Rhode Island Football Welcomes 11 New Faces to the Program
Rams Head Coach Jim Fleming opened National Signing Day with words of positivity and encouragement to initiate his sixth signing day at the University of Rhode Island. The goal for Rhode Island through the recruiting window has obviously been improving already a strong roster, but also finding guys who will buy into the program’s mentality “3 More Feet”.
“We are very healthy as a football program. We have a wealth of talent that is here. We have guys that are committed to the mission and we’ve got a number of guys… that have committed to come in here. It’s a big day for them, and a big day for us.”
The Rams’ coaching staff, as pointed out by Fleming, recruited a smaller class this off-season with anticipation to take on more players post-signing day. “We have been able to manage our scholarship allotment to be able to leave us some room to take advantage of the new wave of college football. Young men that are looking for an opportunity other than the places they are playing can have an opportunity to look at the University of Rhode Island and we are going to look back.” With 11 players signing on for the 2019 season, the Rams will hold a few scholarships for JUCO graduates, or transfers that could give the Rams a stronger personnel impact.
Rhode Island also has made some coaching changes prior to the 2019 season. First, Jim Fleming introduced new Director of Football operations Alex Folken from East Carolina University, the same school where Wide Receiver Coach Donovan Varner came from. Rhody lost their defensive line coach, Joe Coniglio as well. Fleming and his staff looked all across the nation for someone who could develop the current players, and communicate well. Josh Lott fit that description in a great way, and the team is excited for the contributions he will bring. Offensive Line Coach Keegan Kennedy departed the program to join the Harvard Crimson Football staff. The offensive line position remains open for now as Fleming and company are within the interviewing process to find the next OLine coach.
After Fleming talked about the highlights of the Rams’ off-season so far, he kicked off the introductions of the 11 new Rhody Rams for the 2019 season. The Rams are bringing in 9 Freshman and two JUCO transfers, which happens to be the smallest amount of players brought in on signing day in Jim Fleming’s tenure at URI. Among the 11 arrivals there were 4 offensive line additions, three linebackers, two defensive backs, one tight end and one quarterback.
Leading the class of Freshman is Quarterback Darius Perrantes, a young man from Valley Village, California. Perrantes was the lone quarterback offer the Rams sent out during this recruiting period, according to offensive coordinator Will Fleming. “He has an Elite skillset. He has a very quick release, [and] he’s got very good feet. He’s extremely mobile.” Perrantes was a two-time league MVP at St. Francis where he passed for more than 5,200 yards, ran for 704 more and combined for 65 Touchdowns in high school. He is an important addition to the quarterback corps as Rhode Island sees Graduate student Tyler Harris and Red-shirt Senior Jajuan Lawson off to graduation.
The Rams picked up a strong group of Offensive Lineman as well, including South Kingstown, RI native Montaner Fresili. The 6 foot 1, 280 pound big man was a three year starter, two year captain and three time All-State selection at South Kingstown High School. Tight Ends coach Mike Flanagan said this about Montaner: “He is gonna be a guy we are really excited about. He comes off the ball very well, and I think he has a very big ceiling… The thing about Montaner was, as soon as we gave him the offer he had no hesitation. This is the place felt was home.”
The defensive backs add two individuals who prove to be really good athletes and will be solid additions to a corps that’s losing Safety DJ Stewart and cornerback Ahkema Evans. One of the men in coverage is Jordan Jones out of Brooklyn, NY. Jones is a transfer from Nassau CC, the same college that produced Ahmere Dorsey, Naim Jones and Malik Wilder. Jordan had 11 interceptions through two seasons and was a JUCO All-American.
Rhody also signed Brady Roark who will be a big impact for the team as the Rams will be losing Tyler Burke, who was an intricate part of the Rams successful year, to graduation. Roark played at St. Joseph Regional High in New Jersey, a program that was ranked 14th in the nation in terms of number of players signed to play college football. Roark is not only a great blocker but was also a three-year starter at the long snapper position.
One of the biggest needs for Rhody this off-season was linebackers, and the Rams went out and signed 3. Among the trio is Andre Blackett who is already enrolled at the University and is working out with the team. Blackett has two seasons of eligibility left and the coaching staff is excited about what he brings to the table.
Coach Fleming returned to the podium with confidence in his offseason plan. He thanked the individuals who have supported the program over the past six season since he’s been here, and remarked on how recruiting has made an impact on the program’s success. “The thing that has really made a difference for us as we have grown as an opportunity to look under the hood… We know exactly what we are getting and they know exactly what they are getting with us. I could not be more excited.”
Rhode Island begins their 2019 campaign at the University of Ohio on August 31st.
Here is the full list of players that Fleming and his staff signed during the signing period. Videos courtesy of Rhode Island Athletics.
Jonathan Alvarado | Video
6-1 | 230
Bloomfield, N.J. | Don Bosco
Andre Blackett | Video
6-0 | 235
Easton, Pa. | Lackawanna
Cole Brockwell | Video
6-0 | 210
Westport, Conn. | Staples
Antonio Carter II | Video
6-1 | 180
Orlando, Fla. | Oak Ridge
Kevin Cerruti | Video
6-3 | 290
Long Branch, N.J. | Long Branch
Sean Connolly | Video
6-2 | 270
River Vale, N.J. | Bergen Catholic
Montaner Fresilli | Video
6-1 | 280
South Kingstown, R.I. | South Kingstown
Dimitrios Gkountoudis | Video
6-3 | 300
Munich, Germany | Clearwater Academy
Jordan Jones | Video
6-0 | 170
Brooklyn, N.Y. | Nassau CC
Darius Perrantes | Video
6-0 | 215
Valley Village, Calif. | St. Francis
Brady Roark | Video
Tight End/Long Snapper
6-2 | 235
Mahwah, N.J. | St. Joseph Regional