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National Signing Day Yields 17 Student-Athletes for Lafayette Football

Feb. 4, 2009

Tavani Interview | Newsstand | Expectations have changed

EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette football has signed 17 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent who comprise the Class of 2013.

The Leopards have recruited seven offensive, nine defensive and one special teams player among the recruits. Offensively, Lafayette head coach Frank Tavani and his coaching staff recruited three running backs (two tailbacks and a fullback), one quarterback, two offensive linemen and a tight end. Defensively, the Leopards will welcome four linemen and five defensive backs (likely with three cornerbacks and two safeties).

The members of the Class of 2013 come to College Hill from nine different states, with six players from Pennsylvania, and no more than two players each from New Jersey, California, Georgia, Virginia, New York, Florida, Michigan and Maryland.

"Looking at our recruiting from the outside, this doesn't look like a very big class in comparison to previous years," Tavani said. "That was certainly by design, as we only graduated 15 seniors, and two others are going to return for a fifth year of competition. We've been through two recruiting weekends at this point and anticipate more signings. We've noticed over the last four to five years that many talented players are still available after the signing day."

"This year, our staff took extra looks at recruits' game films before deciding our recruiting priorities, and we feel like that extra scrutiny has helped us put together one of the best Lafayette football classes in recent history," Tavani said. "We met all of the goals we had when recruiting began in terms of positional needs and numbers. Eighty-five percent of the offers we made were accepted."

The Lafayette offense will see senior Rob Curley and junior Marc Quilling challenge for the starting spot at quarterback entering spring ball while the tailback position will be up for grabs with fifth-year senior Maurice White and seniors Tyrell Coon and DeAndre' Morrow all battling for major carries. The offensive line will return three senior starters from 2008 in Ryan Hart-Predmore, Michael Wojcik and Brian Wycinowski with senior Joe Moore potentially from injury for a fifth year of eligibility after starting four games in 2007.

Defensively, Lafayette defensive coordinator John Loose will have to deal with the departure of two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Andy Romans by looking to two-time All-Patriot League selection Mark Leggiero. The senior middle linebacker was second on the team in tackles (93) in 2008 and led the team in tackles for loss (12.5).

Lafayette is coming off its second straight 7-4 campaign. The Leopards are the only Patriot League program to record a winning record in each of the last five regular seasons and boast four of the last seven Patriot League Football Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Lafayette will open the 2009 season at Georgetown on Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.

Tahir Basil, Defensive Line, 6-2, 255, Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic | Basil Highlights
Plans to major in Civil Engineering or Economics & Business. AT ROMAN CATHOLIC: Four-year letterwinner in football and played 2008 under Lafayette football great Joe McCourt '05...member of National Honor Society...named First Team All-Catholic and Second Team All-City at defensive end...started at DE and eight tackle in junior and senior seasons...finished junior season with 27 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries...has been timed at 4.88 in the 40-yard dash and also boasts a 29-inch vertical leap. PERSONAL: Son of Hasheem and Aliya of eight children...born 2/23/91.

Pete Bross, Fullback, 6-1, 220, Allentown, Pa./Parkland | Bross Highlights
Plans to major in Biology. AT PARKLAND: Honor Roll student...three-year varsity letterwinner as a linebacker and fullback...finished senior campaign with 81 tackles and 15 sacks...had 46 tackles, 61 assists and two sacks as a junior...all-time leader in total tackles at Parkland...named to All-Lehigh Valley Conference as a junior and advanced to 2007 State Championship leader in tackles as a junior and senior...also earned a varsity letter in wrestling. PERSONAL: Son of Ronald and Kay Bross...born 12/29/90.

Alan Elder, Running Back, 5-9, 185, Fort Washington, Md./Gonzaga | Elder Highlights
Plans to major in Economics & Business. AT GONZAGA COLLEGE: Three-year varsity letterwinner in football...also lettered two years in track... member of Student Goverment his junior year...senior co-captain...two-time Second Team All-Conference honoree...All-City First Teamer in senior season...racked up 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in career...named offensive MVP in 2007 and 2008. PERSONAL: Son of Alan and Kym Elder...born 6/10/91.

D.J. Forbragd, Safety, 6-2, 185, Camden, N.Y./Camden | Forbragd Highlights
Has yet to decide on a major. AT CAMDEN: Named to high honor roll every marking period and is a four-time scholar-athlete...also a National Honor Society member...three-sport athlete...four-year varsity starter as a quarterback, defensive back and kicker/punter...holds 13 school records, including career passing yards (2,824), career rushing yards (1,382) and career passing touchdowns (20)...had 19 career rushing touchdowns, 18 of which came his senior year...holds school record with 42-yard field goal...earned first-team all-league status as a junior and senior...named captain during his senior year in which he collected First-Team All-State recognition and Camden captured league title...also played three years of baseball and two of basketball. PERSONAL: Son of Douglas and Mary Forbragd...born 2/6/91.

Vaughn Hebron, Tailback, 5-11, 185, Senoia, Ga./Dover (Pa.) | Hebron Highlights
Has yet to decide on a major...recently moved from Dover, Pa., where he attended Dover High School, to Senoia, Ga. AT DOVER: National Honor Society nominee who has earned honor roll and high honor roll distinction...member of Student Council...left as the all-time leading rusher and point scorer...two-county rushing champion in his junior year...DI First-Team running back his senior year and second-team outside linebacker...Pennsylvania Football News All-State Honorable mention as a junior...three-sport athlete who was a county qualifier in the 100 and 300 hurdles and a baseball player. PERSONAL: Son of Tracey Singleton and Darnell Singleton (stepfather)...father is former NFL football player Vaughn Hebron...born 12/13/90.

Eric Jones, Cornerback, 5-11, 175, Lauderhill, Fla./Plantation | Jones Highlights
Has yet to decide on a major. AT PLANTATION: National Honor Society member...four-year member of the football team as a cornerback, safety and wide receiver...finished career with 45 tackles, nine sacks and eight pass break-ups...earned all-county honorable mention and was a BCAA All-Star game selection on defense...named 2007 Defensive Back MVP. PERSONAL: Son of Eric and Tanya Jones...born 2/12/91.

Rick Lyster, Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 255, Ocean, N.J./Ocean Township | Lyster Highlights
Plans to major in Economics & Business. AT OCEAN TOWNSHIP: Member of National Honor Society and a Spartan Scholar...earned three varsity letters in football...versatile athlete who played on offensive and defensive lines, and at tight end and linebacker...accounted for 70 tackles and 6.5 sacks as a senior...was a Liberty Division, Monmouth County and All-Shore First Team selection...earned All-State Group 3 honors...was the 2008 Liberty Division Defensive Player of the Year and received the Lombardi Award as top lineman...also participated in wrestling and track and field at Ocean Township...went 23-3 in senior wrestling campaign...competed shot put and discus and earned First-Team Monmouth County honors as a junior. PERSONAL: Son of Richard and Susan Lyster...born 12/19/90.

Jason Marshalek, Defensive Lineman, 6-4, 265, Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville | Marshalek Highlights
Plans to major in Engineering. AT MONTOURSVILLE: Served as vice president of the National Honor Society and also participated in Key Club...a three-sport athlete who has been named to the Heartland Conference Academic Team...Associated Press and Pennsylvania Football News Second-Team All-State selection...led the team in sacks and averaged more than eight tackles per game from his defensive end spot where he garnered First-Team All-Heartland Conference and District 4 laurels...named to the Willamsport Sun-Gazette All-Star Team as a senior...also played tight end during his senior year where he made nine catches and was named Heartland Conference Second Team at the position...two-year letterwinner in basketball at power forward...four-year letterwinner in track and field where he was a district qualifier in the discus as a sophomore and in the discus and the shot put as a junior...finished sixth in his district in the discus (139') and also threw the shot put (43') and javelin (145'). PERSONAL: Son of Raymond and Kathryn Marshalek...born 11/8/90.

Zach Midulla, Tight end, 6-2, 235, Glenn Allen, Va./Tucker | Midulla Highlights
Plans to major in History. AT TUCKER: Honor roll member and an academic all-district member as a junior and senior...four-year varsity starter who played defensive end, linebacker and tight end...finished with 80 tackles (20 solo) as a a tight end, totaled 20 catches for 270 yards and two touchdowns over his final two seasons...was an all-district player as linebacker and tight end his sophomore, junior and senior seasons...served as team captain his junior and senior years...named one of Virginia's Top 100 Prep Prospects of '09...voted team defensive MVP...also participated in indoor and outdoor track and field where he earned all-district and all-region honors in the shot put as sophomore and junior. PERSONAL: Son of Salvatore and Nicole Midulla...born 11/22/90.

Mike Murphy, Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 275, Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Schuylkill Haven | Murphy Highlights
Plans to major in Biology. AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN: President of his senior class...National Honor Society member who is an honor roll student...three-sport athlete who participates in the Spanish Honor Society and the Academic Honor Guard...All-State offensive lineman and team captain...also earned all-area, all-county and All-Anthracite Football League (AFL) honors...winner of the AFL's Sportsmanship Award...also played defensive tackle...played forward on the basketball team and serves as team captain...two-year letterwinner in baseball. PERSONAL: Son of Jack and Linda Murphy...born 12/6/90.

Zach Protin, Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 240, Wanaque, N.J./Lakeland | Protin Highlights
Plans to major in Economics & Business. AT LAKELAND: High Honor Roll student who is also a two-sport athlete...earned second-team all-state honors as a senior...played middle linebacker as a senior and made 126 tackles...earned first-team all-county and first-team all-conference laurels while serving as a team captain...named to Super 100 Team...three-year letterwinner in football...two-year track letterwinner for which he throws javelin and shot put. PERSONAL: Son of Adelbert Protin and Susan Shefchik...born 1/18/91.

Darius Safford, Cornerback, 5-9, 175, Douglasville, Ga./Alexander | Safford Highlights
Has yet to decide on a major. AT ALEXANDER: Honor Roll student and recipient of President's Scholarship...three-sport athlete...four-year varsity starter as a defensive back, running back, wide receiver and punt returner...averaged 8.0 yards per carry for his career and 15.2 yards per reception...had 11 career touchdowns (eight rushing, three receiving) and 47 career tackles and six pass break-ups as a defensive back...nominated as 2008 Douglas County Football Player of the Year...collected second-team all-region and second-team all-county honors as a running back...earned 2008 Captains Award...also played four years as a point guard on the basketball team and spent two years on track and field team...was an all-county and all-region selection in basketball and the regional and county champion on the 4 x 100 relay team. PERSONAL: Son of Brenda Safford...born 11/19/90.

Kyni Scott, Cornerback, 5-11, 170, Middletown, N.Y./Pine Bush | Scott Highlights
Plans to major in Economics & Business. AT PINE BUSH: Honor Roll student and two-year member of Pine Bush's Academy of Finance...spent four years as a running back and cornerback...amassed 1,738 career yards on 199 carries and averaged 8.7 yards per carry...finished with 18 career All-Section 9 player and was named to Times-Herald Record All-Star Second Team...First-Team Class AA Section 9 offensive and defensive all-star...2008 Pine Bush Running Back of the Year...also played four years of basketball as a guard. PERSONAL: Son of Albert Scott and Kimberly Tyson...born 3/28/91.

Andrew Shoop, Quarterback, 6-1, 205, Danville, Pa./Danville | Shoop Highlights
Has yet to decide on a major. AT DANVILLE: Honor roll student and three-sport athlete in high school...threw for more than 5,100 yards and nearly 50 touchdowns in two and a half seasons as the starter at Danville...breakout season was 2007 when he threw for more than 2,500 yards and had 28 touchdowns...three-year starter in baseball, hitting for a .311 clip with two homers and 15 RBI as a sophomore...hit for a .320 average as a junior when he also managed a 7-2 mark with a 3.2 ERA on the mound...two-time All-District IV and All-Susquehanna Conference selection in baseball...also played basketball for two seasons. PERSONAL: Son of Gary and Linda Shoop...born 11/29/90.

Ethan Swerdlow, Punter/Kicker, 5-11, 165, La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla | Swerdlow Highlights
Plans to major in Mechanical Engineering. AT LA JOLLA: Named to San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic Team from 2007-08...maintains a 4.02 GPA...participated in Marine Technology Society Competitive Engineer Internship Program in 2007...four-year member of the football team as a place kicker/ holder with 70-yard punt...averaged 38.5 yards per punt as a senior...four-time La Jolla Player of the Week as a senior...captured first place at the Extra Teams Solutions Combine at UMass in the summer of 2007...named La Jolla's Junior Varsity Special Teams Player of the Year and Junior Varsity Special Teams MVP...saw time at running back as a freshman and junior varsity player...also played two years of lacrosse as a midfielder. PERSONAL: Son of Neal and Nancy Swerdlow...born 5/26/91.

Tyler Swoyer, Offensive Lineman, 6-2, 295, Auburn, Pa./Schuylkill Haven | Swoyer Highlights
Plans to major in Economics & Business. AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN: Played four years as an offensive and defensive tackle...earned three varsity letters and served as captain his junior and senior seasons...finished his senior campaign with 75 tackles and nine sacks and amassed 85 tackles and three sacks as a junior...2008 Pennsylvania Associated Press Second-Team All-State selection...named Anthracite Football League Lineman of the Year and earned spot on league's First Team as an offensive and defensive tackle...participated in Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association East/West All-Star game... collected First-Team All-League honors at both positions as a junior and was a Pottsville Republican All-Area First Team member that year...also played four years of baseball as a first baseman and designated hitter. PERSONAL: Son of Scott and Tara Swoyer...born 4/21/91.

Neal Zott, Safety, 6-0, 185, Romeo, Mich./Almont | Zott Highlights
Has yet to decide on a major. AT ALMONT: Honor roll student who maintained a 3.65 GPA while earning his school's Bronze, Silver and Gold Academic awards...French Academic Award winner who participates in a mentoring program that tutors elementary students...Academic All-Conference honoree...three-sport star who spent time at safety, wide receiver and quarterback during his high school career...two-time first-team all-state selection...first-team all-county...named MVP of Blue Water Area Conference while also garnering first-team all-conference honors...the team captain was also named All-Tri City Area and Lapeer County Player of the Year in his junior season, made 40 catches for 1,001 yards and 14 senior year, was 42-for-77 for 831 yards passing while rushing for 505 yards...garnered 2,072 all-purpose yards, including five kick or punt returns for touchdowns...also made 61 tackles...on the basketball court, Zott averaged 19.0 ppg while earning all-county and all-conference honors and honorable mention all-state...played two years of varsity tennis where he was the fourth singles state champion as a freshman and an all-conference selection. PERSONAL: Son of Steven and Jennifer Zott...born 7/25/90.


Tahir Basil DL 6-2 255 Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic
Pete Bross FB 6-1 220 Allentown, Pa./Parkland
Alan Elder RB 5-9 185 Fort Washington, Md./Gonzaga
D.J. Forbragd S 6-2 185 Camden, N.Y./Camden
Vaughn Hebron RB 5-11 185 Senoia, Ga./Dover (Pa.)
Eric Jones CB 5-11 175 Lauderhill, Fla./Plantation
Rick Lyster DL 6-2 255 Ocean, N.J./Ocean Township
Jason Marshalek DL 6-4 265 Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville
Zach Midulla TE 6-2 235 Glen Allen, Va./Tucker
Mike Murphy OL 6-3 275 Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Schuylkill Haven
Zach Protin DL 6-3 240 Wanaque, N.J./Lakeland
Darius Safford CB 5-9 175 Douglasville, Ga./Alexander
Kyni Scott CB 5-11 170 Middletown, N.Y./Pine Bush
Andrew Shoop QB 6-1 205 Danville, Pa./Danville
Ethan Swerdlow P/K 5-11 165 La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla
Tyler Swoyer OL 6-2 295 Auburn, Pa./Schuylkill Haven
Neal Zott S 6-0 185 Romeo, Mich./Almont