RICHMOND, Ky. – The Eastern Kentucky University football team has added nine transfers for the 2021 season, head coach Walt Wells announced on Wednesday.
The incoming Colonels are inside linebacker Kyle Bailey, offensive lineman Brad Davis, offensive lineman Zack Ferris, running back Da’Joun Hewitt, wide receiver Jyran Mitchell, kicker Patrick Nations, quarterback Cord Sandberg, outside linebacker Ubong Udom, and defensive end Roland Walder.
“The state of college football today with the transfer portal provided us with the opportunity to add these nine players to meet areas of need in our program,” Wells said. “We’re excited about what they bring to our team, on and off the field. We were excited in what we saw from their high school and college experience. They were all highly sought after recruits. I’m very pleased with what our staff did in adding these nine men to the EKU football family.”
Kyle Bailey – ILB, 6-0/215, Sr., Carrollton, Ga. (Western Kentucky Univ.)
A two-time Conference USA Honorable Mention honoree at WKU … As a senior in 2020, started 11 games, finishing the season with 76 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss … had three sacks and one interception … registered 10 tackles at Middle Tennessee (Oct. 3) … had nine tackles and a sack at UAB (Oct. 17) … finished with eight tackles, including three for a loss, at Charlotte (Dec. 6) … started all-but-one game for the Hilltoppers as a junior in 2019 … recorded 109 tackles (52 solo, 57 assisted) – including six for loss – with three interceptions and five pass breakups … recorded four double-digit tackle games – including a career-high 13 (three solo, 10 assisted) on Sept. 7 at FIU … his 109 tackles tied for fourth in Conference USA and 32nd in the nation, while he was only 1-of-7 FBS defenders with at least 100 tackles and three interceptions … recorded seven tackles (four solo, three assisted) – including 1.5 for loss – and two interceptions on Sept. 28 against UAB, and was subsequently voted C-USA Defensive Player of the Week.
Brad Davis – OL, 6-4/303, Sr., Victoria, Va. (Virginia Military Institute)
A three-year starter on the offensive line at VMI … Started all eight games in 2020, the first five at right guard and the final three at center … helped VMI average 428 yards of offense per game, including 310 through the air … Moved to the center position prior to the start of the 2019 season and started all 12 games there, extending his offensive line starting streak to 23 games … on the field for 940 total plays on the season – the most of anyone on the squad … Moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore in 2018 and made 11 starts at right guard … played the most snaps of any VMI offensive linemen with 948 plays … entered the year as a preseason All-SoCon second team selection … a two-time SoCon Academic Honor Roll recipient.
Zack Ferris – OL, 6-5/311, R-So., Somerset, Ky. (Marshall Univ.)
Played in five games on the offensive line at Marshall … Rated a two-star prospect by Rivals.com and 247sports.com coming out of Pulaski County High School … also had offers from Eastern Michigan, Austin Peay, EKU, and Murray State … four-year starter and all-state honoree who also played nose tackle and defensive end for Pulaski County, racking up 25 tackles (13 solo) … earned honorable mention all-state honors as a junior … helped lead Pulaski County to a 42-14 record over four seasons … played in the Battle of the Bluegrass All-Star Game.
Da’Joun Hewitt – RB, 5-10/205, R-Fr., Nashville, Tenn. (Purdue Univ.)
Rated a three-star running back by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN coming out of Davidson Academy in Nashville… had 273 carries for 2,170 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior … caught 19 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown in 2018 … team went 13-0 in 2018, winning the Tennessee Division II Class A championship.
Jyran Mitchell – WR, 5-11/195, R-So., Matteson, Ill. (Northern Illinois Univ.)
Appeared in six games at Northern Illinois … ran for 1,384 yards and 13 touchdowns and threw for 1,250 yards and 17 scores his senior year at Rich Central High School … named to the Daily Southtown All-Area team as an athlete … awarded the Southland Athletic Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year … as a member of the Rich Central track team, won the Class 2A state title as a part of the 400-meter relay team.
Patrick Nations – K, 6-0/182, R-Fr., Tamasse, S.C. (Eastern Carolina Univ.)
Earned four letters for coach Padgett Johnson at Walhalla High School … captured the 2016 Ray Guy National Underclassman Championship, finishing his sophomore campaign ranked as the top kicker and kickoff specialist in the country … a left-footer who averaged 66.0 yards per kickoff … earned All-Region I-AAA honors as a kicker, punter, receiver and safety following junior campaign … converted 36-of-38 PATs and eight-of-13 FGAs with a long of 44 yards for the Razorbacks … selected to participate in the 2018 Touchstone Energy Bowl … a 2018 preseason all-state selection as a specialist … named Class 4A Specialist-of-the-Year by the South Carolina Football Coaches Association following senior season … a two-time Ray Guy Prokicker.com Top Prospect Award winner (2017, 2018) … rated as the No. 1 kicker nationally by ProKicker.com and No. 4 nationally by Kohl’s Kicking … other recruiting services listed him as a five-star prospect as a kicker and a three-star recruit as a safety … ranked among the best 30 players (overall) in the state of South Carolina according to ESPN.com … also recruited by Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia Tech out of high school … reportedly drilled a 68-yard field goal during a practice session and also nailed a 63-yarder during a Ray Guy camp.
Cord Sandberg – QB, 6-3/222, So., Bradenton, Fla. (Auburn Univ.)
Played three seasons at Auburn, throwing two touchdown passes … a three-time SEC academic honor roll recipient … before signing with the Tigers, played six seasons in the Philadelphia Phillies minor league system as an outfielder, posting a .243 career batting average and rising as high as Class AA … 2015 minor league Gold Glove winner … he was a third-round pick of the Phillies in the 2013 draft out of Manatee (Fla.) High School … on the football field, was named the 2012 HTPreps Football Player of the Year and Class 7A State Player of the Year while playing for Coach Joe Kinnan at Manatee High … passed for 2,735 yards and 35 touchdowns with one interception in 264 attempts … also ran for 600 yards on 96 carries, a 6.25 average, with 10 TD … for his three-year career, was 572-of-786 (73 percent) for 7,829 yards with 79 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and rushed for 1,991 yards and 31 touchdowns … top four percent of his class academically.
Ubong Udom – OLB, 6-3/265, R-Sr., St. Joseph, Mo. (Univ. of Central Missouri)
All-MIAA first team selection as a redshirt junior at Division II Central Missouri … had a breakout season and led the MIAA in sacks with 10, tied for the fourth-most in a single season at UCM … became the first Mule in five years to make the All-MIAA First Team as a defensive lineman … totaled 44 tackles with 11 going for a loss and six quarterback hurries … forced four fumbles and recovered two … had a season-high three sacks against Washburn (Sept. 28) and forced two fumbles while recovering one and earned the MIAA Defensive Player of the Week award … was the MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week at Nebraska-Kearney (Nov. 2) after blocking a potential game-winning field goal with less than 20 seconds left in a tie game … recorded a season-high six tackles with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against Central Oklahoma (Oct. 12) … totaled three sacks in two NCAA Postseason games, coming up with two against Ferris State (Nov. 30) and one against Indianapolis (Nov. 23).
Roland Walder – DE, 6-3/250, R-Sr., Dayton, Ohio (Bowling Green State Univ.)
Started all five games for Bowling Green in 2020, posting 22 tackles, 5.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks … led the Falcons in tackles for loss and tied for the team lead in sacks … had a season-high seven tackles at Toledo … recorded five tackles, 3.0 for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble at Akron … also had a sack against Kent State … Played in 11 games as a junior in 2019… finished the season with 19 tackles, including 1.0 tackle for loss … also forced three quarterback hurries … recorded three total tackles in five separate contests, including two solo tackles at Notre Dame … Played in seven games as a sophomore in 2018, starting the first three games of the season … had 24 tackles on the season and tied for fourth on the squad with 4.0 tackles for loss … tied for third on the team with 2.0 sacks … had three quarterback hurries and a pass break-up … posted a season-high five tackles on four occasions … had 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack against Kent State … also had a sack at Oregon and a quarterback hurry.