Wolf Pack fulfills needs, signs 17
Special to the Nevada Appeal
The University of Nevada football program knew exactly what it wanted to accomplish on National Letter of Intent signing day on Wednesday.
“We were very picky on what we wanted to do,” Wolf Pack recruiting coordinator Jim Mastro said.
The Wolf Pack announced the signing of 17 football recruits on Wednesday, filling some immediate needs and building for the future at the same time.
“It’s a good, solid class,” head coach Chris Ault said. “We got some excellent skill people and some real strong people up front on both sides of the ball.”
In other words, mission accomplished.
The Wolf Pack had just 15 seniors on its roster this past season, leaving few spots to fill.
“Since our senior class was so small this year we didn’t have as many scholarships to give out,” Ault said. “But that was also a good thing because it made it very competitive for us on what kids to sign.”
Ault said the Pack’s recruiting priorities were, in order, offensive line, wide receiver and defensive line. The offensive line is losing senior starters Dominic Green and Greg Hall and backups Josh Catapano and Brad Eskew. Senior wide receivers Mike McCoy and Marko Mitchell also are gone as is defensive lineman starter Mundrae Clifton.
The Pack signed four offensive lineman ” juniors Jose Acuna (6-foot-6, 308 pounds) of Mt. San Jacinto (Calif.) College and Aminiasi Silatolu (6-4, 295) of San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., and freshmen Steven Jeffers (6-3, 258) of Bishop Manogue High in Reno and Joel Bitonio (6-4, 290) of Long Beach, Calif.
“Joel (Bitonio) is as good a lineman as we’ve recruited in my tenure here,” Ault said.
Ault also added that Silatolu also is being counted to step right into the lineup.
“He’ll be an instant player for us,” Ault said. “He just has to learn the system and he better learn it fast before he goes in there against Notre Dame (to open the season in September).”
Freshman Joe Washington, of Stockton, Calif., and junior Maurice Patterson, of Palomar Junior College in San Marcos, Calif., are the Pack’s two new wide receivers. The four freshman defensive linemen are Jack Reynoso (6-3, 270) of Loomis, Calif., Josh Banks, of Stockton, Calif., Sam Foster, of Esparto, Calif., and Wesley Hollingshed, of Atlanta, Ga.
Mastro said Banks picked the Pack over Fresno State, Washington State and San Jose State.
“Josh is maybe the sleeper of the class,” Ault said.
“He will play for us next year. He’s as good a defensive lineman as we’ve recruited in my time here. We expect big things from him.”
The Pack also added two freshman quarterbacks ” David Fales, of Salinas, Calif., and Mason Magleby, of Loomis, Calif., ” and freshman running back Stephon Jefferson, of Visalia, Calif. Both quarterbacks are 6-2, 190 pounds while Jefferson is 5-11, 190.
Ault said Jefferson, who rushed for 2,850 yards and 34 touchdowns for El Diamante High, will likely redshirt this season as Luke Lippincott and Vai Taua compete for playing time.
“We didn’t intend to recruit a running back,” Ault said. “But he was too good to pass up.”
Duke Williams, a freshman from Hug High in Reno and junior Cory Smith, from the College of the Sequoias, will compete for playing time at defensive back.
“Duke Williams is, without question, the best (prep) defensive back in the state of Nevada,” Ault said.
Mastro said Smith chose the Wolf Pack over Oregon State. “We got a Pac-10 player there,” Ault said.
The Pack also signed kicker Richard Drake, a junior from College of the Canyons in southern California, and sophomore linebacker Andre Davis, of Western Washington.
“There’s no question (Davis) will make an impact next year,” Ault said.
The Wolf Pack women’s soccer program also announced the signing of eight recruits, all freshmen. Joining the Pack soccer team are goalkeeper Dana Moreno (Chatsworth, Calif.), midfielders Jordan Ramsier (Dallas, Texas), Emma Rice (Santa Clarita, Calif.), Sarah Schmeda (Littleton, Colo.), Jillian Masciola (Las Vegas Cimarron High) and Samantha Johnson (Ketchum, Idaho) and defenders Lauren Braman (Niwot, Colo.) and Pauline Roman (Loma Linda, Calif.).