ODU Football Announces 18 Signings In 2009 Recruiting Class

February 04, 2009
By ODU Athletics

Feb. 4, 2009

Norfolk, Va. – Old Dominion University head football coach Bobby Wilder announced today the signing of 18 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the upcoming season.  The Monarchs recruiting class consists of players from seven different states, nine of whom are from the state of Virginia, seven from the Hampton Roads area.


“I am very pleased with this year’s recruiting class,” said head coach Bobby Wilder. “All of these young men are quality student-athletes who possess the tools to succeed both academically and athletically at Old Dominion.  Our assistant coaches did a great job of first identifying, then addressing our needs as a football team.  These players, along with last year’s class and the group we brought in for the spring, give us a solid foundation to stand on as we get ready to begin play in September.  I am grateful to the many people associated with Old Dominion who continue to provide support to our program. President Broderick and his staff, our deans and many professors, Athletic Director Jim Jarrett and all the good people in our athletic administration have been a major part of the success we’ve had in the recruiting process.”


On offense, the signees include five linemen, three wide receivers and two running backs. The linemen are Alex Bell (Houston, Del. / Milford), Blake Cornalino (Upland, Calif. / Upland / Mt. San Antonio College), Ryan Jensen (Petaluma, Calif. / Petaluma / Santa Rosa JC), Jack Lowney (Narberth, Pa. / Archbishop Carroll) and Perry Owens (Edenton, N.C. / John A. Holmes). Catching passes from the Monarch quarterbacks will be receivers Tavon Gatlin (Virginia Beach, Va. / Green Run), Monty Smalley (Richmond, Va. / Douglas Freeman) and Marquel Thomas (Virginia Beach, Va. / Bayside / North Carolina Tech).  Joining the ODU backfield are Tron Martinez (Hampton, Va. / Hampton) and Alex McLaughlin (Burnsville, Minn. / Apple Valley / Ridgewater College).


Defensively, there are three defensive backs, two linebackers and two defensive linemen.  Joining the secondary are Carvin Powell (Chesapeake, Va. / Great Bridge), Markell Wilkins (Hampton, Va. / Phoebus) and Patrick Young (Virginia Beach, Va. / Green Run). The linebackers are John Darr (Forestville, Md. / Suitland) and Mychael McJunkins (Kansas City, Kan. / Washington / Independence CC), and the defensive linemen are Nate Barnes (Newport News, Va. / Heritage) and Alex Johnson (New Canton, Va. / Buckingham County / Fork Union Military Academy).


There is also one specialist, punter Marcus Lee (Wilmington, N.C. / Hoggard).




Nate Barnes                         DE          6-5          230         Newport News, Va.             Heritage

Helped guide the Hurricanes to an appearance in the 2008 playoffs… lettered in football, basketball, volleyball and soccer.


Alex Bell                               OL          6-5          257         Houston, Del.                       Milford

Rated as a 2-star athlete by Rivals.com… member of the 2008 D.I.A.A. Division 2 state championship and Henlopen Southern Division championship football team… three-year letterman in football…  first team all-state, first team all-conference… two-year team captain… selected to Delaware Blue-Gold All-Star Team, two-time DIFCA Sportsmanship Award winner, three-year letterman in lacrosse… honorable mention all-conference and team Offensive MVP.


Blake Cornalino                 OL          6-2          275         Upland, Calif.                      Upland / Mt. San Antonio College

Played two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College, helping lead the Mounties to a two-year mark of 22-5... member of the 2007 and 2008 league and So Cal state championship teams.


John Darr                            LB          6-0          215         Forestville, Md.                  Suitland

Helped guide Suitland to a record of 33-4 over the last three seasons, winning the 2006 state championship… second team all-state as a senior after totaling 118 tackles and four forced fumbles… listed as one of the 50 best players in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland by the Washington Post… selected to play in the inaugural Maryland State All-Star Crab Bowl where he led the Washington Team in tackles with 12.5… also appeared in the P.G. County All-Star Game… All-Met as a junior when he recorded 125 tackles, four forced fumbles and an interception.


Tavon Gatlin                       WR         5-10        200         Virginia Beach, Va.           Green Run

Rated as a 2-star athlete by Rivals.com… first team All-Tidewater as a senior, second team as a junior… Beach District Defensive Player of the Year… first team All-Beach District as a wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner… set school singles season and career interception records with 12 and 28 respectively.


Ryan Jensen                        OL          6-4          294         Petaluma, Calif.                 Petaluma / Santa Rosa JC

Played two seasons at Santa Rosa Junior College, earning first team All Nor-Cal Conference honors as a tackle… set a SRJC record for bench press by an offensive lineman at 405 pounds… invited to the Triumphant Sports Bowl, a junior college all-star game… played offensive guard and defensive tackle at Petaluma HS… first team All-Sonoma County League and All-Redwood Empire on offense and defense… name Most Valuable Offensive Lineman… participated in the SCL/NBL Kiwanis All-Star Game in 2007.


Alex Johnson                       DE          6-3          210         New Canton, Va. Buckingham County / Fork Union Military Academy

Lettered in football, basketball and track at Buckingham County, before moving on to Fork Union… first team all-district at defensive end and tight end… all-region… named team defensive MVP… team captain as a senior… helped guide the basketball team to a district and regional championship in 2008, advancing to the Virginia State Final Four.


Marcus Lee                          P             6-1          175         Wilmington, N.C.               Hoggard

All-state… helped the Vikings finish 10-2 and win their seventh consecutive Mid-Eastern Conference championship… had 39 punts for an average of 41 yards and a net average of 38 yards… 17 punts were placed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line… also had 46 kickoffs, including 17 for touchbacks.


Jack Lowney                       OL          6-4          250         Narberth, Pa.                       Archbishop Carroll

Recorded 52 pancake blocks at offensive tackle during his senior season… on defense turned in 72 tackles (24 solo), 28 tackles for loss, five sacks, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries… first team All-Philadelphia Catholic League on offense and defense… first team all-county, all-city and All-Southeastern PA as an offensive lineman… selected to play in the Pennsylvania East-West All-Star Game… second team all-state, first team all-conference on offense, second team all-conference on defense… won the Philadelphia Catholic League’s John “Whitey” Sullivan Scholar Athlete Award.







Tron Martinez                    RB          5-9          190         Hampton, Va.                      Hampton

Rated as a 2-star athlete by Rivals.com… 1,700 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior, earning Peninsula District Player of the Year honors… named second team all-state after rushing for 1,700 yards and 27 touchdowns during his junior campaign… two-time All-Peninsula and two-time all-region selection… honorable mention all-district as a sophomore when he turned in more than 700 yards rushing with seven touchdowns… helped lead Hampton High to a three-year mark of 31-6 under Coach Mike Smith, including a district championship.


Mychael McJunkins          LB          6-0          240         Kansas City, Kan.              Washington / Independence CC

All-KJCCC second team as a sophomore after recording 84 tackles and four sacks… honorable mention All-KJCCC as a freshman when he posted 92 tackles.


Alex McLaughlin               RB          5-8          200         Burnsville, Minn.               Apple Valley / Ridgewater College

First team NJCAA All-American… rushed for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2008… averaged 6.3 yards per carry and 192 yards per game… caught nine passes for 64 yards… Minnesota College Athletic Conference MVP… two-time all-conference selection.


Perry Owens                        OL          6-3          275         Edenton, N.C.                      John A. Holmes

All-state selection as a senior in 2008 after recording 89 pancake blocks… selected to play in the Shrine Bowl… two-time All-Northeastern Coastal Conference… three-time all-area… three-time Offensive Lineman of the Year… 46 consecutive starts… 68 pancake blocks as a junior and 62 as a sophomore.


Carvin Powell                     DB          6-3          210         Chesapeake, Va.                 Great Bridge

Rated as a 2-star athlete by Rivals.com… first team all-district and second team All-Tidewater as a senior defensive back… on offense caught 52 passes for 625 yards and seven touchdowns… second team all-district as a junior.


Monty Smalley                   WR         5-11        160         Richmond, Va.                    Douglas Freeman

First team all-district, all-region and all-metro as a senior… first team all-district and honorable mention all-region as a junior… played wide receiver and cornerback for Coach Bob Brinkley… holds the school record for receptions in a season with 52 and longest reception at 98 yards… also lettered in track and basketball.


Marquel Thomas               WR         6-3          175         Virginia Beach, Va.           Bayside / North Carolina Tech

Rated as a 2-star athlete by Rivals.com… earned Virginia Group AAA second-team all-state honors as a defensive back...selected first-team All-Beach District as a defensive back...as a wide receiver, was named first-team All-Beach District and first-team All-Tidewater...tabbed a second-team All-Eastern Region selection as a wide out...caught 51 passes for 999 yards and scored 13 touchdowns...against First Colonial had 10 receptions for 192 yards...caught an 82-yard touchdown pass and returned an interception 20 yards for a TD...caught two touchdowns against Chantilly...four receptions for 160 yards and two scores against Kellam...caught eight pass, two for touchdowns against Princess Anne.. tabbed the Bayside Defensive Player of the Year...as a junior, had eight receptions, three of which were for touchdowns...had 252 kickoff return yards and ran one back for a score...had a region-leading 10 interceptions...named all-region...coach was Darnell Moore...also played basketball and competed in track and field.


Markell Wilkins                 DB          5-8          180         Hampton, Va.                      Phoebus

Helped guide the Phantoms to the 2008 AAA state championship with a record of 15-0… played both cornerback and wide receiver… named all-state by VirginiaPreps.com… first team all-district and second team all-region at cornerback… totaled six interceptions as a senior, after picking off three passes during his junior campaign… on offense had 23 catches for 300 yards.


Patrick Young                     DB          6-0          195         Virginia Beach, Va.           Green Run

Played safety and wide receiver for Coach Sean Wilson at Green Run… helped lead the Stallions to a mark of 10-2 in 2008… hauled in more than 20 receptions.





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