Troy signs 15 in early signing period

Published 9:10 am Thursday, December 21, 2023

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With just one day on the job, new Troy coach Gerad Parker landed 15 signings in the early signing period for college football on Dec. 20.

Among the players Troy signed are two Wiregrass locals, seven in-state players and four junior college (JUCO) signees.

“What a testament to the tradition and strength of the Troy Football brand that we were able to sign 15 young men today to be part of this program,” Parker said. “Each of these guys believes in Troy and the foundation that our program is built upon. It’s been a whirlwind couple of days, but it was a priority for me to speak to all the young men who were committed to this program to share our vision for the future of Troy Football. I want to thank the coaches and staff who spent countless hours building strong relationships with each of these players and their families.”

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Parker said that Troy will continue to pursue prospects heading into the Feburary signing period.

“I’m excited about the guys we added to the program today, and it is just the beginning,” Parker said. “We’re going to use every available resource we have to continue to reload our roster with high-quality young men both on and off the field.”

Jywon Boyd of CHHS breaks a big first half run against Eufaula Friday night in Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Dan Smith)

-Jywon Boyd, WR, Charles Henderson High School (Troy, Ala.)

Boyd is Troy’s hometown signing in the 2024 class, having grown up in Troy and been a star at Charles Henderson High School. Boyd earned All-Messenger Offensive Player of the Year in 2022 and All-State honors, catching 60 passes for 1,218 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. He also caught 38 passes for 877 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore.

As a senior, Boyd was a leader for the CHHS Trojans, catching 62 passes for 1,025 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Boyd has also been a star on defense, earning four interceptions as a senior and six as a junior. He’s also returned kicks for touchdowns each year of his varsity career. The 6-foot-1-inch, 180-pound athlete will start out his career at Troy as a receiver but could end up playing multiple positions.

Boyd is a three-star rated athlete by 247Sports and is ranked as the No. 42 prospect in the State of Alabama. He signed with Troy over offers from schools like Arkansas State, Tulane, Alabama State and more. He was selected to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. Boyd is also an All-State guard on the CHHS basketball team.

Theodore’s Kevin Norwood is a three-star rated defensive tackle.

-Kevin Norwood, DT, Theodore High School (Theodore, Ala.)

At 6-foot-2-inches and 305 pounds, Norwood is quite literally one the biggest signings for the 2024 class but he’s also one of the most highly rated prospects of the class. The three-star defensive lineman is rated as the No. 57 overall prospect in Alabama.

Norwood signed with Troy over offers from Louisville, South Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia State, Indiana, Liberty, Marshall, Memphis, Texas A&M and more.

As a junior, Norwood compiled 86 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss and four sacks and this season was selected to play in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game.

Defensive line is a position of need for Troy with a number of veterans graduating from the 2023 team.

-Rondell Carter, DB, Julius Chambers High School (Charlotte, NC)

Three-star defensive back Rondell Carter committed to Troy. (Submitted photo)

Carter originally committed to Coastal Carolina before flipping to Troy a week prior to signing day. The three-star rated cornerback is also rated as the No. 57 overall prospect in North Carolina. He signed with Troy over offers from Coastal Carolina, Virginia Tech, Arkansas State, East Carolina, Georgia State, Liberty, Marshall, Old Dominion and others.

The 6-foot, 178-pound defensive back played both safety and cornerback in high school. As a senior, he tallied 90 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, one interception, 15 pass breakups and two blocked punts.

Like defensive line, the secondary is a position of need for Troy with a number of starters graduating.

Troy landed a commitment from McGill-Toolen cornerback Shemar Welch. (Submitted photo)

-Shemar Welch, CB, McGill-Toolen High School (Mobile, Ala.)

Welch is a three-star rated cornerback by 247Sports and the No. 51 overall rated prospect in Alabama. He signed with Troy over offers from schools like Louisiana, Arkansas State and West Virginia.

The 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound Mobile native earned All-State honors as a junior, tallying eight interceptions. Welch is also a star track athlete, winning indoor state championships in the high jump, triple jump and long jump. He also earned a state runner-up in the high jump and triple jump as a sophomore.

Trae Swartz

-Trae Swartz, TE, Iowa-Western Community College (Ottumwa, Iowa)

Swartz is a 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound tight end known for his blocking prowess. During his two-year career at Iowa-Western Community College he also caught two passes. He and his Reivers teammates won the 2022 NJCAA National Championship and won their second straight title on Dec. 13, beating JUCO power East Mississippi Community College 61-14.

Swartz signed with Troy over offers from Northwestern State and Western Illinois.

-Zeriah Beason, WR, Hutchison Community College (Duncanville, Texas)

Zeriah Beason committed to Troy this week. He started his college career at Oregon State. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University Athletics)

Beason is not only a JUCO transfer for the Trojans but also brings Power 5 experience having started his college career at Oregon State.

At Hutchison Community College this season, Beason earned All-Conference honors with 30 catches for 524 yards and five touchdowns. The 6-foot, 198-pounder was a star receiver at Duncanville High School, earning a three-star rating from 247Sports and originally signed with Oregon State out of high school.

As a freshman, Beason earned 16 catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns before catching 20 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown as a sophomore.

Beason signed with Troy over offers from schools like South Florida, Charlotte, Buffalo, Jacksonville State, Sam Houston and others.

-Ky McNulty, WR, Badlwin County High School (Bay Minette, Ala.)

McNutly was one of the first players to commit to Troy in the Class of 2024, committing as a junior.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 180-pound receiver signed with Troy over offers from Wake Forest, Southern Miss, Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia Southern, Miami (Ohio) and others. McNulty is a three-star rated receiver by 247Sports and the No. 112 overall prospect in Alabama.

-Caleb McCreary, QB, Montgomery-Catholic (Wetumpka, Ala.)

Caleb McCreary

McCreary is a candidate for Mr. Football in Alabama and is one of the top rated quarterback prospects in state. He’s rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports and is the No. 63 overall prospect in Alabama.

At 5-foot-11-inchces and 180 pounds, McCreary is the true definition of “dual threat.” As a senior, he guided Montgomery-Catholic to a Class 4A State Championship and threw for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the process.

During McCreary’s high school career he threw for more than 10,000 yards and more than 100 touchdowns along with rushing for nearly 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns.

He signed with Troy over offers from schools like Georgia Tech, Liberty, South Alabama, Georgia State, Arkansas State and more.

-Keion Dunlap, ATH, Enterprise High School (Enterprise, Ala.)

Dunlap is rated as a three-star safety by 247sports but the 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pounder has been the definition of an “athlete” at EHS. Dunlap has been a four-year starter at Enterprise, starting at cornerback, fullback, safety and running back during his career. He’s also a three-sport athlete, playing basketball and running track, as well. As a sophomore, he tallied 29 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, one interception and a pass breakup playing safety. As a junior, he earned 36 tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a sack.

Heading into his senior season, Dunlap was moved to running back and he exploded to rush for 1,077 yards and 16 touchdowns on just 130 carries for an eye-popping 8.3 yards per carry.

Dunlap originally committed to Indiana last season before de-committing last week and signing with Troy instead. He held offers from all over the country, including from Auburn, Mississippi State, Florida, Maryland, Ole Miss and Penn State.

Mississippi Gulf Coast lineman Zerian Hudson signed with Troy this week.

-Zerian Hudson, OL, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Brookhaven, Miss.)

At 6-foot-3-inches and 315 pounds, Hudson is Troy’s biggest signing of the early signing period and brings JUCO All-American honors along with him.

Hudson was an All-State lineman at Brookhaven High School in Mississippi before starting his college career at MGCCC, where he earned Preseason All-America honors heading into this season. He also captured All-Conference honors.

Baker senior Kevin Beckham Jr. committed to Troy on Aug. 1.

-Kevin Beckham Jr., WR, Baker High School (Mobile, Ala.)

The 5-foot-11-inch, 180-pound Mobile native caught 58 passes for 838 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at Baker High School. Beckham is a three-star rated prospect by 247Sports and the No. 93 overall prospect in Alabama.

Beckham signed with Troy over offers from schools like Alabama A&M and Southern Miss.

-Zak Bowden, OG, Iowa-Western Community College (Orland, Park, Ill.)

Zak Bowden

The 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound junior college (JUCO) lineman signed with Troy over offers from Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Massachusetts, Illinois State, Temple, UT-Martin and Tennessee Tech. Bowden is rated as a two-star JUCO prospect by 247Sports and the No. 12 interior lineman in JUCO.

-Elijah Hall, DB, Booker T. Washington High School (Tuskegee, Ala.)

Hall is one of the fastest signees in Troy’s class and is rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports and the No. 46 overall player in Alabama. While Hall is listed as an “athlete” by most recruiting services, he comes to Troy as a defensive back.

Elijah Hall

In high school, Hall played a multitude of positions, including starting quarterback this season. He threw for 1,510 yards and 19 touchdowns along with rushing for 1,324 yards and 12 touchdowns. On defense, though, Hall tallied 55 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, three interceptions, five pass breakups and a blocked kick. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

Hall chose to sign with Troy over offers from schools like South Carolina, Indiana, Arkansas, Tulane, Army, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Marshall and many more.

-Joe Lott, DB, UMS-Wright (Mobile, Ala.)

Lott is another prospect listed as an “athlete” by most recruiting services but he comes to Troy as a defensive back. The 6-foot-3-inch, 180-pound Mobile native threw for 904 yards and five touchdowns along with rushing for 801 yards and eight touchdowns in 2023. He also earned 28 tackles, three interceptions and two blocked kicks on defense.

Lott earned All-Star honors as a defensive back in 2022, recording 74 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, five interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Lott signed with Troy over offers from Miami (Ohio), Navy, Army, Air Fore, Southern Illinois and more.

Chad Barham

-Chad Barham, TE, Chester County High School (Henderson, Tenn.)

The 6-foot-4-inch, 235-pound pass-catcher played receiver in high school but comes to Troy as a tight end.

Barham caught 40 passes for 577 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. Barham signed with Troy over offers from schools like Tennessee Tech, UT-Martin, Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky.

For more information and highlights of Troy signees click here.