UPDATED: Troy adds to 2023 Signing Class on National Signing Day
Published 3:03 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Update: This story has been updated with comments from Troy coach Jon Sumrall and the addition of signee LJ Green.
While it wasn’t quite as busy as December’s National Signing Day in college football, Troy University still added more players to the Class of 2023 on Feb. 1.
Additionally, Troy announced the signing of three other players that originally signed during the December Signing Period but wanted to hold off on announcing until those players could have their signing ceremony. Those players that previously signed in December that were announced on Feb. 1 are Stanhope Elmore receiver Jackson Thomas, Wetumpka safety Dorion Jackson and LaVergne, Tenn., offensive lineman Elijah Prather.
The new Trojan signees announced today include Enterprise athlete Mykel Johnson, Sidney Lanier safety Jamarcus Hamilton, Montgomery-Catholic cornerback LJ Green and Newark, NJ, offensive lineman Elijah Philipe.
Thomas is a 6-foot-3-inch, 185-pound receiver from Millbrook that earned All-County honors as a junior at Stanhope-Elmore with 44 catches for 602 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He’s big and can run and I think is a very, very high upside kid at receiver for us,” Troy coach Jon Sumrall said of Thomas. “He’s tremendous athletically.”
Johnson is a two-time all-state athlete that will play both receiver and running back at Troy. The 5-foot-8-inch, 175-pound athlete chose Troy over numerous offers from other schools like Georgia State, Coastal Carolina and Tulane. Johnson finished second all-time in rushing at Enterprise and scored the most rushing touchdowns and kickoff returns in a single season during his career.
“He’s always been a good returner and he showed he could be a good (running) back,” Sumrall said of Johnson. “I wanted to see him play in the slot some, because at his size it’s important that he can do multiple things, and he showed that as a senior. It’s always nice to add a local kid and I think he’s a dynamic playmaker and offensive weapon that will help us be more explosive on offense in the long haul.”
Hamilton is a 5-foot-11-inch, 195-pound Montgomery native that earned All-Metro honors as a junior at Sidney Lanier with 110 tackles, 11 sacks and three interceptions. He also played running back in high school. He also plays basketball and is on the track team in high school.
“One of the best things you hear about Jamarcus is that everybody that played against him in Montgomery just raved about him, his speed, his physicality and his contact courage on defense,” Sumrall said. “He was a violent and active player on the defensive side of the ball and always showed up around the ball.”
Prather is a 6-foot-4-inch, 285-pound offensive tackle that played high school football at LaVergne High School in Tennessee. Prather held offers from other schools like Middle Tennessee State, Arkansas State, Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky and Austin Peay.
“We’re really excited about him,” Sumrall said of Prather. “His length is really good and his mobility and his ability to bend and move athletically is really good for a big guy.”
Jackson is a 6-foot-2-inch, 180-pound safety that also played receiver in high school at Wetumpka High School. His high school coach is Bear Woods, former All-Sun Belt linebacker at Troy.
“His ball skills and tracking the ball and playing in space stood out,” Sumrall said. “He can run well, he’s natural, instinctive and makes plays on the ball.”
As a senior, Jackson earned 65 tackles, two interceptions and four pass breakups along with eight catches for 165 yards on defense. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Jackson played in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game this season, as well.
Philipe is a junior college transfer coming from Lackawanna College with three years of eligibility left. The massive 6-foot-7-inch, 305-pounder is rated as the No. 4 JUCO offensive tackle in the country, and the No. 10 overall JUCO player in the country, by 247Sports. Philipe chose Troy over offers from other schools like South Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Auburn. In high school, Philipe was an all-state lineman at Lower Merion High School in New Jersey, also earning Offensive Lineman of the Year.
A week ago, Sumrall said that he wanted to add another veteran offensive tackle to the Troy roster. In Philipe he found that veteran force.
“He has huge, huge potential at offensive tackle,” Sumrall said of Philipe. “He had Power 5 offers and has a really high ceiling. I think he has a ton of potential and is what you’re looking for in an offensive tackle.”
Green may end up being seen as one of the jewels of the 2023 recruiting class. The three-star rated cornerback was previously committed to Georgia Tech before de-committing in December and ultimately signing with Troy on Feb. 1. Green also had offers from schools like Marshall and Alabama State.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound cornerback earned first-team All-State honors this season and played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. He tallied 33 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, one sack, one interception and two pass breakups in 12 games this season. Green is also a basketball star, scoring more than 1,000 points during his career, at Montgomery, Catholic.
In addition to the new signees, Troy also officially announced its new transfers that committed and signed with the program since the Decembers Signing Day. These players are already on campus. Those transfers include former Memphis running back Asa Martin, former West Virginia quarterback Goose Crowder, former Louisville defensive lineman Zach Edwards, JUCO offensive lineman Boaz Stanley, former Oklahoma State center Eli Russ, former UAB tight end Brody Dalton, former East Tennessee State linemen Blake Austin and Tavon Matthews, former Southern Utah cornerback Damaje Yancey and former Iowa safety Reggie Bracy.
Sumrall pointed to locking down local players as something his staff is making an effort to do and made sure to emphasize that all of the high school recruits that signed on Feb. 1 were all players that Troy had in various summer camps.
“Everything we do is going to start at home, in-state,” Sumrall emphasized. “I want to know about every player in the State of Alabama that can play for us. High school recruiting in the state is how we will build our program for the long haul. That doesn’t mean we won’t use the (transfer) portal and other things to supplement our roster but it starts at home.
“We’re fortunate to get a couple of guys (in this class) from Montgomery and MJ from Enterprise, local guys that fit our program and needs and culture. I think there is more of that to come and I hope in the ’24 and ’25 classes we’ll be able to get even more guys within that hour or hour and a half radius that fits what we’re doing.”