men who want to get a world-class degree,” Clark said. “We look for guys who are smart, tough, love football and, more importantly, love App State. I think it’s important to get parents on campus to show what we have to offer. It’s a world-class experience that we have here and App State, and we’ll continue to grow in all aspects of our program.” 

As of now, there are nine signees from Wednesday who plan to enroll early and start classes in January.

Class of 2024 — December Signees

*Dylan Barbrey — OL, West Columbia, S.C. (Airport)
Frank Baret Jr. — WR, Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest)

*Jackson Bussey — DL, Berkeley Lake, Ga. (Norcross)

DeNigel Cooper — DL, Kingsland, Ga. (Camden County)
*Felix Doege — OL, Augsburg, Germany (Rabun Gap-Nacoochee)
Kendall Farmer — DL, Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake)
*Kai Fernandes — SAF, Cumming, Ga. (Denmark)
Gabe Funk — OL, Xenia, Ohio (Xenia)
Bryce Gee — WR, Jacksonville, Fla. (Beachside)
*Jack Kelly — TE, Athens, Ga. (North Oconee)

*Trey Lenhardt — SAF, Watkinsville, Ga. (North Oconee)

Jose Leon — WR, Miami, Fla. (Columbus)
*Kaleb Neal — SAF, Snellville, Ga. (Brookwood)

Anthony Rosier — OLB, Windermere, Fla. (Wekiva)
Tyshawn Sanders — CB, Marion, S.C. (Marion)
*JT Sowell — OL, West Columbia, S.C. (Gray Collegiate Academy)
Nick Taylor — CB, Fayetteville, Ga. (Gainesville)

*Matthew Wilson — QB, Rock Hill, S.C. (Rock Hill)

* Denotes early enrollee for January 2024

FULL CLASS BIOS (In alphabetical order)

Dylan Barbrey — OL (Early Enrollee)
6-6, 300
West Columbia, S.C. (Airport)
High School: Named the SCFCA Palmetto Champions 4A Upper State Lineman of the Year as an offensive tackle … Four-year letterwinner was a two-time all-region selection … Also two-time lineman of the year for Airport … Selected to play in the Touchstone Energy Bowl all-star game … Won bench press competition at The Touchstone Energy Bowl’s Joanne Langfitt Top SC Junior Showcase … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Frank Baret Jr. — WR
6-4, 185
Wake Forest, N.C. (Wake Forest)
High School: Caught 37 passes for 802 yards with 10 touchdowns as a senior for a 7-5 team … Had 1,372 all-purpose yards with 12 touchdowns, including two touchdowns on kickoff returns … Big-play threat had a 99-yard kickoff return and an 89-yard reception for a score as a senior … Added 364 punt return yards … Biggest game as a senior was a seven-catch, 165-yard performance with three touchdown receptions against Southern Durham … All-conference performer as a senior and junior … Averaged 19.6 yards per catch for a 10-win team as a junior … Has run a sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard dash.

Jackson Bussey — DL (Early Enrollee)
6-3, 225
Berkeley Lake, Ga. (Norcross)
High School: Totaled 71 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, three sacks and six quarterback hurries as a senior defensive end … Had a pair of games with four tackles for loss during the 2023 season while excelling for a 9-3 team … After posting 27 tackles and five tackles for loss as a sophomore, earned second-team 7A All-Region 7 recognition as a junior with 56 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in 11 games … Helped Norcross go 8-4 and make the second round of Georgia’s 7A playoffs in 2022 … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports. 

DeNigel Cooper — DL
6-3, 230
Kingsland, Ga. (Camden County)
High School: All-state and all-region selection as a senior for a 10-4 team that reached the Class 7A semifinals in Georgia … Had 69 tackles (45 solo), 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and one blocked kick as a senior … Also had three receiving touchdowns on four catches with a 34.5-yard average per reception … As a junior for an 8-4 team, had 52 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five sacks and one forced fumble to earn all-region honors …  Played in the BSN GACA All-Star Football Classic … Also a basketball standout who produced 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in the second game of his senior season … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Felix Doege — OL (Early Enrollee)
6-4, 300
Augsburg, Germany (Rabun Gap-Nacoochee)
High School: Standout lineman as a senior for a 13-1 team that reached the state title game as a Georgia-based member of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association … Powerful blocker for an offense that averaged 40.8 points per game and 340.2 yards per game … As a junior, played multiple positions along the line for an 8-4 squad … A native of Germany from Augsburg, one of Germany’s oldest cities, located about an hour from Munich … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Kendall Farmer — DL
6-1, 280
Atlanta, Ga. (Westlake)
High School: Named Defensive Player of the Year for the 7A Regional 2 and an all-state selection as a senior who excelled as a defensive tackle … Standout defender for a 9-3 team in 2023 … As a junior, made 65 tackles, had three sacks and intercepted one pass for a 9-4 team that made the regional quarterfinals of Georgia’s 7A playoffs … Made 79 stops as a sophomore … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Kai Fernandes — SAF (Early Enrollee)
5-11, 185
Cumming, Ga. (Denmark)
High School: First-team all-region performer as a senior in his first season at Denmark … Had 76 tackles (65 solo), seven tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and three breakups as a senior … As a junior, All-Region Class 7A honorable mention on defense while playing as a defensive back and receiver at South Forsyth … Intercepted two passes and forced one fumble in 2022 before playing in the Georgia vs. Florida High School Showcase rising senior game … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Gabe Funk — OL
6-6, 300
Xenia, Ohio (Xenia)
High School: Standout performer for Xenia, just southwest of Dayton, Ohio, on the line as a junior and senior … Two-time second-team all-state selection in Ohio, two-time first-team all-district pick and two-time first-team All-MVL pick … Started 22 games in two seasons at Xenia … Integrity Award winner … Played at Harrison High School earlier in prep career.

Bryce Gee — WR
6-2, 185
Jacksonville, Fla. (Beachside)
High School: Playing for a 9-1 team as a senior, totaled 18 catches for 366 with five TDs in the first five games of an injury-shortened season, with four touchdowns over the last two games of that strong start … Had 152 yards in his second game as a senior and six catches for 108 yards with two TDs in another game … As a junior, playing football for the first time, caught 30 passes for 632 yards and 12 touchdowns … Strong season in 2022 for a program that was competing for the first time in the FHSAA Independent Division … Also a standout basketball player who averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds as a junior … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Jack Kelly — TE (Early Enrollee)
6-3, 240
Athens, Ga. (North Oconee)
High School: Standout as a senior for a 12-1 team that reached the Class 4A quarterfinals … First-team all-state selection as a senior in Georgia … Three-time first-team all-region performer … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Trey Lenhardt — SAF (Early Enrollee)
6-1, 195
Watkinsville, Ga. (North Oconee)
High School: Two-time all-region performer in Region 8 Class 4A …  Four-year letterwinner was on teams that made playoffs four straight years and were three-time regional champs … Was senior standout for a 12-1 team … All-region performer as a junior with four interceptions, nine breakups and two forced fumbles for a team that reached the state semifinals … Opened playoffs that season with two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Jose Leon — WR
5-10, 170
Miami, Fla. (Columbus)
High School: All-state selection and All-Dade County honoree during prep career in state of Florida … Helped Columbus win back-to-back state titles in his final two seasons, as the Explorers capped a 13-2 season in 2023 with a victory in the Class 4M title game … Through 13 games, totaled 62 catches for 670 yards and six touchdowns as a senior … Had back-to-back games with 100-plus receiving yards, including a nine-catch, 125-yard performance with two touchdowns against Jesuit … As a junior, caught 40 passes for 618 yards and 12 touchdowns … Had at least one touchdown in nine games for a 14-1 state champion … Warren Henry Award Nominee for award that goes to the top player in south Florida … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Kaleb Neal — SAF (Early Enrollee)
6-1, 185
Snellville, Ga. (Brookwood)
High School: Totaled 63 tackles, one interception, three breakups and one forced fumble as a senior … Had a season-high nine tackles in two separate games, including a matchup with Parkview in which he also came down with an interception … As a junior, had 33 tackles and one interception in Georgia’s 7A Region 4 as Brookwood posted a 4-1 region record … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Anthony Rosier — OLB
6-4, 230

Windermere, Fla. (Wekiva)
High School: Credited with 23 tackles, eight tackles for loss and four sacks during the first half of his senior season … Played primarily rush end at Wekiva and projects as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in college … As a junior in 2022 at Windermere, totaled 59 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, six sacks and 12 quarterback hurries … Three-year letterman also played varsity football as a sophomore … Has also played basketball and participated in track and field in high school, with strong showings in the high jump and 110-meter hurdles … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Tyshawn Sanders — CB
6-0, 170
Marion, S.C. (Marion)
High School: Four-year starter contributed to region championships in first three seasons while playing both cornerback and receiver … All-region selection as a senior and an all-state selection as a specialist … Scored touchdowns on an interception return, a blocked punt return, two kickoff returns, two receptions and one as a runner during his prep career … Totaled 44 tackles, two tackles for loss, a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown, four breakups, three blocked punts, one blocked field goal and one kickoff return for a touchdown as a senior for a 10-2 team … Also scored three offensive touchdowns while gaining 157 yards on four receptions with two scores and rushing for one score … Had three interceptions, five breakups and forced three fumbles as a junior for the Swamp Foxes … Totaled four interceptions and 103 tackles in his prep career … Standout in the 100 meters for Marion’s track team … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

JT Sowell — OL (Early Enrollee)
6-3, 255
West Columbia, S.C. (Gray Collegiate Academy)
High School: Two-time first-team all-state selection who played all five positions on the offense line … Helped lead Gray Collegiate Academy to 15 wins as a senior … Four-year letterwinner who was part of four regional championships, three Upper State title appearances, two Upper State championships and one state championship (as a sophomore in 2021) … Graded out at better than 90 percent on the offensive line all four years at Gray Collegiate …  Selected to play in the Touchstone Energy Bowl all-star game … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports and as the nation’s 14th-best center by ESPN.

Nick Taylor — CB
6-1, 170
Fayetteville, Ga. (Gainesville)
High School: Two-time all-region performer … ­­­­­Standout defender as a senior for a team that won its first 12 games and finished 12-1 … Totaled 51 tackles, one interception, five breakups, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 2023 for the Red Elephants … As a junior, named to the all-region team as a standout at Fayette County High School … Recorded 36 tackles, one interception and two breakups in 2022 while playing in the defensive secondary and also appeared frequently at quarterback during his time at Fayette County … Started boxing at the age of 5 and has enjoyed great success in that sport … Was a four-sport athlete until his junior year of high school … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

Matthew Wilson — QB (Early Enrollee)
6-0, 205
Rock Hill, S.C. (Rock Hill)
High School: Offensive MVP of the 2023 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas with 163 passing yards and two touchdown passes in a 24-0 win against North Carolina … All-state selection as a senior … Threw for 2,026 yards and 20 touchdowns while also running for 435 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior … Helped his team improve from two wins in 2022 to a 6-5 finish as a senior, including a 4-1 region record … Ranked as a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

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