Lafayette Signs 20 in First Scholarship Class

Tavani and coaching staff welcome players from nine states

EASTON, Pa. – Lafayette football has signed 20 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, it was announced on Wednesday as part of National Signing Day.

The Leopards’ coaching staff recruited 10 offensive players, nine defensive players and one special teamer for the Class of 2017 which marks the first scholarship class in the Patriot League era.

Offensively, there are four linemen and two players each at quarterback, tailback and wide receiver. On the defensive side of the ball, four linemen have inked their commitment along with three linebackers and two defensive backs. The offensive linemen average 6-5, 276 pounds and the defensive linemen will check in at an average of 6-3, 259.

The members of the Class of 2017 come to College Hill from nine states, with five players from New Jersey and New York, two each from Pennsylvania, Colorado and Tennessee and one apiece from Florida, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina.

“With the first scholarship class, it was certainly a different, much more intense process from start to finish. Our recruiting pool automatically expanded and much of what we had to deal with were timing and logistical differences from the previous recruiting cycle,” said Lafayette head coach Frank Tavani. “Scholarships are not a magic wand, by any means, because we have to put much more time into each evaluation and be correct on 15 scholarships.”

“We added some size and strength on the defensive line and really met our staff targets at all of the positional areas,” Tavani said. “With this class and the past two, the focus for us has been to combat the depth issues created by a couple of smaller recruiting classes. We are getting back to where the program needs to be in terms of depth.”

The Leopard football program has been a consistent winner, with seven winning seasons in the last 11. Lafayette lays claim to Patriot League titles in 1992, 1994, 2004, 2005 and 2006. The Leopards are coming off a 5-6 mark which followed a 3-0 start to 2012.

On Saturday, April 20, the 2013 Leopards will see their first action in the annual Maroon-White Spring Game at Fisher Stadium. Lafayette will open the 2013 regular season on Sept. 7, hosting Sacred Heart followed by a matchup with William & Mary a week later. Patriot League play opens with Bucknell on Oct. 5 in Easton and the regular season concludes at Lehigh in the 149th meeting of College Football’s Most Played Rivalry.

Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 245, Castle Rock, Colo./Mullen
Plans to major in Economics…stepfather played at Northern Colorado from 1980-84 as an outside linebacker. AT MULLEN: Earned All-Big Six Conference First-Team honors his final two seasons…Colorado High School Sports Association 5A All-State Team as a senior…four-year letter winner and two-year starter…made 95 tackles with six sacks while forcing two turnovers for scores in his final season…named Root Sports All-State Defensive Line Player of the Year…collected the Team Iron Man Award from 2010-12…placed first for defensive linemen at the Oakland SPARQ Combine in May 2012…registered 100 tackles with four sacks and two forced turnovers for scores in 2011…played longstick midfielder in lacrosse…National Honor Society student who earned the CHSSA All-State Academic Award in 2010-12. PERSONAL: Son of Kerry and Lori Dunn…youngest of five boys (Bryson, Tommy, Corbin and Kyle)…born 3/6/95.

Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 250, Morristown, Tenn./Morristown-West
Plans to major in Mechanical Engineering…cousin, David Smith, played offensive guard at Clemson from 2008-2011. AT MORRISTOWN-WEST: Played defensive end and middle linebacker while leading his squad to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012…made 23 tackles with 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss as a senior…also forced two fumbles and recovered two more…named East Tennessee Player of the Week…three-sport athlete who also competed in track and field (100-yard dash) and wrestling (heavyweight)…runs the 40-yard dash in 4.68…3.8 GPA student who is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and Beta Club…served as a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of America and in Beta Club food drives…community service volunteer for three years at the Arts and Cultural Center and for the outdated drug collection and destruction. PERSONAL: Son of Alexander and Andrea Alford…has an older sister, Kristina who is a senior Architecture major at Cornell…born 10/3/94.

Linebacker, 6-0, 220, Voorhees, N.J./Bishop Eustace
Plans to major in Neuroscience. AT BISHOP EUSTACE: 2012 Offensive Player of the Year who played quarterback, defensive back, linebacker and punter/kicker as a three-year starter and 2012 team captain…collected the 2012 Mini-Max award from the Maxwell Football Club…earned 2012 All-South Jersey Second-Team honors and garnered All-West Jersey Football League First-Team laurels as a junior and senior…passed for 910 yards and four touchdowns while gaining 365 on the ground with seven scores as a senior…made 102 tackles with six interceptions and 17 breakups during his career…made 5-of-9 field goals and was 36-of-38 on PAT while punting for an average of 38.5 yards per punt…honor roll student who was also a community service volunteer. PERSONAL: Son of Frederic and Jody Bor…has older brother, Andrew…born 10/20/94.

Defensive Back, 6-2, 190, Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier
Plans to major in Economics. AT ST. XAVIER: Played corner, wide receiver and on special teams…picked off three passes and made 50-plus tackles as a senior, earning All-Greater Catholic League Second-Team honors…played varsity basketball for three seasons, averaging 12.3 points and five assists per game…earned All-GCL honors in hoops. PERSONAL: Son of Bill and Jenny Carroll…has older brother, Will, and younger sister, Katie…born 11/10/94.

Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 270, Paterson, N.J./Passaic Tech
Plans to major in Pre-Med. AT PASSAIC TECH: Two-time All-Big North Liberty Conference First Team and two-time All-Passaic County selection…Group 5 All-State honoree…named Super 100 football player in the New Jersey…four-year player on the offensive and defensive line…competed in the shot put (52’) and discus (145’) for four years in track and field while garnering All-Passaic County laurels twice and All-Big North Liberty Conference four times…honor roll student. PERSONAL: Son of Robinson Cepeda and Milqueya Garcia…has younger brothers, Dereck and Brian, and a younger sister Brittany…born 3/30/95.

Punter/Kicker, 5-11, 170, Arlington, Va./Gonzaga College
Plans to major in Economics. AT GONZAGA COLLEGE: School’s special teams player of the year his final two seasons…played quarterback, defensive back, punter and kicker, but will focus on punting at Lafayette…named All-WCAC Second-Team punter…averaged 43.8 yards per punt in 2012…booted a 52-yard field goal, a school record…honor roll student…served as a retreat team leader. PERSONAL: Son of George and Mary Anne Forrester…has two older brothers, Kyle and Connor…born 12/1/94.

Tailback, 5-10, 175, Miller Place, N.Y. /Miller Place
Considering a major in Economics or Engineering. AT MILLER PLACE: Three-year starter who played running back, corner and returner…named to the MSG Varsity Top 100…helped team advance to Suffolk County Division III semifinals…set school single-season records for rushing yards (1,268), average yards per carry (10.2), rushing TDs (15), touchdowns (17) and points scored (102) while notching single-game marks for point scored (24), rushing touchdowns (4) and total touchdowns (4)…garnered 145 yards through the air on 11 receptions (13.2 yards per catch) as a senior…returned seven kicks for 248 yards (35.4 yards per return) and eight punts for 85 yards (10.6 yards per return)…earned the NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award in his final two seasons…as a junior, was the team’s leading receiver (31 catches for 380 yards and 4 TDs)…also played varsity lacrosse (midfielder) and competed in track and field (sprinter and discus)…honor roll student. PERSONAL: Son of Jonathan and Georgette Greenfield…has older brothers, Channon and Alexzander and a twin sister, Hanna…born 1/22/95.

Offensive Lineman, 6-6, 265, Newburgh, N.Y./Newburgh Free Academy
Plans to major in Chemical Engineering. AT NEWBURGH FREE ACADEMY: A 2012 Section 9 All-Star and Athletic Scholar…in junior season, backed up Mikal Myers at tackle who is now at Connecticut…named to the Section 9 Exceptional Senior Game…three-sport athlete who played center on the basketball team and also competed in crew…named outstanding rookie in the 2012 spring crew season…received the Excellence in Character and Dedication to Service Award…member of the National Honor Society and National Science Honor Society. PERSONAL: Son of Thomas and Carol Helm…has two younger sisters, Kaila and Zakiya…born 1/1/95.

Defensive Back, 6-1, 190, Jacksonville, Fla./Providence
Plans to major in Pre-Law. AT PROVIDENCE: Played corner, safety and wideout in high school…selected as All-Times Union Preseason Team and named Impact Player to Watch by Florida Times Union…garnered All-City Honorable Mention status…served as team captain as a senior…in track and field, he was named the school’s Most Outstanding Male Athlete and Most Valuable Sprinter…earned All-State status in sophomore and junior seasons…110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles state finalist while also competing in the 200m, 400m, high jump and triple jump during his career…honor roll student who served as a tutor within the football team…member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. PERSONAL: Son of Tyrone and Cassandra James…born 1/15/95.

Defensive Lineman, 6-4, 255, Cresskill, N.J./Cresskill
Plans to major in Economics. AT CRESSKILL: Earned All-Bergen County Third-Team Offense honors as a senior while also being named Third Team All-Group 1 (2012)…named All-WJIC as a senior while serving as a team captain…selected as a New Jersey High School Coaches Association Top 100 Player…2012 New Jersey Mini Maxwell Award winner…earned team’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award and Timex Heart of a Giant Award…three-sport athlete also competing in wrestling (heavyweight) and hockey (forward, defenseman)…honor roll student who was a member of the French Club…tutored and provided guidance for middle school students. PERSONAL: Son of Serge Labudev and Nataliya Zaika…has older sister, Liza…born 6/26/95.

Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 280, Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park/Choate Rosemary Hall
Plans to major in Biology or Geology…father played football at the University of Ottawa where he won a national championship and was named to the All-Canadian Team and later inducted into school’s hall of fame. AT ORCHARD PARK: Earned All-Western New York First-Team and All-State honors as a senior…team captain who awarded the Trench Trophy given to the top lineman in Western New York…named Offensive Lineman MVP in state finals, helping lead his squad to a New York State title…four-year letterwinner in football…also participated in wrestling. AT CHOATE ROSEMARY HALL: Spent a post-grad year at the prestigious school in Wallingford, Conn., competing in the New England Prep School Athletic Council. PERSONAL: Son of Timothy and Corinne Leach…has an older sister, Meghan…grew up in Orchard Park, N.Y., home of Ralph Wilson Stadium and the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

Tailback, 6-1, 210, North Wales, Pa./North Penn
Plans to major in Biology…cousins, Jason and Sam King, played football at Auburn and Georgia Southern, respectively. AT NORTH PENN: Earned All-Suburban One League First-Team honors as a senior and All-Intelligencer Second-Team laurels…racked up 1,050 yards on 170 carries for 13 rushing TDs…churned out 1,416 yards on 194 carries for 10 touchdown as a junior when he secured All-Suburban One League Second-Team laurels and led team to state title game…played running back, outside linebacker and defensive end…member of the track and field team for one season, running the 400 (53.9), 4×400 and 4×200…honor roll student who took National Latin Exam and participated in Latin Week Competition…church volunteer…team manager for girls basketball team. PERSONAL: Son of Kevin and Jacqueline Mayfield…has older brothers, Kevin and Khristian, older sisters, Josalyn and Joy and a younger brother, Kameron…born 4/8/95.

Offensive Lineman, 6-4, 275, Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale
Plans to major in History. AT SCARSDALE: All-League player who spent time at offensive guard and tight end while also playing defensive lineman…also collected Coach’s Award in his final season…top track and field athlete who competed in the shot put and discus…threw a personal best of 40’8” in 2012…named All-League in indoor track in 2012…served as lead bass in an a capella singing group. PERSONAL: Son of John and Erika McCann…has an older brother, Sean, and a younger brother, Brian…born 6/10/95.

Wide Receiver, 6-3, 185, Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley
Has yet to decide on a major. AT RALSTON VALLEY: Selected all-conference at wide receiver and defensive back as a senior and named all-county wide receiver as a senior…earned all-conference honorable mention status at defensive back as a junior…named Academic All-State freshman through senior years (maintaining a 3.6 GPA)…made 22 catches for 490 yards (22.2 yards per catch) with eight touchdowns in 2012… averaged 40.8 receiving yards per game while helping lead his squad to an 11-2 mark and a state semifinal appearance…four-sport athlete, also competing in basketball, lacrosse (two years) and track and field…named all-conference in track and field in his junior year in the high jump, long jump, triple jump…state qualifier who was also the team MVP…in basketball, earned all-conference honors as a junior, playing point guard and small forward. PERSONAL: Son of Allen and Amanda Price…has an older sister, Paxton…born 8/28/94.

Quarterback, 6-0, 185, Lakeland, Tenn./Arlington
Plans to major in Economics. AT ARLINGTON: Threw for 6,000-plus yards, 70 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in three years at quarterback…collected All-Metro First-Team honors three times…selected as the District Offensive Player of the Year… played in six games as a senior, completing 63 percent of his passes for 1,470 yards, 15 touchdowns and one interception…returned from injury to play in Liberty Bowl All-Star Game…tabbed as Touchdown Club Player of the Week…named best of Preps three times…as a junior, completed 20-of-20 passes (a Shelby County Metro Record) for 286 yards and six touchdowns for first playoff win in school history…led the Shelby Metro area in passing as a junior with nearly 2,800 yards, 36 touchdowns and seven picks…played varsity baseball, seeing time at shortstop and pitcher. PERSONAL: Son of Jerry and Leslie Reed…has older brother, Logan…born 2/17/95.

Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 260, Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson
Plans to major in Economics…high school teammate of Leopard quarterback Zach Zweizig…father played football at Maryland under Bobby Ross. AT WILSON: Named the two-time Lancaster-Lebanon League Defensive Lineman of the Year…selected as Lancaster-Lebanon League Outstanding Lineman of the Year…named two-time All-Lancaster Lebanon League Section 1 First Team defensive end and tight end…selected as Third Team All-State AAAA at tight end and All-Berks First Team at tight end…selected to play in the PSFCA East-West All-Star Game…honor roll student who was named to the All-Academic Team all three years in high school football career…made 72 solo tackles, 6.0 sacks, two passes defended, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble as a senior…corralled five receptions for 94 yards, (18.8 yards per catch and 6.3 yards per game) in 2012…as a junior, made 21 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns…made 53 solo tackles, two sacks, two passes defended, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles in his junior campaign. PERSONAL: Son of Mark and Jodi Rothrock…has a younger brother, Nick…born 3/15/95.

Quarterback, 6-2, 195, Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central/Hun School
Plans to major in Economics…comes from same school as senior offensive guard Brad Bormann…grandfather, Charles Searfoss, played defensive line at Delaware during the 1950s. AT HUNTERDON CENTRAL: Earned All-New Jersey Group IV First-Team honors in 2011 while being named West New Jersey Player of the Year…selected All-Conference First Team while finishing in the top 10 in the state in passing…completed 58 percent of his passes (120-of-206) setting a school record, while passing for 1,907 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions…guided his team to a 9-2 mark and the North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 playoffs…standout lacrosse player who was selected as an All-American by both U.S. Lacrosse Group 2-3 and Brine National Lacrosse Classic…served as the team captain and was named team MVP in 2012…earned All-State First-Team honors in 2012 and Second-Team laurels in 2011…New Jersey Group IV First-Team honoree in 2011…maintained a 3.75 GPA (3.86 weighted) and was nominated to be a member of the National Society of High School Scholars…earned the Abraham Hendrick Award given to the Hunterdon Central Athlete of the Year…community service volunteer as part of sports outreach programs…served as a volunteer coach for the Devils Youth Lacrosse Club. AT HUN SCHOOL: Played varsity football while spending a post-graduate year at the school in Princeton, N.J., a member of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League. PERSONAL: Son of Steven and Sandra Searfoss…has an older brother (Kyle) and sister (Erica)…born7/20/94.

Outside Linebacker, 6-3, 215, Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale
Plans to major in Engineering. AT RAGSDALE: Played linebacker, tight end and long snapper and is slotted to play outside linebacker at Lafayette…named Piedmont Triad All-Conference in three seasons…selected as the Greensboro player of the Week twice…earned All-Academic Honors in all four years…finished seventh in the state in interceptions in 2011 and led the team in turnovers for three seasons…averaged 10.4 tackles per game over final two seasons…made 86 tackles (21 solo) as a senior while picking off two passes…made 92 tackles (22 solo) in junior season while intercepting six passes and forcing one fumble…in baseball, was a pitcher and outfielder who maintained a 2.1 ERA and a 5.1 strikeout to walk ratio…named preseason All-America in baseball in 2011 by Perfect Game and in 2012 by Under Armour… National Honor Society student who was also a member of Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was a student body officer. PERSONAL: Son of Lee and Jennifer Sparks…has older brother, Walt…born 6/24/94.

Offensive Lineman, 6-5, 285, Highland Mills, N.Y./Cornwall
Plans to major in Computer Science. AT CORNWALL: Four-year letterwinner in football and basketball…team captain who played left tackle and defensive end…garnered All-Section 9 First-Team honors and Second-Team All-State…earned Metro Team honorable mention status…helped lead his team to the state semifinals after capturing a Section 9 Class A championship…made 50 tackles (19 solo) in his senior season to go along with one sack…National Honor Society student who was named a Cornwall Central Scholar-Athlete…served as a Safe School Ambassador. PERSONAL: Son of Daniel and Alana Staudle…has older brother, Ryan…born 3/21/95.

Wide Receiver, 6-2, 180, Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck
Has yet to decide on a major. AT COLTS NECK: All-State Honorable Mention selection who also garnered All-Shore Conference First-Team, All-Division, All-New Jersey Group IV and All-Monmouth County honors…made 106 catches for 1,955 yards and 24 touchdowns during his career…set school single-season records for receiving yards (1,041), receptions (54) and touchdowns (14) in 2012…he averaged 19.3 yards per catch and 94.6 yards per game…team captain who was also named offensive MVP…three-sport athlete who played guard/forward for four years in basketball and centerfielder in baseball. PERSONAL: Son of Thomas and Sharon Vangelas…has older sister, Courtney…born 9/10/94.

   Collin Albershardt   LB      6-2     245     Castle Rock, Colo./Mullen               Economics
   Alex Alford          DL      6-2     250     Morristown, Tenn./Morristown-West       Mechanical Engineering
   Conner Bor           LB      6-0     220     Voorhees, N.J./Bishop Eustace           Neuroscience
   Ben Carroll          DB      6-2     190     Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier             Economics
   Robin Cepeda         DL      6-2     275     Paterson, N.J./Passaic Tech             Pre-Med
   Ryan Forrester       P/K     5-11    170     Arlington, Va./Gonzaga College          Economics
   Adin Greenfield      TB      5-10    175     Miller Place, N.Y./Miller Place         Economics/Engineering
   Toussaint Helm       OL      6-6     265     Newburgh, N.Y./Newburgh Free Academy    Engineering
   Draeland James       CB      6-1     190     Jacksonville, Fla./Providence           Government & Law
   Andy Labudev         DL      6-4     255     Cresskill, N.J./Cresskill               Economics
   Devon Leach          OL      6-3     280     Orchard Park, N.Y./Orchard Park/
                                                   Choate Rosemary Hall                 Biology
   Kyle Mayfield        TB      6-1     210     North Wales, Pa./North Penn             Biology
   Matt McCann          OL      6-4     275     Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale               History
   Hunter Price         WR      6-3     185     Arvada, Colo./Ralston Valley            Undeclared
   Drew Reed            QB      6-0     185     Lakeland, Tenn./Arlington               Economics
   Matt Rothrock        DL      6-2     260     Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson              Economics
   Blake Searfoss       QB      6-2     195     Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central/
                                                   Hun School                           Economics
   Duncan Sparks        LB      6-3     215     Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale               Engineering
   Connor Staudle       OL      6-5     285     Highland Mills, N.Y./Cornwall           Computer Science
   Tim Vangelas         WR      6-2     180     Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck             Undeclared

1 comment

  1. I don’t know anything about this Sparks kid but I was impressed with the “intended majors” that each of his future teammates listed. Most football players going to college will likely list intended majors such as socialogy, communications, athletics or some health related field. But to see 90% economics, engineering, computer science and pre-med is very impressive. There will be many great players that will sign with UNC, State, and other larger schools but there obviously will be very few that will come out of school 5 years from now in a better position than the kids going to Lafayette College if this is the type of students they are getting. I hope my kids are in such a great position as they get near their college decisions. Few will ever make real money from their sport of choice and few will ever make a big career in their degree of choice (reality folks). However when you have majors in areas such as economics, engineering, computer science and pre-med – you will more than likely have a career that pays well waiting for you after college. I hope Mr Sparks enjoys college and acheives his dream situation !

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