DURHAM, N.H. – Sean McDonnell, 15th-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire football program, announced Wednesday that 13 student-athletes signed letters of intent on National Signing Day to attend UNH and play football for the Wildcats.
"We are very excited about the 13 student-athletes who signed today," McDonnell said. "Though it is limited in numbers, the versatility and athleticism of this recruiting class is very impressive. Our staff did a great job in finding two-way players who can help fill voids on both sides of the ball from our graduating senior class."
Here is a list and a synopsis of each member of the Wildcats' signing class:
|Cyrus Boone||DL/OL||6-2||260||Stockton, Calif./Lincoln|
|Trevon Bryant||RB/DB||5-8||175||St. Augustine, Fla./Pedro Menendez|
|Shawn Cavallaro||WR/DB||5-11||180||Hanover, N.H./Hanover|
|Rory Donovan||WR/DB||6-5||200||Canton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman|
|D'Andre Drummond||S/RB||6-0||205||Lawrence, Mass./Central Catholic|
|Dayne Herron||OL/DL||6-4||285||Oak Harbor, Wash./Salisbury School|
|DE/LB||6-2||215||Stafford, Va./North Stafford|
|Trevor Knight||QB/DB||6-0||180||Nashua, N.H./Nashua South|
|Jared Kuehl||LB/RB||6-1||210||Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth Regional|
|Neil O'Connor||WR/DB||5-11||176||Leominster, Mass./Leominster|
|Kieran Presley||WR/DB||6-0||175||Amherst, Mass./Loomis-Chaffee Prep|
|Ryan Sosnak||OL/DL||6-2||300||Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park|
|Matt Torrey||TE/DE||6-2||230||Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire Academy|
Cyrus Boone joins the Wildcat family from Lincoln High School in Stockton, Calif., where he played for head coach Brian Gray. The converted linebacker played both defensive end and defensive tackle in his 2013 senior season. Boone was a team captain and helped guide Lincoln to the CIF Division 1 Sac-Joaquin Playoffs. He tallied a team-high seven sacks and 18 tackles for loss. For his efforts, Boone was selected as All-Area First Team on defense and was named the San Joaquin Athletic Association Defensive Lineman of the Year. He was also selected by the Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame as the McKay Award recipient for top defensive lineman in the area.
"Cyrus is an outstanding, two-way prospect for us," McDonnell said. "He has speed, athleticism and explosiveness that will add depth to our defensive line."
Trevon Bryant is a four-year letterwinner out of Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, Fla. The 2013 senior captain rushed for 1,772 yards and 25 touchdowns on 205 carries; he averaged 8.64 yards/rush and 161 rushing yards/game without surrendering a fumble. Bryant garnered All-State Third Team, All-County First Team, All-District First Team, All-Northeast Florida Regional Elite Team and All-First Coast Third Team. He started his high school football career on defense, where he played cornerback as a freshman and sophomore. He transitioned to RB as a junior and responded by gaining 853 yards and five TDs. Additionally, Bryant earned two letters on the weightlifting team and also lettered in track & field.
"Trevon is a dynamic offensive football player," McDonnell said. "He has great speed and vision, and his ability to accelerate at the second level will add to our offensive skill positions."
Shawn Cavallaro remains in New Hampshire after a stellar career at Hanover High School. Cavallaro was a four-year starter for the Marauders at wide receiver and defensive back. At WR, he accumulated 4,410 yards of total offense and 48 touchdowns. Cavallaro was named All-USA Today New Hampshire First Team, was a three-year All-State First Team selection and was thrice named All-Conference. Cavallaro, who also serves as senior captain for the Hanover hockey team, has been selected to play in the Shrine Maple-Sugar Bowl and the CHaD East-West N.H. All-Star Game.
"Shawn is an outstanding two-way threat," McDonnell said. He is a versatile offensive athletic player who runs and catches the ball very well. On defense, he is an explosive tackler and has great ball skills."
Rory Donovan comes to Durham from Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, Mass. The four-year varsity letterwinner was named the Catholic Central League MVP for helping the Cardinals post a 9-3 Record. The wide receiver was selected to the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Super 26 All-State Team and the fourth annual ESPNBoston.com All-State Team. The two-way starter accumulated 14 touchdowns (10 receiving, 4 rushing) and also recorded four interceptions, including a pick-six, from his safety position. The dual rushing/receiving threat notched 26 catches for 562 yards and six TDs; he also rushed 21 times for 435 yards and seven touchdowns. He ended his career with 28 total touchdowns. Donovan is playing on a state contending basketball team this winter and runs track in the spring.
"Rory is another athletic skill position player for us," McDonnell said. "Not only is he big for a wideout, he has outstanding hands and jumping ability. He is a huge target that will add another tool to our receiving corps."
D'Andre Drummond joins the Wildcats by way of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Mass. As a senior captain, Drummond was instrumental in leading Central Catholic to a victory over Xaverian Brothers in the Division 1 Super Bowl. The two-year Merrimack Valley All-Conference selection at defensive back was also tabbed to the Eagle-Tribune All Star Team, ESPN Massachusetts All-State Team, the Massachusetts Super 26 All-State Team, and he was chosen to play in the Shriners All-Star Game. As captain of both the indoor and outdoor track teams, Drummond was a Merrimack Valley All-Conference selection in the hurdles. He also finished third in the State Decathlon Track Meet.
"D'Andre is a very good safety prospect for us," McDonnell said. "He has outstanding size and is a very good tackler that has great cover ability. He will add depth at both safety positions for us."
Dayne Herron will join the UNH football family from Oak Harbor, Wash. He was a standout post-graduate student-athlete at the Salisbury School in Connecticut this past fall. Herron was a dominant force at offensive tackle for coach Chris Phelps in 2013, helping open holes for a RB that ran for 21 TDs and 1,750 yards. Herron exhibits versatility with the ability to be physical at the point of attack, pull out in space as a lead blocker and in pass protection. He uses his size extremely well, gives tremendous effort and is tenacious finishing blocks. Prior to his post-grad year at Salisbury, Herron was a team captain for head football coach Jay Turner at Oak Harbor. There he was recognized as All-WESCO First Team and was selected to compete in the Washington All-State "Summer Classic" football game. Herron is also a member of Salisbury's varsity basketball team and was an All-State basketball player while at Oak Harbor.
"Dayne has terrific growth potential," McDonnell said. "He is a very athletic offensive tackle prospect. His speed and athleticism will help him develop his pass protection skills at the college level."
Jae'Wuan Horton comes to New Hampshire from North Stafford High School in Stafford, Va. Horton capped his high school career by leading North Stafford to its second straight state playoff semifinal appearance. The senior captain was decorated as a two-time All-Commonwealth District First Team selection, a two-time All-Area Free Lance Star, the Conference 15 Defensive Player of the Year, All-Northern Region 5A First Team, All-State Virginia Preps First Team and All-State VHSL First Team. The talented pass rusher finished his senior season with 17 sacks, 25 TFLs, 76 total tackles and four forced fumbles. In addition to his success on the field Horton also maintains a 3.8 GPA.
"Jae'Wuan is an explosive edge rusher," McDonnell said. "His ability to bend and run off the edge will give him an opportunity to become a very good defensive end in the CAA."
Jared Kuehl is a three-sport athlete from Plymouth Regional High School in New Hampshire. He was captain of the football, basketball and lacrosse teams. As a sophomore, he was All-State Honorable Mention at safety. Kuel was All-State First Team as a junior and senior at linebacker and running back. Plymouth won the state championship in both of those seasons. As a senior, he was named to the USA Today All-New Hampshire Defensive Team as well as being tabbed for the New Hampshire Scholar-Athlete Award. He has been selected to play in the CHaD East-West NH All-Star Game and the Shrine Maple-Sugar Bowl. As a junior, Kuehl was a First-Team All-State selection in lacrosse.
"Jared is a very athletic two-way player who has a huge upside," McDonnell said. "His athleticism and physical toughness will help him greatly at the college level. His all-around play will add depth at the linebacker position and on special teams."
Trevor Knight opts to stay home in New Hampshire for his college career after a stellar senior campaign in which he guided Nashua South to a 9-2 record and a Division I playoff appearance. The two-time captain was recognized as the NH Gatorade Player of the Year, the ESPNNH Player of the Year, the NH Sports Page Player of the Year, The USA Today NH Player of the Year and The Telegraph Player of the Year. The senior signal caller was a dual threat as he threw for 1,800 yards with 19 touchdowns and only two interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 1,533 yards and 19 more TDs. Knight, who also made an impact on the defense with four interceptions and 36 tackles, is also the starting point guard for the varsity basketball team, and he is a member of the track team, where he is a state qualifier in the 55m.
"Trevor is an outstanding athlete with a very accurate and lively arm," McDonnell said. "His ability to run the ball will help us continue to use the quarterback as a run-pass weapon in our offense."
Neil O'Connor finished off a spectacular career for the Leominster Blue Devils, leading them to a 10-1 record in 2013 after helping the team to two Massachusetts D-1 Central Super Bowl victories in his sophomore and junior seasons. The Mass. Gatorade Player of the Year, who transitioned to quarterback from receiver for his senior year, completed 121 of 194 (62%) passes for 2,132 yards and 24 TDs. He also rushed for 673 yards on 81 carries for 8.3 yards/carry and 11 more touchdowns. At defensive back, O'Connor recorded 120 tackles, one forced fumble, and five interceptions, of which he returned two for touchdowns. O'Connor also had a huge impact on special teams as he returned two punts for scores this past season. Named the team MVP for the second straight season, O'Connor led the Blue Devils in five statistical categories: touchdowns; rushing yards; passing yards; total offense; and interceptions after leading Leominster in INTs, receiving yards and TD receptions as a junior. O'Connor was named to the ESPNBoston.com All-State Team as a QB, and the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association Super 26 Team as a defensive back. Additionally, O'Connor was named the Central Massachusetts D-1 Defensive Player of the Year and was named Midland Wachusett A All-League for the second straight year. He repeated as a Worcester Telegram Super Team member, and as Fitchburg-Leominster Sentinel & Enterprise All-Star. As a three-sport captain, O'Connor is also a starter on the playoff bound basketball team and is a returning Worcester Telegram Super Team member to go along with being a two-time Sentinel & Enterprise All-Star member of the varsity baseball team as a pitcher.
"Neil is an outstanding all-around football player," McDonnell said. "He has great ball skills on the offensive side of the ball, and has great instincts on the defensive side of the ball. Neil is a complete athlete who will help us on special teams as well."
Kieran Presley comes to UNH on the heels of a tremendous career at Amherst High School and, more recently, Loomis-Chaffee Prep. His dynamic play led Loomis-Chaffee to a five-game winning streak to end the season; that propelled them to a share of the Eastern Eight conference title. Presley garnered All-Eastern Conference First Team, All-New England Class A First Team, and the Ralph Erickson Award that Loomis-Chaffee bestows annually to the student-athlete who best displays leadership, athletic and academic excellence. Presley filled up the stat sheet in 2013 with 25 catches for 511 yards and six touchdowns. He added 14 rushes for 291 yards and five TDs, and he returned a kick for a score. Prior to attending Loomis-Chaffee, Presley was an all-state football and lacrosse player at Amherst High in Massachusetts.
"Kieran is a smooth and sure-handed wide receiver prospect," McDonnell said. "His ability to run and catch the football will add great versatility to our slot receiver/running back positions."
Ryan Sosnak is a Western Pennsylvania product who played at Bethel Park High located just outside of Pittsburgh. The team captain had a dominant senior year and was named First-Team All-Conference. Sosnak is a three-sport athlete who also competes in varsity basketball and track & field. He is a member of the school's 1,000-Pound Club (bench, squat and clean). He was selected to represent Bethel Park in the WPIAL Summit Sportsmanship Meeting. The 3.65 honors student was vice president of FBLA, a member of the Principle Advisory Club, and a member of the Student Government Association.
"Ryan is a big, strong physical interior offensive line prospect," McDonnell said. "He has great power and strength at the point of attack and moves extremely well for a big offensive lineman."
Matt Torrey was a four-year starter as a tight end/linebacker at Cheshire Academy. A captain during his season year, Torrey led all New England prep school TEs in receptions and receiving yards. He was selected to the All-Colonial League First Team and All-New England Prep School League First Team.
"Matt is a very athletic tight end prospect for us," McDonnell said. "He has the ability to catch the ball in a crowd and the speed and athleticism to separate from the second-level defenders."
UNH is coming off an historic 2013 season in which it reached the NCAA Division I FCS Championship semifinals for the first time in program history. The Wildcats registered a 10-5 record and matched the school's highest year-end ranking at No. 5 nationally (2005). Further, the 'Cats extended the country's longest D-I playoff streak to 10 years in a row, and New Hampshire has been ranked in the Top 25 for 140 consecutive polls, FCS football's longest active streak that dates back to Sept. 13, 2004.
For more information about the UNH football program, call (603) 862-4000 or visit www.unhwildcats.com.