Recruiting football players to Appalachian State University is an interesting proclamation. Boone, North Carolina is a town of 18,000 full-time residents with the same number of students located deep in the Appalachian Mountains. The cold winters, admittedly, isn't for everyone, especially in the south. A certain rival of App State is well aware of that. But the cool air also has advantages in the summer time as 75 degrees with little humidity sure feels better than 100 and muggy, right Statesboro?
Despite the remote location and cold winters, that's never stopped the Mountaineers from getting quality talent from the warmer regions of the south. Scott Satterfield and his coaching staff stepped into FBS with little margin for error and now armed with an 11-2 record and Camellia Bowl Championship, more doors have been opening.
The Class of 2016 has been an interesting tale to see develop. After not having any commits until June 6th, partially by design in effort to lock down hard commits, the Apps gained a flurry of declarations in July and a few more in August and September. Going into January, the class was looking solid, but nowhere near complete. It was time to put the press on.
Eight commits over the last two weeks has the class standing good at 22 with two already enrolled. Despite the annual attrition, Satterfield is looking to finish strong in these last few days.
One of the biggest commits came on Monday, January 18th as Marcus Williams Jr, an all-purpose back from Pinetops, NC, flipped from Elon to App State, who beat out Duke for the three-star back.
That same day, Williams was joined by speedy 6'1" wide-out Jalen Virgil from Lawrenceville, Georgia. Virgil had offers from Georgia Southern, Old Dominion among others.
Two days later, App State got some needed trench help as 6'5", 260 lb tackle Nate Haskins from Orlando and funny enough, Boone High School, de-committed from FIU and committed to the Mountaineers.
As all good things come in twos, another flip occurred. Dual-threat QB Zac Thomas from Trussville, Alabama committed to join App State after an in-home visit from Satterfield. Thomas was committed to FCS runner-up Jacksonville State, but held offers from almost the entire Sun Belt.
Despite Winter Storm Jonas leaving much of the East Coast under a foot of snow for the prime recruiting weekend of January 23rd and 24th, App State still hosted as many recruits as could make it. The efforts paid off as the Mountaineers received a trio of commits on Monday the 25th. Despite not being able to make it to Boone that weekend, 6'3", 260 lb center/tight end/defensive end Ryan Neuzil of Bradenton, Florida committed over offers from Air Force and Army.
More line help came on the 25th as 6'4", 280 lb Alabama all-star Cole Garrison of Pinson, Alabama picked the Mountaineers over Georgia State and New Mexico State.
The third of the January 25th trio was a surprise as 6'2", 230 lb defensive end Chris Willis from Shelby, North Carolina de-committed from Georgia Southern and despite prognostications putting him at ECU, committed to App State. Despite how it may look, it appears the flip wasn't done maliciously.
After hosting a large number of recruits over the weekend of January 30th and 31st, the App State coaching staff managed to get one commit on Sunday as 5'11", 170 lb athlete A'darius Purifoy from Pensacola, Florida joined up. Purifoy had offers from USF, Kent State, Marshall, South Alabama, MTSU and more.
It's now less than 48 hours til National Signing Day. All offers have been extended and if there are any more additions, they'll be cherries on top of App's highest-rated class ever.