Penn football adds 27 players in Class of 2018

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Penn football adds 27 players in Class of 2018

Penn head coach Al Bagnoli on Thursday announced his final recruiting class. Bagnoli will retire after his 22nd season as coach.

The Class of 2018 will have 27 players total, four from New Jersey and two from Pennsylvania:

Robbie Arancio, FB - Delbarton High School, Warren, N.J.
The 6-foot, 225-pound fullback was a two-time first-team all-conference player in high school and a 2013 first-team all-county.

Nicholas Bokun, TE - Hobart High School, Hobart, Ind.
A 6-foot-4, 245-pound tight end, Bokun was named to the 2012 all-state juniors team by the Indiana Football Coaches Association. He was a 2013 academic all-state.

Mustafaa Dais, WR - The Hackley School, Pomona, N.Y.
Dais lettered in football, basketball and track & field at The Hackley School. The 6-foot-2 receiver won two league titles playing football, and twice made the first-team all-state football team.

Brock Elmore, K/P - Bloomington High School, Bloomington, Ind.
The 6-foot-3 kicker/punter was a 2013 academic all-state and named to the 2013 all-state senior team by the Indiana Football Coaches Associations.

Sam Follansbee, LB - North Hunterdon High School, Annandale, N.J.
A 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker, Follansbee served as team captain in his senior season at North Hunterdon High School. He was also a 2013 first-team all-conference, all-county, all-area and all-West Jersey.

Tayler Hendrickson, DL - Middletown South High School, Red Bank, N.J.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder lettered three years in football and was first-team all-division in each year.

Ben Henry, OL - Palisades High School, Upper Black Eddy, Pa.
Henry (6-2/290) was Palisades High School’s team captain in his senior season, which he was also named first-team all-state.

Hunter Kelley, P/K - Edison High School, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Kelley lettered three times in football and soccer, and was a three-time Scholar Athlete honoree in both football and basketball. He was named the Sunset League Kicker of the Year in 2013.

Nathan Kirchmier, OL - American Heritage School, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
The 6-foot-4, 295-pound lineman was named by the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel 2013 first-team all-county.

Ephraim Lee, S - Marian Central Catholic High School, Lake in the Hills, Ill.
Lee was a first-team all-conference a first team all-area in 2013 and was also an academic all-state in 2013.

Ayman Mayberry, CB - Francis Parker School, Chula Vista, Calif.
The San Diego Union Tribune named the 5-foot-11 defensive back to the 2013 all-academic team, and his team won the 2013 conference championship with a 10-0 season.

Brandon Michel, CB - Phillips Academy, East Walpole, Mass.
Michel was named to the 2013 all-New England team and was also named his team MVP in 2013.

Brandon Mills, LB/RB - Mira Costa High School, Hawthorne, Calif.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker twice served as team captain and was also a two-time all-area and all-league honoree by the Daily Breeze.

Brandon Myden, DL - Oak Park High School, Oak Park, Calif.
Myden was first-team all-league, first-team all-section and second-team all-county in 2013.

Nick Neu, DE - Roncalli High School, Indianapolis, Ind.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end set his high school’s single-season record for tackles for loss with 32 in his senior season. He was also a two-time team defensive MVP.

Zach O’Leary, LS/LB - Lawrenceville School, Manteca, Calif.
The 6-foot-1 long snapper and linebacker was his school’s valedictorian.

Kylan Philbert-Richardson, S - Archbishop Williams High School, Randolph, Mass.
Philbert-Richardson was a two-time all-scholastic selection at high school and a two-time league all-star.

Nick Rittenhouse, QB - Space Coast High School, Cocoa, Fla.
Rittenhouse holds the single season and career school records in total yards, total touchdowns, completions and passing yards and is third all-time in state history with nine touchdowns (five passing, four rushing) in a single game.

Tre Solomon, RB - Xavier High School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Solomon was a three-time team captain and team MVP.

Lukas Sontich, DE - Chagrin Falls High School, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Sontich was named to Ohio’s Top 200 Prospects by Scouting Ohio.

Austin Stapleton, OL - St. Joseph Region High School, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.
His brother, Christian, currently is a wide receiver for Penn.

Drew Trabing, OL - Prior Lake High School, Prior Lake, Minn.
The 6-foot-4 lineman was first-team all-state, first-team all-conference and first-team all-metro in 2013.

Chibuzor Ugwu, DL - Hightower High School, Sugar Land, Texas
Ugwu was a four-time first-team all-district and a two-time all-city.

Louis Vecchio, DE - Villa Park High School, Orange, Calif.
Vecchio was a two-time all-section, two-time all-county, two-time all-league and a two-time Century League Lineman of the Year in football. He also played basketball.

Justin Watson, WR - South Fayette High School, Bridgeville, Pa.
Watson set league records in 2013 with 1,568 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns. Those numbers also placed him fourth and third in state history in those categories, respectively.

Alex Weber, LB - Chiawana High School, Pasco, Wash.
Weber won four league championships and the 2013 state title in high school. He was a two-time league MVP.

Gerhard Williams IV, Fleming Island High School, Fleming Island, Fla.
The 6-foot-6 lineman served as team captain in his senior season in which his team went 10-0 and won the 2013 division title.

Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

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Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

ERIN, Wis. — The U.S. Open is all about tradition. This week is the 117th playing of golf's national championship and this event more than most celebrates those golfers who play the game as amateurs. 

Soon-to-be Drexel graduate Chris Crawford has been soaking up all the traditions this week at Erin Hills. Playing in his second U.S. Open after qualifying through both local and sectional competition for the second straight year, an extremely difficult feat, the 23-year-old fifth-year senior enjoyed the amateur dinner put on by the tournament organizers with the USGA. Crawford and his fellow amateurs, a stout list including Texas' Scottie Scheffler, who shot 3-under Thursday to seize the early low amateur lead, were celebrated the entire evening — one of Crawford's early highlights in a long week here in Wisconsin. 

Crawford produced a 3-over par 75 Thursday during the first round to tie for 102nd out of a field of 156 players.

"I played OK (Thursday)," Crawford said. "I'm going to take more positives than negatives out of the round. I played really well for 14 holes and just had a few bad swings on the other four holes."

Indeed, Thursday morning started nervously for the former Drexel golf standout. On the opening par-5 first hole, he snap-hooked his drive into the weeds out of bounds to the left, resulting in a double bogey. Three holes later, he chipped one shot over the back of the fourth green and took another double-bogey, placing him 4-over through four holes. 

Although bogeys might keep many of us alive in our weekend matches, it doesn't cut it in a U.S. Open. Crawford responded well in the ensuing 14 holes, going 1-under in that stretch.

Crawford's coach Mike Dynda, who teaches him at LuLu Country Club in Glenside, Pennsylvania, said he makes a big point to prepare Crawford's mind for his big rounds.

"I texted him last night and said, 'When you got to sleep, imagine that you're on the 18th hole and you have a putt for 9-under,'" Dynda said. "It's important to go to sleep and dream like that."

On the other side, Dynda — who taught the golf team at Drexel from 2003-2015 — also told his pupil to stay away from expectations. When you're 23 and you're playing in your second consecutive U.S. Open, one might think it would be easy to get ahead of yourself. Not so with Crawford, according to Dynda.

"I've taught him to not have any expectations for the five years we've been together," Dynda said. 

Crawford had a superstar practice round on Monday, playing with Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk and Wisconsin's own Steve Stricker.

"It was a lot of fun playing with those guys and just watching them strategize about learning a brand new U.S. Open course," Crawford said. "I think that's the biggest thing I was impressed with, was the way they talked about strategy on this golf course.

"They were all very nice with me and were very specific to ask about me and they wanted to learn a little bit about my life, so I appreciated that."

For Dynda, talking with Furyk brought back a fond memory. Furyk's father, Mike, actually sold Dynda his first set of golf clubs, Tommy Armor 845s, back in Philadelphia years ago. 

With one round in the books and the forecast calling for rain this weekend, Crawford was looking forward to having the proper mentality as he headed into Friday's second round.

"I want to go out there and just not get ahead of myself," Crawford said. "I'm going to think positively and appreciate that I'm playing in the national open."

Crawford teed off at 2:31 p.m. local time off of the 10th hole.

"This week is so cool because I never do something like this," Crawford said. "Playing in front of such large crowds is a treat and I just love the interaction with the fans before and after the rounds as well."

Last year at Oakmont, dozens of friends and family made the drive down the turnpike to see him play in his first U.S. Open. This year, Crawford estimates that he has around 15 friends and family out in the galleries cheering him on. Though coach Dynda caddied last year, those duties have gone to current Drexel golf coach Ben Feld.

It's a party this week of Drexel golf proportions.

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Philadelphia basketball fans will be getting a double dip of one of the Atlantic 10 conference's best rivalries once again next season.

With the league's 18-game regular season format in place for a fourth straight year, it was revealed Wednesday afternoon that Saint Joseph's and La Salle will battle twice — once in North Philly at Tom Gola Arena and a second time at the Hawks' home just off City Line Avenue. Each team in the 14-member conference will play eight teams once and five teams twice.

The full pairings for the Explorers and Saint Joe's are listed here:

La Salle
Home: Dayton, George Mason, St. Bonaventure, VCU, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis
Away: Davidson, Duquesne, George Washington, Richmond, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis

Saint Joseph’s
Home: Dayton, Duquesne, Saint Louis, VCU, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure
Away: Davidson, George Washington, Rhode Island, Richmond, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure

It was also rumored earlier in the day that the Hawks have added a Big Five matchup at Temple for Dec. 9.