After Idaho won just one game this fall in his first season as coach, Paul Petrino saw a number of holes on the Vandals' roster. He took a key step in filling a few of them today with the signing of eight junior-college players -- two defensive tackles, two offensive linemen, two linebackers and two defensive backs.
" ... Those are all places that we felt like we had needs and needed to improve," Petrino said. "I think it was a really good job by the whole staff in going out and finding guys that we feel like can fit the system and are good guys and can come in here and can compete right away."
We have all the details below, as well as a few notes and quotes from Petrino on each signee.
Petrino said all eight signees will enroll in January and be available for spring camp. One or two more JC signees are possible during the early period, which started today. Petrino mentioned that he will sign a JC running back "for sure," as well as one or two JC receivers and a defensive end.
Idaho will sign 20 or 21 players in total, Petrino said.
"I think all of them can come in and compete and start," he said of the eight that signed.
Bios courtesy of Idaho media relations.
Highland Community College/Round Rock High School
Round Rock, Texas
Antoine was an honorable mention Kansas Jayhawk Community College All-Conference selection as Highland advanced to the playoffs for the first time in school history. He had 32 total tackles and two tackles for loss in earning mention by 24/7 as the 26th rated defensive tackle in the nation in 2013. He played at Navarro Junior College in 2012.
A graduate of Round Rock High School, Antoine was ranked ninth among defensive tackles in the Lone Star Region and was 11th in the Centex Sweet 16.
From Petrino: Antoine is "your typical great big nose guard." Does a nice job plugging the middle and is able to rush the passer on third down. ... He was a longtime target for the Idaho staff. "It's great to have him coming."
Iowa Western Community College/Palm Beach Central High School
Martial started every game as a senior for 11-1 Western Iowa and was a member of the 2012 NJCAA National Championship team. In the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference, he was ranked 35th in total tackles among all players, which was ninth among defensive linemen. Iowa Western led the league in almost every defensive category – points allowed, total yards allowed, yards allowed rushing, yards allowed passing, interceptions and fumble recoveries.
From Petrino: Martial "is a great three-technique" tackle. ... He has good quickness, and can play the run and rush the passer well.
Iowa Western Community College/Bishop Michael Eldon School
Fawkes started every game for 11-1 Western Iowa and was a second-team Iowa Community College Athletic Conference selection. Iowa Western was the league leader in total offense (522.5 yards per game), passing offense (257.5 yards per game), completions (274), pass attempts (441) and touchdowns (28).
From Petrino: He'll play the strong guard position at Idaho. "Very big, physical, athletic." ... Originally from the Bahamas, Fawkes has played only a couple of years of organized football.
Highland Community College/Hendrickson High School
In 2013, Travillion was a second-team Kansas Jayhawk Community College All-Conference choice as Highland advanced to the playoffs for the first time in school history.. He was part of an offense that led the conference in total offense (428 yards per game) and passing offense (305.6 yards per game), and was second in pass efficiency (146.1).
In high school, he was a four-year starter at offensive and defensive tackle. As a senior, he was a first-team 4A-25 All-District choice at offensive tackle. He also was recognized his junior year as a second-team choice on the 4A-25 All-District Team and the All-CenTex team.
From Petrino: "Probably as athletic as an offensive linemen as we saw out there." Petrino said he has great feet. ... Could be a guard or a tackle. "I think he’ll be a great contributor for us."
Mesa Community College/Millennium High School
Litchfield Park, Ariz.
As a sophomore, he was Mesa’s tackle leader with 106 total tackles, which tied for first in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. He also had six tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. He had a career-high 14 tackles against Snow College and twice had 13-tackle games. As a freshman, he had 35 total tackles and six sacks. He had a season high of 11 tackles one in addition to one 10-tackle outing.
He was a first-team All-Region defensive back as a senior in high school as well as earning second team All-Arizona honors. He was Millennium’s MVP and its Outstanding Defensive Player. As a senior, he had 77 total tackles, two interceptions (one of which he returned 99 yards for a touchdown), eight tackles for loss, five pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.
From Petrino: He has 4.5 speed in the 40 and "can really run and fly."
Ellsworth Community College/Stranahan High School
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Steele was a team captain as a freshman and sophomore at Ellsworth as well as earning first-team All-Midwest Football Conference honors both seasons. He climbed the NJCAA rankings and finished eighth in total tackles (110), seventh in solo tackles (64) and 11th in tackles for loss (16) in addition to totaling five pass breakups, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and a half sack. During his freshman season, Ellsworth was 19th in the NJCAA poll.
At Stranahan High School, he played running back and linebacker as a junior, and split time between linebacker and defensive end as a senior. He was a second-team All-Broward County defensive end, and was chosen to play in two all-star games – Broward North vs. South and Dade All-Stars.
From Petrino: Considered by some to the defensive MVP of his junior-college conference. ... Petrino said he has great speed. "That’s two linebackers (along with Peterson) who can really run."
Santa Ana College/Fullerton High School
Sule was a second-team All-Southern California Conference choice after tallying 48 total tackles (31 solo and 17 assists) as well as four pass breakups, two tackles for loss, two force fumbles and one fumble recovery. He also had four games of eight tackles.
A graduate of Fullerton High School, he was a three-year letterman in both football and track. He was a first-team all-conference choice as a senior after earning second-team recognition as a junior.
From Petrino: Described him as a safety. .... "He's long (and) has real good range." He's also physical. "He can be an enforcer at safety."
Diablo Valley College/Las Lomas High School
Walnut Creek, Calif.
Wallace-Hatcher recorded six tackles for loss and had 33 total tackles for Diablo Valley in 2012. He also had two interceptions and five pass breakups.
From Petrino: He played a lot of press man coverage at Diablo Valley College. Petrino said UI can put him on an island, which is something they haven't had from their corners -- perhaps with the exception of Solomon Dixon -- the last few years.