Recruiting: 2017 Early signing period

Wednesday was one of the days that Tim Kater will look back on and remember for the rest of his life.

Kater, a senior defensive lineman from Steelton-Highspire (Pa.) signed his letter of commitment to Army Wednesday afternoon. Later that night, Kater scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a win for Steelton-Highspire.

Half of Kater’s high school came out for his signing. And, what made the signing even more special was having his brother Kelvin White, a former Army tight end and 2016 West Point graduate in attendance. White graduated from Ranger School and was home for a few weeks during the holidays.

“Every time I see him, he says, ‘prepare for the next 10 years, not today or tomorrow,’” Kater said.

Kater was the first commit of Army’s 2018 class way back in April.

“Once I committed, teams thought they could come to my school, show interest me and invite me to camp,” Kater said. “Last summer, I started going to camp, trying to get my name out there. But, I still knew where I wanted to be the whole time. I wanted to be part of something great at West Point.”

This week was NCAA football’s first early signing period. Army coach Jeff Monken was asked for his thoughts on the early signing period during a sitdown with Jimmy Burch for the Armed Forces Bowl. Commits sign a letter of commitment to West Point rather than a letter of intent and are not bound to the letter.

“It’s an exciting time for all of us,” Monken said “It clears the waters up for us. We know who is available and who isn’t at this point. It really keeps the other schools from coming in later and saying, ‘Well, we have a couple of spots open that we didn’t anticipate,’ and the cherry picking that happens. There’s a food chain in recruiting and we know where we are.

“It’s a great challenge for us to find the kind of young men that can perform at a level academically at our institution and be able to contribute on the field at this level of football and to have the desire and level of commitment it takes to be an Army officer. It’s a very unique group of young men that we seek out and find. It’s exciting for us to be able to get those commitments to find a young man that says I want to do it.”

Centennial (Texas) 6-foot-2, 305-pound offensive line Kyle Perry signed his letter of commitment to Army Wednesday morning during the first day of the new early signing period.

Perry, who committed to Army back in July, will be attending the Armed Forces Bowl Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas as the Black Knights seek their 10th win of the season against San Diego State.

Edmond (Okla.) defensive lineman Hunter Richard was one of the first Army commits to sign Wednesday morning.

Texas fullbacks Cade Barnard (Seminole) and Landry Songer (Midlothian) also signed today. Elliott McElwain, another fullback recruit out of Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.), flipped his commitment to Yale over the weekend.

Northshore (La.) teammates and best friends Khalil Fleming, a cornerback, and Walter Harris, a quarterback, were among Army’s signees.

Kokomo (Ind.) safety/linebacker Luke Cameron announced his commitment and signing with Army Friday. Cameron had an Air Force offer.

Army doesn’t announce its recruiting class until R-Day in late June/early July.

The following players signed their letter of commitment to West Point Wednesday:

OL Sam Backenstoe, 6-3, 263, Davidson HS, Hillard, Ohio: First offer – Army.
FB Cade Barnard, 6-2, 225, Seminole (Texas) HS: Other offers – Navy, Air Force, Colorado State, North Texas, Bowling Green, Nevada, UMass. (COMMITTED, Sept. 17)
WR-CB Adam Bazan, 5-10, 180, Ridge Point HS, Missouri City, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, August 3)
LB Hayden Bollinger, 6-1, 209, Lafayette HS, Wildwood, Mo.: Other offers – Syracuse. (COMMITTED, July 21)
DE Hunter Brabham, 6-3, 235, Hughes Springs (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, July 16)
DB Marquel Broughton, 5-10, 175, Mountain View HS, Lawrenceville, Ga.: Other offers – Air Force. (COMMITTED, Dec. 12)
DT Ryan Bryce, 6-5, 285, St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa.: Other offers – Rutgers, Virginia, Temple, Central Florida, Buffalo, UMass. (COMMITTED, May 30)
RB Amon Byars, 5-8, 167, Terry HS, Rosenberg, Texas: Other offers – Navy. Hudl 40-yard dash time – 4.46 (COMMITTED, Nov. 11)
S Luke Cameron, 6-foot, 207, Kokomo  : Other offers – Air Force.
WR Cole Caterbone, 6-foot, 170, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Other offers – Iowa, Rutgers, Cincinnati, East Carolina (COMMITTED, July 25)
K Matteo Cordray, 5-10, 155, Highland Park HS, Dallas, Texas.: (COMMITTED, July 23)
WR Azaveshe Daniyan, 6-foot, 183, North Mesquite HS, Mesquite, Texas
S Zion Davis-Thompson, 6-2, 175, North Stafford HS, Stafford, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 31)
LB Morgan Ernst, 6-foot, 195, Webb HS, Knoxville, Tenn.: (COMMITTED, May 14)
DE Damir Faison, 6-foot-2, 240, Vance HS, Charlotte, N.C.: Other offers – Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, East Carolina, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Georgia State. Former Appalachian State commit. (COMMITTED, July 7)
OL Alex Faulkner, 6-4, 270, Mishawaka (Ind.) HS: First offer – Air Force. Second offer – Army. (COMMITTED, August 12)
CB Khalil Fleming, 5-11, 163, Northshore HS, Slidell, La.: Other offers – Air Force, May 22. (COMMITTED, April 19)
OL Blake Harris, 6-1, 299, Ben Lippon School, Columbia, S.C.: (COMMITTED, August 3).
QB Walter Harris, 6-1, 190, Northshore HS, Slidell, La.: Other offers – Navy, May 8. (COMMITTED, April 22)
P Will Hetzinger, 6-4, 200, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Hammond, La.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 6)
LB Cameron Hoelscher, 6-2, 219, Springfield (Ohio) HS. Other offers: Air Force, Kentucky, Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Toledo. (COMMITTED, August 5)
DE Henry Janeway, 6-5, 215, Utica Eisenhower HS, Shelby Township, Mich.: First offer – Army. Other offers – Navy, Eastern Michigan, Ball State. Army visit – July 24 (COMMITTED, July 30)
LB Tim Johns, 6-3, 230, Greenwood (Ind.) HS: First FBS offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 12)
QB Jemel Jones, 5-10, 190, The Colony (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 21)
DL Tim Kater, 6-3, 265, Steelton-Highspire HS, Steelton, Pa.: First commit of 2018 class. Brother of former Army tight end Kelvin White. Other offers – Delaware, Delaware State, Howard, Morgan State. (COMMITTED, April 12)
S Ja’ren Kenyatta, 6-1, 190, Urbana HS, Ijamsville, Md.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 26)
DL Drew Kraatz, 6-6, 240, Standish-Sterling HS, Standish, Mich.: (COMMITTED, April 27)
LS Brendan Knoespel, 6-foot, 210, Antonian Prep HS, San Antonio, Texas: Other offer – Air Force. (COMMITTED, May 25)
OL Nick Kotok, 6-4, 285, Moon Area HS, Moon, Pa.: (COMMITTED, June 28)
K Miller Kronk, 6-2, 195, London (Ohio) HS: First offer – Army. Army unofficial visit: May 24. (COMMITTED, June 1)
DE Ryan Matz, 6-3, 235, East Lincoln HS, Denver, N.C.: (COMMITTED, June 22)
LB Brandon Mays, 6-foot, 210, Viera (Fla.) HS: Other offers – Buffalo. (COMMITTED, July 21)
DB Braheam Murphy, 5-10, 160, Harding University HS, Charlotte, N.C.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 4)
DB Malkelm Morrison, 5-10, 185, Iona Prep, New Rochelle, N.Y.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 21)
LB Troy Nachtigal, 6-foot, 205, Fort Atkinson (Wis.) HS: Brother, James, is Army junior linebacker. First offer – Army.
C Daniel Parrish, 6-foot, 183, Prince Avenue Christian, Bogart, Ga.: Other offers – Navy, Middle Tennessee State (COMMITTED, Oct. 22)
OL Kyle Perry, 6-2, 305, Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 23)
DL Hunter Richard, 6-3, 270, Edmond (Okla.) North HS: Other offers – Princeton, Abilene Christian. (COMMITTED, June 21)
FB Landry Songer, 6-1, 205, Midlothian (Texas) HS: Army visit: late July (COMMITTED, August 31)
K Cole Talley, 6-foot, 175, Rockwall (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 27)
OL Jose Taveras, 6-4, 265, Union City (N.J.) HS
OL Jack Topping, 6-3, 261, Allen (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 27)
FB Evan Townsend-Henry, 6-1, 225, King HS, Stamford, Conn.
K-P Will van Pamelen, 6-foot, 190, Grayson HS, Loganville, Ga.
RB Danny Webb, 5-7, 160, Montclair (N.J.) HS: Other offers – Illinois, Central Michigan, Kent State.
LB Jesse Walsh, 6-3, 230, Avon Old Farms, Avon, Conn.: (COMMITTED, July 22)
OL Cody Winokur, 6-2, 260, Archbishop Spaudling HS, Severn, Md.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 22)
DE Noah Yates, 6-foot-5, 215, Carbondale Area HS, Carbondale, Pa.: (COMMITTED, July 6)

Army recruits, if you would like your signing photos posted on Twitter and an online gallery, please DM them to me @salinterdonato or email


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    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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