Bowie State University (BSU) announced its 2020 football recruiting class consisting of 18 local players from the DMV while bolstering more depth to a team that went on to an undefeated regular season last year.
The Bulldogs were 7-0 in Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) conference play leading to a second consecutive CIAA championship win, defeating Fayetteville State University by the score of 23-7 in Salem, Virginia, on Nov. 16. The only loss that the Bulldogs (11-1) suffered last year was in the opening round of the NCAA Division II football playoffs where Bowie fell to Carson-Newman University 17-9 at home on Nov. 23.
Bowie State University head coach Damon Wilson believes he has the right pieces to work with moving forward into the offseason.
“I’m really excited about this signing class that my staff was able to assemble. I feel as though we were able to get our needs met as well as some of our wants,” said Wilson about his 2020 recruiting class.
“This recruiting class consists of a number of student-athletes that are coming from winning programs and have strong academic backgrounds. I look forward to these young men coming into our family and pushing for playing opportunities early,” he said.
Of those players, a few stood out including McKinley Tech High School (Washington, D.C.) standout linebacker Malique Miller — a force to be reckoned with last season, racking up 69 tackles, nine sacks, forcing five fumbles and recovering one fumble as well.
Miller also played on both sides of the ball, showing off his versatility. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound playmaker also rushed for 319 yards and four touchdowns.
Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School linebacker Rodney Gainous III anchored the undefeated Pumas defensive unit to championship glory last season. He amassed more than 100 tackles while averaging nearly nine tackles per game.
Putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks was one of his specialties as he accounted for eight sacks and Gainous forced two fumbles. One of his most impressive performances last year was on Nov. 15 against Suitland High School when he had 18 tackles, two sacks and blocked a field goal attempt.
Another Puma selected to play for the Bulldogs next year is Kamrin Porter, who played in seven games for Wise and accumulated 10 tackles. Laurel High School was represented well with two players slated to suit up for the Bulldogs: Jaheem Williams and Eric Washington. Former Quince Orchard High School Tahjon Moore helped lead his defense to a 12-1 season with 25 tackles, reaching the quarterback twice during his senior campaign for the Cougars.
Rounding out some notable players who should make an impact for the Bulldogs in due time are: defensive end Jalen Allen (Woodson High School), offensive lineman Brandon Dent (St. John’s College High School), defensive end Marcel Gabriel (Theodore Roosevelt High School), offensive lineman Clyde Haley Jr. (Archbishop Carroll High School), linebacker Ryan Jones (Friendship Collegiate Academy), defensive lineman Tracey Pulliam (Friendship Collegiate Academy), running back Kyle Parker (Charles H. Flowers High School) and tight end John Simmons (Friendly High School).
With a championship-caliber team at his disposal once again, Wilson took the time to speak about how important it is for him and his staff to recruit in the area after achieving so much success with the football program over the years.
“As a staff, our goal has always been to win the DMV when it comes to recruiting,” Wilson said. “We are at a place now that students are excited about being a Bulldog and understand what our goals and expectations are; our student-athletes have done a great job promoting our program to their peers and recruiting the type of players that fit our standards.”