Football Inks 20 On National Signing Day

NLI SIGNING DAY CENTRAL

ALBANY, N.Y. – University at Albany head football coach Greg Gattuso announced Wednesday the signing of 20 high school standouts to National Letters of Intent. In addition, the Great Danes will have two spring-semester transfers added to the roster, making a total of 22 newcomers in 2014.

The class hails from six states, as well as the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania and Maryland lead the way with six signees each, followed by four from New Jersey, three from New York, and one apiece from Alabama, Florida, and Washington D.C.

Broken down by position, the recruiting class features an equal distribution of offensive and defensive players, as well as a kicker on special teams.

Already enrolled in classes for the spring semester, UAlbany welcomes transfer student-athletes Mike Madaras (Olney, Md.) and Dan Harding (Nazareth, Pa.). Madaras, a 6’6, 280 pound offensive tackle, comes to UAlbany after starting two seasons at the University of Maryland under Gattuso’s direction. Harding, a 6’4 quarterback, joins the Danes’ squad after a year at the University of Akron (2012) and a season at Sierra College (2013), where he threw for 1,859 yards and 18 touchdowns across eight games.

Mike’s younger brother Sam Madaras (Olney, Md.), a 6’3, 285 pound offensive lineman, also committed to UAlbany for the 2014 season after helping Our Lady of Good Counsel win back-to-back WCAC championships in 2011 and 2012. Alec Bowman (Secaucus, N.J.), a 6’4, 260 pound standout at Paramus Catholic will also be a newcomer on UAlbany’s offensive line. Bowman helped the Paladin’s to two Non-Public Group 4 State Championships in his final two seasons on the gridiron. In addition, 6’7, 285 pound Luke Ritter (Milford, Pa.) will add size on the offensive line. Ritter helped Delaware Valley to a district and conference championship, while earning all-league and all-region honors.

The Great Danes inked two wide receivers to NLI’s in Jordan Crockett (Fort Washington, Md.) and Zee Roberson (Stroudsburg, Pa.). Crockett was a first-team All-WCAC honoree in 2013 after totaling 1,275 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns for Bishop McNamara. Roberson, a two-year captain at East Stroudsburg South, led the Cavs to a perfect 10-0 record in the Mountain Valley Conference and was named first-team all-league and all-area.

Elliot Croskey, an Albany, N.Y. native and product of Christian Brothers Academy, marks the Great Danes’ lone signed running back. Croskey led CBA to a Section II title and to the New York State Class AA regional finals in 2013, rushing for 1,553 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior. Also a team captain, Croskey was a consensus Player of the Year selection by the Capital Region media.

At the tight end position, Anthony Paolello (Montvale, N.J.) and Lukas Repetti (White Plains, N.Y.) will look to add depth to the UAlbany roster. Paolello, a product of St. Joseph Regional, helped lead the Green Knights to three straight Non-Public Group 3 State Championships from 2011-13 and was named first-team all-league and all-county, as well as Second-Team All-State and All-North Jersey in 2013, totaling 217 yards on 10 receptions. Repetti also racked up league and all-state honors after helping White Plains to a Section 1 Class AA title in 2013. In addition to playing tight end, Repetti was a standout at defensive end, earning the league’s Lineman of the Year award.

In addition to Harding, quarterback Steve Shanley (Westwood, N.J.) will look to compete for time in the pocket. Shanley, like Bowman, also saw great success at Paramus Catholic, winning two state titles. Shanley totaled 2,000 passing yards as a senior, completing 127-of-203 passes with 26 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He earned first-team all-league and honorable mention all-state honors. In his career, Shanley completed 322-of-515 passes for 4,926 passing yards and 59 touchdowns.

Defensively, UAlbany adds 10 newcomers. The Great Danes signed defensive ends Zack DeLuca (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Jack Dudzinski (Fulton, Md.), and Foussenie Troare (Washington, D.C.). A team captain and first-team all-state honoree, DeLuca helped Pittsburgh Central Catholic to a WPIAL championship, Northern Eight Conference championship, and PIAA Western Regional championship in 2013. Likewise, Dudzinski led Reservoir High School to a 2013 3A Regional Championship, totaling 90 tackles and nine sacks as a senior first-team all-county honoree, while Troare served a key role on Friendship Collegiate Academy’s defensive line.

Looking to add depth at the linebacker position, the Great Danes inked Malachi Hoskins (Windsor, Conn.), Isaiah Powell (Oradell, N.J.), Greg Reaves (Bradenton, Fla.), and DaSharnte Thompson (Olney, Md.). Hoskins, a three-time first-team all-league selection, recorded 97 tackles and 11 sacks in his senior season at Loomis Chaffee. Powell, a three-year letterwinner for Bergen Catholic, helped his squad win back-to-back state championships in 2011 and 2012, and totaled 61 tackles and three sacks as a senior. Reaves was named the Manatee County Defensive Player of the Year and earned all-state honors, and helped Manatee High School to a state championship in 2011. A teammate of the Madaras brothers, Thompson also helped Good Counsel to back-to-back WCAC championships, earning a plethora of first-team accolades.

Moving away from the line of scrimmage, UAlbany signed three defensive backs in the 2014 class in Julian Cox (New Castle, Pa.), Chris Johnson (Birmingham, Ala.), and Jamal Robinson (Mitchellville, Md.). A free safety, Cox was a team captain at New Castle High School, where he earned all-conference honors as both a safety and a quarterback. Johnson, UAlbany’s first-ever signee from the state of Alabama, earned three varsity football letters at Oak Mountain and was an all-county cornerback. Finally, Robinson, a product of DeMatha Catholic High School helped his squad to a 2013 WCAC title, earning second-team All-WCAC honors as a senior defensive back.

As far as special teams, the Great Danes inked kicker Ethan Stark (Erie, Pa.). Stark, a team captain, was named first-team all-region and an Erie Times News All-Star, averaging 37.4 yards per punt as a senior, while making 37-of-39 point-after attempts.

With the 22 newcomers in 2014, UAlbany will open a new chapter of Great Dane football under the direction of head coach Greg Gattuso. Gattuso will lead UAlbany into its second season in the fiercely competitive Colonial Athletic Association.

UAlbany will hold a press conference Thursday at noon in which the coaching staff will be available for comment on the recruiting class. The event will be live streamed through DaneZone.