The Troy Trojans are coming their first 11-win season as an FBS member, a conference title, and a huge win over North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl. The program survived the coaching carousel season with their hot shot head coach still in the fold and could be setting themselves up with another special season in 2018.
Neal Brown and his program looked to continue their solid momentum from this past weekend’s bowl victory and they did that by getting signatures from 14 of their commits.
There is a good mix of high school prospects with some junior college transfers as Troy added some talent that should be able to help out pretty quickly. The 247 Sports composite currently has Troy as the fifth best class of the Sun Belt and 98th in the FBS. That’s not great but this is a small class that has filled some significant areas of need for the Trojans.
Here is what you need to know about the future Trojans.
Jake Andrews (Offensive Line)
6’3”, 330 pounds
Millbrook, AL/Stanhope Elmore
The highest rated recruit in Troy’s class will have a chance to compete for playing time right away when he shows up on campus. Andrews was second team All-State in Alabama as well as winning a state championship in wrestling. Andrews has the ability to play any position along the offensive line and it will be fun watching offensive line coach Matt Moore develop the Alabama native.
Gunnar Watson (Quarterback)
6’3”, 205 pounds
Butler, GA/Taylor County
With Brandon Silvers leaving campus, there was a need for a quarterback in this class and the Trojans picked up one with Watson. The Georgia native has the perfect first name for a quarterback and he was a four-year starter at Taylor County High School. Watson threw for 6,700 yards and 65 touchdowns as well as being an All-State performer in baseball.
Antonio Showers (Bandit)
6’1”, 240 pounds
This Georgia native is projected to play the DE/OLB hybrid position in Vic Koenning’s defense and he has some attributes that should be able to help him force a lot of negative plays. Showers had 35 career sacks in high school and already has the build of a college linebacker.
KJ Robertson (Linebacker)
6’1”, 220 pounds
In addition to Showers, Troy also added some help at linebacker by finding a prospect that could play inside. Robertson pledged to Neal Brown’s staff over the summer and stayed firm with that commitment. The Alabaster native had a monster season as a senior recording 132 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five sacks, and two interceptions, In addition to his domination on the gridiron, Robertson also won two state wrestling titles. This may be my favorite player in this class.
A.J. Pierce (Defensive Tackle)
6’1”, 310 pounds
The local native from just down the road will be playing for Troy next year after recording 43 tackles and six tackles for loss as a high school senior. With the Trojans losing their two most productive defensive tackles, Pierce has a shot to play immediately.
Kevin Perkins (Running Back)
6’0”, 230 pounds
Tunica, MS/Rosa Fort/ Northwest Mississippi CC
With Troy losing both Josh Anderson and Jordan Chunn to graduation, the need for a big back was there. Perkins has three years of eligibility remaining after rushing for 884 yards and 12 touchdowns in his only season playing in junior college.
John Hines (Defensive End)
6’4”, 230 pounds
Montgomery, AL/Park Crossing/Southwest Mississippi CC
Troy added some nice depth along their defensive line with the addition of Hines who made a pit stop at the junior college level after high school. The Montgomery native has three years of eligibility remaining after recording 56 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, and a forced fumble.
Jaquez Dunmore (Safety)
6’0”, 185 pounds
Dunmore hails from a powerhouse program in Florida and with the loss of starting safety Kris Weatherspoon to go with Cedarius Rookard entering his senior season, there could be a chance for early playing time.
Levon Fletcher (Cornerback)
5’11”, 170 pounds
Huntsville, AL/Randolph School
Another instate prospect will call Troy home for his college career as Fletcher is currently the only corner in this class. The northern Alabama native had an outstanding prep career as he set numerous records as a running back. On the other side of the football, Fletcher recorded 65 tackles and four interceptions. Fletcher should be able to contribute as a kick returner.
Grant Betts (Offensive Line)
6’3”, 270 pounds
Spanish Fort, AL/Spanish Fort
Another offensive linemen in the class that could play any position upfront, Betts was a team captain and played baseball in high school. The instate prospect is a cousin of Troy’s starting right tackle J.L. Gaston.
Hamilton Hawthorne II (Offensive Line)
6’2”, 330 pounds
It’s clear that Troy was determined to build depth on their offensive line in the class of 2018 and Hawthorne will provide some answers. Look for the big guy to play guard at the FBS level.
Jarvis Hayes (Defensive End)
6’4”, 230 pounds
Slocomb, MS/Slocomb/Itawamaba CC
Another junior college prospect, Hayes figures to be in the rotation next year as Troy will be looking for production to replace Seth Calloway. The Mississippi native was very productive on the junior college level as he recorded 63 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and three interceptions this season.
Gerald Bell (Offensive Line)
6’4”, 300 pounds
Bessemer, AL/Bessemer City/Pearl River CC
To address the offensive line, Troy also dipped into the junior college ranks and pulled Bell to campus. As Troy must replace a very productive left tackle for the second season in a row, don’t be surprised if Bell is plugged in at that spot.
Travis Sailo (Defensive Tackle)
6’3”, 280 pounds
Buhl, AL/Sipsey Valley/Itawamba CC
A teammate of Jarvis Hayes, Sailo figures to contribute right away on the defensive line. The Trojans will likely use the big guy at nose as a backup will be needed to spell Trevon Sanders. As a sophomore, Sailo recorded four tackles for loss and three sacks at Itawamba.
It was a good start for Troy to start off this year’s recruiting class as they’ve added a good mix of high school and junior college talented. The Trojans have addressed depth needs along the lines and at running back. I’m one that believes you should add a quarterback in each recruiting class and it appears Troy has a good one in Gunnar Watson.
However, Troy did lose three receivers to graduation and the top two wideouts from 2017 entering their senior years in 2018. Not having any wideouts currently in the signing class is concerning. With Troy’s Air Raid scheme, the Trojans are constantly in four-wide sets and need depth at that position. Troy must add two or three wide receivers before February. Currently, Demontrez Brown is listed as a wide receiver commit but he didn’t sign this week.
Drop in the comments section and let us know what you think about Troy signing class.