New Hargrave PG head coach Troy Davis and team
CHATHAM, VA. -- New faces are all around Hargrave Military Academy's post-graduate football team. From new stars to a new head coach, this is a very new year for one of the nation's most talented teams.
The head coaching position for Hargrave Military Academy's post graduate team must be one of the toughest in the country.
Every year is a new set of 50 to 75 faces, each of those faces must figure out a way to pay the school's tuition, and some of those must pull out of an emotional decline of finding out they did not qualify for the NCAA's requirements to gain admission to college to decide they are willing to pay for a semester.
Then you have the three-a-day practice schedule, the military lifestyle, and this year's schedule which includes exactly one home game and nine games on the road.
After manning the post at Hargrave since 2002, and sending 27 players to the NFL, Robert Prunty took a position as an assistant coach at Texas Tech in the spring.
It did not take the Tigers long to find their replacement as long-time Hargrave PG assistant Troy Davis took the position and quickly learned how much he needed to learn.
"It took a while to sink in," said Davis. "I've been recruiting all the way up until today. I'm looking forward to getting out on the field and away from the desk as far as the paperwork."
Away from the field is where many of the new players say Coach Davis is making his mark on this new class as his approachability has helped them get acclimated to the new environment.
Hargrave head coach Troy Davis
Miller Safrit, Scout.com
"He is a spiritual man, a really good man, and a really good coach," said linebacker Antonio Kinard, a Michigan commitment from Ohio. "Our second or third day here, I asked for a Bible and he told me that if I have any questions about the Bible to just come in and as him."
While Kinard and others talk about the tough three-a-day practices and walking miles from the lockerroom to the practice field, which was once an old airplane landing strip, those who make it through their days at Hargrave understand how much they have grown.
Former Hargrave cadets making their name in college and beyond are able to help the school get their name out across the country to help fill those slots every year.
"We are in a unique situation here where it is challenging," admits Davis. "But with the name brand and all the great players that have come through here, we have each year kids that want to come here."
The New Class
The incoming Hargrave post graduate team includes seven players who signed with a school in the spring and are listed as still committed currently. Those players include wide receiver Eddie Johnson from Midlothian, Tex., who is committed to Baylor, wide receiver Martavis Bryant from Calhoun Falls, S.C., who is committed to Clemson, linebacker Antonio Kinard from Youngstown, Ohio, a Michigan commitment, linebacker Brandon Williams from Rock Hill, S.C., a Navy commitment, linebacker Terrell Hartsfield from Wake Forest, N.C., committed to Texas Tech, Virginia Tech defensive end commitment Justin Taylor from Norwood, N.C., and defensive end Djwaney Mera, a Rutgers commitment from Hollywood, Fla.
Some uncommitted players to keep an eye on include running back Derrick Milton from Pineville, La.,who is a high school transfer playing on the postgrad team and holds offers from Memphis, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. Linebacker Quinn McClendon held an offer from Kentucky as a senior at Sumter (S.C.) High School, but that was two years ago as he sat out last year to work and save up money to enroll at Hargrave. Finally, keep an eye on Marcus McDade, a quarterback from Stockton, Cal., who committed to Fresno State last year.
It is not a surprise to see a player leave early during the rigors of the preseason practices, but this year it was a shocking exit.
Don Hursey, a defensive back from Washington, D.C., left Hargrave for all the right reasons as Coach Davis announced in front of the team, including Hursey, on Sunday that Texas Tech was going to allow him enrollment this fall effective immediately.
The Tigers hit the road on September 3 to play against arch rival Fork Union. Other teams on the schedule this year include Guilford College, Newberry College, St. Francis (Pa.), and Liberty University.