Elon moved to the brutally tough Colonial Athletic Association at the beginning of 2014, and head coach Rich Skrosky was handed the task of making the transition smooth. Though the Phoenix haven’t won a championship since capturing two NAIA titles in the early 1980s, they did find success in the Southern Conference–winning 9 games in 2009.
Now, Elon wants to build that kind of success in a league (CAA) that doesn’t exactly put out the welcome mat.
The Phoenix went 4-7 last year, and an extra two perfectly-placed touchdowns would have given Elon a 6-5 season. The improvement is starting to slowly turn the heads of recruits. This week, the program reportedly landed 2-star linebacker Tharon Ingram of Charlotte (N.C.) area powerhouse Mallard Creek. He joins 2-star DB Zavier Williams, 2-star TE Alex Parker and the highest rated member of the class–3-star Marcus Williams as top Elon recruits. The class is up to 7 known commitments, though former commitment John Lamot did leave the class this week when Boston College swayed him away.
Marcus Williams has also been pursued by ACC schools recently. Duke has offered a scholarship, and North Carolina invited him to visit the Chapel Hill campus this past fall. He is a 3-star prospect and one of the top-rated commitments in the FCS. He is aware of Ingram, both being North Carolina natives. Elon goes after a ton of in-state prospects like Williams and Ingram.
“I’m not that familiar with all of the Elon class but picking up Tharon would be great, he comes from a winning background and that builds up our pride in winning,” Marcus Williams told HERO Sports. “Elon has a great academic program and the players get a lot of help from tutors. As far as football the coaches really believe our recruiting class is great and we could have what it takes to bring back Elon to its dominance it had before. We just have to buy in.”
Elon’s 2015 schedule included battles with the ACC’s Wake Forest, as well as four FCS Playoff teams from the CAA in New Hampshire, James Madison, William and Mary and still-alive Richmond, as well as to HBCU bowl team North Carolina A&T. It was a brutal FCS schedule and masks the improvements within the program. Look for this year’s class and future classes to continue to build the Phoenix into a top half program in the CAA–a true challenge.
Here’s a look at Elon’s 2016 recruiting class:
|OL||Jake Helms||Davidson, N.C.||6’2″||295|
|OL||Karl Hofmeister||Fayetteville, N.C.||6’7″||290|
|LB||Tharon Ingram||Charlotte, N.C.||6’1″||225|
|OL||Chad Nelson||Atlanta, Ga.||6’3″||260|
|TE||Alex Parker||Charlotte, N.C.||6’2″||220|
|RB||Marcus Williams||Rocky Mount, N.C.||5’10”||185|
|DB||Zavier Williams||Ellenwood, Ga.||6’1″||170|