On National Signing Day, head football coach Tom Gilmore announced the addition of eight student-athletes to the class of 2026, which now officially stands at 17 in total.
The eight signers will join the Mountain Hawks football program alongside the nine members who signed during the early signing period in December.
These new recruits – nine offensive and eight defensive – will seek to contribute to the dynamics and performance of the team.
Three players in the Class of 2026 include Brycen Edwards, of Fredericksburg, Virginia; Damien Jay Brown of Leonard, Texas; and Tyler Ochojski of Freehold, New Jersey.
Edwards said he always knew he had to play football since his father and older brother played at the college level. Edwards played one season in high school with his brother at Chancellor High School.
“When he was the quarterback, I ran the slot receiver,” Edwards said. “We had this Edwards to Edwards connection, which was really cool.”
Aside from occasionally playing in the slot, most of Edwards’ talents came as a linebacker and running back. Edwards managed to play on both sides of the ball in the two different positions.
He was later named to both the all-district first team as a running back and the all-regional third team as a linebacker.
Edwards will play at linebacker for the Mountain Hawks. He said he’s been spending the offseason getting stronger and gaining weight in preparation for his freshman college season.
“I’m just focused on learning as much as possible this season and accumulating as much experience as possible,” Edwards said.
Along with training, Edwards said he’s getting to know his future teammates. He will be roommates next year with Brown, who is the lone running back for the Class of 2026.
“We talk every day and we’ve grown so close to each other,” Brown said.
Brown — like his future roommate — was named to the high school all-district team and also received district offensive MVP honors three times in a row.
“I thank my coaches, my teammates and everyone for pushing me week after week,” Brown said.
Brown has shown promise in sports other than football. He won second-team all-district baseball, first-team all-district basketball, and was the defensive MVP for his basketball team.
Brown said he understands the responsibilities of being the leader, on and off the field. He said he was proud to be a good role model for his two younger brothers.
Unlike Edwards and Brown, linebacker Tyler Ochojski didn’t start the sport until his junior year of high school.
Standing six feet tall and weighing over 200 pounds, Ochojski was a basketball player growing up. He was named an all-division winner for Freehold Borough High School. He said he had always liked the idea of playing football, but his mum needed convincing.
“My mom was always nervous about my concussion issues,” Ochojski said. “My head coach started driving to our house every day trying to persuade her to let me play. Soon she let me.
Ochojski quickly became one of the team’s biggest defensive threats. He was named to all-conference and all-division teams three times, and received the division’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Ochojski said he spent the offseason recovering from two torn labrum, a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint. He recently completed his second shoulder surgery and said he expects to make a full recovery in time for next season.
After an 0-8 start to 2021, Lehigh finished their season winning three games in a row to close out the season.
Edwards, Brown and Ochojski have all said they can’t wait to make the team in just a few months.
The Mountain Hawks will begin their spring training segment on March 24 and hold the annual brown and white spring game on April 23 at Goodman Stadium.