The University of Maine football team has signed two quarterbacks, two running backs and a pair of linemen among eight players during the National Letter of Intent early signing period.
The group includes running backs Tavion Banks and Elijah Banwell, quarterbacks Anthony Harris and Derek Robertson, linemen Tim Burgartz and John Constanza, along with defensive back Shakur Smalls and linebacker Tyshawn Stewart.
“The quality of these student-athletes is very high,” Black Bears head coach Nick Charlton said. “From multiple states and countries, from freshmen to upperclassmen, these young men will be positive members of the University of Maine community and tremendous student-athletes for our great football program.”
Banks (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) was an all-state running back and first-team all-area defensive back at Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Catholic High School, where he holds its career touchdowns record. He achieved honor roll status throughout high school.
“Tavion is a big time all-around running back that we are excited to add to our program,” Charlton said. “Tavion has the talent and drive to make a big impact for our program.”
Banwell (5-11, 210), heads to UMaine via Piscataway (New Jersey) High School and Rutgers University. He appeared in 12 games at Rutgers, rushed 10 times for 81 yards in 2019 and added a two special-teams tackles.
Banwell finished his high school career with 5,728 rushing yards and 75 rushing TDs, netting 1,898 yards and 30 TDs, averaging 7.6 yards per carry as a senior. He was a first-team all-state pick, a three-star prospect, who Piscataway to the 2016 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 5 state championship.
“Elijah has speed, power, and is an overall running back that will compete right away for the Black Bears,” Charlton said.
Burgartz (6-6, 280) is an offensive lineman from Dusseldorf, Germany who was the 53rd-ranked player in Pennsylvania at The Kiski School where he was on the Dean’s list.
“Tim is an excellent offensive lineman that has all the tools to play at a high level at UMaine,” Charlton said. “He has the size and ability to join an already strong offensive line and be a great player.”
Costanza (6-4, 240) was an All-Colonial and All-Shore selection and team captain at Brick Township (New Jersey) High School. He led his team to the playoffs in three straight seasons, including a trip to the 2018 state finals.
“John is a tough, physical defensive lineman that will fit right in to our established culture up front,” Charlton said. “Playing at a high level in high school at Brick Township (NJ), John is ready to compete in the CAA and excited to be a part of our great program.”
Harris (6-3, 185) was a first-team all-conference quarterback and the player of the year at Nazareth Area (Pennsylvania) High School. The team captain helped Nazareth win the 2019 District XI championship title and a conference crown while maintaining honor roll status.
“(Anthony) will be a great dual-threat quarterback here,” Charlton said. “His ability to extend plays, make a variety of throws, and be a leader on offense, make him an elite prospect for UMaine.”
Robertson (6-0, 175) was the league player of the year, team captain and an all-state choice at West Catholic Prep in Philadelphia. He is the Westchester County (New York) record holder for most passing yards in a season.
“Derek was a record breaking quarterback at Iona Prep (New York) and starred at Bridgton Academy for his prep year,” Charlton said. “We can’t wait for Derek to make an impact on our program.”
Smalls (6-3, 185) was a teammate of Harris at Nazareth high, where he garnered first-team, All-Eastern Pennsylvania and all-city accolades while helping his team win the 2019 District XI championship title. He is an honor roll student.
“Shakur is a great student-athlete from Philadelphia that is tough and fits our culture here at UMaine,” Charlton said. “Shakur has the ability to be a great safety, he is rangy, can tackle, and will attack the ball in the air.”
Stewart (6-2, 230) was an all-conference first-team pick at Susquehanna Township high in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The team captain and honor roll student helped his team reach the second round of the playoffs.
“Tyshawn has all the tools to play linebacker in the CAA and be an elite player,” Charlton said. “He has the ability to tackle and cover.”
UMaine will finalize its 020 signing class during the late NLI signing period, which begins on Feb. 5, 2020.