As James Miller completed his fourth signing class as Reinhardt’s football coach, he said the Eagles hit on exactly the targets they were after.
“We did hit on some key spots,” Miller said. “We’re always going to focus up front on both sides of the ball, and after the season ended, we wanted to get bigger and thicker up front. I thought we were able to do that.”
Reinhardt signed 26 players, down from 41 in 2019 and 56 in 2018, but the lower total included a number of talented athletes in key position groups.
The Eagles finished last season ranked No. 4 in the NAIA in rushing yards per game (263.5), and this year’s class seems to replenishing the ranks responsible for running the ball.
One of the key signings was offensive lineman Kevon Carr of Auburn High School in Alabama. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound lineman was a first-team all-state selection and could push for immediate playing time with his ability to move in space and finish blocks in the run game.
“He’s probably got the best feet of any offensive lineman since Tre Coney (a two-time NAIA All-American),” Miller said. “He’s extremely quick and athletic but also has a really good punch.”
Carr is one of six offensive linemen in this year’s class, in addition to in-state signees Sam Hill (Burke County), Christian Morgan (Dalton), Micah Moten (Carrollton), Joshua Wade (Habersham Central) and Marquez Washington (Burke County). Miller said Morgan is another player who stood out on game film.
“He had the most explosive pop off the ball of any kid we signed, and he’s a very well put-together young man at 290 pounds,” Miller said.
Reinhardt bolstered its backfield roster as well, signing six running backs with a variety of skill sets.
Javarsia Meadows, from Howard High School in Macon, was a first team all-Region 2AAAA running back in 2019 and totaled 3,309 all-purpose yards — 1,336 rushing, 1,358 receiving, 615 return yards — during his career. He scored a career 29 touchdowns and could provide an exciting offensive weapon for Reinhardt.
Jashaun Kirby, from Jeff Davis High School in Hazelhurst, will likely push for carries out of the B-back position. The 5-10, 200-pound Kirby profiles as a physical, north-south runner and tallied 643 yards and six touchdowns on 92 carries as a senior.
Twin brothers Terrence and Torrence Roberts, from Ridgeland High School in Rossville, are also a pair of players who could help on offense. Terrence Roberts was the Region 6AAAA Player of the Year last season, while Torrence was a first-team all-region wide receiver.
In a roster oddity, the Roberts brothers are one of four sets of twins in this year’s class.
The three other pairs of brothers heading to Waleska are two duos from Augusta’s Richmond Academy — LaDarious and TaDarious Davis, and Israel and Isiah Dorsey — and Carrollton’s Malachi and Micah Moten.
“We kept talking about it during recruiting, but it wasn’t planned,” Miller said. “Then one pair committed, then another. The Moten kids are identical, and it’s going to be hard for me to tell a few of them apart for a little while.”
The defensive line is another position group where Reinhardt landed key targets.
Defensive tackle Tony Duffie, from Fitzgerald, is one of the strongest players in the state according to Miller. The 313-pound lineman can bench-press over 450 pounds and played both ways for last season, earning first-team all-Region 1AA honors as an offensive guard.
Defensive end Jamal Mahan, from Dodge County High School in Eastman, projects as a end rusher along the defensive line and was the first player Miller went to see in person following the season.
“Physically, Duffie would be ready to play in most college programs,” Miller said. “He’s just a big, thick guy that played both ways at 313 pounds. We’ve been recruiting him for a long time and we fell in love with him because of his work ethic.
“Mahan has a great first step, and we thought he could really affect the passer. We’re always looking for those kinds of guys.”
Recruiting will continue for Miller through the spring. Many of the best players he has found have arrived after National Signing Day, including former Creekview standout Brody Dorfman, the Eagles’ projected starter at tight end next season.
The lower total of signees this year was both a result of better competition within the state and focusing more on specific fits for the program.
“I really think the recruiting in our state has gotten so much better over the last couple years as far as other in-state programs recruiting Georgia,” Miller said. “We also wanted to be more selective of who we took.
“Sometimes, kids just get overlooked for whatever reason and we didn’t want to sign guys just to sign them because there’s going to be a lot of good football players left after signing day.”
Reinhardt’s primary focus is now the weight room and Miller said he and his staff are still bringing potential recruits to campus a few days a week. The Eagles will return seven starters on offense and eight on defense in 2020, with the team’s spring game scheduled for April 16.