The dominant numbers Stony Brook's offense amassed routinely in Big South play fell sharply during the Seawolves' inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association partly because of injuries but also as a result of improved competition.
But coach Chuck Priore moved quickly to address those problems with the 19-man recruiting class for the 2014 season he announced on Wednesday. Two previously announced FBS transfers, Syracuse quarterback John Kinder and Massachusetts running back Stacey Bedell, figure to play major roles, and Priore also signed a pair of top-notch wide receivers, two tight ends and a punter who should compete for playing time right away.
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"Last year's recruiting class was defense-heavy, so this year we put the emphasis on bolstering the offense across the board," Priore said.
Kinder, who starred at Lawrence High, has just one year of eligibility left as a graduate student and figures to be the leading contender to replace departing starter Lyle Negron at quarterback. Bedell, who was the co-Hansen Award winner as the top player in Suffolk County in 2011 at William Floyd, adds a speed component at running back in a rotation with starter Marcus Coker and backup James Kenner.
The Seawolves landed three-star wide receiver Julius Wingate of Englewood, N.J., who adds size at 6-3, 185 pounds, and 5-9, 170-pound Donavin Washington of Covina, Calif., a speedy wideout who was Sierra League co-player of the year with 93 catches for 1,570 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Priore added tremendous size at the tight end position with 6-3, 280-pound Josh Valentin, a first- team all-Long Island selection from Commack, and 6-2, 255-pound Cal Daniels of Bethel, Conn. Both combine blocking ability with athleticism to contribute in the passing game.
"It was important to get skill kids at wide receiver, and Stacey helps on offense," Priore said. "You look at the size and ability of the tight ends, and we're very pleased to get players who fit what we do."
Punter Marc Nolan from Woodstock, Ga., is ranked No. 36 in the country at his position by ESPN and has "field-changing ability," according to Priore. The Seawolves have vacancies on the left side of the offensive line, and 6-4, 320-pound Haris Mrkulic, a two-year starter at Nassau Community College, might fit in at left guard.
The 2014 class includes two other first-team all-Long Island selections in Roosevelt defensive tackle Raymond Jones, who has the speed to develop into a pass rusher, and Babylon's Jake Carlock, who was signed as a defensive back but also can play receiver.