Sycamore Football Adds to 2021 Class on National Signing Day

Sycamore Football Adds to 2021 Class on National Signing Day

Credit Source: Indiana State University Athletics


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Indiana State head football coach Curt Mallory and his staff added six student-athletes during the February 3 National Signing Day, bringing the total to 18 for the recruiting period. Several student-athletes have already enrolled in classes and will participate in spring football while the majority will join the program in the fall.


Student-athletes signing with the Sycamores February 3 include: Maddix Blackwell (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South HS), Kyle Franklin (Elmhurst, Ill./Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep HS), Brayden Johnson (Warsaw, Ind./Wawasee HS/Ball State), Jace Russell (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute North HS), Joey Shew (Clinton, Ind./South Vermillion HS) and Blake Surface (Middletown, Ind./Shenandoah HS).


By State:
Indiana (13), Illinois (4), Florida (1)
By Position:
Wide Receiver (5), Defensive Line (3), Athletes (2), Defensive Back (2), Linebacker (2), Offensive Line (1), Punter (1), Tight End (1), Running Back (1)


Signees listed in alphabetical order.


Loic Amouzouvi, OL, 6-2, 290, Fr., Indianapolis, Ind. / Pike HS


Prior to Indiana State

A multisport student-athlete at Pike High School … Began his high school career at Arlington High School and was the starting left tackle, helping the team to a sectional championship as a freshman … A three-year starter on the offensive line at Pike HS under head coach Patric Echeverria … Earned All-MIC honorable mention accolades … Also lettered in track & field … Plans to major in computer science.


Maddix Blackwell, ATH, 5-10, 175, Fr., Bloomington, Ind. / Bloomington South HS


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year letterwinner at Bloomington South High School … Played on both sides of the ball at wide receiver and defensive back under head coach Gabe Johnson … Helped the Panthers to three 5A sectional championships as well as a regional championship and a final four appearance … Named AP First Team All-State in 2019 and 2020 … Earned First Team Junior All-State in 2019 … Named First Team All-Conference Indiana in 2019 and 2020 … A Top 22 Underclassmen his junior season as well as a Top 22 2020 Preseason All-State honoree … Holds single game records for interceptions (3), receptions (11) and tackles (18) … Earned National Play of the Month from Max-Preps … An honor roll recipient in 11 consecutive trimesters … Also played basketball, baseball and hockey … Was named team captain of basketball team in 2020-21.


Ike Branson, DL, 6-1, 255, R-So., South Bend, Ind. / Riley HS, UTSA / Phoenix College


Prior to Indiana State

Spent one seasons at UTSA in San Antonio where he redshirted.


Prior to UTSA

Transferred to UTSA from Phoenix Community College … Recorded 19 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, one sack and a pass breakup for the Bears in 2018 … Posted five stops against Scottsdale CC … Registered four tackles, including two for a loss, versus Mesa CC … Posted 2.5 tackles for loss against Arizona Western … Had three stops, including a TFL, at Snow College … Finished as the sack leader at Riley High School … Was a four-year honor roll student.


Kenny Butler III, DL, 6-2, 280, Fr., Evansville, Ind. / Castle HS        


Prior to Indiana State

Played four years at Castle High School under head coach Doug Hurt … Helped the Knights to regionals in 2018 as well as regional and sectionals in 2020 … Was named Second Team SIAC and All-State in 2019 … Earned First Team SIAC and All-Metro accolades in 2020 … Also lettered in track & field in 2018 in the shot put.


Ethan Chambers, WR, 6-1, 185, Fr., Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead HS


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year letterwinner at Homestead High School under head coach Chad Zolman … Played at wide receiver, tight end and at safety … Helped the Spartans to back-to-back sectional and SAC Championships … Earned First Team All-SAC accolades … Plans to major in clinical psychology at Indiana State.


Rylan Cole, DB, 6-0, 190, Fr., McCordsville, Ind. / Mt. Vernon HS


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year letterwinner at Mt. Vernon High School … Played defensive back, running back and wide receiver for head coach Mike Kirschner … An IFCA Top 50 player … Named 4A All-State, All-Conference and All-Country his sophomore and junior seasons … Earned Preseason All-State accolades prior to his senior season … A 4A All-State, Indiana Football Digest Top-25 and Max Preps First Team All-State honoree his senior season … Helped the Marauders to a sectional and regional championship in 2019, and a conference and sectional championship in 2020 … Holds the single season record for most interceptions and all-purpose years … Holds the record for most interceptions and all-purpose yards in a career … Also ran track.


Gavin Dineen, DL, 6-2, 285, Gr., Algonquin, Ill. / Marian Central Catholic / Drake


Prior to Indiana State

Played the last four seasons at Drake … A two-time team captain … In 2019, was selected to the All-PFL First Team … Totaled a career-high eight tackles with five solo tackles and two tackles for loss against Valparaiso … Totaled 2.5 sacks for 21 yards … Named First Team All-PFL in 2018 … Recorded 35 tackles and 5.0 tackles for loss … totaled three sacks for 25 yards … had seven tackles against San Diego … Despite battling an injury in 2017, saw significant playing time in six games … totaled eight tackles … Recorded four tackles against Butler … Had two tackles against South Dakota State … Redshirted in 2016.


Kyle Franklin, RB, 5-8, 180, Fr., Elmhurst, Ill. / Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep HS


Prior to Indiana State

Played the last four seasons at Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep under the direction of head coach Bill Krefft … Helped his team to three state championships from the running back position … Earned all-conference and all-area accolades … Rushed for over 5,000 yards and scored 75 touchdowns while averaging 9.5 yards per carry … Also participated in wrestling and track and field.


JJ Henderson, DB, 5-11, 180, Gr., Tampa, Fla. / T.R. Robinson HS / Stetson


Prior to Indiana State

Spent the last four seasons at Stetson … Was a first team All-PFL selection in 2019 after recording 52 tackles in 10 games played, all starts … He did not play in the game against Butler … Had a season-high eight tackles in the win at Jacksonville (11/2) … Was credited with a forced fumble in the game at Marist (9/14) … Had interceptions in the games against San Diego (11/9) and Morehead State (11/23) … Led the PFL with 18 total passes defended … Had three kickoff returns for 60 yards … Earned team defensive player of the week honors three times, was named special teams player of the week once and was recognized for his physical play in the Morehead State game … Earned Second team All-PFL selection in 2018 … Started all 10 games at cornerback … Was selected as team defensive player of the week for his performance against Morehead State … Earn the nod for his physical play in win over Davidson … Recorded the first two interceptions of his career against MSU, the first of which he returned 43 yards for a touchdown … Finished the season with 33 tackles, including four tackles for losses of 1 yard … Had a sack, strip and fumble recovery in the win over Davidson … Was credited with eight pass breakups … Had 11 kickoff returns for 184 yards and five punt returns for 34 yards … Named Pioneer Football League Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 … Named Defensive Second Team All-PFL … Named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week (10/15) … Saw action in all 11 games … Made 71 total tackles, including 47 solo and 24 assists … Led team with 11 pass breakups … Became first Stetson player in modern era to return a non-blocked punt for a touchdown by returning a punt 81 yards in win against Davidson (10/14) … Had a season-high 10 tackles and two pass breakups against San Diego (10/28) … Had nine tackles at Marist (9/9) … Recorded eight tackles and a pass breakup against Butler (11/4) … Made seven tackles in three other games, including at Sacred Heart (9/2), at Valparaiso (9/30) and at Jacksonville (11/11) … Had a season-high four pass breakups against Davidson (10/14) … Returned 10 punts for 127 total yards … Returned one kickoff for 17 yards … Redshirted in 2016, did not see playing time … Was named the scout team defensive player of the week for the Jacksonville game … Was named to the PFL Academic Honor Roll.


Prior to Stetson

Was a four-year football and basketball letterwinner in high school … Spent two years at Yokota HS in Japan and two years at Robinson HS in Tampa … Played for coach Shawn Taylor at Robinson HS … Served as a defensive back, receiver and kick returner … Played point guard on the basketball team … Was an Academic Champion.


Brayden Johnson, P, 6-3, 190, R-Fr., Warsaw, Ind. / Wawasee HS / Ball State


Prior to Indiana State

Spent one season at Ball State where he redshirted.


Prior to Ball State

Played at Wawasee High School … Led the state of Indiana in kickoff yardage and punting yardage … Was ranked the 12th-best punter in the nation coming out of high school … Earned First Team All-American honors as a punter from ESPN Kohl’s … Played in the North/South All-Star game in Indiana.


Jared Kistler, WR, 6-3, 210, Fr., Fort Wayne, Ind. / Homestead HS                


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year letterwinner at Homestead High School … Helped the Spartans to a 10-2 overall record and an 8-1 conference record … Played wide receiver for head coach Chad Zolman … Finished his senior season with 687 receiving yards on 44 receptions … Averaged 57.3 yards per game and 15.6 yards per catch … Recorded 10 touchdowns on the season … Also ran track and played basketball.


James Mallory, WR, 6-1, 180, Fr., Terre Haute, Ind. / Terre Haute South HS             


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year letterwinner at Terre Haute South High School under head coach Tim Herrin … Earned 5A All-State accolades his senior season … Named AP All-State honorable mention his junior season … Was a three-time All-Conference honoree … Named Most Valuable Player in Vigo County … Finished his senior season with 677 receiving yards and six total touchdowns … Averaged 15.4 yards per catch over 44 receptions … Averaged 75.2 receiving yards per game … Also ran track … Earned Academic All-State and was named valedictorian … Son of Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory.


Phazione McClurge, WR, 6-2, 200, Gr., Chicago, Ill. / Mount Carmel HS / Cornell


Prior to Indiana State

Spent the last three seasons at Cornell … Moved from cornerback to wide receiver in the spring of 2019 … A 2020 Preseason All-Ivy League selection … Led the team with 41 receptions and 677 yards to go along with three touchdowns in 10 games … Finished fourth in the Ivy League with 16.5 yards per catch … Posted 24 tackles (20 solo) and six pass breakups in 10 games in 2018 … Ranked seventh in the Ivy League with six passes defended … Played in all 10 games as a freshman, finishing with nine tackles and three pass breakups.


Prior to Cornell

An All-Conference selection as a senior defensive back at Mount Carmel High School … Helped his team to a pair of Prep Bowl championships, including as a senior captain … Recorded 33 tackles and racked up a team-high 513 receiving yards while earning Daily Southtown All-Area honors in his final season … Earned the League’s Wide Receiver of the Year award … Captained the basketball team and was a four-year letter winner … Also competed in track and field for one season.


Bailen Murphy, WR, 6-3, 190, Fr., Bloomington, Ind. / Bloomington North HS           


Prior to Indiana State

Played both sides of the ball at Bloomington North High School under head coach Scott Bless … Helped the Cougars to a 2020 Conference Indiana championship … Earned 5A All-State accolades his senior season … Named an AP All-State Offense honorable mention … Earned First Team Offense All-Conference accolades … Named First Team All-Area … Also competed in track and field … Set both single season and career records for receptions at Bloomington North HS … Finished his senior season with 408 yards receiving on 39 receptions for four touchdowns … Averaged 58.3 yards per game and 10.5 yards per catch … Earned Academic All-Conference honors … Plans to major in architectural engineering at ISU.


Lance Rees, TE, 6-4, 220, Fr., Marshall, Ill. / Marshall HS


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year varsity letterwinner at Marshall High School … Played at both tight end and defensive end under head coach Jared Boyll … Helped the Lions to a 2017 state playoff appearance … Named First Team All-Conference and All-Area … Also lettered in basketball, track and soccer … Earned All-Conference honorable mention in basketball … Earned a fifth-place finish in the discus in eighth grade … Holds four track records … Plans to major in biology at ISU.


Jace Russell, ATH, 5-10, 175, Fr., Terre Haute, Ind. / Terre Haute North HS


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year player at Terre Haute North HS under the leadership of head coach Chris Barrett … Saw action at quarterback, wide receiver, punter and as a return specialist … Helped the Patriots to a 2017 sectional championship … Earned all-conference two years and was a two-time gold medal award winner … Was named offensive MVP twice and as well as garnered special team MVP accolades … Finished his career with 3,400 all-purpose yards and 34 touchdowns … Holds singe game records for rushing attempts (26), yards (200), touchdowns (4) at quarterback … Holds single season records for rushing yards (969, touchdowns (12), and rushing attempts (202) at the quarterback position … Also participated in track.


Joey Shew, LB, 6-2, 210, Fr., Clinton, Ind. / South Vermillion HS


Prior to Indiana State

A four seasons at South Vermillion High School for head coach Greg Barrett …. Played on both sides of the ball for the Wildcats at linebacker and tight end … Helped the Wildcats to a conference championship in 2020 and a co-conference championship in 2017 … Named an all-conference linebacker in 2018 and 2020 as well as a 2A all-state award at tight end in 2020 … Also participated in wrestling and track … Was a sectional champion as well as a semi-state qualifier at 195 pounds in 2018 … Was an all-conference champion and a sectional champion at 220 pounds in 2021.


Blake Surface, LB, 6-2, 200, Fr., Middletown, Ind. / Shenandoah HS


Prior to Indiana State

A four-year letterwinner at Shenandoah High School under head coach Jordan McCaslin … Played linebacker, safety and running back … Named team MVP … Helped the Raiders to a 2018 conference championship and three sectional championship runner-up finishes … A two-time all-conference and all-county honoree Recorded 65+ tackles in three consecutive seasons … Gained over 1,000 all-purpose yards as a junior … Recorded four interceptions, two sacks, two forced fumbles and seven pass breakups his senior season … An academic all-state honoree … Earned honor roll recognition each semester at Shenandoah HS … Also played baseball and basketball.


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