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New Wolves in pack -- Defense

by Mitchell Gladstone | August 30, 2021 at 2:28 p.m.

On Sunday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previewed Arkansas State’s offensive newcomers. We turn to the other side of the ball today.

Here’s one thing to know about each of the Red Wolves’ 25 additions on defense and special teams:

35 Andrew Agapos, Fr., LB, 6-0, 210, Cordova, Tenn.

A preferred walk-on, Agapos played lacrosse for Evangelical Christian School while also helping the Eagles to a 2019 state title as championship game MVP.

5 Kivon Bennett, R-Sr., DE, 6-2, 236, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Tennessee transfer)

Bennett’s father, Cornelius, was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. The elder Bennett played in five Super Bowls and was twice named AFC Defensive Player of the Year over 14 seasons.

19 Denzel Blackwell, So., CB, 5-10, 180, Houston (Boston College transfer)

Blackwell was a sprinter at Strake Jesuit, running the 400-meter relay alongside Matthew Boling, who garnered national attention in April 2019 by becoming the first high schooler to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds.

25 Perrish Cox III, Fr., CB, 5-9, 160, Lacy Lakeview, Texas

Cox’s father, Perrish Cox Jr., was a first-team All-American at Oklahoma State in 2008 before being picked in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and spending parts of six seasons with four different franchises.

39 Ryan Dadds, Fr., P, 5-10, 175, Hawthorne, Australia

Dadds, who is 23 years old, played multiple seasons of Australian rules football — he was on the Queensland State under-18 squad in 2016 and then joined the Brisbane Lions’ under-19 side in 2017.

32 Aidan Ellison, Fr., K, 5-11, 186, Naperville, Ill.

In his senior season, Ellison knocked through all but one of his 34 kick attempts, missing just one PAT, and he earned first-team all-area honors from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

18 Dennard Flowers, Fr., DE, 6-2, 236, Fairburn, Ga.

Flowers finished his final high school campaign with 15 of his 61 tackles for a loss, leading his Creekside High team to the second round of the state playoffs.

92 Truman Geathers, R-Jr., DE, 6-2, 217, Acworth, Ga. (Louisville transfer)

Geathers’ uncle, James — better known as Jumpy — won two Super Bowl rings, first with the Washington Football Team in Super Bowl XXVI and then six years later with the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII.

59 Tim Hardiman, Fr., DL, 5-11, 267, Spring, Texas

Before committing to Arkansas State, Hardiman was one of three Westfield High players to sign with Navy. But after spending a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School, Hardiman opted to play his collegiate ball elsewhere.

46 Ethan Hassler, Fr., LB, 6-2, 236, Collierville, Tenn.

Hassler starred for Collierville in his senior season, helping the Dragons to a winning record for the first time since 2017 as the standout linebacker was named to his region’s first-team and picked up defensive player of the year honors as well.

33 Cam Jeffery, Fr., S, 5-11, 186, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

A year ago, Jeffery was looked at by many recruiting analysts as a wide receiver, catching 15 touchdowns in his junior campaign. But last fall, he logged 125 tackles from the secondary and 247Sports ranked him as the nation’s No. 36 athlete.

2 Leon Jones, Jr., CB, 6-1, 192, Hattiesburg, Miss. (junior college transfer)

Jones was a walk-on at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and managed to turn himself into a consistent performer, ultimately choosing ASU over Memphis, Southern Mississippi, South Alabama and North Carolina-Charlotte.

41 Shai Kochav, Fr., LS, 6-2, 235, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A high school teammate of wide receiver CJ Cage, Kocahv earned a spot in the Florida vs. Georgia All-Star Game and participated in Kohl’s Kicking and Punting Camp, one of the nation’s premier showcases for specialists.

98 Quay Mays, R-Sr., DT, 6-1, 310, Bradenton, Fla. (West Virginia transfer)

Mays has NFL pedigree with his uncle, Alvoid Mays, a Super Bowl XXVI champion with the Washington Football Team, and his cousin, Peter Warrick, who was the No. 4 overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft.

55 Gentry Miller, Fr., LB, 6-1, 192, Little Rock

Seven times into his senior season at Central Arkansas Christian, Miller was either the Mustangs’ overall or defensive player of the game.

0 John Mincey, Sr., DL, 6-4, 290, Homerville, Ga. (Tennessee transfer)

Originally recruited by Coach Butch Jones when he was leading the Volunteers, Mincey appeared in 24 games over three seasons at Tennessee but never started.

54 Jalil Muhammad, Fr., DL, 6-2, 307, Fairburn, Ga.

Muhammad played at Creekside with Flowers but made his impact on both sides of the ball in the trenches on his way to being Region 3-5A players of the year and a Class 5A all-state honoree.

21 Joe Ozougwu, R-Sr., DE, 6-2, 236, Alief, Texas (North Texas transfer)

Ozougwu’s brother, Cheta, played at Rice and spent four seasons in the NFL but is known for being Mr. Irrelevant 2011 — the final pick of that year’s NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.

29 Justin Parks, Fr., S, 6-0, 186, Gardendale, Ala.

Parks is transitioning from cornerback to safety after being ranked by 247Sports as the No. 68 overall player in Alabama and the 133rd cornerback in the nation.

34 Aavion Pierce, Fr., S, 6-4, 185, Houma, La.

Before his senior season of high school, Pierce moved from Florida to Louisiana, and he told a reporter last summer that he discovered a new favorite food upon the move: Boiled crawfish.

26 Tristan Shorter, Fr., LB, 6-0, 203, Oxford, Miss.

Shorter played in the shadow of Ole Miss and helped Oxford High win 25 consecutive games before losing the 2020 Mississippi 6A state title game. The team’s lone returning starter, he logged six interceptions and returned four for touchdowns as a senior.

90 Arian Strong, Jr., DE, 6-3, 268, Muscle Shoals, Ala. (junior college transfer)

Strong transferred to ASU from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, which has produced several notable NFL players including Alvin Kamara, Cordarelle Patterson, Markus Golden and Gerald Everett.

32 Kam Turner, Fr., CB, 5-10, 162, Wilson

Playing for Rivercrest High, Turner was the team’s quarterback as a senior in addition to playing safety and serving as the primary return man — he accounted for more than 4,800 yards of offense.

51 Elijah Veasey, R-So., DL, 6-0, 280, Little Rock (Division II transfer)

Veasey comes to Jonesboro after two seasons at Henderson State — he redshirted 2018, then didn’t see any action in 2019 and the Reddies didn’t play last fall after their season was canceled due to covid-19.

36 Charles Willekes, R-So., LB, 6-1, 220, Rockford, Mich. (Michigan State transfer)

Willekes was a rugby player, but he’s not the most famous of his family — his older brother, Kenny, was a two-time All-Big Ten defensive end for the Spartans and is now playing for the Minnesota Vikings.


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