New Hampshire Football Report

UNH lands local talent

DURHAM – University of New Hampshire interim head football coach Ricky Santos announced the addition of 11 commitments on National Signing Day. That brings the total Class of 2020 to 20 student-athletes who signed a national letter of intent to join the Wildcats football program this fall.

“Our assistant coaches did a phenomenal job of putting in the work and building relationships with these young men over the last year,” Santos said. “This will add a lot of positional competition to the group we already have in place.

“We added some big linemen with toughness and demeanor up front and guys on the defensive side of the ball who can really rush the passer,” Santos added. “It’s a very good signing class overall, and I think what we did this National Signing Day is something to be proud of.”

Here is a look at the 11 student-athletes who signed NLIs on Wednesday:

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown Last School
Will Coty LB 6-0 195 Hyannis, Mass. St. John Paul II
Mason Davis OL 6-3 250 Peabody, Mass. St. John’s Prep
Gabe El-Fiky OL 6-3 315 Leesburg, Va. Tuscarora
Zach Garron DE 6-3 225 Bedford, N.H. Bridgton Academy
Cole Keegan WR 6-3 180 Londonderry, N.H. Londonderry
Aidan Michaud OL 6-4 305 Marblehead, Mass. Suffield Academy
Brandon Perkins LB 6-1 225 Williamstown, N.J. Williamstown
Dylan Ruiz DE 6-1 220 Kissimmee, Fla. Osceola
Tyler Shannon DT 6-3 260 Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. Comsewogue
Josiah Silver DE 6-2 225 Hampton, Va. Phoebus
Cooper Smith OL 6-3 300 Portsmouth, N.H. St. John’s Prep

Will Coty is a 6-foot, 195-pound linebacker out of St. John Paul II High School in Hyannis, Mass. Coty, a two-time captain, was named a Catholic Central League Small All-Star each of his four seasons. He was selected as 2018 Conference Player of the Year after recording 65 tackles, three fumble recoveries and one interception. Coty registered more than 125 tackles over the last three seasons and capped his high school career as the 2019 team MVP

What Coach Santos Says

“Will is a physical linebacker who can make plays in space and at the line of scrimmage. He is always around the ball and tackles very well. He will add immediate depth at the second level for our defense.”  

Mason Davis is a 6-foot-3, 250-pound offensive lineman who comes to Durham from St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, Mass. A two-time Massachusetts Division I state champion (2018-19), Davis was named Boston Herald All-Scholastic, Salem News Lineman of the Year and Central Conference All-Star following his senior campaign. The multi-sport athlete excelled on the basketball court as well, and he earned the Coaches Award his junior season.

What Coach Santos Says

“Mason is an athletic, big man who has elite upside. He can make plays in space and will be a force in the ground game with his ability to run. He is light on his feet, which bodes well to his passing blocking ability.” 

Gabe El-Fiky is a 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive lineman from Tuscarora High School in Leesburg, Va. As a senior, El-Fiky helped Tuscarora reel off 13 straight wins en route to a runner-up finish in the Virginia 4A state playoffs. As a dominant force on both sides of the ball, he was unanimously named to the All-District First Team, All-County First Team, All-Region First Team and All-State Second Team. El-Fiky also competes on the Tuscarora High wrestling team, where he finished second in the district, second in the region and fifth in the state in 2018.

What Coach Santos Says

“Gabe is a big, physical young man who is smart and plays with a great demeanor. He will be a force for our offensive line and brings a toughness that will make everyone around him better. He comes from a winning program and competed for a state championship this past year.”

Zach Garron is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound defensive end from Bedford, N.H., who most recently played a post-grad year at Bridgton Academy in Maine. Garron represented New Hampshire in the 2019 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl all-star game against Vermont after a standout career at Bedford High School. At Bedford, Garron earned 2018 Division I North All-State First Team honors. Garron’s father, Arnold, and uncle, Andre, each starred at UNH in the 1980s, played in the NFL and are enshrined in the UNH Athletics Hall of Fame.

What Coach Santos Says

“Zach is a legacy student-athlete here at UNH. His father Arnold played defensive back and his uncle Andre played running back for the Wildcats. Zach has elite upside and has the ability to make game-changing plays from the defensive end position. We’re excited to have him a part of our family.”

Cole Keegan is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound wide receiver who was a three-year starter for Londonderry High School and helped lead the Lancers to the Division I state championship in 2019. He was subsequently tabbed to the NHIAA All-Conference First Team. In his career, Keegan recorded 50 receptions for 1,037 yards and 18 touchdowns. He previously earned All-State Second Team as a junior All-Conference Second Team as a sophomore.

What Coach Santos Says

“Cole is an explosive, two-way player who offers position flexibility. He can make plays at the wide receiver position; he is also very smooth and athletic playing defensive back.”

Aidan Michaud is a 6-foot-4, 305-pound OL who hails from Marblehead, Mass., by way of Marblehead High School and, most recently, Suffield Academy (Conn.). At Marblehead, Michaud established himself as one of the top two-way lineman on the North Shore by garnering all-conference honors and being named Lineman of the Year for the Magicians. In his lone year at Suffield Academy, Michaud solidified the offensive and defensive lines, leading the way to an undefeated 9-0 season that culminated in the NEPSAC Class A New England Championship.

What Coach Santos Says

“Aidan comes to UNH from an elite prep school at which he played against very good competition all year. He is a force in the run game with his ability to move people at will. He plays strong and is a very competitive person. He will bring an attitude and toughness to the O-line room.”

Brandon Perkins is a 6-foot-1, 225-pound linebacker from Williamstown, N.J., who missed his senior season due to injury. As a junior, Perkins tallied 106 tackles and six sacks to go along with two receiving touchdowns. He was named to the All-West Jersey Conference First Team, the All-South Jersey First Team and the All-Group 5 First Team.  Perkins is the younger brother of 2019 UNH captain and three-year starter Isiah Perkins.

What Coach Santos Says

“Brandon is a very good athlete who made plays on defense and special teams for his high school team. He will be playing linebacker for us and will bring great leadership and playmaking ability to the position.”

Dylan Ruiz is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound defensive end who spearheaded the defense for a powerhouse Osceola program that advanced to the third round of the playoffs in Florida’s biggest classification. During his senior campaign, Ruiz recorded 58 total tackles, 35 solo, to go along with 20 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.  He was named the Osceola County Defensive Player of the Year by the Osceola News Gazette and was selected to play in the 18th Annual Central Florida All-Star Game in December. In that game he recorded five sacks against some of the best talent in the Sunshine State. In addition to his prowess on the football field, Ruiz is a standout wrestler for Osceola.

What Coach Santos Says

“Dylan is a dynamic, pass-rushing defensive end who has an explosive first step off the ball. He will bring a competitive spirit to the D-line and will be tough for opposing offenses to block. He can beat you with speed and is stout enough to be physical and set the edge.”

Tyler Shannon is a 6-foot-3, 260-pound DT from Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., who was a four-year starter for Comsewogue High School. The standout defensive lineman garnered numerous awards in his senior campaign after notching 41 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Shannon was named All-Division First Team, All-Suffolk Country First Team, All-Long Island First Team and All-State Second Team.

What Coach Santos Says

“Tyler is a rugged, two-way player who can affect the game in multiple ways. He uses his hands well to defeat blocks and is a force in the run game. He will shore up a very good defensive line class.”

Josiah Silver is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive end from Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va. As a senior, Silver anchored a defense that propelled Phoebus to the Virginia 3A Regional final. He cemented himself as one of the most productive players in the Tidewater area with career numbers of 249 total tackles, 51 sacks, 44 TFLs, four forced fumbles and an interception. In 2018 and 2019, Silver was named All-District First Team, All-Region First Team and All-State First Team. Last season he added All-Tidewater First Team, I-64 First Team, Recruit 757 Kickoff Game MVP and 757 Peninsula All-Star Game MVP to his résumé.

What Coach Santos Says

“Josiah comes to Durham from a very good program in Virginia. He will be a force at end for our defensive front. He is strong enough to stop the run and very athletic when rushing the passer. He uses his hands well and can defeat blocks with ease.”

Cooper Smith is a 6-foot-3, 300-pound OL originally from Portsmouth, N.H., who played most recently at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Mass. Smith paved the way up front for St. John’s Prep’s back-to-back Massachusetts Division 1 State Championships in 2018 and 2019. He was named a 2019 Salem News All-Star, Boston Herald All-Scholastic, Catholic Conference All-Star, and MIAA First Team All-State. A three-year varsity starter on both sides of the ball, Smith was a force in the middle and served as team captain his senior year. In the classroom, he earned honors of Headmaster’s List, Honor Roll, Latin Honor Society, and the Latin Scholar Award.

What Coach Santos Says

“Cooper is a New Hampshire native who comes from a winning program. He played at St. John’s Prep where his team won back-to-back state championships. He will bring a physical presence to the O-line, and we are excited he is part of our program.”

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