Winston-Salem State has added three more players to its football recruiting class, bringing its total to 13 players.
Offensive lineman Daniel Eury of West Mecklenburg, defensive back Jaylen Gullatte of Charlotte Vance and running back Andrew Hayes of Durham Jordan have signed. All 12 high school players are from North Carolina and are joined by junior college transfer Drake Bolus, a running back from Gray, Ga., and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
“There’s always an emphasis to go after in-state guys, and that’s important because Winston-Salem State’s tradition in football is well-ingrained to kids that are from this state,” said Robert Massey, the Rams’ interim head coach.
Hayes, 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, is one of three running backs in the class. He rushed for 1,046 yards last season, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and joins Bolus and Mount Airy’s Jonathan Smith.
Massey said the Rams would be young at running back after Farrell Murchison, Quarderman Sloan and Yusupha Foster have all exhausted their eligibility. The Rams were 4-6 last season and haven’t won the CIAA’s Southern Division in three straight seasons.
Eury, 6-3 and 330 pounds, made made all-conference and wrote in a Twitter post that he’s thankful to his coach, Nick Mata, for the opportunity to play in college.
“I would like to thank the whole (WSSU) coaching staff for this opportunity,” he wrote.
Gullatte (5-10, 175), gives the Rams more help in a secondary that was the strength of the team last season. The Rams have lost four-year starters De’Andre Blevins and All-America Daryus Skinner but Josh Flowers will be back for his senior season.
“You know you can’t ever replace somebody like Daryus (who had 22 career interceptions) so we know we had needs back there,” Massey said.
Gullatte also sprinted for the track and field team in high school.
Massey said that adding three more players will help build depth. He says he has about 24 scholarships in his budget but can spread the money around. The maximum in Division II is 36 scholarships.
“The thing we did that’s important was get some guys for just about every position,” Massey said. “You look at the running backs and we had some guys redshirt last season, but now we’ll look at them in the spring. So by adding three running backs for the fall we feel pretty good about that position.”
Massey said recruiting in-state players lines up with the number of scholarships available.
“You really have to make sure an out-of-state kid can help you because it does cost you more in terms of scholarship dollars,” Massey said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to look all over for players who can help us. The bottom line is we want to get to that (CIAA) championship game again and win it, and it all starts with recruiting.”