National Signing Day

The Troy Trojans football season may have ended but the Trojans got a big win with 18 players signing on National Signing Day on Dec. 16. For the second consecutive season Troy landed the highest rated class in school history.

Of the 18 new Trojans, nine are Alabama natives and three are transferring to Troy from Power-5 programs.

“We are really excited about this group and I thought we addressed our needs. We still have some things in the works that we’ve left some room for,” Troy coach Chip Lindsey said. “A lot of these guys have been committed to us for a long time and it is a testament to who they are and how much they love Troy that they honored their commitment and signed today.

“We signed nine guys from the State of Alabama and that is always a priority for us; to sign in-state guys who can play here. Our coaches did a great job of evaluating players and I’m really impressed with who we signed today.”

Both Opelika running back La’Damian Webb and Rome, Ga. defensive tackle Jamarcus Chatman are transferring to Troy from Florida State, while Fayetteville, Ark., quarterback Taylor Powell is transferring in from Missouri.

Powell was the Arkansas Prep Player of the Year in 2016 and was ranked as a Top-20 quarterback prospect from ESPN coming out of high school.

At Missouri he started one game as a sophomore in 2019 and was expected to compete for the starting job in 2020 before opting out of the season and ultimately transferring. Powell will come to a Troy as a junior.

Webb was the first underclassmen in state history to win Mr. Football in Alabama in 2016 after rushing for more than 3,200 yards and 53 touchdowns for Class 5A State Champion Beauregard. He signed with Mississippi State out of high school but ultimately started his college career at Jones Junior College, where he earned JUCO All American honors after rushing for 940 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Webb signed with Florida State in 2020 and rushed for 369 yards and three touchdowns in seven games before opting out for the remainder of the season.

Chatman was a four-star defensive tackle coming out of high school before signing with Florida State. In 2019, he played sparingly for the Seminoles and then opted out of the 2020 season before transferring to Troy.

Another transfer in the early signing class includes New Orleans, La., receiver Kyran Griffin-Isom who was rated as the No. 10 JUCO receiver in the country as a freshman at Palomar College in 2019. Isom may also have the most interesting story in this class as he is actually 28 years old. The 6-foot-3-inch Isom joined the Marines after high school, rather than pursue his football career. He played football for the first time in seven years in 2019. He caught 61 passes for 754 yards and seven touchdowns.

Stone Mountain, Ga., native Deshon Stoudemire is another JUCO receiver bringing his talents to Troy after being ranked the No. 8 JUCO receiver in the country by 247 Sports in 2020. Stoudemire caught 38 passes for 333 yards at Iowa Western Community College in 2020 and was a three-star receiver coming out of Stephenson High School in 2019. His cousin is former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire.

Of the incoming Alabama freshmen, Pinson Valley defensive tackle Julian Peterson may be the biggest at 6-foot-5-inches and 295 pounds. He recorded 10.5 tackles-for-loss and five sacks in helping lead Pinson Valley to back-to-back Class 6A state championships.

Cornerback Caleb Ransaw of Harvest had 25 pass breakups and two interceptions as a senior for Sparkman, and was rated as one of the Top 100 players in Alabama in 2020.

Atalla native Ollie Finch Jr. is another receiver that brings a big frame – at 6-foot-2-inches and 175 pounds – to a roster full of big receivers. Finch earned 2,540 yards and 16 touchdowns in his career at Etowah.

Florence receiver Peyton Higgins was one of the deadliest kick returners in the country during his high school career returning an AHSAA record nine kickoffs for touchdowns and another seven punts for touchdowns. He returned an AHSAA-single season record five kickoffs for touchdowns in 2018. He finished his career at Mars Hill Bible with 8,945 all-purpose yards and 100 total touchdowns.

At 6-foot-4-inches and 295 pounds, Mobile’s Ivan Shultz was a Sports Illustrated Preseason All-American as a senior. Shultz was the No. 11-rated center in the country by 247 Sports and helped guide St. Paul’s High School to the Class 5A State Championship in 2020.

Troy snagged Northport running back Damien Taylor out of Alabama’s backyard after he earned all-state honors with 1,851 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior.

Troy also signed kicker Scott Taylor Renfroe, who grew up in Troy and attended Pike Liberal Arts. Renfroe was ranked as the No. 15 kicker in the country by 247Sports.

Mobile native Jarris Williams will likely be looked at as the gem of the 2020 class as he chose Troy over a number of Power-5 schools, including Tennessee and Kentucky of the SEC. Williams was the No. 23 rated running back in the country by ESPN and rushed for 1,352 yard and 13 touchdowns as a senior for Blount High School.

Bainbridge, Ga., native Quayde Hawkins is yet another talented quarterback that Troy coach Chip Lindsey has brought into the Trojan program. Hawkins led Bainbridge to the Class 4A State Championship in 2018 and his team is currently playing in the Class 4A Semifinals in Georgia.

Hawkins will be bringing his primary blocker with him as the gigantic 6-foot-4-inch, 320-pound Lawson Chandler was rated as a three-star offensive tackle by 247Sports.

Augusta, Ga., linebacker Jordan Stringer recorded 485 tackles and five interceptions in his career at Laney High School.

Jacksonville, Fla., native Phillip Lee earned 286 tackles and 57 sacks at First Coast High School and will play the “bandit” position at Troy.

Starke, Fla., safety Sterling Roberts caps off Troy’s early signing class after recording 74 tackles last season for Bradford High School. He earned a three-star ranking from 247sports and was a Top 50 player in the Jacksonville area.

The Trojans landed their 19th signee on Dec. 28 when North Carolina State transfer cornerback Taiyon Palmer signed with Troy, as well.

Palmer was a four-star high school athlete coming out of Archer High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. and was the No. 19-ranked cornerback in the entire country.

He signed with North Carolina State out of high school and played in five games in 2020, recording five tackles and a pass breakup.

Archer was an all-state defensive back in high school and recorded nine interceptions during his high school career. He and current Troy defensive tackle Will Choloh helped lead Archer High School to a 12-1 record in their senior season in 2017.

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