Tulane completes 2020 National Signing Day Class
Green Wave ink 22 student-athletes for the start of next season
NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane University football team wrapped up the second portion of the 2020 National Signing Day with the addition of two student-athletes.
The Green Wave welcomed offensive lineman Trey Tuggle and defensive lineman Adonis Friloux to the list of 2020 signees. Both Tuggle and Friloux will join the 18 student-athletes that signed their national letters of intent back on Dec. 18.
Tulane finished the year with a total of 22 student-athletes in this year’s class, which include the additions of Kevin Henry (Oklahoma State) and Mykel Jones (Oklahoma), who enrolled in the spring semester as graduate transfers.
The 22-player signing class of 2020 class features individuals from nine different states. Twenty one of those 22 players earned three-star ratings from recruiting services around the country.
Listed below is a complete breakdown of the 2020 National Signing Day Class.
Angelo Anderson | DL | 6-2 | 260 | New Orleans, La. | John Curtis Christian
Prior to Tulane: A three-star prospect according to 247sports.com and Rivals along the defensive line … Ranked as the 22nd best player in the state by 247sports.com and 37th by Rivals… Finished his senior year with 73 tackles, averaging 6.6 tackles per game… Totaled 14.0 sacks, a forced fumble and 10 quarterback hurries in leading the Patriots to a 10-2 record and appearance in the state semifinals in Division I this past season… As a junior produced 61 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 19 hurries.
Brandon Brown | DT | 6-2 | 310 | Katy, Texas | Morton Ranch
Prior to Tulane: A three-star prospect according to 247.sports and a two-star pick by Rivals… Considered one of the top 100 defensive tackles in the state of Texas… Finished his senior season with 87 total tackles, 51 on the solo end, while averaging 8.7 tackles per game… Was responsible for 7.0 sacks, with three forced fumbles and four hurries… Responsible for 52 tackles, 39 solo, averaging 5.2 tackles per game in his junior season… Had nine sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery… Was named a first team all-district selection during his junior campaign.
Reggie Brown | TE | 6-3 | 250 | Houston, Texas | Legacy School of Sports Science
Prior to Tulane: Tabbed as a three-star recruit by 247sports.com and rivals.com… Second-team all-district selection at tight end as a sophomore at Houston Lamar… Father, Reggie Brown, played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions and in college at Texas A&M… Mother, Kerrie Patterson-Brown, played basketball at Texas A&M… Mother and father founded Legacy School of Sports Science in 2017.
Cornelius Dyson | DB | 6-2 | 185 | Kentwood, La. | Kentwood
Prior to Tulane: Earned three-star ratings from 247Sports.com and Rivals.com… Totaled 1,128 receiving yards in his senior year, averaging 80.6 yards per game with 44 receptions… Recorded seven receiving and five rushing touchdowns in his final season, helping his team to a Class 2A state finalist spot.
Adonis Friloux | DL | 6-1 | 280 | Hahnville, La. | Hahnville HS
Prior to Tulane: Earned three-star ratings from 247Sports.com and Rivals.com…Ranked the No. 53 recruit in the state of Louisiana and the No. 96 defensive tackle recruit in 2020 (247Sports.com)…Received First Team All-Conference honors in his senior season, helping lead Hahnville High School to a 9-3 overall and 5-1 district record…Totaled 55 solo tackles and 105 assisted tackles in 12 games in 2019, adding three forced fumbles, 21 sacks and one pass break-up.
Rashad Green | OL | 6-3 | 305 | Baton Rouge, La. | University Lab
Prior to Tulane: A three-star offensive lineman by Rivals and 247sports.com out of University Lab school… Considered one of the top 50 recruits in the state of Louisiana… Helped the Cubs finish with a 9-5 overall record and 6-2 mark in district play, making it to the semifinals of the non-select playoffs in Division II… Is also a member of the U-High track team where he placed seventh in the shot put at the state meet and qualifying for regionals in the discus as a junior.
Kevaris Hall | DB | 6-2 | 185 | Red Oak, Texas | Red Oak
Prior to Tulane: Prior to Tulane: Earned three-star ratings from 247Sports and Rivals.com… Helped Red Oak High School to an 11-2 record in his senior year, going undefeated at 7-0 in district play… Played in the 2019 5A Division II state regional game.
Kevin Henry | LB | 6-0 | 240 | Baton Rouge, La. | Central
Graduated from Oklahoma State in December, will be eligible to compete immediately. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native joins the Green Wave after spending the past five years within the Cowboys’ football program (2015-19) where he helped Oklahoma State to 45 wins and five bowl appearances during that period…This past season, Henry played in 12 games, recorded 23 tackles and tallied 1.5 tackles for loss, as he helped the Cowboys to their 14th consecutive bowl appearance where they faced Texas A&M in the 2019 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl.
Matthew Hightower | LB | 6-2 | 210 | Palos Heights, Ill. | Shepard
Prior to Tulane: Set a school record at Shepard High School in the last game of his junior year with four total sacks…Helped the Astros finish 4-2 in conference in his final season with the team… Ran a 4.52 40-yard dash and a 11.1 time in the 100-meter dash.
Justin Ibieta | QB | 6-5 | 225 | Metairie, La. | Metairie Park Country Day
Prior to Tulane: Ranked as the 50th-best prospect in the state of Louisiana by Rivals.com… Named a three-star recruit by 247sports.com… Completed 191 of 295 passes for 2,870 yards and 38 touchdowns, while rushing 147 times for 1,023 yards and 17 more scores in his junior season at Metairie Park Country Day… Named Class 2A Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year by the LSWA in 2018… His sister, Jenna, is a member of the Tulane volleyball team… Father, Juan, was a pitcher at Tulane (1990-93)… Mother played volleyball at LSU.
Mykel Jones | WR | 5-11 | 195 | Patterson, La. | Patterson
Prior to Tulane: Graduated from Oklahoma in December, will be able to compete immediately, as he he will take part in spring practice this semester…Caught 33 passes for 495 yards…His best season in Norman came in 2017 where he caught 16 passes for 310 yards and one touchdown, as he helped guide the Sooners the College Football Playoff Semifinals against Georgia. As a true freshman in 2016, Jones appeared in 12 games and caught 13 passes for 106 yards…Off the field, Jones demonstrated a strong work ethic in the classroom, as he was named to the Big 12 Conference All-Academic Team in 2017, earning Second Team honors.
Shi’Keem Laister | DB | 6-2 | 185 | Clanton, Ala. | Chilton County
Prior to Tulane: Earned a three-star rating from 247Sports.com, ranking 63rd among 2020 recruits in Alabama… Helped Chilton County High School finish 5-1 in the region in his final season with the Tigers… Took part in The Opening and 126 Spark rating… Had a 42.5 vertical jump and a 4.38 40-yard dash time in The Opening.
Matt Lombardi | OL | 6-7 | 280 | Philadelphia, Pa. | Saint Joseph’s Prep
Prior to Tulane: Considered a three-star prospect by 247sports.com and a two-star prospect by Rivals out of Saint Joseph’s Prep School in Philadelphia… Considered one of the top 40 offensive line prospects in the state of Pennsylvania, with Rivals having him at No. 25… Won a pair of state championships as a junior and as a senior in 2019… Was a 2019 All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Honorable Mention selection by the Philadelphia Inquirer… Finished his senior season with a 12-2 record, helping the Hawks to their fifth state championship since 2013 and third in the largest class in the PIAA in Class 6A.
Jesus Machado | LB | 6-1 | 215 | Miami, Fla. | Champagnat Catholic
Prior to Tulane: Earned a three-star rating from 247Sports.com… Earned 2019 Preseason All-American honors from Max Preps… Led Champagnat Catholic to the 5-A State Championship… Was selected as the 5A Defensive Player of the Year… Earned All-Dade County honors from the Miami Herald.
Reggie Neely | DB | 5-11 | 175 | Shelby County, Tenn. | Briarcrest Christian
Prior to Tulane: Earned a three-star rating from 247Sports.com…Ranks 57th among 2020 recruits out of Tennessee according to 247Sports.com and 10th among wide receivers in the state according to MaxPreps.com…Helped lead the Briarcrest Christian Saints to a 9-2 overall record in his senior year, making it to the first round of the Division II Class AAA state playoff… Also plays on the high school basketball team which ranks in the nation’s Top 25.
Michael Pratt | QB | 6-2 | 200 | Boca Raton, Fla. | Deerfield Beach
Prior to Tulane: Earned a three-star rating from 247sports.com and rivals.com… Led Deerfield Beach to the Florida High School Class 8A Semifinals in the 2019 season… Transferred from Boca Raton High School before the 2019 school year… Logged for 158 yards and two touchdowns passing and one rushing touchdown in the Class 8A regional semifinal… Will enroll early.
Josh Remetich | OL | 6-4 | 270 | New Orleans, La. | Holy Cross
Prior to Tulane: Earned first-team all-district honors in 2018 and 2019… Named a three-star recruit by 247sports.com and rivals.com.
Joseph Solomon | OL | 6-4 | 270 | Indianapolis, Ind. | Bishop Chatard
Prior to Tulane: Named a three-star recruit by 247sports.com… Helped lead Bishop Chatard to the 2019 3A Indiana State High School Championship… Played a role in Bishop Chatard’s 3A Semi-State run in 2018.
Noah Taliancich | DL | 6-2 | 280 | Destrehan, La. | Destrehan
Prior to Tulane: Considered a three-star player by 247sports.com and the 62nd best player in the state, while Rivals also has him as a three-star player along the defensive line and at linebacker… Helped nearby Destrehan High School to an appearance in the Class 5A finals as a senior and the semifinals as a junior last season… Family has had Tulane season tickets since he was six-years-old and his grandfather graduated from Tulane… Will enroll early.
Trey Tuggle | DL | 6-5 | 315 | Mize, Miss. | Mize Attendance Center
Prior to Tulane: Considered a three-star player by 247sports.com and the 50th best player in the state…Two-time All-State honoree…Started in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game…Invited to the Under Armour All-America combine…Also excelled in track and field, as he won the state title in discus.
Duece Watts | WR | 6-3 | 200 | Richton, Miss. | Petal | Jones County JC
Prior to Tulane: Led Jones County Junior College with 24 receptions for 416 yards in 2019… Logged a season-high four catches, 107 yards and one touchdown at Northwest Mississippi in the MACJC Playoffs… Named Second-Team All-MACJC in 2019… Played with current Tulane linebacker Nick Anderson at Jones County JC in the 2018 season and current Tulane running back Stephon Huderson at Petal High School in 2016… Will enroll early.
Phat Watts | WR | 6-0 | 190 | Richton, Miss. | Petal | Jones County JC
Prior to Tulane: Caught 13 passes for 115 yards in the 2019 season at Jones County Junior College… Returned three kicks for a total of 75 yards in 2019… Played with current Tulane linebacker Nick Anderson at Jones County JC in the 2018 season and current Tulane running back Stephon Huderson at Petal High School in 2016… Will enroll early.
Listed below is the complete transcript from Green Wave head coach Willie Fritz’s press conference from the 2020 National Signing Day (See video here).
“Thank you for coming out today, I really appreciate it. A few things I want to talk about that occurred this last season. For the first time in school history, 126 years that Tulane has played football, we won back-to-back bowl games. It is only the second time in school history that we have played back-to-back bowl games. This was the eighth winning season in the last 38 years, so we are making progress towards our goal of being a consistent winner year after year. Matter of fact, this is only the fourth time for back-to-back winning seasons in the last 60 years and the last time it happened was 1997-1998. This is also the most wins for a graduating senior class this century.”
On Spring Football
“You all are welcome to come out to spring football. We are probably one of the few schools that allows full access to our practices. You are more than welcome to come to practice. The only thing that we ask is to not videotape 11-on-11 stuff when we are doing those kind of things. We would love to have you out here and we appreciate those of you that come out frequently. Thank you very, very much.”
On the 2020 Signing Day Class
“We have signed 20 players and we also have two graduate players that are here. We have a class of 22. Twenty one of the 22 signees earned three-star ratings or above, which the only time you talk about star ratings is when you ended up ranked pretty well and we are this year. Our current class ended up ranked second in the AAC (American Athletic Conference) when you make the addition of Trey Tuggle and Adonis Friloux. We feel like we are doing a good job of bringing number one Division I football players in here and also guys who are excellent students. We have graduated every senior who has gone through our program. They were doing that at Tulane long before I got here. Also, guys who fit into our culture, a really good group of young men. We are very excited for the class that we have added this year.”
On Kevin Henry
“I really want to talk about the guys who have come in and are here right now. You are going to have a chance to visit with them if you would like after you ask me questions. Kevin Henry is from Baton Rouge, La. He went to Central High School and then went to play at Oklahoma State. He is an excellent football player. We have academic perimeters we have to follow with our grad transfers just like with our incoming freshmen athletes as well and he graduated from Oklahoma State with a high GPA. He is here working on his Master’s Degree. We are very excited to have him here, not only to play linebacker, but to also play in the kicking game. He was a great special teams player at Oklahoma State.”
On Mykel Jones
“Mykel Jones, is a transfer from Patterson High School, who went to Oklahoma. I believe he has 33 career catches at Oklahoma. He played a bunch for them. He is another guy who has graduated with a great GPA. I believe he was an Academic All Big 12 one of his years there. We think he will be a fantastic addition to our receiving core. He is a little bit of a bigger guy. He is tall, a little over 5-11 with great speed. Mykel, Mike, his dad calls him Mike, so I am going to call him Mike. Mykel and Kevin have both been super in the weight room and meeting rooms with our guys. They are great additions.”
On Jesus Machado
“Jesus came in over the summer on an unofficial visit with his family and then we did not think we would have an opportunity to get Jesus. He had some big time offers coming out of high school. We were fortunate enough to get him to flip to us. I believe his high school team played in the state championship in Florida, they have great football down there. He is going to play inside linebacker for us. Again, an excellent student. He graduated a semester early and he has fit in extremely well. That is a big deal for us. I tell my coaches all the time when they go out to recruit: character, character, character. Character is the number one thing we are looking for, then academic skill, as well as athletic ability, he certainly has all that.”
On Michael Pratt
“Michael Pratt is also an early enrollee. His team also played for the state championship and did not win it in the state of Florida. He transferred in his senior year to Deerfield Beach High School. He is going to come in and compete for that quarterback position. He is going to be here a little bit later I believe, but Michael is a guy who committed to us in the summer. Something that I thought was interesting that the day he was up here, he was actually here with his family visiting New Orleans, we were having camp and he wanted to compete in camp. Sometimes guys who are highly recruited do not want to do that, but he loves playing football. We are excited about having him.”
“I always butcher Noah’s last name. I still do not have my Cajun down yet, I still need to be here a few more years and I’ll get that. We have been so excited about Noah joining our program. When I had our signing party last year, Noah was actually in the audience. If you gave him the opportunity to play at any school in the country, he would pick Tulane. His family has always had season tickets to Tulane games. He was a really easy one to recruit to be honest with you. He played for the state championship in Destrehan and I actually had a chance to go out and watch him practice during recruiting. His coach and their staff do a super job and it was great to watch him practice. He actually played both ways in the state championship game. He played a little bit of tight end, but we are going to be playing him on the defensive line. I think with the style of play of our defensive linemen have, he fits in well.”
On Duece Watts and Phat Watts
“They were outstanding high school football players at Petal HS. Qualifiers from high school, you cannot take a junior college guy unless he is qualified and all his hours are transferrable, so these guys are excellent students as well. They went to Jones County Community College, which is one of the top junior colleges in the state of Mississippi. It is a really tough league over there. I had an opportunity to coach against them in my junior college days and every time we went to a Mississippi JC, we knew it was going to be a tough ball game. They have great recommendations from their coaches over there, both college and high school. We have a little bit of an in with them. One of their best friends is Stephon Huderson. They played high school football together. We have quite a few guys from Mississippi. These guys are really going to help us in our receiving room. We lost two excellent receivers, Jalen McCleskey and Darnell Mooney who is going to be at the NFL Combine here in a few weeks along with Thakarius Keyes. We are really proud of those guys. Darnell also competed in the NFLPA All Star Game. He had a great game there and really raised his stock as far as his draft eligibility is concerned. Those are the guys who are new enrollees who got here early. We also signed two guys today. The new signing day is really the one in December, but we were fortunate enough to get two guys who we think are going to be great players here.”
On Adonis Friloux
“Adonis Friloux from over at Hahnville, we have known about him for years. Yesterday, I was talking to Tanzel Smart who was in our weight room the other day and he played for us. He was a great player and plays for the Los Angeles Rams now. He really reminds us of Tanzel. He is quick as a cat and has great hand strength. He gets off the block fast and plays well. All of those things that Tanzel did and I think Adonis is going to come in here and dominate. He will be able to play at the next level. Tanzel is probably 6 foot max and 285 pounds and he has had an amazing career with the Rams. Adonis is also an excellent student. We hung with him and what has happened with a lot of these guys, the grad transfer guys and Adonis and bunch of these other guys, they want to stay here at home. They go away and figure out that the grass is not always greener. Their parents do not have the opportunity to watch them play or their high school coaches. If I told you how many grad transfers have entered the portal and contacted us and wanted to transfer back that we were not able to take, it would be a surprise. There are quite a few of them. Adonis is one of the high school guys who we signed and we are very excited about getting him over here. He comes from a great program at Hahnville HS. Noah and Adonis are very close friends, they might have even gone against each other a little bit in junior high and Pee-wee leagues. They did not play against each other in high school because they were on the same side of the ball, but Noah helped us as well with Adonis feeling comfortable here at Tulane.”
On Trey Tuggle
“Last, but not least, Trey Tuggle. Trey played in the Mississippi All Star Game. He had a ton of offers, like Adonis, SEC offers and some other schools in our conference. Trey played great in the Mississippi All Star Game against Alabama and that is a big deal over there. There are a lot of All Star games over there with high schools, it is kind of who has enough money to go participate in the game. This Mississippi Alabama game is big time. All of the kids aspire to play in that game. Trey played great over there. When we put heights on there, this is how we measure, it is not how 247 measures, we say a guy is 6-5 pro-measure, which is barefoot, heels together, toes up and he is over 6-5 and 315 pounds. He can play tackle for us. He is a great addition to the offensive line class that we have coming in.”
On Getting Adonis Friloux at Tulane
“It is huge. It is big. It is showing kids can play and you guys know because you come to ball games, but this is a big time league. We were the third ranked league I believe until the tenth week in the season behind the Big Ten and the SEC. The AAC was the third ranked. The Big 12 passed us after the bowl games happened. This is a great league and I think with your help and with kids coming to ball games and watching, I think during the course of the year we had six teams ranked in the Top 25 and I think in the last poll there were 4 teams in the AAC ranked in the Top 25. The only conferences that had more was the SEC and the Big Ten. This is a great league and I think kids are recognizing that. I think sometimes they talk to guys who have gone away and there was one guy I ended up getting because I explained the finances of flying to the school and renting a car to drive to the school a couple hours and buying him a hotel room for a couple of days. It has been great to get guys who want to stay close to home, a guy like Adonis certainly helps that.”
On If Adonis Friloux will be an “immediate contributor”
“Our roster size is not that big. It costs a couple bucks to go to school here, so you do not have as big of a walk-on class as you would like to have. I think this whole group in here has the opportunity to do that. Adonis certainly does. We go the first 14 practices and everyone gets equal reps. They learn the system. The NCAA has relaxed their rules a little bit and you get a couple hours a week to go over what you are doing during the summer. The reason more freshmen are playing now-a-days is because they are coming during the summer. In the old days they came during the fall and skipped pre-season camp and did not know what was going on. They did not even know where the cafeteria was. Then you have a lot of guys who come in early, they come in early to school and are able to go through spring football.”
On Trey Tuggle’s visit
“His situation was a little bit different. He was scheduled to come in for an official visit the same weekend as was the Mississippi Alabama All Star game, so he could not. We pushed it back to second semester and we could not comment on anyone we had not signed. We wanted him to feel better about coming in on an official visit.”
On becoming elite in the trenches
“This league, I have talked about it before, I was in the Sunbelt before this and I was surprised in my first year in 2016 in the height, the length, the mass, the movement of the big guys in comparison to that league. Certainly there are players in that league who can play in this league. You have to get bigger. We have to get bigger on the perimeter with our wide receivers, corners and safeties. We feel like we have addressed that and our goal every year is to have a better recruiting class than the year before. I feel like we have done this with this class.”
On Michael Pratt and the possibility of Him Playing QB
“That is what spring ball is for. Thursday, February 27, we are going to do it a little earlier than most schools. That is how our calendar falls, as well with Mardi Gras and spring break down here. I think that is good. We are going to have a pretty good idea on where we are at with depth of each position. We feel really good about Keon Howard, Michael and Justin Ibieta. It is going to be interesting to see.”
On the risk of starting a true freshman
“You do not see it a lot in the Division I level, but a few years ago, the first game of the season we played Wake Forest and they played a quarterback as a true freshman. He played pretty well and they beat us in overtime. I think he has transferred somewhere now. He is a good player. It is based on the guy. We will be able to tell after 15 practices, who is first, second, third team. We feel great about Keon, Michael and Justin. One good thing for Justin is that he is only a few miles down the road and when he is not participating in baseball, he is also a great basketball player, he is playing baseball right now, he will be able to come over here and watch us practice.”
On the recruiting process for Adonis Friloux
“I am really blessed with a lot of great recruiters and Slade Nagle is certainly one of them. It is a group effort. A buddy of mine recruited Adrian Peterson to Oklahoma a few years ago. He also recruited another running back to them and he said everybody on the staff took credit for Peterson, but the other guy who could not play, my buddy was the one who recruited him, no one wanted to take credit for him. It is a team effort. It is all of us involved in it. It is also our players. We try to get the guys we are recruiting around our players as much as we can because those are the guys you are going to be going to battle with during games on Thursday nights and on Saturday games. You have to be comfortable with those guys. We feel like we have a great culture. Some of the guys are not smart enough to realize that they are recruiting us, we are not just recruiting them. We are watching how these guys behave when they come in here. “
On the challenge of not having a carryover QB
“You certainly would like to have 22 returning starters, a punter, kicker, snapper, backs because game experience is big time, but that does not happen. Where we are at, we just have a lot more depth than we have ever had. Having a good quarterback does not matter if the offensive line does not do a good job blocking, the receivers do not get open, the running backs do not protect as well. When the Chiefs started doing well the other day, it was because they are utilizing their backs and their protection and moving the pocket. A few of the plays were made magic by that #15 guy (Patrick Mahomes) getting out of pocket and doing some things with buying some time. They are starting to figure out how to block those wild men coming across. They started going tempo and San Francisco got a little tired. It is everybody, it is not one guy.”
On if the last months of the season changed how he felted about recruiting
“We have to continue getting guys who fit into our culture. This means character guys. We have to have guys who can compete here academically. We also have to have bonafide Division I football players. That is who we are playing against. That is one of the first things I showed our guys in our first team meeting in January. I talked about would’ve, should’ve, could’ve: we had a bunch of close losses. We have to figure out how to get over the hump. We have to become more disciplined on the football field. We had way too many penalties. We have to do a better job of taking the ball away. There is a long list of things we need to improve in. Luckily, I get to deal with smart guys who process that and understand it. It is good to be able to have adult conversations and reason with people.”
On being able to flip players
“It is everybody. We have gotten better players. We battled throughout the year and kept a positive attitude. The year before was kind of reverse of this year. We started off really hot this year and played some really tough teams and did not win those ball games, but a lot of them came down to final possessions. The year before we started really poorly and finished really strong. I think that is a compliment to the culture we have here and the student athletes we have here. There are no pointing fingers at the coaches or players or vice versa. We just go to work. Regardless of the end of the ball game, we have to flush that one down the toilet and move on. I think our players, coaches, support stuff and everyone involved in the program do a good job of that.”
On whether it is difficult to get graduate players
“Each situation is different. Ben Knutson, our coaches as much as they like to take credit for getting him here, it went down to the simple fact that his sister got a degree from Tulane she is a doctor and got a medical degree as well. His parents live in Slidell. He was chopping at the bit to get back to New Orleans. That is why we beat a lot of schools to get him. Christian Montano, he wanted to add a MBA to his Brown portfolio. That is why we got him, he wanted to get a MBA from a school like Tulane. Each guy is a little bit different. Jalen McCleskey, we had some kind of in with him, I am not sure what it was (his father is J.J. McCleskey, who serves on the coaching staff). We could not have gotten him in if he was not a good student.”
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