Dukes Announce 2008 Football Recruiting Class

PITTSBURGH - Duquesne University head football coach Jerry Schmitt announced the addition of 23 student-athletes to the Dukes football program Thursday.

The incoming class covers eight states and the District of Columbia and also includes nine former Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League products. Twelve student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent, three are mid-year enrollees who will participate in spring drills and eight others are non-NLI signees.

This is the first time Duquesne has offered scholarships in the sport of football in the modern era.

"I was pleased with the reception we received on the recruiting trail," said Schmitt. "I think this class will greatly help us continue our tradition of success both on the playing field and in the classroom. This is an exciting time to be part of the Duquesne football program with our move to the Northeast Conference and the renovation work underway on Rooney Field."

The Rooney Field renovation project began in November and is expected to be completed in time for the 2008 season. The project includes the construction of permanent grandstand seating and concession stands in addition to the installation of a new playing surface.

Duquesne accepted an invitation to compete in the NEC as an associate member in the sport of football last January.

Duquesne, in its third season under Schmitt, won or shared a total of 11 championships in 14 seasons of competition in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007). The Dukes earned a mid-major National Championship in 2003 and also competed in three ECAC Bowls while a member of the MAAC.

DU, which won 39 consecutive MAAC games between 1999 and 2006, ranks behind only Eastern Kentucky (30) and Montana (22) among Football Championship Subdivision schools with 14 consecutive winning seasons.

The Dukes will open four weeks of spring practice on March 25. The date, time and location of the annual Spring game is to be announced.

Additional commitments will be announced at a later date.


Pennsylvania           13*
Ohio                    2
Virginia                2
District of Columbia    1
Florida                 1
Maryland                1
Massachusetts           1
New Jersey              1
New York                1

* - Pennsylvania recruits include nine from the WPIAL


2008 National Letter of Intent Signees (12)

Bill Bair       5-11 205 RB Valencia, Pa.
                            Mars Area
Josh Brisk      5-10 190 P  Plantation, Fla.
                            American Heritage School
Wiley Brown     5-10 190 LB Waldorf, Md.
                            Thomas Stone HS
                            Fork Union (Va.) Mil. Acad.
Ashton Burno    6-2  225 LB Harrisburg, Pa.
                            Susquehanna Township
Dorian Lane     6-2  175 DB Braddock Hills, Pa.
                            Woodland Hills
Joshua Lott     6-2  225 TE Warren, Ohio
                         DE Howland
Larry McCoy     5-11 210 RB Wytheville, Va.
                         LB George Wythe
Akeem Moore     6-2  185 WR Pittsburgh, Pa.
Christopher     6-0  185 DB Washington, D.C.
Oliver                      Calvin Coolidge
Mike Passodelis 6-3  235 OL Allison Park, Pa.
                         DL North Allegheny
Jim Sabia       6-5  295 OL Dunmore, Pa.
                         DL Dunmore
Eric Warning    6-3  260 OL Monroeville, Pa.

    Spring Enrollees (3) (currently attending class and will participate in spring ball)

Ron Dunn        6-5  300 OL Abington, Mass.
                            Milford (N.Y.) Academy 
Sean Patterson  6-2  205 QB Toledo, Ohio
                            St. John's Jesuit 
                            Harmony Community
Anthony Rhoades 6-1  230 LB Oxford, Pa.
                            West Philadelphia Catholic
                            Arizona Western

Additional Commitments (8)

Johnathan      6-0  185 DB Plainsboro, N.J.
Blassingame                West Windsor-Plainsboro      
                           Valley Forge (Pa.) Mil. Acad. 
Cash Cortazzo   5-9 180 RB Pittsburgh, Pa.
                           South Allegheny
Matthew Glose   6-2 210 TE Lakeview, N.Y.
                        DE St. Francis
David Glunt     6-2 230 LB Duncansville, Pa.
                           Hollidaysburg Area
Zach Richert    6-1 190 DB Gibsonia, Pa.
Brooks Roorback 6-1 170 WR Beaver Falls, Pa.
Isaac Spragg    6-1 190 WR Westfield, Va.
                           Valley Forge (Pa.) Mil. Acad.
Mike Winsko     6-3 245 OL Gibsonia, Pa.
                        DL Pine-Richland

BILL BAIR - Had one of the greatest individual seasons in Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League history, rushing for 2,112 yards on 219 attempts during the regular season (9.6 ypc.) ... finished his senior year with a Pennsylvania state record 2,428 yards on 269 carries and 32 rushing touchdowns in leading Mars to a 9-2 record and section title ... averaged 24.5 carries and 220.7 yards per game ... scored 204 regular-season points, which tied for the most in the WPIAL in the past three decades ... believed to be just the second running back in WPIAL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season ... topped 200 yards in a game eight times and 300 yards two times ... finished his career with 516 attempts for 4,702 yards for the 14th-best total in WPIAL history ... scored 65 rushing touchdowns (70 TDs total) ... 2007 first team Associated Press Class AA All-State.

JOHNATHAN BLASSINGAME - Had 44 tackles and an interception for Seaboard Conference champion Valley Forge Military Academy last season ... also returned kickoffs for VFMA ... totaled 72 tackles with five interceptions as a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro (N.J.) High School ... also added 310 yards receiving and 205 rushing his final season ... lettered in football, basketball and track in high school ... played in the 2007 Sunshine Classic All-Star game which annually features the top players in Mercer County and Middlesex County.

JOSH BRISK - Named Class 2B All-State punter by the Florida Sports Writers Association ... also played fullback and defensive end and was the co-captain for 11-1 American Heritage -which went undefeated during the regular season - as a senior ... rushed for 654 yards and three touchdowns ... averaged 4.9 ypc. at fullback.

WILEY BROWN - Had two sacks, five tackles, and forced a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown in Fork Union's season-ending 34-0 win over Hargrave Military Academy ... played for a FUMA team that finished 9-2 and sent over a dozen players to NCAA Bowl Championship Subdivision teams ... had 91 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception as a senior linebacker at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, Md. ... was named first team All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference by the Washington Post and the Maryland Independent ... also competed on the track team ... was a teammate of current Duke Willie Millhouse at Thomas Stone.

ASHTON BURNO - Three-year starter and letterman ... had 84 solo tackles as a senior for the 5-5 Indians ... registered 16 sacks, three forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and four pass deflections while earning all-conference honors at defensive end as a junior in helping Susquehanna Twp. to a 10-2 record and Mid-Penn Keystone League title ... was named to the Mid-State Top 100 as a junior ... two-time first team all conference ... was also a member of the varsity basketball team.

CASH CORTAZZO - Rushed for 629 yards and four touchdowns on 141 carries for South Allegheny this past season ... was a three-year football letterman and two-year basketball letterman.

RON DUNN - Played for Abington HS teams that went a combined 22-9 while he was there ... helped Abington to an undefeated regular season and 11-1 overall record as a senior ... named a Boston Globe EMASS Division 3 all-star ... also played varsity basketball ... enrolled at Duquesne for spring semester.

MATTHEW GLOSE - Had 89 tackles - including 21 tackles for loss - and a school single-season record 9.5 sacks at outside linebacker for Monsignor Martin Athletic Association champion St. Francis (8-3) ... was part of the first St. Francis team to not give up a point to a league opponent during the regular season ... led team in pancake blocks at tight end ... four-time Western New York player of the week ... named All-Catholic and All-Western New York ... also an All-Catholic discus thrower for the track team.

DAVID GLUNT - Team captain and three-year starter was voted team defensive player of the year as a senior ... led 9-3 District 6 runner-up Hollidaysburg with 128 tackles ... was named Altoona Mirror player of the week five times ... also named all-area, all-county and all-conference ... was the leading tackler as a junior for Hollidaysburg's district champion and state playoff team ... is a district champion swimmer ... record holder in the 200 free, 400 free relay and 200 medley relay.

DORIAN LANE - Was a second-team Class AAAA Big East Conference safety for 3-7 Woodland Hills.

JOSHUA LOTT - Was a first team all-state defensive tackle for 11-1 Metro Atlantic Conference champion (7-0) Howland High School ... was also the Associated Press NE Inland All-District II co-Defensive Player of the Year ... earned all-Trumbull County honors in addition to first team all-district mention ... led a defense that gave up only 109 points on the way to posting the first undefeated regular season in school history ... was a three-year football letterman and one-year basketball letterman.

LARRY McCOY - Was a three-year starter and four-year letterman for Wytheville at running back, linebacker and safety ... rushed for over 1,100 yards as a junior and ran for 1,075 yards and 15 touchdowns in helping 11-2 Wytheville win the Hogoheegee District and Region C, Division 2 titles ... was first team all-region and all-district running back ... was named the team's Most Outstanding Offensive Player ... St. Paul, Minn. native who moved to Wytheville at age 12 ... is also a sprinter for the GWHS track team.

AKEEM MOORE - Finished his career as the leading receiver in Brentwood history with 112 receptions for 1,829 yards (16.3 ypc.) and 18 touchdowns ... had 49 catches for 807 yards (16.5 ypc.) and eight TDs as a senior ... caught at least two passes in every game ... his average touchdown catch covered 36.8 yards ... also ran for three touchdowns and returned a punt 75 yards for a score ... had 15 receptions as a freshman, 20 as a sophomore and 28 as a junior ... won the long jump at the 2007 WPIAL Boys' Class AA Track Championships.

CHRISTOPHER OLIVER - Two-year starter led 7-4 Coolidge with 91 tackles including 4.0 sacks ... also forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles and recorded a pair of safeties ... was named first team All-Met by the Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. ... also selected first team all-district ... member of the National Honor Society ... has been an honor roll student since the eighth grade ... was the recipient of a trip to Egypt to study ancient civilizations ... was also one of 1,800 high school students selected to attend a week-long summer seminar at the U.S. Naval Academy ... served as a tutor/counselor for inner city youth at Columbia Heights Youth Club for two years.

MICHAEL PASSODELIS - Captain of a North Allegheny team that posted the first undefeated and untied regular season in school history (9-0) in advancing to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League AAAA semifinal ... finished the year 11-1 and ranked No. 5 in the state ... named to the Pennsylvania Football News all-academic team ... winner of both the Tiger team and Tiger commitment awards ... three-year letterman in both football and lacrosse ... has served as a mentor at both football and lacrosse camps.

SEAN PATTERSON - Three-year football and basketball letterman ... three-year starter in football ... holds school records for career passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage ... was first team all-district and all-city as a junior and senior ... was a nominee for Northwest Ohio Player of the Year ... averaged 12.0 points per game for St. John's district champion and regional finalist basketball team ... originally signed with Weber State but left that program last summer ... enrolled at Duquesne for spring semester.

ANTHONY RHOADES - Played in four Philadelphia Catholic League championship games while at West Philadelphia Catholic ... won the Catholic League title as a senior ... four-year letterman in football, two-year letterman in track ... coaches first team All-Catholic defensive end as a sophomore and first team linebacker as a junior and senior ... named first team Class AAA All-State by the Associated Press ... led the team in sacks as a sophomore (9.0), junior (16.0) and senior (12.0) ... redshirted this past season at Arizona Western (junior) College, in Yuma ... was ranked as the No. 32 player in Pennsylvania by Keystone Recruiting ... tabbed as the No. 4 linebacker in Pennsylvania and No. 1 in Southeastern Pa. by The Associated Press ... two-time Philadelphia Daily News All-City and All-Catholic pick ... enrolled at Duquesne for spring semester.

ZACH RICHERT - Two-year letterman ... led 10-2 Class AAA Pine-Richland in tackles (55) and sacks (8.5) ... also picked off a pair of passes and forced two fumbles his senior year ... elected team captain as a senior for a squad that finished the year ranked No. 2 in the state ...played for Pine-Richland teams that went 30-5 in section play - with three section titles - over his last three seasons ... high honor roll student ... nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino.

BROOKS ROORBACK - Caught 35 passes for 539 yards and six touchdowns and added a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League-high seven interceptions for 7-3 Blackhawk ... had seven catches for 145 yards in season-ending 21-19 playoff loss to Highlands ... voted team MVP ... was named to the 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette West Fab 22 ... was a unanimous all-conference wide receiver pick... was also named a first team all-conference defensive back ... caught 26 passes for 405 yards and three scores and added three interceptions as a junior in helping Blackhawk to an 11-2 record and Parkway Conference championship ... the 2006 Cougars advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA final at Heinz Field ... helped lead Blackhawk to the 2007-08 WPIAL Class AAA basketball title ... the Cougars won the championship with a 68-55 win over Hopewell at Duquesne's Palumbo Center ... captained both the football and basketball teams.

JIM SABIA - First Team Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AA all-state guard for a 15-2 Dunmore team that advanced to the PIAA Class AA state championship game ... named to the 2007 All-EasternPAFootball.com Small School Team (Class A-AA) ... finished 11th in the PIAA Track & Field Championships in the shot put as a junior.

ISAAC SPRAGG - Leading tackler for a Westfield team that finished 11-1 in the VA AAA Northern Region Concorde District ... was named Class AAA Concorde District first team All-MET linebacker by the Washington Post ... also earned all-region honors ... caught 37 passes for 372 yards for 6-5 Seaboard Conference champion Valley Forge in 2007.

ERIC WARNING - Second team all-state pick helped Gateway to an 11-2 record and second place Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League finish ... named first team Quad East ... was a WPIAL championship qualifier in the shot put ... also entertained scholarship offers from a number of Mid-American Conference schools.

MIKE WINSKO - Three-year letterman and three-time first-team All-Greater Allegheny Conference selection at center ... captain of a 10-2 Pine-Richland team as a senior ... was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette North Fab 22 ... helped pave the way for a number of 1,000-yard rushers in Pine-Richland's high-powered offense.

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