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Lake Erie

Storm thunders ahead with new strength

Storm thunders ahead with new strength

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Lake Erie Football announced Wednesday that 17 student-athletes have made commitments to continue their playing careers with the Storm.

The class of prospective newcomers is comprised of players from six states - in addition to a wellspring of talent culled from the Buckeye State, Lake Erie recruited student-athletes from Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Pennsylvania,. The LEC recruiting class projects as producing seven players on the offensive side of the ball, eight on the defensive side of the ball, one place-kicker and one punter.

"Overall, this is a very talented class," said Head Coach Mark McNellie. "Our coaches really did a great job in focusing in on guys that can step into our program and be successful. And the kids themselves are aggressive players who play the game the right way and have great football instincts and the ability to make big plays."

And McNellie's idea of big plays is likely bigger than most: Lake Erie ranked second in the nation last season in total offense, racking up 551.4 yards per game. The Storm went 4-7 in their 2013 campaign.

The 2014 schedule has the Green & White opening at Ashland on Sept. 6.



Brandon Bailey OL 6-6 265   Middleburg Heights, Ohio / Strongsville HS
John Bell WR 6-1 175   Waldorf, Md. / Westlake HS
Garret Braun P 6-0 150   Clarksville, Ind. / Providence HS
Aaron Bushner DB 6-0 175   Akron, Ohio / St. Vincent-St. Mary HS
Gino Cheraso OL 6-3 280   Wickliffe, Ohio / Wickliffe HS
Desmond Filey LB 5-10 210   Macedonia, Ohio / Nordonia HS
Caleb Finamore DB 6-0 170   Westland, Mich. / Livonia Franklin HS
Alec Heldreth DL 6-4 230   Canfield, Ohio / Canfield HS
Connor Lowe DL 6-1 265   Perry, Ohio / Perry HS
James Moore QB 5-10 170   Monroeville, Pa. / Gateway HS
Mike Muzic PK 6-0 170   Mentor, Ohio / Mentor HS
Colson Nicolas DB 5-11 183   Fort Myers, Fla. / Lely HS
Gabe Rivera DB 6-1 185   Atlantic Beach, Fla. / Mason HS
Dale Rodick OL 6-3 310   Cleveland, Ohio / John Hay HS
Darnell Tate WR 5-11 170   Hubbard, Ohio / Hubbard HS
Mitch Tilley DB 6-0 175   Oxford, Mich. / Oxford HS
Devyn Woods WR 6-0 185   Willoughby, Ohio / Mercyhurst Coll.



BRANDON BAILEY   |   OL: 6-6, 265   |   Middleburg Heights, Ohio / Strongsville HS   
Two-time All-Pioneer Conference first teamer … named Third Team All-Ohio and the Mustangs Offense MVP as a senior in 2013 … tabbed as a two-star prospect.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "We felt after watching Brandon's junior film and seeing him at summer camps that he was the best tackle prospect in the state.  Brandon is the complete player, he moves extremely well, he is a nasty finisher, and is very polished in his pass sets.  We couldn't be more excited to have him."


JOHN BELL   |   WR: 6-1, 175   |   Waldorf, Md. / Westlake HS

First Team All-Charles County performer in 2013 … earned All-Maryland honorable mention as a senior.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "John is an absolute game breaker.  We have never seen a film with as many explosive returns as he has. He will fit perfectly into our offense.  He is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball.  His special-teams impact will be felt immediately as well."


GARRET BRAUN   |   P: 6-0, 150   |   Clarksville, Ind. / Providence HS
Athletic punter who averaged over 37 yards per kick as a senior (2013) … twice tabbed as an all-area performer.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Garret put up solid numbers as a high-school punter. And he's athletic -- he plans on being a member of the Storm Track & Field team."

AARON BUSHNER   |   DB: 6-0, 175   |   Akron, Ohio / St. Vincent-St. Mary HS
Two-way standout on back-to-back Ohio state-champion squads (2012-13) … rated as a two-star player.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "A two-star prospect and two-time state champion, Aaron is a winner and one of the best athletes in the area. Although he started at quarterback we feel his athleticism will benefit us the most on the defensive side of the ball."


GINO CHERASO   |   OL: 6-3, 280   |   Wickliffe, Ohio / Wickliffe HS
Wickliffe team captain, team MVP and Blue Devils Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2013 … honored as an All-Chagrin Valley Conference performer as a senior … selected to the 2013 All-Lake County First Team.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Gino possesses a great frame right now, but we feel he has tremendous upside and room to grow.  He will bring a big physical presence to the offensive line." 


DESMOND FILEY   |   LB: 5-10, 210   |   Macedonia, Ohio / Nordonia HS
Second Team All-Suburban League performer as a senior (2013) … earned all-district distinction in 2013 … logged 107 tackles, 18 tackles for losses and 8-1/2 sacks as a senior … made 121 stops as a junior ... first team all-district and an All-Ohio honorable mention as a junior … recorded 12-1/2 sacks and forced nine fumbles in prep career.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Desmond has great instincts and has a knack for defeating blocks on his way to the ball carrier. He is a sure tackler and has the ability to impact our defense and special teams right away."   


CALEB FINAMORE   |   DB: 6-0, 170   |   Westland, Mich. / Livonia Franklin HS
First Team All-Metro West honoree as a senior (2013) … garnered 52 tackles, two interceptions, four pass deflections and a forced fumble en route to earning a Kensington Lakes Athletic Association honorable mention in 2013 … also piled up 718 rushing and 243 receiving yards as a senior.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Caleb played big-school football in Michigan. He shows an ability to make big plays in big games. He should compete in the secondary and on special teams."


ALEC HELDRETH   |   DL: 6-4, 230   |   Canfield, Ohio / Canfield HS

Canfield's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2013 … named to the All-American Conference Second Team after 2013 senior season …once registered a Cardinals record of 3-1/2 sacks in a single game.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Alec is a TFL machine; he loves to run to the football. He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played with great heart and determination. He is a great addition to our defensive line."


JAMES MOORE   |   QB: 5-10, 170   |   Monroeville, Pa. / Gateway HS
One of Pennsylvania's top passers at the AAAA-level … tabbed as an All- Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League performer in 2013 … a Big-33 and East-West Bowl nominee.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Jimmy was the ring leader of the high-powered offense at Gateway High School in Pittsburgh. His quick release, accuracy and decision making make him a perfect fit for our offense."


MIKE MUZIC   |   PK: 6-0, 170   |   Mentor, Ohio / Mentor HS
A 100-point scorer as a senior (2013) … earned First Team All-Northeast Lakes District. First Team All-Lake County and First Team All-Northeast Ohio honors as a senior … named the Cleveland Touchdown Club Special Teams Player of the Year in 2012.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Mike is a weapon as a kicker and a punter. He has made huge kicks in high-pressure situations. Mike makes us significantly better on special teams right away."


COLSON NICOLAS   |   DB: 5-11, 183   |   Fort Myers, Fla. / Lely HS
Hard-working defender twice named an All-Lee County performer … also played basketball and ran track at Lely HS.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Colson has shown the ability to cover as well to support the run. We see him as a safety playing down in the box and a nickel back. He is very physical for a defensive back."


GABE RIVERA   |   DB: 6-1, 185   |   Atlantic Beach, Fla. / Mason HS
Was a standout for one season at Fletcher HS in Neptune, Fla., before moving to Cincinnati area.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Gabe is a big-time corner that flew beneath the radar due to his move to Ohio just before his senior season. He is the complete package as a corner. He can run and cover but still enjoys coming up and being a force in the run game.


DALE RODICK   |   OL: 6-3, 310   |   Cleveland, Ohio / John Hay HS
John Hay's Most Outstanding Lineman award winner in 2013 …was an All-Senate League performer as a senior (2013).

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "A big body that is physically ready to compete right away. Dale demonstrates the ability to finish blocks. We love his mean streak and competitive nature."


DARNELL TATE   |   WR: 5-11, 170   |   Hubbard, Ohio / Hubbard HS
Second Team All-Ohio performer as a senior (2013) … garnered all-conference, all-county (Trumbull) and All-Northeast Ohio honors in 2013.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Darnell has outstanding highlights as both a receiver and as a running back. In our offense he will get plenty of touches and opportunities to display that versatility. He is a big-play guy."  


MITCH TILLEY   |   DB: 6-0, 175   |   Oxford, Mich. / Oxford HS
First-team all-division performer for the Oxford Wildcats (2013) … tabbed as an All-Michigan honorable mention as a senior.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "Mitch always finds a way to show up around the ball. He plays the ball extremely well in the air. He's a ball hawk on defense and a threat in the return game, a valuable member of the class."


DEVYN WOODS   |   WR: 6-0, 185   |   Willoughby, Ohio / Mercyhurst
Transfer from Mercyhurst College (Pa.) … caught 35 passes for 680 yards and nine TDs in 2012 after a three-game freshman campaign in 2011 … exploded for nine receptions, 215 yards and three TDs in a Nov. 12, 2012, game against East Stroudsburg … was a three-sport athlete -- participating in football, basketball, and track & field -- at Willoughby South HS ...was an All-Ohio as a senior.

Storm Head Coach Mark McNellie: "An outstanding local product comes back home. Devyn is a known commodity that has big-play ability. He has the versatility to play in the slot or as a wide receiver. He could be a big weapon in the Storm offensive arsenal."


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