PIKEVILLE, Ky. – University of Pikeville head football coach Dudley Hilton added a strong mix of talent to his team that finished 7-4 last season with the signing of the Bears’ 2014 recruiting class on Wednesday afternoon at the Hoops Athletic Facility.
Sixty-eight players in all cast their lot with UPIKE football, including 55 high-school seniors and 13 mid-year enrollees already taking classes at the university.
While 46 of the new additions hail from Kentucky, Hilton and his staff also brought in six from Ohio, three from Georgia and South Carolina, two from Florida and Tennessee and one each from North Carolina and Virginia. That list makes a total of eight states producing players who will wear the orange and black.
Hilton, who is entering his fourth season as head coach at UPIKE, is hoping the momentum of a three-game winning streak and energy around off-season workouts can help these new players come in and help the Bears compete for a Mid-South Conference Championship.
“We are really excited about this group of young men joining us, I’m just listed as the head man, but I have a great staff behind me that helped build this class,” said Hilton. “The program keeps going in the right direction, when I started we only had a few seniors, now we’re looking at having over 20. I’m excited to start another year with these guys.
“With the support of administrators like President James Hurley and Governor Paul Patton, we’ve been able to build facilities that help us compete,” said Hilton. “If you want to see a group of players hard at work, join us at the practice facility at 6:30 a.m., it’s been great to see.”
Mixing in Wednesday’s signees with a talented group of veterans already on the roster has the makings for an exciting team in 2014. Many should be ready to step in and compete right away, including four NCAA Div. I transfers.
Offensive lineman Henry Vincent and tight end Chad Conway arrive from the University of Louisville, while Aaron Jackson is a wide receiver who played under Bobby Petrino at Western Kentucky last season and kicker Caleb Noe joins UPIKE from Morehead State.
Five of the high-school signees made it all the way to a Kentucky State Championship game this past season.
Quarterback Sani Warren and running back Trenity Carr won a state title at Belfy, while defensive back Alan Brown and quarterback Tyler Guffey from Wayne County were on the losing side of that game by a narrow 3-0 margin. Now the four will compete together at Pikeville.
Nathan Roskind, a 6-4 defensive end from Pulaski County, also came up just short in a state championship game and will compete for playing time on the line in the fall.
This year’s recruiting class also has a local flavor as five players will join the Bears from Pike County. Those signees include Carr and Warren, Betsy Layne’s Zach Bowens and Jordan Stewart and Phillip Lovins from Shelby Valley.