DANBURY — It was a text that would change his entire future.
When four-star defensive end Jah Joyner found out Boston College coach Steve Addazio was fired just two weeks ago by a fellow Eagles commit, it opened up his recruitment entirely. Unsure what was next, Joyner and Hatters coach Augie Tieri quickly put together a plan to get his name out, not exactly a difficult task with his raw talent.
With early signing day so close, the offers began flooding in spades and a decision was made as quickly as his future changed. A weekend visit the University of Minnesota cemented the turn, and Wednesday he joined fellow athletes on signing day to join the Golden Gophers and cap a wild fortnight.
“The first person I called was coach Tieri,” Joyner said. “Do I still have their scholarship, is (defensive line coach) Jim Reid going to stay? That was the main reason why I was going there. Minnesota was the right school at the right time and I’m so excited.”
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) December 18, 2019
Rutgers also pursued Joyner. New Scarlett Knights coach Greg Schiano took a helicopter to Danbury to visit the prized recruit. But Joyner was excited to join a Golden Gophers squad that went 10-2 in the Big 10 this year.
“I just believed in (Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck),” Joyner said. “I didn’t want to start at the bottom, I wanted to win now. I talked to (new Boston College coach Jeff Hafley) yesterday and told him I was decommitting.”
Joyner, who checks in at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, registered 24 sacks the past two years, including 13 in 2019.
“I’m just so excited to get to work,” Joyner said. “I’m excited for the future and my family to be a part of that. I thank coach Tieri for being a part of my process; he’s like a father to me.”
Can't wait to see what havoc Jah Joyner will wreak on opposing offenses.
Don't miss these East Coast highlights. pic.twitter.com/cDlv55uIBs
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) December 18, 2019
Joyner leads a strong contingent of Danbury natives who signed their letters Wednesday. Diante Vines, a wide receiver who attended The Taft School, with the University of Iowa.
Teammate Ayinde Johnson will play at Long Island and Trinity Pawling corner Donte Williams signed with Merrimack. Joyner’s defensive linemate Kile Jackson is headed to Wagner College. Former Hatters standout Pierre Moudourou returned home to sign his letter to play receiver at Utah.
Jackson had seven sacks this season for the Hatters.
“Kyle had a great visit with Wagner and decided to stay there, and they were committed to him,” Joyner said. “I just met Pierre today; he watched me here and it was a great time.”
For Joyner, a perfect scheme fit was the icing on the cake.
“I’ve never been in a 4-3 defense before,” Joyner said. “I just want to be able to attack and go and that’s just my mindset. I’ve always wanted to be a 5-technique with my quick twitch off the ball.”