Nova lands FBS targets in 2014 class

Villanova head coach Andy Talley. (Mary Schwalm/AP)
Villanova head coach Andy Talley. (Mary Schwalm/AP)
Posted: February 07, 2014

The success of any Football Championship Subdivision team (formerly I-AA) is to be able to attract players being recruited above on the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

In Taurus Phillips, Villanova recruited such a player.

Phillips was among 14 recruits announced by the Wildcats on Wednesday, and the 5-foot-9, 175-pound speedster from Beacon High in New York brings big-play ability.

He was a running back in high school, but Villanova coach Andy Talley said he will be used as a slot receiver, where his running ability can still be showcased.

"Taurus Phillips had a lot of interest from Nebraska, and in the end we were worried," Talley said in a phone interview. "He can really run and we anticipate putting him in the slot, and he can also run the ball a little bit."

This past season, Phillips rushed for 1,074 yards and nine touchdowns and he averaged a staggering 13.6 yards per carry. He also caught 18 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns.

Another Villanova recruit who had interest from FBS schools is Perkiomen Valley defensive back Rasaan Stewart.

"He has a chance to help us right away," Talley said.

In addition, Talley said he liked the size that Stewart (6-0, 185) and fellow defensive back recruit Rob Rolle (6-0, 175) of South Jersey's Delsea Regional bring to the secondary.

The Wildcats, who were 6-5 during an injury-plagued season, recruited a quarterback, placekicker, running back, three defensive backs and two linebackers, offensive linemen, defensive linemen and wide receivers.

With quarterback John Robertson entering his redshirt junior season, the Wildcats have to think about fortifying the position, and Talley is high on Zach Bednarczyk (6-1, 190) from DePaul Catholic, New Jersey's Non-Public state Group 2 champion.

"Like John, he fits our option scheme with a spread offense, and he is the first lefthander we have had in my 29 years," Talley said. "He is very athletic and isn't a pocket drop-back guy."

Talley said Souderton defensive lineman Ricky Young (6-2, 290) is another player who has the potential to be an immediate contributor.

"We like Ricky Young a lot," Talley said. "He missed his senior year with a broken leg, but I think he is a guy who could come in and help us because he has the size."

As with most coaches, Talley said he was happy with his class. He said Villanova traditionally doesn't redshirt a lot of players so many of the players could help during the 2014 season.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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