Florida Tech Signs 2015 Football Recruiting Class
By Space Coast Daily // February 5, 2015
38 new student-athletes to the football program
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – On Wednesday, Florida Tech head coach Steve Englehart announced the addition of 38 new student-athletes to the football program on National Signing Day.
The program’s newest members include five NCAA Division I transfers and 33 freshmen. Thirty-two of the signees hail from the Sunshine State.
During the recruiting process there were four positions that the Panther coaches highlighted in particular.
“An emphasis is always going to be placed on the offensive and defensive lines,” said Head Coach Steve Englehart.
“I think we did well there with a transfer on each side of the ball and also a few high school linemen. We also placed an emphasis on the wide receiver position with losing three players.”
“We feel great about the high school receivers that we signed and then being able to sign T.J. Lowder from FIU is a great addition as well,” said Englehart
Lowder played for the Florida International Golden Panthers for three years.
The Panama City, Florida native was second on the team in receptions as a sophomore with 24 catches and 307 yards in 11 starts. Last season during his junior campaign he hauled in 10 balls for 121 yards and a score.
Overall, FIT brought in six wide receivers, including local product Max Erdman.
During his senior year at Melbourne Central Catholic High School, Erdman grabbed 68 passes for 1,041 yards and 18 touchdowns. Erdman, who chose FIT over an offer from Jacksonville, was a First Team All-State and First Team All-Space Coast Conference selection.
He was invited to play in the Central Florida All-Star Game and the Brevard County All-Star Game.
The player on the other end of those 18 touchdown passes also signed with the Panthers on Wednesday.
Quarterback Brandon Ziarno is one of the most decorated high school football players in Brevard County history.
The Hustler signal caller tossed for 3,000 yards and 49 scores in 2014, while only surrendering two interceptions. Ziarno, a two-time First Team All-State selection, chose the Panthers over West Florida and UT-Martin.
Englehart also feels like he and his staff have added a number of key players at the linebacker position.
“At the linebacker position, bringing in a transfer is really big for us in addition to adding what we feel like are three really good high school linebackers in Marquis Lewis, Marcus Pettigrew and Kamal Pestaina,” he said.
Lewis won’t have to move far from his current home in Cocoa. He was the Most Valuable Player of the Central Florida All-Star Game and earned First Team All-Cape Coast honors. Lewis is the brother of new Panther teammate Mike Ferguson.
Pettigrew, who is a former teammate of Panther receiver Terrance Bynum at Mount Dora High School, registered 94 total tackles during his senior year.
Pestaina tallied 80 tackles and four forced fumbles during his final year at Miami Killian High School.
Another player that has everybody in the Panther football circle excited is former Florida Air Academy star and South Alabama running back transfer J.J. Keels.
“J.J. is a local kid that came out several years ago,” said Englehart.
“He reminds me of Trevor Sand in a way. I think that he is going to be really dynamic with the ball in his hands. I can’t wait to see him this spring. With us running a fast-paced offense and running anywhere between 85 to 90 plays a game, we have to have a lot of running backs that are capable and I think we have a lot of depth at that position.”
Despite possessing the Gulf South Conference’s leading rusher in Sand, Englehart sees plenty of carries available for Keels and the rest of the Panther stable.
“If we run 90 total plays and throw the ball 30 times then there are still 60 rushing plays available,” he said.
“You look at that and Trevor can carry it 15 times and J.J. carries 15 times and Gary Holmes gets 15 or so, while still having Kaleb Leach and Jomo Daniels getting some playing time as well along with Mark Cato. We just added another piece to that running back position in J.J. that adds great depth and flexibility.”
Landon Galloway is another signee that the coaching staff projects to be a big-time player in Crimson and Gray.
The former Plant City High School standout has spent the past year at the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School. In high school Galloway was an all-conference player and the Most Valuable player of the East vs. West All-Star Game.
Although he is currently being brought in as a quarterback, the staff sees numerous positions as a possibility for his future.
“Landon is a very tough, physical type of football player with a great arm who I think can play quarterback for us,” said Englehart.
“I also think he is athletic enough that he can play other positions. We want to get a guy like that out on the field.”
With Signing Day in the rearview mirror one thing is for certain, Englehart knows the people around him are among the best in the business.
“Our coaches work so hard at this all year long,” he said.
“It starts back in the spring, when our staff identified most of these guys and wrote them hand written letters, sometimes every week. They worked really hard, I give those coaches all the credit.”
“Not only are they some of the best coaches in the country, I think they’re some of the best recruiters in the nation as well. All the credit goes to them.”
For more information on the entire FIT signing class, access the Signing Day Central page at the link below.
Click HERE for more