Reeder brothers join Blue Hens as Brock lands nine recruits

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Colby Reeder, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound outside linebacker for Salesianum, had offers from Illinois and Syracuse but chose to stay home with the Blue Hens. (UD sports information/Mark Campbell)

NEWARK — Dave Brock said he just likes being around the Reeder family.

The Delaware football coach said it’s clear they’re a close-knit group.

“Having the opportunity to spend as much time as I have with them, you can see how close they are,” Brock said on Wednesday.

“You can see how important they all are to each other. That type of bond, that type of connection, that’s what we want our team to be like.”

The Blue Hens will certainly get a major influence from the Reeders over the next few seasons.

On Wednesday, Delaware officially announced that it had signed both Colby, the state Maxwell Club Player of the Year at Salesianum this fall, and his big brother, Troy, who is transferring from Penn State.

The two linebackers are the sons of former Blue Hen standout fullback Dan Reeder.

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New Blue Hen Troy Reeder started 11 games for Penn State last season. He was fourth on the Nittany Lions in tackles with 67 and was a first-team Freshman All Big 10 selection as well as a second-team Freshman All-American. (Mark Selders/Penn State Athletics)

With so many young players back from last year’s 4-7 campaign, Brock announced only nine recruits on Wednesday, the first National Letter of Intent signing day for high school seniors.

Counting the Reeders, four of those nine players are from Delaware. The other two are William Penn receiver Chichi Amachi and St. George’s defensive end Stefon Woodruff.

Nine is an especially small recruiting class when you consider that Brock and his staff signed a total of 43 players in his first two seasons.

But Brock thinks there’s a great deal of quality in this class — especially in a player like Colby Reeder. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound outside linebacker had offers from Illinois and Syracuse.

“I think it took incredible courage for that kid to make the decision he made,” said Brock. “It’s really hard for kids to turn down places like he turned down. It does not happen that often. … It really is an incredible thing that he made that decision.

“It was a pleasure to recruit him. He wasn’t into nonsense. He really is, at heart, a football kid. He wants to know, ‘Am I going to have a chance to compete? Am I going to have a chance to go out and be an impactful player in the program? Are we going to win?’ — which we are. Those are the types of things he  was intertested in.

“And he was interested in the people that he cares about being able to see him play all the time.”

In Troy, the Hens are getting a veteran player who they already have a pretty good idea what he can do. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder spent two years at Penn State, including one in which he redshirted.

An injury put Reeder in the starting lineup early last season and he ended up starting 11 games. He was fourth on the Nittany Lions in tackles with 67 and was a first-team Freshman All Big 10 selection as well as a second-team Freshman All-American.

Troy, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining, is expected to play inside linebacker. He’ll start classes at UD on Monday and take part in spring practice.

“I think the opportunity to play at Delaware, the opportunity to play with his brother, was something he felt like he couldn’t turn down,” said Brock. “It’s really a can’t-miss proposition. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to add an awful lot of value to our prograam. I think we’re getting a great player, I think we’re getting a great person. … I think it’s going to be an awful lot of fun for people to cheer for the Reeders here for the next four or five years.”

The addition of the Reeders leaves the Hens with an abundance of linebackers right now. Delaware had 13 underclassman linebackers listed on last year’s roster.

That group is led by Charles Bell and Anthony Jackson, who were the Hens’ first and second-leading tacklers as sophomores last fall. Of course, some of the linebackers on the roster are walk-ons and some are eligible to be red-shirted.

“We return a very, very good group of linebackers that have an awful lot of production,” said Brock.

“I think a lot of times people worry too much about it,” he said about having too many players at one position. “I think we’re built on defense to do the things we’re going to want to do. We’ll have an opportunity to go from good to great — and I mean great. And i think Troy helps us do that.”
On the other hand, Brock added only one receiver in William Penn’s Amachi and no quarterbacks to the roster.

The Hens had the fewest passing yards per game nationally in Division I FCS last fall and injuries left them woefully depleted at receiver by the end of the year. Brock said Delaware did recruit some receivers and one QB who signed at the FBS level.

But Brock also said the Hens are working on bringing in a transfer or two, probably at receiver, before the start of next season.

“We were planning on taking a transfer (receiver) regardless,” said Brock. “It’s got to be the right person, it’s got to be the right situation. Certainly there’s a lot of interest, which is always nice.”

What was clear on Wednesday is that, after bringing in over 50 recruits in his first three classes, Brock is excited about what he thinks the Hens are ready to be in the fall.

“The program is built,” he said. “I really believe this is going to be our year. I think we’re going to have an exceptionally-good football team. I think we’ll be a playoff football team. … I think we’ve recruited exceptionally well. We’ve gone after the right players.”

Extra points

A pair of Cape Henlopen High players, tight end Brent Reid and offensive lineman Brandon Nixon, are expected to join the Hens as preferred walk-ons. … Delaware has to replace All-American punter Eric Enderson, who decided to forego his final season of eligibility. Brock said the Hens have found a replacement but wasn’t able to announce him yet.

Blue Hen recruits

WR-CHIGOZIRIM “CHICHI” AMACHI (6-2, 180), William Penn HS: Was a two-way All-State selection as a senior, earning notice as a wide receiver (second team) and kick returner (first team)…as a senior, compiled 1,046 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns…had 547 receiving yards and 420 kick return yards in 2015…outstanding student who earned the All-Blue Hen Conference Academic Award. … Coach Dave Brock: “He has a great skill set and an outstanding combination of size and speed. He makes plays and runs well after the catch. He will add versatility to our receiver corps.”

DE-AARON DONALSON (6-2, 215), Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.)/Coastal Carolina/Dean JC: Transfer from Dean Junior College (Franklin, Mass.) and Coastal Carolina…will have sophomore eligibility. … earned second-team All-State honors as a senior in 2013… recorded 88 tackles, 15 sacks, 10 pass breakups and five forced fumbles as a senior in 2013…redshirted at Coastal Carolina in 2014…At Dean, played in nine games at outside linebacker and recorded 48 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and five pass breakups… Brock: “Aaron is a hybrid player with a number of dynamic qualities. He has elite pass-rushing ability and we will be looking for him to come in and help immediately on our defensive front.”

OL-JAMIL GILMORE (6-4, 280), Piscataway (N.J.) HS/Salisbury School: Earned honorable mention All-State honors as a senior in 2014… played one post-graduate season at the Salisbury (Conn.) School…starter who led squad to an 8-1 record and the Erickson League title. … Brock: “Jamil is a big, strong, athletic offensive lineman who has the opportunity to come and compete for playing time immediately. He is a versatile guy who can play either offensive guard or tackle.”

CB-NIJUEL HILL (5-10, 175), Calvert (Md.) Hall: Earned second team All-Metro honors as a senior when he also received second-team all-conference honors…Participated in the Crab Bowl (Baltimore vs. Washington, D.C. All-Stars)…registered 55 tackles and one interception in 2015. … Brock: “Nijuel is a dynamic athlete at cornerback who has a great skill set. He is explosive and fast and an excellent player at the point of attack. He is an exceptional defender and a physical player in the run game.”

DE-SALVATORE MAURO (6-3, 250), Bergen Catholic (N.J.) HS: Team was ranked as high as No. 2 in the state during the 2015 season when it advanced to the NJSIAA Non-Public, Group 4 semifinals for the second straight year…two-time second team All-State selection (2014, 2015). … For his career collected 181 tackles and 25 sacks, including 50 tackles (seven sacks) in 2015, 56 tackles (10 sacks) in 2014, and 75 tackles (eight sacks) in 2013.. … Brock: “He has everything we look for in a defensive lineman. He has an incredible motor and is equally outstanding against the run and the pass. He will have the chance to challenge for early playing time.”

S-TIM POINDEXTER (5-11, 205), Cardinal Hayes (N.Y.) HS: Ranked as one of the top players in the state as a senior… Earned third-team All-State as a senior… Brock: “He is one of the most physical players and tacklers that I have seen on film in the last several years. He is an explosive, run-and-hit player who plays at full speed every snap. He has the chance to be an impact player for us.”

LB-COLBY REEDER (6-3, 225), Salesianum: Earned All-State honors at defensive back in 2014 and 2015 and All-State notice at running back in 2015…rushed for 2,010 yards and 33 touchdowns, posted 70 tackles, four forced fumbles, one interception, and six blocked field goals in 2015…rushed for 925 yards and 17 touchdowns and recorded 128 tackles and seven forced fumbles in 2014 as a junior…Brock: “His high school career, including an outstanding senior year, speaks for itself with all of his player of the year honors (DIFCA, Gatorade, and Maxwell Club). He is an incredibly versatile player who will add elite athleticism to our roster at linebacker and special teams.”

DE-STEFON WOODRUFF (6-3, 235), St. George’s: Four-year varsity player and three-year starter who led team to career record of 43-6…played defensive tackle, defensive end, and offensive tackle…two-time All-State player, earning first-team honors on defense in 2014 and 2015 and second-team honors on offense in 2014…for his career collected 150 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, and six forced fumbles. … Brock: “He has an incredible amount of upside. He has tremendous athletic ability and versatility for a defensive lineman and we feel he will be an outstanding player on our defensive line for many years.”

LB-TROY REEDER (6-2, 250), Salesianum/Penn State: Two-time All-State selection at middle linebacker…earned first-team All-State honors at running back as a senior…2013 DIFCA Defensive Player of the Year… had 280 tackles, 12 sacks, and five interceptions in his career…rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN and a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, Scout.com, and 247Sports.com…ranked among the top 35 linebackers in the nation…No. 2 recruit in the state of Delaware… was honor student at Penn State where he was a Dean’s List student, was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 team, and was named Academic All-Big 10. … Brock: “We expect him to have the opportunity to be an impact player at linebacker and special teams. He comes with outstanding high school and collegiate credentials.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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