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Recruiting: Army adds 2021 Lakeland (N.J.) DL T.J. McCormack

T.J. McCormack’s Army recruiting story is a rather unique one.

McCormack sent out more than 1.000 emails to college football coaches from Division I to Division III during his junior year at Lakeland (N.J.) High School.

Army was one of the schools that responded with a direct message at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, expressing interest in the defensive end. At the time, McCormack wasn’t sure if he would have a senior football season. After talking for a month with Army, McCormack was informed that the Black Knights’ defensive line recruiting slots were filled.

McCormack continued to search for his next football home. He committed to Marist, a non-scholarship Division I-AA school in the Pioneer League about an hour from West Point.

Two days after his commitment, McCormack received a direct message from then-Army assistant coach Greg Gasparato. McCormack didn’t respond. Moments later, McCormack’s father called him. He had Gasparato on the line. Army’s defensive line coach Tank Wright had departed to Illinois. The Black Knights were checking to see if any recruits were still available for a new position coach.

McCormack spent the next few weeks finding out as much about Army and West Point as possible. After speaking with West Point graduates, current West Point cadets and even someone who attended Navy, McCormack made the decision to decommit from Marist and commit to Army.

“I am very excited for the great future in academics, a military career and football,” said McCormack, who is 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds.

Officially, McCormack signed his certificate of commitment on May 17. He announced his decision on June 2. McCormack, who grew up 50 minutes from West Point, will attend Army Prep in the fall.

“This has been the dream I never knew I wanted and I’m ready to work hard and beat Navy,” McCormack said.

LB Josiah Banks, 6-1, 190, Mount Tabor HS, Winston-Salem, N.C.: Other offers – Air Force
LB Shepherd Bowling, 6-1, 210, Katy (Texas) HS: Other offers – Air Force, Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana-Monroe
LB Brandon Castro, 6-foot, 190, Buford (Ga.) HS: Other offers – Syracuse, Louisville, Maryland, South Alabama
DB Jordan Burrell, 6-foot, 190, Blythewood (S.C.) HS: Other offers – Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Coastal Carolina, Liberty, Appalachian State, Marshall, Georgia State, Temple, Florida Atlantic, Charlotte. Twin brother Josh signed with Florida State.
S Michael Cerniauskas, 5-11, 205, Catholic HS, Baton Rogue, La.: Other offers – Navy, Air Force, Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe. Father Chris is 1993 West Point graduate.
LB Blane Cleaver, 6-3, 212, Berwick (Pa.) HS: Other offers – Air Force, Central Michigan, Louisiana-Monroe
S Max DiDomenico, 5-11, 190, Clemens HS, Schertz, Texas:  Three-year starting QB returns to defensive side. Rushed for 14 TDs and passed for 14 TDs as senior. Originally committed to Tyler Junior College.
QB Simeon Evans, 5–11, 175, Bishop Dunne HS, Dallas, Texas: Other offers – Air Force, Coastal Carolina, Liberty, Louisiana-Monroe
K Trey Gronotte, 6-foot, 160, Covington Catholic HS, Park Hills, Ky.: Other offers – Air Force, Miami (Ohio)
DL Will Jeffcoat, 6-2, 265, Pelion (S.C.) HS: First offer – Air Force. Second offer – Army. 2020 South Carolina state wrestling champion
LB Gregory Johnson, 5-11, 205, Northwestern HS, Rock Hill, S.C.: Johnson is the senior class president and maintains 4.3 grade-point average. Made 75 tackles, 9 for a loss, with five pass breakups and two sacks in seven games as a senior.
TE Danny Joiner, 6-3, 240, North Kansas City (Mo.) HS: Other offers – Bowling Green, Toledo
CB Chris Joines, 6-2, 171, Reagan HS, Pfafftown, N.C.
CB Chance Keith, 6-foot, 180, Biloxi (Miss.) HS
TE-DE William Montesi, 6-3, 225, Greenwich (Conn.) HS: Football and lacrosse captain. Received a lacrosse offer from Air Force and football offer from Bowling Green.
DE Trey Moore, 6-2, 240, Smithson Valley HS, Spring Branch, Texas: Other offers – North Texas, Texas-San Antonio, Hawaii
OL Collin Morrison, 6-7, 240, Bishop Kelly HS, Tulsa, Okla. Other offers – Navy, Texas State, Arkansas State
S Branson Owens, 6-foot, 200, Wilcox County HS, Rochelle, Ga.
FB Lincoln Parker, 5-11, 220, Marist School, Atlanta, Ga.
CB Cade Patton, 5-11, 165, Allen (Texas) HS: Other offers – Air Force
QB Gary Phillips, 6-1, 187, Van Buren (Ark.) HS: First offer – Navy. Second offer – Army
LB Tyler Rafferty, 6-3, 205, Newburgh (N.Y.) Free Academy HS: First offer – Army
LB LucRichard Rameau, 6-2, 230, Episcopal HS, Alexandria, Va.: First offer – Army
WR Casey Reynolds, 6-3, 200, Deerfield (Mass.) Academy: First offer – Army
P Matthew Rhodes, 6-5, 195, Auburn (Ala.) HS: First offer – Navy. Second offer – Army
OL Matthew Robbins, 6-5, 230, Oklahoma Christian School, Edmond, Okla.: Other offers – Air Force. Father, Trey, is 1996 West Point graduate
DL Charlie Rolenc, 6-1, 263, Bishop Moore HS, Orlando, Fla.: Other offers – Navy
RB T.J. Rotello, 5-11, 190, Archbishop Moeller HS, Cincinnati, Ohio
RB Lucas Scott, 6-4, 240, Chenango Forks HS, Binghamton, N.Y.: 2019 New York state Class B player of year, 2020 state 285-pound champion. Other offers – Air Force, UMass

Army Prep
OL Omarrian Aigbedion, 6-3, 280, Katy (Texas) HS: Other offers – New Mexico State
RB Kalei Akagi, 5-11, 180, Leilehua HS, Wahaiwa, Hawaii: First offer – Navy. Second offer – Army.
RB Noah Alexander, 5-10, 188, Eufaula (Okla.) HS: Other offers – Navy
P Cooper Allan, 6-2, 205, Independence HS, Thompson’s Station, Tenn.
TE Cade Anders, 6-4, 242, Tift County HS, Tifton, Ga.: Other offers – Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Alabama, Charlotte
QB Jacob Azizi, 6-2, 180, Bishop Verot HS, Fort Myers, Fla.
OL Braden Bartosh, 6-3, 260, Park Hill South HS, Kansas City, Mo.: Other offers – Navy.
DB Marcus Bass, 5-10, 171, Lincoln College Prep, St. Louis, Mo.: Other offers – Navy, Air Force
DL Matai Bell, 6-3 315, Campolindo HS, Moraga, Calif.: Other offers – Wyoming
OL Tanner Bivins, 6-2, 300, Wesleyan School, Norcross, Ga.: Other offers – Navy, Eastern Michigan. First-team all-state lineman as junior. Three-time state wrestling finalist.
OL Cody Bradford, 6-3, 270, Flowery Branch (Ga,) HS: Preferred walk-on offer – Georgia State
TE Kenyatta Brannon, 6-4, 240, Chanhassan (Minn.) HS: First offer – Air Force. Second offer – Army.
QB Dwayne Coleman, Roosevelt HS, San Antonio, Texas: Former Texas A&M Kingsville commit. Rushed for 1,044 yards and 21 TDs as senior.
LB Kemari Copeland, 6-3, 225, Kellam HS, Virginia Beach, Va.:  Other offers – Navy, Marshall. Former Navy commit.
DE Zac Daher, 6-4, 245, Northwest HS, Wichita, Kansas: Other offers – Air Force, Akron, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Toledo, New Mexico
RB Greg Daniel, 5-11, 188, Calvary Day HS, Savannah, Ga.: Other offers – Air Force
LB Tyler DeLeon, 6-3, 210, Los Alamitos (Calif.) HS: First offer – Army. Member of U.S. National football team
DE Marcus Dickey, 6-3, 230, Biloxi (Miss.) HS: Other offers – Akron, New Mexico, South Alabama
OL Jack Flowers, 6-2, 260, Upper Arlington HS, Columbus, Ohio: Other offers – Air Force, Toledo (preferred walk on)
LB Kalib Fortner, 6-1, 205, Knoxville (Tenn.) Central HS
WR Liam Fortner, 6-1, 185, Knoxville (Tenn.) Central HS
LB Jaden Genova, 6-foot, 200, JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.: Other offers – Oregon
S Jofranstar Graham, 6-foot, 190, Evans (Ga.) HS: First offer – Army
OL Turner Hillburn, 6-3, 270, Royse City (Texas) HS: Other offers – Navy, Wyoming, New Mexico, Louisiana-Monroe
WR Zion Jackson, 6-1, 180 Archer HS, Lawrenceville, Ga.
CB John Javis, 5-10, 170, Spring Valley HS, Columbia, S.C.
K Ewan Johnson, 5-11, 160, South Doyle HS, Knoxville, Tenn.
DB Keanu Kama, 6-2, 170, Santa Margarita Catholic HS, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
C Bill Katsigiannis, 6-1, 260, Katy (Texas) HS
DB Casey Larkin, 6-foot, 180, Wall (N.J.) Township HS: Other offers – Navy
RB Clev Lubin, 6-3, 212, Suffern (N.Y.) HS: Gatorade New York State Player of the Year rushed for 1,053 yards and 16 touchdowns in six games as a senior. First offer – Army. Other offers – Buffalo, Kent State, UMass
CB Walker Lyles, 6-2. 188, Pelham (Ala.) HS: First offer –  Army
CB Jaydan Mayes, 5-11, 180, Fairfield (Ohio) HS: Other offers – Bowling Green, Marshall
DL T.J. McCormack, 6-2, 225, Lakeland HS, Wanaque, N.J.
DE Bailey Meek, 6-5, 255, Ridgefield (Wash.) HS: Other offers – Air Force, UNLV
LS Jaxon Miller, 6-2, 240, Triton Central HS, Fairland, Ind.: Other offers – Air Force
QB Zach Mundell, 5-10, 170, Martin HS, Arlington, Texas: Other offers – Navy, Air Force
CB Donavon Platt, 6-foot, 190, Ragsdale HS, Jamestown, N.C.: First offer – Navy
TE Mitch Raifsnider, 6-8, 245, Margaretta HS, Castalia, Ohio: Other offers – Akron, Eastern Michigan, Liberty
FB Hayden Reed, 6-2, 210, Plant HS, Tampa, Fla.: Other offers – Illinois, Colorado State
DL Kenny Reedy, 6-foot, 250, Salisbury (Conn.) School: Former HS teammate of 2020 Army commit Andre Miller.
LB Ahmad Ross, 6-2, 223, St. Joseph’s Academy, Hammonton, N.J.: First offer – Navy. Second offer – Army
QB Robbie Sanders, 5-10, 180, Lake Minneola HS, Clermont, Fla.
WR Taylor Saulsberry, 6-4, 195, Katy (Texas) HS: Preferred walk-on offer: Houston
DE Josh Schell, 6-4, 225, Mount Pleasant (Mich.) HS: Other offers – Navy, Air Force, Akron, Buffalo, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo
RB Sabastian Shannon, 5-11, 190, Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, Nev.
S Noah Short, 6-foot, 170, The King’s Academy HS, Sunnyvale, Calif.: Other offers – Air Force
RB Casey Shorter, 5–11, 215, Taylor HS, Katy, Texas
OL Jacob Smith, 6-3, 300, Buford (Ga.) HS: Other offers – Maryland, Akron, East Carolina, South Alabama, Charlotte
S Tim Thurman, 6-foot, 187, Linden (Ala.) HS: Other offers – Navy.
LB Emaud Triplett, 5-11, 205, Owasso (Okla.) HS: Other offers – North Texas, Eastern Michigan. Made 105 tackles in 11 games as a senior
DL Jacob Tuioti, 6-2, 250, Long Beach (Calif) Poly HS: Other offers – Colorado State, Nevada, UNLV. Recorded 61 tackles, 22 for a loss and 10 sacks as junior.
CB Justin Weaver, 5-10, 170, Decatur (Ga.) HS: Other offers – Navy
DB Jabril Williams, 5-11, 175, Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy: Former Indiana State commit

Not confirmed
RB Joseph Carter, 6–1, 205, University Christian HS, Jacksonville, Fla.: Other offers – Marshall, Liberty, Troy, Western Michigan
LB Steven Carter, 6-1, 220, Newnan (Ga.) HS: Other offers – Eastern Michigan, Coastal Carolina. Made 77 tackles as junior.
WR-DB Andrew Douglas, 5-11, 175, Mount Vernon Presbyterian HS, Atlanta, Ga.: Other offers – Air Force, Indiana
LB Eric Ford, 6-3, 205, Landon HS, Bethesda, Md.: Other offers – Navy, Syracuse, Virginia, West Virginia, Buffalo, East Carolina, Liberty, UMass
WR Deshontez Gray, 6-4, 220, Pelion (S.C.) HS: Other offers – Navy, Air Force, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, UConn, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Charlotte
RB Jayden Jenkins, 5-8, 160, Archbishop Stepinac HS, White Plains, N.Y.: First offer – Army. Other offers – Navy
RB Phillip Johnson, 6-2, 214, Temple (Ga.) HS: Other offers – Navy
OL Gavyn Lewis, 6-5, 275, Morgan County HS, Madison, Ga.: Other offers – Air Force
RB Zach Ogbogu, 6-foot, 205, Denmark HS, Alpharetta, Ga.: First offer – Army. Other offers – Navy, Air Force
RB Dylan Peterson, 6-1, 210, Pelham (Ala.) HS: Other offers – Navy, Air Force
QB Quindarius Sterling, 5-11, 170, Douglass HS, Atlanta, Ga.
CB Da’Veon Turner, 5-9, 170, Harper Woods (Mich.) HS: Other offers – Akron, Bowling Green

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