Towson's incoming recruiting class may have gotten a boost from the Tigers' run to the Football Championship Subdivision final this fall.
Towson's incoming recruiting class may have gotten a boost from the Tigers' run to the Football Championship Subdivision final this fall. (Tim Heitman, USA Today Sports)

Rob Ambrose can only vaguely recall the day he signed up to play wide receiver for the Towson Tigers back in 1989. He actually laughs as he thinks about all the time that has passed since then.

"But what does stick out in my mind is that we had actually just transitioned to Division I," said Ambrose, now the Tigers' coach. "I was excited about the opportunity to have a chance to make history. Getting in on the ground floor of something really, really great. And many, many moons later, I guess I'm thoroughly involved in that."


Coming off a season in which Towson reached the FCS championship game, the Tigers announced a 17-player recruiting class Wednesday that Ambrose believes was bolstered by the success of this fall.

It features five players from Maryland: tight ends Marquise Watts (North Point) and Zech Heron (Manchester Valley), defensive back  Niquekko "Nico" Cook (Meade), corner back Tyron McDade (Friendship Collegiate) and running back Dontrea Ayres (a Rutgers transfer from Salisbury).

"I think this year's success put a nail in the coffin of some of the kids that were maybe considering other places, and [they] realized, especially the local kids, that staying close to home is an exciting proposition," Ambrose said Wednesday night.

Towson also has a strong contingent from Virginia (quarterback Ellis Knudson, defensive tackle Reece Burnett, cornerback Monty Fenner, wide receiver Sam Gallahan and linebacker James Scott) and Pennsylvania (offensive lineman Matt Kauffman, place kicker and punter Danny Sutton, and running back Greg White).

And the Tigers were able to draw offensive lineman Jesus Barrio from Texas, offensive tackle James Hall from Florida, long snapper Will Hayes from North Carolina, and defensive end Eddie Releford from Washington.

"I think it's a pretty diverse group, both positionally and geographically," said Ambrose, who last month received a contract extension through 2020. "We always are going to keep the best of the best at home, but we are national now. There are people from all over the country displaying interest in coming to Towson, obtaining a degree and playing for this team."

Transfers Ayres and Releford (Pima Community College) are expected to be among the earliest from this class to contribute.

As for the other 15, Ambrose is more excited than ever.

"Five years ago nobody thought much of the recruiting class that just graduated. And these are the guys that laid the foundation for us to play the national championship," he said. "So let's just say my expectations are high."

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