The University of Maine Black Bears take to the field during the 2021 season opener. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The state’s top senior offensive lineman and one of its premier senior defensive linemen are among the players who were announced as incoming recruits for the University of Maine’s football team on Wednesday.

University of Maine first-year head football coach Jordan Stevens also announced that Andrew Dresner is being retained as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Dresner has been on the staff since 2018 and will begin his fourth season as the offensive coordinator.

Six-foot, 260-pound Thomas Horton from Bonny Eagle High School in Standish was the winner of the Frank J. Gaziano Memorial Offensive Lineman of the Year Award and Leavitt High School of Turner’s Jack Boutaugh was one of two runners up for the Gaziano Defensive Lineman of the Year Award. Boutaugh is 6-foot-4, 260 pounds.

The other two in-state players are Thornton Academy of Saco quarterback Jack Emerson (6-1, 210 pounds) and Bonny Eagle running back Zachariah Oja (6-0, 210).

They will be joined by defensive linemen Elijah Alexander (6-4, 230) from Bear, Delaware, and Nicolas Kalume (6-3, 225) from Mississauga, Ontario; offensive lineman Sean Pozniak (6-8, 300) from Ashburn, Virginia; tight end Cooper Heisey (6-4, 250), a transfer from Rutgers University originally from Scotch Plains, New Jersey; linebacker Zion Cheeks (6-2, 210) from Penns Grove, New Jersey; wide receiver Eric Dolmus (5-9, 175) from Guilford, Connecticut; punter/placekicker Daniel Holbrook (5-9, 195) from Riva, Maryland; and defensive back Aaron Gethers (5-11, 190) from Blythewood, South Carolina, who played previously at Western Carolina and Boston College.

Stevens said he is excited about his incoming group and feels they help address the needs of the team.

“We need to improve up front on defense. We need to be able to stop the run and get after the quarterback in passing downs. We need pass rushers. And we want to be able to make some disruptive plays on defense and force more third-and-long situations,” Stevens said.

He also stressed the need to be able to run the ball and have a balanced attack.

In looking at the Maine quartet, Stevens said Emerson did a great job as a quarterback at Thornton Academy and “beyond that, he is a very good athlete who works hard in the weight room and has done all the little things he needs to do to put himself in position to play at this level.”

Horton has the potential to be a solid contributor at UMaine, Stevens said.

“I’m excited to see him take off here with his work in the weight room,” said Stevens, who noted that Horton will bring toughness to the line.

Boutaugh is a “big-framed kid who has all the size and length we want from somebody up front,” Stevens said, while Oja is a “high-energy player” who plays with effort and enthusiasm.

Stevens has brought three new assistants in defensive coordinator Mathieu Araujo; defensive line coach Brian Anthony Murray and offensive line coach Patrick Kugler as well as head football sports performance coach Trey Hall.