Duquesne head coach Jerry Schmitt inked a 13-player recruiting Class of 2021 in February, and though most of those players won’t be available for the Dukes when they take part in a spring 2020-21 football season, the future appears to be bright for the program, as well.
“Well the high school guys we brought in we feel are very talented, good student athletes that fit our system,” Schmitt said. “We believe they will fit with our team, although it was much more challenging this year to find that out because they were not able to visit, hangout with our staff, and hang out with our players on campus. But we utilized other sources to try to match that up. We-foot-re excited about that young class coming in. A number of local guys that are talented football players and good students.”
Duquesne’s class features 13 players, including seven from Pennsylvania. The class is made up of four defensive backs, three offensive linemen, two linebackers, one running back, one wide receiver, one defensive linemen, and one tight end.
Keshawn Brown, WR, 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, Champagnat Catholic, Hallandale, Fla: Brown, a two-star prospect, caught 38 passes for 845 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games during his senior year, along with 120 yards on just two kick returns. Champagnat Catholic won the FHSAA 2A state championship and Brown was selected to the All-Dade County First Team.
JaMario Clements, RB, 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, Lafayette High School, Lafayette, Ga: As a senior, Clements rushed for 992 yards and 17 touchdowns in seven games. The two-star recruit was named to Georgia High School Football Daily’s all-state team.
Jack Dilts, DL, 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Kiski Area High School, Vandergrift, Pa: Dilts recorded 86 tackles, including four for loss, and three sacks in 22 career high school games. Following 19 tackles and a fumble recovery in four games, Dilts was named to the WPIAL Class 5A Northeast All-Conference team as a defensive end in his senior campaign.
Antonio Epps, DB, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, South Allegheny, Liberty Borough, Pa: Epps-foot- 3614 career rushing yards and 40 career rushing touchdowns are each school records at South Allegheny. He had 98 tackles, 18 passes defensed, and five interceptions in 35 high-school games and was selected to the all-state team as a defensive back twice.
Jake Frye, OL, 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, Avon High School, Avon, Ohio: Frye was selected twice to the both the All-Southwestern Conference team and the All-Lorain County team. Frye, who played tackle in high school, never allowed a sack.
Ayden Garnes, DB, 6-foot-0, 170 pounds, Monsignor Bonner, Philadelphia: Garnes was an All-Philadelphia Catholic League and All-Eastern PA selection. He was also selected to the Pa. Football Writers’ All-State team for Class 4A at defensive back in 2020.
Diontae Givens, LB, 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, Sto-Rox High School, McKees Rocks, Pa: Givens 307 career tackles are the most in Sto-Rox history. The two-star recruit also recorded 55 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, eight passes defensed, eight forced fumbles, and seven fumble recoveries in 39 games. Givens added 717 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns on 110 carries. He was named co-Defensive MVP of the Three Rivers all-conference team for his senior season.
Thomas Jefferson IV, OL, 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, West Springfield High School, Springfield, Va. : During his junior season, Jefferson recorded 10 pancake blocks as a guard in five games. He also added three tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery playing defensive tackle.
Malichi Lowery, DB, 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Auburndale High School, Lake Alfred, Fla. : Lowery, a three-star recruit, recorded 116 tackles, three interceptions, seven pass breakups, and a forced fumble in 27 high-school games. Lowery was originally committed to Temple, but de-committed in December and picked Duquesne. His older brother, Tim, is also a defensive back for the Dukes.
Joe Manfre, TE, 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Archbishop Alter, Dayton, Ohio: Manfre, who also played defensive end, was given the John D. O’Brien award at Archbishop Alter in 2020, for leadership and dedication.
Cameron McLaurin, OL, 6-foot-2, 260 pounds, Montour High School, McKees Rocks, Pa. : McLaurin, who also played defensive tackle, was named to the WPIAL Class-4A All-Parkway Conference First Team twice. He recorded 92 tackles, four tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery in 21 games at Montour.
Sam Neill, DB, 6-foot-0, 175 pounds, Pine-Richland, Pine Township, Pa. : In his senior year, Neill tailled 63 tackles, five tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception in 11 games. Neill, a WPIAL and PIAA state champion, was named to the WPIAL Class-5A Northeast All-Conference first team at defensive back.
Jaheim Williams, LB, 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. : Williams recorded 236 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 35 games at Cathedral Prep. Also a running back, Williams rushed for 404 yards and 5 touchdowns in those 35 games. He was named to the Pa. Football Writers All-State Team for Class-4A at linebacker as a junior.
Duquesne starts its four-game spring season against Sacred Heart at noon on March 7 at Arthur J. Rooney Field.