Joe Harasymiak wasn’t sure what to expect for his University of Maine football team in the early signing period for NCAA Division I football.

Well, on Wednesday’s first day, he got what he was hoping for.

Maine signed five recruits Wednesday and Harasymiak hopes to sign a couple more before the early signing period ends on Friday. The Black Bears, who finished 4-6 last year, have verbal commitments from a couple of other players.

“I think that, realistically, in this world of where we are in the (Football Championship Subdivision) and where we’re looked at in recruiting, that’s a good start for us,” he said. “That’s about a third of our recruiting class. I think we did a good job targeting young men who can play for us.”

The traditional signing period begins Feb. 7. And between now and then, Harasymiak will need to recruit a running back, a position that has taken a new priority with the transfer of sophomore Josh Mack, who led all FCS backs in rushing last fall with 1,335 yards.

“We had a plan going in (to recruiting) and obviously that’s changed,” said Harasymiak. “I think we’ve still got a good group here but we’ll look to recruit a couple of backs to fill a spot we didn’t think we’d have.

“We’re excited about recruiting kids who want to be here. They know the coaches are going to be here. They know the system is here, the offensive system, for people to have success.”

Harasymiak said he is confident in returning running backs Joe Fitzpatrick (of North Yarmouth and Cheverus), who was second on the team with 382 rushing yards, Darian Davis-Ray and freshmen Ramon Jefferson and Ted Kubongo.

Here’s a look at the players who signed on Wednesday:

Wide receiver Nah’Sir “Flash” Morgan was the lone offensive player to sign. He comes from Atlantic City High in New Jersey, where he was a two-time all-conference selection. At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, he runs the 40 in 4.55 and gives the Black Bears a big receiver that they are lacking. “He has extreme athletic ability,” said Harasymiak. “We’re excited about getting him into our program.”

Linebacker Adrian Otero comes from Hazelton Area High in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. At 6-1, 223 pounds, he showed the ability to disrupt run plays with an aggressive, physical style. “He’s a great looking kid in terms of what you want to see in a prospect,” said Harasymiak. “He comes from a great family, works hard, is humble and fits everything we want here. He can play.”

Defensive end Jonathan Smith comes from Middleton High in Townsend, Delaware. He is 6-3, 220 pounds and could fill an immediate need for Maine’s defense. “He’s got pass-rushing ability,” said Harasymiak. “We were looking to fill that spot and I think we’ve done that.”

Defensive tackle Joshua Lezin comes from Lakewood High in Jackson, New Jersey. He is 6-1, 261 pounds and, said Harasymiak, “very explosive. He’s a little shorter than people like at that position, which I think is why bigger schools weren’t more interested. I think he’s athletic and explosive.”

Defensive back Katley Joseph comes from Canada Prep Academy in Ottawa, Ontario. At 5-11, 180 pounds he is well suited to play Maine’s style of press cornerback. “He’s extremely athletic and very explosive,” said Harasymiak.

Delaware led all Colonial Athletic Association teams with 14 players signed on Wednesday while defending national champion James Madison signed 13 and Stony Brook 12. New Hampshire announced seven signings.

While pleased with the start of recruiting, Harasymiak knows the Black Bears have much work to do.

“The reality of these kids’ signing early is that you know exactly what you have left (to recruit),” he said. “So you go on your proper visits in January and then decide. Everyone knows who’s left and that might cause the bigger schools to poach our kids. We’ll figure it out.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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