Southeast Missouri’s 2015 recruiting class added a total of 26 players from five different states. Southeast’s second signing class under head coach Tom Matukewicz includes 11 players from Missouri, five from Florida, five from Tennessee, four from Mississippi and one from Nebraska. Ten of the in-state signees are within a two-hour radius of Cape Girardeau.
Six signees are already enrolled at Southeast, including quarterback Tay Bender, running backs Donterio Fowler and Tremaine McCullough, defensive backs Taron Divens and Jamarl Holloway, and defensive lineman Kendall Carr.
Bender, who is from Lincoln, Neb., was a two-time All-Midwest Football Conference selection at national powerhouse Iowa Western Community College. He completed 166-of-282 passes for 1,912 yards and 25 touchdowns as a redshirt-sophomore in 2014. He also ran for 184 yards and another four TDs on 82 carries in 2014.
Bender graduated early from Southwest High School and enrolled at Kansas State for the spring 2012 semester prior to joining Iowa Western a year later. He was rated the No. 1 high school player in Nebraska, No. 20 dual-threat quarterback in the country and a three-star recruit by Rivals.com from Southwest H.S.
A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Fowler rushed for 1,288 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior at Lakewood High School. He caught 11 passes for 211 yards and two TDs that year, as well. He is the brother of Dante Fowler, Jr., who was a First-Team All-SEC selection as a defensive end at Florida and is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
McCullough, who hails from Royal Palm Beach, Fla., ran for 501 yards and four touchdowns on 75 carries in two seasons at Arizona Western Community College. He also caught 15 passes for 127 yards for an average of 8.5 yards per reception over that span.
Divens, a native of McComb, Miss., registered 44 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and three passes defended in two years at Pearl River Community College.
Holloway, who is from St. Martin, Miss., was teammates with Divens at Pearl River CC. He turned in 30 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass breakups in two seasons.
Bender, Fowler, McCullough, Divens, Holloway and Carr will participate in spring drills.
Locally, the Redhawks locked in the southeast Missouri Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.
Quarterback Dante Vandeven won the Carr Award after throwing for 2,210 yards and 24 touchdowns, and rushing for 954 yards and another 19 TDs at nearby Jackson High School last season. Vandeven capped an outstanding prep career by leading the Indians to the state quarterfinals in consecutive seasons.
A native of Kennett, Mo., linebacker Bud Hilburn was named the Southeast Missouri Football Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Year after recording 141 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, seven sacks and five forced fumbles at Kennett High School in 2014.
Story courtesy of GoSoutheast.com