DB Matt Rushton is one of the athletes slated to join Nova Football as a preferred walk-on
A big part of this year's recruiting class will be the preferred walk-on players who don't have scholarships. Last year, Kevin Gulyas came to the program as a walk-on and played a role on an 8-win playoff squad.
Villanova football's recruiting class didn't end with yestedays' scholarship signings. Instead Villanova will also add at least six preferred walk-on players, who join the team in hopes of offering depth and proving themselves at the FCS level. Each of these players brings an interesting back-story and some hope of future development. All of them will, at the very least, contribute to the scout teams and make their teammates better.
Two of the walk-on commitments are the sons of former Villanova football players.
- LB Travis Clark - According to AllShoreMedia.com, the 6-0, 217-pound Clark is, "a mobile and instinctive backer with a knack for seeing and getting to the end zone." He played for Rumson-Fair Haven High School and also moonlights as a power forward in basketball.
- DB Matt Rushton - A 5-11, 185-pound defensive back from Philadelphia's Episcopal Academy, Rushton is the son of 1989 graduate and football alumnus, Scott Rushton, who played safety for Coach Andy Talley after the program was re-launched. The younger Rushton is an excellent tackler and is a versatile defender who can play in coverage.
- OL Fran Walsh - Walsh played offensive line and defensive tackle for Archbishop Wood in Pennsylvania. As a senior, he won the Maxwell Football Club's Jim Henry Award, for the Philadelphia-Area High School Player of the Year, based not only on football ability, but on academics as well as contributions to school and community. The Henry award has a college scholarship attached to it.
- RB Vince Thompson - The Central Bucks East standout will follow his father, Vince Thompson Sr.'s footsteps in attending Villanova. Prior to Brian Westbrook's record-shattering tenure at Villanova, the elder Thompson held the Wildcat's all-time rushing record since he graduated in 1978. The younger Thompson rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior and was a key offensive weapon for the CB East team.
- TE Connor Cuccinelli - Cuccinelli is a 6-6, 200-pound receiver, possibly slated to play at tight end, out of St. Mary's High School in Rutherford, New Jersey. In 2011 he suffered a broken right femur that ended his season and required him to have a metal rod installed in his leg -- ending his season and hampering recruiting interest. He had been one of North Jersey's top wide receivers. He committed to Nova after visiting the weekend of the Syracuse basketball game, and he joined the students in rushing the court. He also punted in high school.
- P/K John Hinchen - Hinchen had a spectacular season for Northern Highlands High in New Jersey and attracted the attention of a number of colleges as a kicker and/or punter. He chose the Wildcats among those options. He also participated on the track team as a high-jumper.