Last Wednesday marked this year’s National Signing Day — a day in which the Georgetown football team announced its newest recruiting class set to graduate in 2021. The recruits hail from 12 different states — seven from the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area and five from Texas — and include 12 offensive players, 15 defensive players and one on special teams.
Quarterback Joseph Brunell and defensive end Zach Jewell highlight the Class of 2021 recruits. Brunell passed for 1,907 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, and his father, Mark Brunell, played 19 seasons in the NFL as a quarterback.
With Tim Barnes set to graduate in May, the quarterback position was the most important role to fill. Recruiting coordinator Alex Kolt discussed the goal of recruiting key positions early on in the recruiting process.
“The most important position in football is quarterback, so on offense you’ve got to have a guy who can play there and then you’ve got to have guys to protect him. On defense, you’ve got to have some guys who can get after the quarterback,” Kolt said.
Complimenting Brunell offensively is running back Jayvonta Tolliver. Tolliver was a three-time state champion in track & field and a 2014 USA Track and Field All-American who finished his senior football season with 340 yards and 4 touchdowns in five games.
As for the key defensive recruits, Jewell won two state championships in high school and finished his high school career with 25 sacks and 156 tackles.
“Our first two signees were Joe Brunell, who came to our camp and did a fantastic job and had a great senior season and committed to us in the summertime, and Zach Jewell, who is a local kid, two-time state champion defensive end actually broke the single-season sack record at Westfield High School this year with 16 sacks,” Kolt said.
In addition to Jewell, the Hoyas welcome in defensive end Owen Kessler who recorded 56 solo tackles in addition to 15 sacks his senior year, according to MaxPreps.com. Kessler received preferred walk-on offers from Rutgers and Penn State before signing with Georgetown. The defensive end had 79 tackles and 15 sacks during his senior season.
“We added a couple other really big impact guys on the front on both sides of the ball. Owen Kessler is another defensive end from New Jersey who is a state champion, and some other guys inside as well,” he said.
Both Kolt and Head Coach Rob Sgarlata said the staff really focused on recruiting well in the local area, with a quarter of the Class of 2021 coming from the D.C-Maryland-Virginia area.
“We did put a big emphasis this year on recruiting well locally in the DMV. There’s a lot of really talented players here, and we would like them to play for us,” Kolt said.
“When we looked at the class, one of the goals was to make sure we did a good job defending the District, do a great job in our own backyard,” Sgarlata said. “In our own backyard, what we did is we split up each one of the local areas — D.C., Maryland and Virginia — by county. We really attacked that in spring recruiting so we could identify student-athletes in the local area that we thought would make an impact for us.”
While there was a focus on the local area, the incoming class still represents a large part of the country.
“Our name recognition is awesome across the country because of the school, and men’s basketball really helps the overall reputation of Georgetown. I’m really happy that we did that, and also not taking away from the national efforts that our coaches put in. That’s the beauty of being at Georgetown,” Sgarlata said.
The hope is that the newest Hoya football players will help the Georgetown football team improve on its disappointing 3-8 record in 2016.
“The goal here is to win the Patriot League,” Sgarlata said. “What we sold the kids on was that the Class of 2021 is going to be that class that everybody looks back on and says, ‘Hey, that’s the third recruiting class in this process. They continue to upgrade the talent.’ We have to make the results show in our record after the 2017 season.”
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