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UMass Football Signs 24 New Recruits for 2014

WhippleNEWAMHERST (WGGB) — The UMass Football team took their first steps towards moving past their disappointing 2013 regular season during National Signing Day on Wednesday.

UMass added 24 promising new recruits for their 2014 signing class during Wednesday’s press conference at the UMass Football Coaches Office.

Among those joining the Minutemen in 2014 are at least 4 high school stand-outs from Massachusetts. That includes defensive lineman Josh Smiley from Chicopee’s Pomfret School. The 6’6″, 235 lb. lineman will add some strength to a defensive line that struggled against the run in 2013. Smiley was also the very last of the UMass commitments to sign on Wednesday.

Joining Smiley on a defense that allowed 33 points per game are Leominster safety Jarell Addo, and Connecticut products Jake Largay, a defensive lineman from Granby, and Jack Wynne, a defensive end from Greenwich.

Some Massachusetts talent will also sure up the offensive line for the minutemen. Lineman Dan DiNicola will join UMass from Dexter High School, along with junior college transfer Liam Porter.

The 1-11 Minutemen were also looking for help on offense, and may find their future field general in two signees from out of state. Quarterbacks Ross Comis from Madonna High School in West Virginia and Randall West from Lawrenceville, New Jersey could eventually challenge A.J. Doyle, who threw for 1,274 yards, 6 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for the Minutemen as a sophomore. Fellow sophomore Mike Wegzyn also saw time, but managed just 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 2013.

UMass only brought in two other skill players, including 200-lb. running back J.T. Blyden from Cardinal O’Hara High School in Pennsylvania. He is Umass’ second-highest ranked recruit, behind tight end Jean Sifrin, a 6’7″ 250 lb. athlete out of Miami, Florida. Their only new wide receiver came all the way from California. Lamarriel Taylor shows threatening speed, at 6’3″, 185 lbs.

The rest of the recruits will hope to sure up a struggling offensive line and defense, inherited by returning head coach Mark Whipple. He returns to the school he coached from 1998 through 2003 and led to the Division I-AA national championship in his first season.

The heavy snow put a damper on the festivities, as the university was forced to postpone their Signing Day Fan Event by a week. After nearly a foot of snow, the event will be held Wednesday, February 12 at the Amherst Brewing Company.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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