TU signs 22 — including Calvert’s Jones — as part of recruiting class

College Football

Tiffin University announced a new group of players have joined its program.

It’s still unclear who their coach for the 2019 season will be.

Interim coach Seth Duerr found himself in a different position during this recruiting cycle. The team’s previous coach, Gary Goff, resigned 13 days ago to take the head coaching job at Division II national champion Valdosta State.

Duerr and other staff members not only had to continue to recruit, but also calm concerns.

“It was a different situation,” Duerr said. “We had to just really work hard to make sure that we kept the class intact, as this all happened during the recruiting process. I think our coaching staff did a great job of assuring families that they’re still coming to a great place, in spite of the change.”

In all, 22 players signed with the Dragons. Included in the group is Calvert’s star running back, Austin Jones, as well as six defensive backs, three defensive linemen, three quarterbacks and two wide receivers. Jones was the only tailback in the class.

“We’re excited about the class, excited about the kids we got,” Duerr said. “I think there’s more to come in the spring.

“There’s a really good group of kids who can be impact players, and a lot of guys who can evolve and help us win games,” he said.

There was a definite focus on the secondary. The Dragons snared all-Ohio DB Javion Binns, a 5-10, 190 pounder from Garfield Heights. Strong safety Kylan Birchmore (5-11, 170), from Columbus’ Eastmoor Academy, also is coming in, as well as Osman Sail, a DB from a high school in Louisville, Kentucky. Sail, a 6-foot, 170 pounder, was an all-state selection who twice played in Kentucky’s state finals.

Joining them at the position group are Andre Smith, a 5-11, 175-pound standout from Hillcrest High School in Illinois, Caleb Streat (5-10, 170) from Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati and Cleveland Heights’ James Weaver, a 6-2, 170 pounder.

Duerr said he was also excited about the receiver positions, where the team signed Major Lee, a 6-foot, 180 pounder from Citrus College in California, and Kevin Swift. Swift is 6-2, 180 pounds, and is from La Salle — the same high school as starting quarterback Nick Watson.

“We felt like there was some real skill additions, both receivers and DBs, that were really exceptional,” Duerr said. “I think those are two highlights.”

Duerr also liked what the Dragons got on the defensive line. Kenja Jenkins is a 6-1, 240-pound tackle from Noblesville, Indiana, and Montez Kelley is a 6-5, 250-pound end from Durcell Marian in Cincinnati. Another end the Dragons signed is Jacob Rindler, who is a 6-3, 215-pounder from New Bremen. Meanwhile, DT Ladonnis Griffin (6-2, 250, Lakota West) also signed with TU.

“I think the guys we got at the defensive line are really difference makers,” Duerr said.

One of the quarterbacks the Dragons brought in is Triston Dillon, a 6-7, 220-pounder from West Carrollton who was a 2018 Blue Gray All-American. They also signed Cody Johnson, a 6-3, 350-pound offensive linemen from Columbus Grove whose final high school game came in the playoffs against Seneca East at Frost-Kalnow Stadium in November.

The other TU signings were:

* Zach Evans, TE, 6-3, 220, Lorain.

* Deonte Gilbert, LB, 5-6, 160, Princeton HS, Cincinnati.

* Corey Graham, QB, 6-2, 170, Harper Woods HS, Oak Park, Michigan.

* Joseph Janke Jr., QB, 5-9, 165, Columbia Station.

* Joel Mitchell, LB, 6-1, 235, Birmingham Groves, HS. Beverly Hills, Michigan.

* Rolando Shalor, OL, 6-2, 280, Palos Hills, Illinois

* Jaron Sharp, QB, 6-3, 210, Kenton.

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