Tulane Signs 19 To Football Letters Of Intent

Scelfo said that while the receivers and linebackers had the greatest chance to contribute immediately, the staff will look at all of the newcomers in August

NEW ORLEANS – Five receivers and five linebackers, with 10 players from the state of Texas, comprise Tulane's 19-man 2005 football signing class announced Wednesday by Green Wave Head Coach Chris Scelfo.

"I'm very excited about this class," Scelfo said. "We needed to add some players in a couple of critical areas and we did that. We lost four receivers (off of last year's team) and also graduated a couple of linebackers. Some of these receivers and linebackers will have to come in and play right away."

Tulane's 2005 class includes 10 players from Texas, five from Louisiana and a pair of Floridians with one player each from Alabama and Mississippi. The Green Wave signed nine defensive players with two defensive backs and two defensive linemen joining the quintet of linebackers. On offense, Tulane added a trio of offensive linemen, a running back and a tight end in addition to the five receivers.

Seven members of the signing class earned All-State honors, including Louisiana Class 5A first teamers Christian Ducré, a running back from Fontainebleau High School, Brian King, a wide receiver out of Slidell High School, and defensive lineman Matt Slocum out of West Monroe High. Cary Koch from The Dunham School in Baton Rouge was the Offensive MVP of the Class 1A All-State team after leading Dunham to the state title in 2004. Receiver Chris Dunn was a first team 5A All-State player for Sam Houston HS in Arlington, Texas, while offensive lineman Travis Olexa earned first team All-State recognition on the Texas private school squad.

"We'll judge this entire class 2-3 years down the road, but it's certainly a very talented group, both athletically and academically," Scelfo said. "In fact, it's the highest-ranked class, academically, that we've ever brought in."

Scelfo said that while the receivers and linebackers had the greatest chance to contribute immediately, the staff will look at all of the newcomers in August.

"Anybody outside [of receivers and linebackers] will have to beat out someone who we think is a very good football player," said Scelfo, who enters his seventh season as the Tulane head coach in 2005, "but you never know, there are certainly players in this class who are capable of doing that."

Scelfo's 2004 Tulane team entered the season with only 10 seniors and a new starting quarterback while starting a pair of true freshmen on the defensive line. After opening the year 1-4, Tulane claimed three upset victories - including wins over bowl-bound UAB and Navy teams and a road win at TCU - en route to a 5-6 mark. Off the field, Tulane football student-athletes posted an 81 percent graduation rate in the 2004 NCAA Graduation Rates Report to rank seventh nationally.

Tulane opens 2005 spring practices at the Westfeldt Facility on Feb. 22.

2005 Tulane Football Signees Bios
Sean Carney, DE, 6-3, 240, Dallas, Texas (Jesuit College Prep)
One of the Dallas Morning News Top 100 area recruits. Made 78 tackles (57 solo) with 17 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks as a senior. Credited with 16 quarterback pressures, forced two fumbles and recovered two more. Unanimous choice for first team All-District 10-5A honors. Named outstanding lineman at his high school and served as a team captain his senior season. Team won the 2004 district title and qualified for the state playoffs in their first season competing against public schools. Named to the first team TAPPS (Texas private school) all-state team as a junior in 2003 when he totaled 49 tackles, six sacks, 12 pressures and four tackles for loss. His career totals include 142 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 32 quarterback pressures, three fumbles forced and three recovered. Also played one season of basketball. Qualified for the "A" Honor Roll all four years of high school.

James Dillard, LB, 6-1, 220, Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Monsignor Pace HS)
First team All-Dade County choice by the Miami Herald. Played in just seven games of his only season (2004) at Pace High School due to injury, but was still selected third-team Class 3A All-State as a senior. Made 85 tackles with five quarterback sacks while helping Pace to a 12-3 record in 2004 as they won both district and regional titles. Forced a pair of fumbles. Transferred to Pace from MacArthur High in Hollywood, Fla. where he played offensive tackle and defensive line and made 60 tackles with three sacks there as a junior. Also lettered in track and field. Honor Roll student who is listed in "Who's Who Among American High School Students."

Christian Ducré, RB, 6-0, 200, Mandeville, La. (Fontainebleau HS)
First team All-State running back in Class 5A. An All-Metro selection by the Times-Picayune. Member of The Baton Rouge Advocate "Super Dozen". Named the District 5-5A Offensive Player of the Year as well as a first team all-district choice in 2004. Earned All St. Tammany Parish honors in 2003 and 2004. Rushed for 1,202 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior and caught 21 passes for 400 yards and three scores. Also returned a punt for a touchdown. His junior season, totaled 960 yards on 140 carries and rushed for 15 scores while also catching 20 passes for 430 yards and four TDs. Fontainebleau advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs in 2004 after sharing the district title. The Bulldogs played in the playoffs each of the last three seasons. Also played baseball and ran track. His father, Brad, played running back at Tulane from 1991-94.
Chris Dunn, WR, 6-2, 200, Arlington, Texas (Sam Houston HS)
First team all-state receiver in Class 5A as a senior. Named to the Fort Worth Star Telegram's Super Team for Dallas-Fort Worth, and to that paper's list of the Top 50 recruits in the area. A unanimous selection to the All-District 7-5A squad and earned the Mayfield Workman Award as the top player in Arlington. Member of the Dallas Morning News All-Area second team. Selected to play for the West in the Coca-Cola 2005 All-Star Game. Caught 73 passes for 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior to average 16.8 yards per catch. Led all Dallas-Fort Worth area receivers in receptions while his senior year yardage total is the most ever compiled in school and city (Arlington) history. As a junior, made 31 catches for 538 yards (a 17.3-yard average) and five touchdowns. Earned first team all-district honors in 2003 while his team qualified for the 5A state playoffs after finishing second in the district. Member of the "A" Honor Roll all four years.

Jordan Ellis, LB, 6-1 , 235, Pass Christian, Miss. (St. Stanislaus HS)
Three-year starter and two-time all-division selection for St. Stanislaus. Earned All-South Mississippi honors from the Biloxi Sun-Herald as a senior. Named to the 8-4A All-Region team in 2003 and 2004 and was a first team South All-State choice as a senior. The Sun-Herald ranked him 25th on its list of the state's Top 50 recruits, and he was No. 5 among prospects in South Mississippi. Also listed in the Top 25 prospects by the Jackson Clarion Ledger. As a senior, recorded 118 tackles, including 21 for loss, in 11 games. Also rushed for 260 yards on 49 carries and scored three rushing TDs for the Class 4A Rock-a-Chaws. Caught seven passes for 80 yards and a pair of scores. Helped his prep team to a 9-2 record and the 8-4A title in 2004 with a perfect 6-0 mark in region play. Team won the district and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. For his career, totaled 268 tackles with 42 tackles for loss, three fumbles forced and four recovered, 10 hurries, five sacks and one interception. Prep team made the playoffs every year he played. Qualified for the Beta Honor Roll.

Ace Foyil, LB, 6-3, 230, Madisonville, La. (Mandeville HS)
Tabbed to the District 5-5A All-District first team as a safety. Also named to the All-St. Tammany Parish team. Player of the Year candidate by the Covington News Banner and the Times-Picayune called him one of the "Best of the Rest". Listed as one of the Top 25 by Louisiana Sports Magazine, which put him No. 18 and tops among linebackers. Compiled 112 tackles, including 68 solo stops, in 10 games as a senior. Recorded five tackles for loss and two sacks while also forcing five fumbles. Intercepted two passes. Captained his high school team as a senior and earned the Rodney Smith MVP Award given for sportsmanship, leadership, determination, unselfish team play and loyalty. Three-year letterwinner who was also a member of the "28 Club" for his participation in summer workouts. Also lettered in track and field. Earned a spot on the Honor Roll all four years and was also on the National Honor Roll. Listed in "Who's Who Among American High School Students." Earned honorable mention status on the Class 5A Academic All-State team. Active in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and is a member of the "M" Club.

Matt Harding, DB, 5-11, 185, South Garland, Texas (South Garland HS)
No. 42 on the Dallas Morning News' Top 100 area recruits. Selected to the East team for the 2005 Coca-Cola All-Star Game. Second-team choice on the All-District 11-5A team as a senior after earning honorable mention honors in 2003. Named South Garland High's Defensive Back of the Year in a defensive secondary which has three players with Division I commitments. Three-year starter who made 54 tackles, five for losses, forced a pair of fumbles, picked off one pass and broke up 10 his senior season. Credited with 50 tackles, 10 pass break-ups and four tackles for loss as a junior. His team went 9-2 in 2004 and won back-to-back district championships in 2003 and 2004 to qualify for the state playoffs both years. Ran the 100 and 200 meters, and was a member of the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relay squads on the district championship team. Both relay teams qualified for the regional meet while the 4 x 200 squad finished fifth at the state meet. Named the Rotary Student of the Month for November 2004 and was a three-year member of the A-B Honor Roll.

Charles Harris, WR, 6-3, 175, Irving, Texas (MacArthur HS) A second team All-District choice in 2004 who caught 36 passes for 572 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. Averaged 15.9 yards per catch and one of every 2.25 passes he caught went for a score. Scored six touchdowns on plays of 50 yards or longer (receiving or return). As a junior, caught 16 passes for approximately 300 yards with a pair of scores and earned honorable mention all-district recognition. His 2004 team finished 10-1. Member of the Leadership Council who also played basketball and ran track during his prep career.

Justin Kessler, TE, 6-4, 230, Alvarado, Texas (Alvarado HS)
Two-time (2003, 2004) first team All-District 15-4A selection at tight end who enrolled at Tulane in January 2005. Listed on the Dallas Morning News' Top 100 state list and among the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Top 50 recruits. Earned honorable mention Academic All-State honors. Caught 31 passes for 465 yards and six touchdowns as a tight end in 2004 to average 15 yards per catch. Also credited with 28 pancake blocks. His junior season, recorded 32 catches for 510 yards, a 15.9-yard average, and five TDs while adding 24 pancake blocks. Compiled 17 catches for 238 yards and three scores as a sophomore. Totalled 80 catches for 1,208 yards and 14 touchdowns in his prep career. Also lettered in basketball and track and field, where he ran the hurdles and the 4 x 400 meter relay, while also throwing the shot put and the discus. Earned first team All-District honors in basketball in 2004. Holds the season and single-game records at Alvarado for rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and triple-doubles. Qualified for the regional meet in the discus and the shot put. Member of the "A" Honor Roll in 2003 and 2004 and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class.

Brian King, WR, 6-1, 180, Slidell, La. (Slidell HS)
First team 5A All-State receiver who was also nominated for the Wendy's High School Heisman. Named the Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year and earned honorable mention notice on The Baton Rouge Advocate's "Super Dozen" list. The Times Picayune named him to its All-Metro and All-Parish first teams. Also a first team All-District 5-5A choice for the second straight season. The Slidell Sentry-News chose him to its All-East St. Tammany and all-district squads. Caught 90 passes for 1,107 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior whie picking off six passes on defense. An honorable mention All-State honoree in 2003. Also named first team All-Parish and all-district as a junior. Caught 46 passes for 643 yards and five TDs in 2003 with one INT on defense. Four-year letterman whose team advanced to the state semifinals in 2004 and won district titles in 2002 and 2003. Career stats include 162 catches for 2,036 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Tigers advanced to the state quarterfinals his sophomore season and were undefeated in the district. Played basketball as a sophomore and is a two-year letterwinner in track and field. An honorable mention selection to the Academic All-State Football team. Honor Roll student all four years who carries a 3.7 gpa.

David Kirksey, LB, 6-1, 200, Mobile, Ala (Davidson HS)
Second-team All-Region choice by the Mobile Register. Made a team-leading 104 tackles, 56 solo, in 2004 while adding 18 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks. Won Optimist Club Player of the Week honors. Played in 10 of 12 games for Class 6A team that finished 9-3, including an 8-2 mark in the regular season. Served as team captain as a senior and was named Most Outstanding Linebacker. Davidson advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 2004. His junior season, registerd 106 tackles, 50 solo, with 16 tackles for loss, seven sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries. Started at defensive end as a sophomore and junior at 185 pounds. Contributed 43 tackles, 30 solo, with five tackles for loss and a fumble recovery his sophomore season. Team was ranked in the state Top 10 all three years and advanced to the playoffs.

Cary Koch, WR, 6-0, 185, Baton Rouge, La. (The Dunham School)
First team 1A All-State choice who was named Offensive MVP of the 2004 all-state squad after leading Dunham to the 2004 state title. The Baton Rouge Advocate named him its Metro area Offensive Player of the Year for classes 1A, 2A and 3A as well as to its All-Metro first team. Honorable mention selection on the Advocate's "Super Dozen" squad and on the Orlando Sentinel's All-South squad. MVP of the 2004 1A state championships game after rushing for 155 yards and two touchdowns (of 46 and 36 yards), catching five passes for 61 yards and two scores (of 27 and 5 yards), and making 11 tackles, nine solo. In addition, was perfect on six PAT attempts to account for 30 of Dunham's 42 points. Earned first team All-District 6-1A recognition playing wide receiver, running back, defensive back, kick returner and kicker. On the 2004 season, accounted for 2,861 yards and 39 touchdowns on offense, kicked 35 extra points and scored 291 points. Rushed 198 times for 1,922 yards and 29 TDs and caught 48 passes for 939 yards and 10 scores. On defense, picked off seven passes and made 82 tackles. Dunham won its final seven games in 2004, including a 42-20 win over Oak Grove in the title game, and finished with a 12-2 record. Also played basketball and baseball and was an all-district guard and pitcher, respectively, last year. Member of the 2004 Academic All-State Team.

John Landa, OL, 6-3, 295, Houston, Texas (Cypress Falls HS)
A unanimous selection to the 2004 All-District team. Also named to the All-Greater Houston second team. Texas Football Magazine put him on its "SuperTeam" third squad. Nominated for the Houston Touchdown Club Offensive Lineman of the Year for 2004. Credited with 48 "Rhino" (pancake) blocks his senior year and won the "Big Block" award in four games. Tapped for second team all-district honors in 2003 when he collected 35 Rhinos and won the Big Block award three times. Team won the district title his senior year and went on to claim the regional championship. Also lettered in track and field. Member of Cypress Falls' Honor Roll.

James McMurchy, LB , 6-1, 215, Houston, Texas (Clear Lake HS)
Earned first team All-District honors in 2003 and 2004 and was named outstanding linebacker of his high school team both years. Three-year letterman who served as team captain his senior season. As a senior, made 132 tackles, including 90 solo stops and eight tackles for loss. Picked up one pass and broke up five. Credited with eight quarterback hurries, picked up a pair of fumbles and forced four. Clear Lake advanced to the Class 5A semifinals last season and finished with a 13-2 record. Qualified for the Academic Honor Roll.

Travis Olexa, OL, 6-4, 290, Houston, Texas (St. Thomas HS)
Two-time first team TAPPS (Texas private schools) All-State squad offensive lineman, as well as an all-district honoree his junior and senior seasons. Second team All-Greater Houston selection in both 2003 and 2004. Served as captain of his St. Thomas team as a senior. Three-year starter whose team reached the playoffs all three seasons. Also threw the shot put and the discus and won district titles in both events while qualifying for the state meet. An offensive tackle and standout student who "dominated the private school league" according to the Rogers Recruiting Service in Houston.

Tyler Rice, OL, 6-5, 285, Bradenton, Fla. (Lakewood Ranch HS)
Listed by the Orlando Sentinel as one of the Top 100 prospects in Florida. Earned honorable mention status on the 5A All-State team. First team All-Manatee County offensive lineman. Chosen to represent Manatee County in the Pal Bowl Game. Also tabbed for the Florida-New Jersey All-Star game. Three-year starter, including every game of the 2003 and 2004 seasons. As a senior, graded out to 90 percent for the season. Recorded 50 pancake blocks and did not give up a sack. Was a second team All-Manatee County honoree in 2003 when he started all nine games and earned an 85 percent grade for the year. Tallied 27 pancake blocks that seasons. For his career, started 24 of 28 games and totaled 90 pancake blocks. Team advanced to the second round of the state playoffs in 2002. Also participated in basketball and track and field, where he finished second in the shot-put in the county meet and took sixth place in the districts. Collected the Scholar-Athlete Award with a gpa above 4.0.

Matt Slocum, DL, 6-5, 255, West Monroe, La. (West Monroe HS)
A first team 5A All-State selection for the second time in 2004 and Defensive MVP of District 2-5A as well as a first team all-district honoree. Also chosen All-Northeast Louisiana and invited to play in the All-American High School Bowl. Named to the "Second Dozen" by The Baton Rouge Advocate. Prep Star Magazine put him on its 2004 All-Regional team and he was also ranked by Max Emfinger Recruiting, Rivals.com and CBS Sportsline. Earned the honors despite missing three games of his senior year due to injury. Still collected 71 tackles, 20 for loss, and six quarterback sacks. Recovered five fumbles. West Monroe advanced to the 5A state championship game and finished the season with a 14-1 record in 2004. Picked up All-State, All-Northeast Louisiana and All-District honors as a junior in 2003. That season, posted 50 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks with four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Team finished 12-2 and claimed the district crown his junior season after a state runner-up season as a sophomore. Three-year starter who collected 165 tackles, 15 sacks, 46 tackles for loss and recovered nine fumbles during his prep career. Listed in "Who's Who Among American High School Students."

Cory Sonnier, S , 6-0, 190, Friendswood, Texas (Clear Brook HS)
A second team all-district choice at quarterback who also played H-Back and free safety for three years at Clear Brook High. Named the offensive MVP of his high school team and also won the award as the top offensive back. Served as team captain his senior season as the team qualified for the 5A playoffs. On offense, carried 87 times for 412 yards to average 4.7 yards per rush and scored four touchdowns. Threw for six scores while completing 29-of-77 passes for 537 yards. His junior season, rushed 124 times for 487 yards (a 3.9 average) with eight rushing TDs and passed for 520 yards and a pair of scores. Also lettered in basketball and track & field, where he is a member of the Clear Brook 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relay teams that are favored to qualify for the state championships this spring. Member of the Honor Roll Society who has participated in Boys State. Earned the Leadership Award and is listed among "Who's Who in American High School Sports."

Jeremy Williams, WR, 6-2, 175, Baytown, Texas (Sterling HS)
A unanimous choice on the All-District team as both a wide receiver and a return man. Named Offensive MVP of the district. Chosen Athlete of the Year at his high school and MVP of his 2004 team. Caught 34 passes for 772 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. Averaged 22.7 yards per grab with a long catch of 59 yards. Returned eight punts for 128 yards for a 16-yard average with a 72-yarder returned for a touchdown. Brought back five kickoffs for 197 yards to average 39.4 yards per return with a 92-yard return for a score. As a junior, collected 42 passes for 730 yards (a 17.4 average) with six touchdown passes and a long of 80 yards. In two seasons, caught 74 passes for 1,502 yards and 11 TDs to average 19.7 yards per catch. Also lettered in basketball and track and field.

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