VMI Football Announces 2013 Signees
Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com

LEXINGTON, Va. - Virginia Military Institute head coach Sparky Woods today announced the signings of the 2013 football signing class. The group features 15 signees, seven of which come from the state of Virginia, and eight from out-of-state. Six states are represented in this year's signing day class.

"I think this class brings a lot of versatility to our program," said Woods. "Just about every one of them has played both sides of the ball and they can fill a lot of needs. There are guys who can run and are receiver-defensive back types of players and they should be able to make great contributions to special teams because of their ability to run and make plays. Also, you always try to find defensive lineman and I think we are helping our team there. I think we had to find a kicker and we found someone that can score for us a little bit. I think this recruiting class has great young men that are also very mature and can contribute. I feel like this class can step in and offer immediate help."

The following signees are members of the 2013 VMI Football recruiting class. The info below includes name, position, height, weight, high school, and hometown. Further capsule information on each signee follows, and video highlights of the signees will be posted on 'Roo Tube, VMI's athletic broadband channel located at www.vmikeydets.com, and linked to this article.

2013 VMI FOOTBALL SIGNEES (As of 2/6/13)

Darnell Ashton          LB       6-2, 215, Valley View HS, Olyphant, Pa. - Video

Dillon Christopher     K         6-2  175  Menchville HS, Newport News, Va. - Video

Amon-Ra Clay           LB       6-1  240  N. Atlanta HS, Atlanta, Ga. - Video

Al Cobb                     QB      6-3 187   Giles Co. HS, Pulaski, Tenn. - Video

Dane Forlines            Slot/Ath  5-9  180  Mills Godwin HS, Richmond, Va. - Video

Ryan Francis              DB      6-0  190  West HS, Knoxville, Tenn. - Video

Walker Hays              DL      6-1  265  Vestavia Hills HS, Vestavia Hills, Ala. - Video

Chad Jacob               TE       6-3  225  Atlee HS, Mechanicsville, Va. - Video

James King               DL      6-4  230   Pulaski Co. HS, Pulaski, Va. - Video

Andrew Lewis          TE       6-5  220  Greater Atlanta Christian School, Snellville, Ga. - Video

Matthew Nicholson   WR     6-2  180    Warren Co. HS, Front Royal, Va. - Video

Alijah Robinson        DB      6-0  185  North Point HS, Waldorf, Md. - Video

Aaron Sanders          WR     6-2  180  Brooke Point HS, Stafford, Va. - Video

Taylor Stout               Slot      5-11 180  Midlothian HS, Midlothian, Va. - Video

Jon Strozyk                DB      6-0 170   Powell HS, Knoxville, Tenn. - Video


Signee profiles below:

Darnell Ashton          LB   6-2  215   Olyphant, PA / Valley View H.S.

                                    Major:  Engineering

                                    Son of P.J. & Tiffany Ashton

                                    Coached by George Howanitz

                                    Hosted by James Fruehan

                                    Academic Host:  Maj. Wakeel Idewu

Athletic Stats and Awards :

            Finished career with 123 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 interception

            Helped lead the team, and its top ranked defense, to District 2 AAA Championship    as a  junior, and a return trip to the playoffs as a senior. 

            Lackawanna Football Conference Division I All-Star

            Lackawanna Conference Division I Discus Champion


            National Honor Society

Dillon Christopher    K  6-2  175  Newport News, VA / Menchville H.S.

                                    Major:  Psychology

                                    Son of Fred and Jennifer Christopher

                                    Coached by Melvin Moore

                                    Hosted by David Eberhardt

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Dave Cotting

2012 All-757 Team - 1st Team Place Kicker (Recruit757)

2012 1st Team All-Peninsula District Place Kicker - Coaches Choice

2012 1st Team All-Region Specialist - Place Kicker - Coaches Choice

2012 1st Team All-Stars Place Kicker - Daily Press

2011 Set new VHSL record - 60 Yard Field Goal****

2011 Virginia Preps.com All- State Second Team Specialist

2011 1st Team All-Region Specialist - Place Kicker - VA PREPS

2011 1st Team All-Peninsula District Place Kicker

2011 2nd Team All-Peninsula District Punter

2011 All-757 Team - 2nd Team Place Kicker (Recruit757)

2011 All-757 Junior Team First Team Place Kicker (Recruit757)

2011 MVP AWARD Menchville High School Football Team

2010 2nd Team All-Peninsula District Place Kicker

2010 All-757 Freshman/Sophomore Team -First Team Place Kicker (Recruit757)

2010 All-757 Team Honorable Mention (Recruit757)

2010 Peninsula District record for season - longest FG - 45 yards


Played travel soccer for 8 years with NNFC Predators

Played JV Soccer for three years (8th thru 10th) - Menchville High School - Captain 10th grade

Led the team in scoring his 9th &10th grade years.  Main position - Left Forward

Selected as MVP  for the Christine Garvey Memorial Tournament 2011 - Menchville High School Junior Varsity Team

Plans to play Varsity Soccer this year 2013


Advanced Diploma

GPA Current Semester = 3.57

Overall GPA 3.13 

Class rank:  113/438

2010 Honorable Mention All-City Science Fair

A/B Honor Roll - 10th grade

B Average Honor Roll - 11th grade

B Average Honor Roll - 12th Grade

Attends Catalyst Church in Newport News, Virginia

Works for Auto Bell Car Wash


Amon-Ra Clay          LB  6-1  240  Atlanta, GA / N. Atlanta H.S.

                                    Major:  Education/ Math

                                    Son of DP and Veronica Pearson-Clay

                                    Coached by Doug Britten

                                    Hosted by Jabari Turner

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Lee Dewald

            2010 - Football - Most Valuable Player - Freshman

            2011 - Football - Most Valuable Player - Sophomore

            2011 - Academic Honor Roll

            2011 - Basketball - Most Valuable Player - Jr. Varsity

            2011 - Mr. YE-Atl (Young Entrepreneurs - Atlanta)

            2012 - Student of the Month (January)

            2012 - Basketball - Coaches Award

            2011 - Morehouse College STEM Dreams to Teach Scholarship

            2012 - Student of the Month (January)

Al Cobb                      QB  6-3 187   Pulaski, TN / Giles Co. H.S.

                                    Major:  Biology

                                    Son of Bubba & Donna Cobb

                                    Coached by David O'Connor / Thomas Osteen

                                    Hosted by Eric Kordenbrock

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Tom Baur

            2012    Class 4A MR. Football Finalist

                        District 12-AA MVP

                        Selected to Tennessee East v. West All-Star Game

                        MVP for West All Star Game

                        Awarded Golden Arm in Elite II QB Camp

                        Channel 2 Prep Player of the Week

                        Awarded Tradition of Service Award from Music City Bowl Sponsors

                        3,883 total yards and 55 total TDs

                        73% passing, 2,860 yds., 34 TDs, 6 int.

                        1,023 yds. rushing and 21 TDs


2011    All District 12-AA

                        MVP - Quarterback

                        Selected to play on "West Tennessee Express" 7 on 7 team

                        3,709 total yards and 29 total TDs

                        64% passing, 2,722 yds., 22 TDs, 10 int.

                        987 yds. rushing and 7 TDs

            2010    All District 12-AA

                        MVP - Quarterback

                        2,373 total yards and 20 total TDs

                        63% passing, 1,778 yds., 13 TDs, 9 int.

                        595 yds. rushing and 7 TDs

Dane Forlines                        Slot/Ath  5-9  180  Richmond, VA / Mills Godwin H.S.

                                    Major:  Business

                                    Son of Mark & Carol Ann Forlines

                                    Coached by John Phillips

                                    Hosted by Chris Harper

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Cliff West

Varsity Football Godwin High School 4 Year Starter
Football Captain Junior and Senior Years
Three time First Team All District Defensive Back
Two time First Team All District Quarterback
First Team All District Returner
First Team All Region Returner
First Team All Metro Defensive Back
Over 6000 career all-purpose yards
70 career combined touchdowns (rushing & passing)
Over 150  career tackles as a defensive back
12 career interceptions

Ryan Francis             DB  6-0  190  Knoxville, TN / West H.S.

                                    Major:  Business

                                    Son of  Jeff & Kathy Francis

                                    Coached by Scott Cummings

                                    Hosted by Ty Garvin

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Francis Bush

            2010-11 Class 5A All-State DB - 8 ints., 75 tackles

            2010-11 Prep Extra 1st Team

            2012-13 Class 5A All-State DB, Prep Extra 1st Team

            Threw for 1,400+, Rushed for 1,000+

            West High School Single Season TD Record:  33 TD's

            District MVP

            Tied Single Season Int. Record:  8

            1st QB in school history to rush for 1,000

            Won Gold Medal in the Knoxville Interscholastic League in the 4 x 100 relay

            Elected Team Captain 2012

            AP Scholar with Honors

            Elected Mr. West by peers

Walker Hays              DL  6-1  265  Vestavia Hills, AL / Vestavia Hills H.S.

                                    Major:  Business

                                    Son of Kevin & Suzan Hays

                                    Coached by Buddy Anderson

                                    Hosted by Miller Williams

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Cliff West

            3 year Varsity starter - Sophomore & Junior at DT, Senior year at OT

            Started in 37 varsity games during the three years

            Graded 94% senior year and allowed no sacks

            FBU Top Gun

            FBU Gatorade Defensive Lineman of camp

            Birmingham News All Metro Football Team

            Birmingham News key player to watch (2011 and 2012)

            Honoree at the 2012 Pat Patricks Best in High School football

            Over the Mountain Journal All Star team

            Birmingham News South All Metro team

            Vestavia Hills Football Courage Award winner

            Led his team to a 10-3 record, Area Champs and Quarterfinals of State Playoffs

Chad Jacob                TE  6-3  225  Mechanicsville, VA / Atlee H.S.

                                    Major:  Business

                                    Son of  Read & JoEllen Jacob

                                    Coached by Roscoe Johnson

                                    Hosted by Travis Hawkins

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Francis Bush

2012 Season Awards:

  • 1st Team All-Metro TE
  • 2nd Team Richmond Times Dispatch All-Region TE
  • 1st Team All Capital District TE
  • Capital District All-Academic
  • 1st Team Virginia Prep All-Region TE
  • 2nd Team Virginia Prep All-State TE
  • Team Captain

2012 Season Stats:

  • 59 receptions for 961 yards
  • 16.3 yards/catch
  • 13 receiving TDs


  • Member National Honor Society
  • Member Beta Club
  • Academic Excellence Award
  • Hanover County Scholar

2011 Season Awards:

  • Capital District All-Academic

2011 Season Stats:

  • 19 receptions for 304 yards
  • 16 yards/catch
  • 3 receiving TDs


James King               DL  6-4  230   Pulaski, VA / Pulaski Co. H.S.

                                    Major:  Engineering

                                    Son of Mike & Leslie King

                                    Coached by Todd Jones

                                    Hosted by Miller Williams

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Ned Riester

2012:   Honorable Mention All State

                        1st Team All Timesland

                        1st Team All Region IV

                        River Ridge Defensive Lineman of the Year

                        1st Team All River Ridge District

                        Team Captain 

                        Played in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl All-Star Game

2011:   2nd Team All Region IV

                        1st Team All River Ridge District

                        Honorable Mention All State Underclassman

2010:   Honorable Mention All Region IV

                        1st Team All River Ridge District      

                        Timesland Sizzlin Sophomore

Andrew Lewis           TE  6-5  220  Snellville, GA / Greater Atlanta Christian School

                                    Major:  Biology

                                    Son of Gregory & Lesa Lewis

                                    Coached by Tim Hardy

                                    Hosted by Derrick Ziglar

                                    Academic Host: Col. Tom Baur

            Football Team Captain and Leadership Council (2012

            Gwinnett Touchdown Club Player of the Month (2012)

            Cecil Morris Award (Gwinnett TD Club)

            4 year letterman in basketball

            Basketball State Champions 2 out of 3 years (2010-2013)

            National Honor Society

            Beta Club

            All-County Academic Team (Basketball)      

Matthew Nicholson   WR  6-2  180    Front Royal, VA / Warren Co. H.S.

                                    Major: Biology

                                    Son of Ron & Kim Nicholson

                                    Coached by Tony Tallent

                                    Hosted by John Washington

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Tom Baur

            Senior Year:    1st Team All-District Wide Receiver/Defensive Back

                                    Yards:  356, Avg:  13.7; Catches: 26, TD's: 7; Tackles: 46; 3 Int's.

                                    Basketball: 21 points per game / 6.8 rebounds per game / 3.0 steals per game

            Junior Year:     2nd Team All-Disstrict Defensive Back

                                    Yards:  295, Avg: 21.1; Catches: 14; TD's: 5; 42 Tackles; 3 Int's.

                                    All State Track Long Jump - Longest Jump 22'4"

                                    Basketball: 16 points per game / 5.1 rebounds per game / 1.6 steals per game

Alijah Robinson        DB  6-0  185  Waldorf, MD / North Point H.S.

                                    Major:  Business

                                    Son of Antoinette & Arthur Robinson

                                    Coached by Ken Lane

                                    Hosted by Caleb Furlow

                                    Academic Host: Col. Francis Bush


2012 Team Captain  

1st team All County

2nd team All Southern Maryland Athletic Conference (SMAC)

Two-way starter at cornerback and running back 

69 carries for 450 yards and 7 touchdowns. 

One 107 yard missed field goal touchdown return

One interception and 30 tackles

Received 2012 North Point High School Defensive Back Award  

Selected to the Chick-Fil-A Prince George's County vs. SMAC All-Star football game 

Aaron Sanders          WR  6-2  180  Stafford, VA / Brooke Point H.S.

                                    Major:   Psychology

                                    Son of Reginald & Jacqueline Sanders

                                    Coached by Jeff K. Berry

                                    Hosted by Caleb Furlow

                                    Academic Host: Col. Dave Cotting

            3 year letterman in football

            2 year letterman in basketball

            2012 Free-Lance Star Week 11 Player of the Week (7 rec. for 125 yards and 3 TDs)

            2012 All-Area Selection (WR/LB)

            2012 All-District Selection (WR/LB)

            2012 Virginia Preps Honorable Mention All-Region (WR)

            2012 Stats:      38 receptions and 10 touchdowns

                                    67 tackles, 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 5 interceptions


            Member of "Little Forest Baptist Church" in Stafford, VA

Taylor Stout               Slot  5-11  180  Midlothian, VA / Midlothian H.S.

                                    Major:  Business

                                    Son of Dirk & Susan Stout

                                    Coached by Kevin Thomas

                                    Hosted by Logan Staib

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Cliff West

            Varsity Running Back Sophomore, Junior and Senior Year

            Dominion All District Team

            Dominion District All Academic

            Dominion District All Metro Team Track and Field

            Virginia All Region Track and Field

Jon Strozyk                DB  6-0 170 Knoxville, TN / Powell H.S.

                                    Major:  Biology

                                    Son of Bill & Cindy Strozyk

                                    Coached by Derek Rang

                                    Hosted by James Fruehan

                                    Academic Host:  Col. Tom Baur

            5A All State (2011, 2012)

            5A All-District (2010, 2011, 2012)

            All KIL (2011, 2012)

            Prep Xtra First Team (2012)

            All KIL Defensive Player of the Year (2012)

            2012 TN East-West All Star Team

            School Career Interceptions (21 Int.)

            Season Interceptions (7)

            KNX Defensive Player of the Week (2011)

            Knoxville Trophy & Awards / Joy 62 Player of the Game - 2010 (twice), 2011, 2012

            Team Awards: Freshman MVP (2009), Defensive Back Award (2011)                   

                                    Special Teams Player of the Year (2012), Best Defensive Back (2012)

                                    Most Valuable Player (2012), Defensive Player of the Year (2012)

            Statistics:         120 Tackles, 55 assists, 21 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, 3 blocked FG's