On Wednesday, the Youngstown State University football program held its annual National Signing Day, recruiting 22 new players, 12 of which will play defense.
“This class gives us a chance to reload. We lost a lot of starters, but these players we acquired will allow us to plug up some of those holes,” said head football coach Eric Wolford.
YSU picked up two linebackers, Jaylin Kelly and B.J. Welch.
Kelly, a linebacker from Washington Senior High School in Washington, Pa., led his school to the WPIAL Class AA championship game.
“Jaylin is a true inside linebacker. He has great awareness, and he plays downhill. He is a very good athlete,” Wolford said.
Kelly’s high school coach, Mike Bosnic, said Kelly’s talent is on the level of the Bowl Championship Series.
“Jaylin has a great sense for the game; he loves contact. He was an overlooked prospect, which teams will pay for,” Bosnic said.
Welch, who is from Orangewood Christian High School in Maitland, Fla., averaged 10 tackles per game in his senior season. Welch also played running back, but will play linebacker for YSU.
“B.J. was easily in the top 10 for players I have ever coached, and I have coached some players that have gone to the NFL,” said Bill Gierke, Welch’s high school coach.
YSU went strong into the junior college pool, landing Octavius Brown and Nate Cox, among others.
Brown, a junior defensive tackle from Georgia Military College, finished his sophomore season with 36 tackles.
Rob Manchester, Georgia Military College’s assistant head coach, said he believes YSU got a steal with Brown.
“He does everything right, especially when nobody is looking. He has high character, he leads by example and, most importantly, he is a leader off the field,” Manchester said.
Wolford also praised Brown, calling him “the most disruptive interior lineman from the past 12 years.”
Ricky Davis, a quarterback from Bishop Fenwick High School in Franklin, is ranked by ESPNU as the 73rd quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class. Davis was a First-Team Greater Catholic League North Division selection.
“Ricky is an incredible student of the game. He understands more football more than anyone I have seen. He is an all-around great kid. He cares about his grades as much as he does football,” said Fred Cranford, Davis’ high school football coach.
Wolford did some digging in order to find some good talent. He landed a few impact-type players in Joey Cejudo, Ryan Mosora, Martin Ruiz and Derrick Burgess.
Cejudo, from Mt. San Antonio College, had an average of 36.7 yards per punt, and made 21-of-22 PAT kicks.
Bob Jastrab, head coach at Mt. San Antonio College, spoke highly of Cejudo.
“Joey can do it all with his leg. He can punt as well as kick,” Jastrab said.
Jastrab said YSU got a real find with Cejudo, as he drew interest from a Division I school.
“He was an awesome find for Youngstown. He received an offer from Arizona State [University], but Joey decided Youngstown was the campus for him,” Jastrab said.
Ryan Mosora, from Brookfield High School, was a Second-Team Division IV Ohio All-State selection. As a senior, Mosora had 2,147 rushing yards with 31 touchdowns.
“Ryan is interesting, as he has no true position. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash in camp. I told Ryan he needs to come in and play special teams and grow as a player,” Wolford said.
Randy Clark, Mosora’s head coach from high school and a former Penguin himself, also gave praise for Mosora.
“Ryan always goes the extra mile; everybody likes him. Great, classy kid, and [he] will be a huge asset to the program,” Clark said.