New Hampshire Football Report

‘Cats are in the bag

The University of New Hampshire announced Wednesday that 14 student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent and will continue their football career with the UNH program.

“The University of New Hampshire is very excited about the young men that are signing with us today,” McDonnell said. “These guys fit the needs that we have been looking for the past year. I’m excited by the overall speed and athleticism of our skill kids, and I really like the size and strength of the line prospects.

“All these student-athletes ‘fit’ the model that we have built here and I think they’re all great players, and even better kids,” McDonnell added. “I think our coaches have done a great job of attracting what we’re looking for and bringing them in.”

The incoming recruiting class features the following players:

Name Ht. Wt. Position Hometown/Last School

Riley Burns 6-3, 300 OL/DL Milford, Mass./Milford HS

Tiyan “Pop” Bush 6-0. 180 DB Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS

Sean Coyne 5-10, 175 K/WR Portsmouth, R.I./Portsmouth HS

Sherron Dailey-Harris 6-0, 170 DB/WR Randolph, Mass./Lawrence Academy

Brian Espanet 6-3, 185 DB/WR Hopedale, Mass./Millis-Hopedale HS

Patrick Flynn 6-3, 265 OL/DL Hanover, Mass./Hanover HS

Gunner Gibson 6-3 230 LB/TE Hailey, Idaho/Salisbury School

Kyle Hamper 6-0 210 LB/RB Portland, Ore./Hotchkiss School

B.J. Hill 6-0 190 WR/DB Stafford, Va./Brooke Point HS

Curtis Linton 6-3 270 OL/DL Bear, Del./Caravel Academy

Cameron Rush 6-4 300 OL/DL Avella, Pa./Bishop Canevin

C.J. Turner 5-7 165 WR/DB Rochester, N.Y./Eastridge HS

Carlos Washington 5-10 205 RB/LB Fort Washington, Md./Riverdale Baptist

Sheir-Ron Whittaker 6-0 170 DB/WR Philadelphia, Pa./Delaware Valley Charter

Riley Burns is a 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive/defensive lineman from Milford High School (Milford, Mass.) who led the Scarlet Hawks to a Division 2 playoff berth last season. As a starting tackle, Burns was a linchpin on the offensive line that paved the way for more than 1,300 rushing yards in 12 games. On the defensive side of the ball, he tallied 36 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and two sacks, and an interception. Burns’ awards as a senior included All-State First Team, Hockomock League All-Star and Metro West Daily News All-Star. He is also a letterwinner on the hockey team and is the younger brother of current UNH defensive lineman Sean Burns.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Riley is a big, strong interior offensive line prospect who will add size and physicality to our offensive line. We are excited to have Riley join his brother Sean here at UNH.”

Tiyan “Pop” Bush is a 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back who led Port Charlotte High School (Port Charlotte, Fla.) to an 8-2 record and a spot in the Class 6A playoffs in 2016. Bush finished his high school career with 153 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks, as well as eight forced fumbles, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Bush recorded 77 tackles, including eight sacks, and an interception and was named to the SunCoast Sports All-Area First Team as a senior, when he was named to the South Central Florida All-Star Game and selected Defensive MVP. As a junior, he earned All-Area Honorable Mention recognition.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Pop is a very physical downhill safety prospect for us. He has a knack for making big hits and great tackles. He will add great depth to all aspects of our secondary and will be a great special teams player for us as well.”

Sean Coyne is a 5-foot-10, 175-pound kicker/wide receiver from Portsmouth High School (Portsmouth, R.I.), where his accolades as a senior included All-State First Team, Division 1 First Team, USA Today Rhode Island Offensive Player of the Year, Newport County Offensive Player of the Year and the Gridiron Club Back of the Year. Coyne capped off a stellar senior season by completing 78 of 132 pass attempts (59.1 percent) for 922 yards and 12 touchdowns; he carried the ball 190 times for 1,629 yards (8.6 yards/carry) and 20 TDs. Coyne also caught four passes for 99 yards and two scores. Defensively, he paced the 10-3 Super Bowl champion Patriots with 39 tackles and four interceptions. On special teams, Coyne connected on 15 of 23 field goal attempts in his career with a state record 58-yarder. He also proved accurate on PAT kicks at 94 percent. Coyne also letters on the Portsmouth basketball team.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Sean is an outstanding athlete who has the ability to play multiple positions for us here at UNH. He is a gifted receiver and has played QB as well. His kicking ability is outstanding and he has a very strong leg. He will help fill multiple positions for us.”

Sherron Dailey-Harris is a 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back/wide receiver out of Randolph, Mass. and Lawrence Academy, where he was a two-way standout and Super 26 All-State Team selection. Dailey-Harris led the team to a 6-2 record as a senior following an 8-1 junior campaign in which Lawrence Academy was named 2015 NESPAC champions and champions of the Wayne Sanborn Bowl. As a senior, Dailey-Harris scored six total touchdowns – three receiving, one interception return, one kickoff return and one rushing. He also tallied a team-high four interceptions, three pass breakups and three tackles for loss. His stats as a junior included five receiving TDs, six pass breakups and two INTs, both of which he returned for scores. Dailey-Harris also plays guard on the Lawrence Academy basketball team.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Sherron is a long, smooth athletic player who we have been watching for a couple of years now. He has a good frame that will get better as he focuses on one sport. He has great playmaking skills on both sides of the ball and that will give us flexibility in our program.”

Brian Espanet is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound defensive back/wide receiver who led Millis-Hopedale High School (Hopedale, Mass.) to the Division 4 state championship and 10-3 overall record this past fall. As a senior, Espanet caught 97 passes for more than 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns; on defense, he recorded four interceptions. He recorded more than 2,000 receiving yards and 34 TDs, as well as 27 INTs, in his career. Espanet was named to the Boston Herald All-Scholastic Team and the Division 4 Player of the Year. His other accolades included Super 26 All-State Team, Boston Globe All-State First Team, Metro West Daily News All-Star and Tri-Valley League Player of the Year. Espanet has eclipsed 1,000 career points on the basketball court and is also a standout on the baseball team.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Brian is a terrific, three-sport athlete who has a huge upside. He has great eye-hand coordination and the ability to go up and the get the ball from his receiver position. He has a great nose for the ball on defense and has great body control when catching the ball in tight quarters. He will add depth to our outside receiver position.”

Patrick Flynn is a 6-foot-3, 265-pound offensive/defensive lineman who led Hanover High School (Hanover, Mass.) to the school’s first football state championship in 40 years with an undefeated mark of 12-0 in 2016. Flynn paved the way up front offensively for a lethal ground attack that amassed more than 2,400 yards. On defense, he was a pivotal part of the trenches at defensive tackle with 40 tackles, including 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He anchored a defense that recorded three shutouts, including the state title game, and allowed a mere 10 points per game. As a senior, Flynn was selected Offensive Lineman of the Year by the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Patriot Ledger. His other awards included USA Today All-State First Team, Suite Sports All-State First Team and All-Scholastic Team by both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. Flynn is also a two-time all-league selection in basketball.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Patrick is a very athletic, two-way lineman who will add size and agility to our offensive line. He has good length with a very wide wingspan that will help him with his pass pro at this level. He was a very active defensive lineman who had a knack for finding the ball and making plays at the line of scrimmage. His versatility will give him the opportunity to play multiple offensive line positions.”

Gunner Gibson is a 6-foot-3, 230-pound postgraduate linebacker/tight end from the Salisbury School. He attended Wood River High School in Hailey, Idaho. At Wood River, Gibson was a two-time All-Great Basin Conference First Team selection as a defensive end and tight end. In his senior year, he was also named to both the All-State First Team and All-Idaho All-Star First Team.  He totaled 73 receptions for 1,859 yards and 25 touchdowns in his Wood River career. At the conclusion of the 2016 season at Salisbury School, Gibson was named to the All-Erickson League First Team as a linebacker; in eight games, he tallied 56 tackles, including 31 solo and five tackles for loss and two sacks, as well as two interceptions; on offense, the averaged 14 yards per catch on 20 receptions and scored three TDs.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Gunner is an extremely talented two-way player who has a huge upside. He has an outstanding frame to build on and we are excited about his athleticism. On offense, he has great hands and ability to separate from the second-level defenders. Defensively, he gets to the ball in a hurry and his athleticism will help him pressure the passer.”

Kyle Hamper is a 6-foot, 210-pound postgraduate linebacker/running back from the Hotchkiss School. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Hamper attended Jesuit High School. As a senior, he was a key member of the 6A Oregon state championship team. Hamper was a two-time All-Metro League First Team selection as a fullback and defensive end. In 2016, he earned All-Erickson League First Team honors as a linebacker at Hotchkiss; in seven games, he recorded 40 tackles, including 25 solo stops and 6.5 tackles for loss, as well as two interceptions.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Kyle is a very athletic two-way player who is a very good open-field tackler. He has a great ability to come under control and tackle in open space. His athletic ability will help him to do the two things needed at this level from linebackers – tackle at the point of attack and cover receivers in space.”

B.J. Hill is a 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver/defensive back who led Brooke Point High School (Stafford, Va.) to the Virginia 5A state semifinals last fall. Hill’s 69 receptions, 1,100 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns ignited one of the most explosive offenses in the conference. Hill’s senior accolades included All-Commonwealth District First Team, All-Stafford/Fredericksburg Area First Team, All-NOVA Third Team, All-Northwest Region First Team and 5A All-State First Team. Hill is also a standout on Brooke Point’s basketball team.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “B.J. is a player that came into his own during his senior season. This season, he was a very explosive, big-play receiver that averaged 16 yards a catch. He has great acceleration and runs explosive routs. He makes some acrobatic catches that are directly related to great body control and great concentration. He is also a very good kickoff return specialist who will add to our special teams success.”

Curtis Linton is a 6-foot-3, 270-pound offensive/defensive lineman who was a three-year starter and a captain at Caravel Academy (Bear, Del.), which advanced to the semifinals last year. Linton helped lead the offense to over 3,000 total yards and that included 2,200 rushing yards for an average of 227 rushing yards per game. He was an All-State Third Team selection in 2016. He garnered All-Conference Team recognition twice on offense and once on defense. Linton also excels in the classroom, where he boasts a 3.46 GPA and was recognized three times as an Academic All-State performer. He was selected to the 2017 DFRC Blue Gold Football All-Start Game. Linton is a heavyweight wrestler at Caravel and has been named to the All-Conference Team twice.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Curtis is a big, long, athletic offensive and defensive lineman who will help improve our size and athleticism on the offensive line. He has a great ability to stay on blocks and finish them at the second level. His pass protection has improved, and his wingspan will give him a great opportunity to succeed at this level. His wrestling skills show up all over the tape with his balance and foot quickness.”

Cameron Rush is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive/defensive lineman who led Bishop Canevin (Pittsburgh, Pa.) to a playoff appearance this past fall. As a two-way player, he produced 35 pancake blocks on offense and, on defense, he recorded 40 tackles, including 19 solo stops, as well as 17 quarterback hurries. Rush was an All-WPIAL First Team selection on both offense and defense in 2016. His other accolades as a senior included All-Academic First Team and All-State Super 25 team. Rush is also an outstanding baseball player and throws the shot put.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Cam is another lineman who had an outstanding senior year. Having seen his improvement from last summer to the end of his senior season was exciting. He became a very powerful drive blocker that finished his blocks at all levels. He was able to get on blocks, stay on them and be very physical while doing this. His feet and pass protection improved and his size will definitely help us at the offensive tackle position.”

C.J. Turner is a 5-foot-7, 165-pound wide receiver/defensive back from Eastridge High School (Rochester, N.Y.), where he was an All-State selection as a junior and senior. Turner was a versatile playmaker in all three phases of the game. On offense, he had a total of 81 touches for 571 yards and six touchdowns. Flynn also excelled on special teams as a kickoff returner with 247 yards and three TDs. On defense, he paced the team from the defensive back position with four interceptions, a fumble recovery and 37 tackles, including five for loss. Turner is Eastridge’s career record holder in TDs with 36. He is a three-time All-Greater Rochester and All-County First Team selection. Turner also excels as a sprinter on the indoor and outdoor track & field teams.

What Coach MacDonnel says: “C.J. is a very explosive young man with the ball in his hands. With his speed and quickness, plus his great hands and vision, he is an explosive play waiting to happen. He can score in many different ways. He will add depth to our slot receiver position and will give us a great playmaker on the perimeter. His ability to return kicks will help us with our return teams.”

Carlos Washington is a 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back/linebacker from Fort Washington, Md. After transferring to Riverdale Baptist as a junior and playing just two games, Washington was an impactful player as a senior in 2016, when he recorded a team-leading 1,200 rushing yards as well as 300 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns. He played big in big games, as evident by his 22-carry, 245-yard, two-TD performance against rival Bullis that earned Player of the Week honors from the Washington Post. Washington was named a Washington Post All-Met Honorable Mention and team MVP this past fall.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Carlos is a big, strong, fast, athletic running back who showed great vision from his position this year. He does a great job in getting his shoulders square and running the ball downhill. He can run through tackles and also has the ability to hit the hole and go. He has good hands and did an outstanding job catching the ball out of the backfield this year. His versatility will help our running back position.”

Sheir-Ron Whittaker is a 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back/wide receiver from Delaware Valley Charter High School (Philadelphia), which advanced to the P1-AAA state quarterfinals in 2016. Whittaker ended a stellar senior season with 53 tackles, 15 pass breakups, three interceptions and four touchdowns. He backboned a defensive secondary that recorded four shutouts and yielded just 13 points per game. Whittaker’s senior honors included All-Public League First Team and All-City First Team. He also letters as a sprinter on the Delaware Valley Charter track & field team.

What Coach MacDonnell says: “Sheir-Ron is another long, athletic defensive back who has a great upside. He has the ability to play either the safety or corner positions. His ball skills really jump out at you either catching the ball or defending the pass. He has a great nose for the ball whether is it in the air or on the ground, and he is a very good tackler. He will add to our depth in the secondary.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login