With 16 of his 22 starters returning, University of Maine football coach Nick Charlton didn’t have to concentrate on any one area for his first recruiting class.

So the Black Bears filled up with depth at every position.

Maine signed 15 players Wednesday on national signing day, including quarterback Zoltan Panyi, who led Scarborough High to the Class A state championship in 2017. Panyi, who graduated from Scarborough in 2018, played last fall at Bridgton Academy, a college preparatory school.

“I’ve been going to camps at UMaine for a while and they showed interest in me,” Panyi said. “I really want to represent my state. I knew I might have the opportunity to play earlier at a Division II or Division III school. But I really wanted to play Division I. I feel I can go to UMaine, work hard and earn my spot.”

UMaine’s recruiting class has 22 players, including four who signed in December during the early signing period for NCAA Division I and II programs. The Black Bears also got two transfers – defensive back Isaiah Gaynor from Division II Seton Hill and tight end Ori Jean-Charles from Louisville – and linebacker Xavier Nurse, a high schooler from Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn who is already enrolled in Orono.

“This is a very highly recruited class, one of the best we’ve signed here,” said Charlton, who is in his fifth season on the UMaine staff. “Recruiting is a big key to our success. This year, despite the head coaching change, despite only being on the road in the last month, we brought in a nice class.”

The Black Bears are coming off a 10-4 season in which they won the Colonial Athletic Association title and advanced to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals for the first time.

Five days after the season ended, Joe Harasymiak left as head coach to join the staff at Minnesota. Charlton, last year’s offensive coordinator, was named head coach the next day.

He said Maine’s postseason run attracted some standout recruits.

“We’ve had a lot of exposure; people know who we are,” said Charlton.

Of Panyi, Charlton said, ‘He’s a really good athlete. Since he played at Scarborough, we got a chance to see him play there and he had a really good career. He needed a year to develop, which he did. He’s really athletic, and we think he can play at this level.”

Panyi, 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, said Bridgton Academy helped him not only develop his football game but learn how to live on his own.

“It really helped me work harder and compete against really good athletes from all over the country,” he said. “I got used to that college feel, how it would be at Maine. And I got used to living in a dorm.”

Panyi said he already knows UMaine quarterback Chris Ferguson. Scarborough’s quarterback coach, Tom Taylor, is from the Philadelphia area and knew Ferguson, so he introduced them. “I’m hoping to learn a lot from him,” said Panyi.

“I think it’s a good place for him,” said Scarborough Coach Lance Johnson. “I know Zoltan will do everything they ask him to do. He’ll put the work in, he’ll compete.”

Panyi isn’t the only quarterback who signed with Maine.

Joe Fagnano of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was also brought in, increasing the number of quarterbacks on the roster to five.

The 6-3, 215-pound Fagnano was an all-state selection with a strong arm and great running ability.

“We think he can be a dual threat,” said Charlton.

Maine’s other recruits – some are receiving partial scholarships while others are preferred walk-ons – include:

Safety Quincy Barber, 6-foot, 180 pounds, from Woodrow Wilson High in Washington, D.C. He was the team’s special teams player of the year.

Kicker/punter Brian Cooey, 6-2, 185 pounds, from Highland Regional High in Blackwood, New Jersey. He is ranked 13th in the nation and was also recruited by Colgate, Toledo, Rutgers and Penn State.

Linebacker Kolin Demens, 6-2, 195 pounds, from Detroit who played last year at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut. He had offers from 10 Football Bowl Subdivison teams, including UCLA, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

“Kolin is one of the highest recruited student-athletes in UMaine football history, and his film will back that up,” said Charlton.

Tight end Kevin Falaki, 6-6, 250 pounds, from Assonet, Massachusetts. Falaki is a graduate transfer from Division II Assumption College, where he started for four years.

Defensive lineman Bryan Hanly, 6-foot, 255 pounds, from Quincy, Massachusetts. Hanly played with Panyi at Bridgton Academy.

Offensive lineman Max Lovblad, 6-7, 285 pounds, from Marsta, Sweden. He played on the Swedish national team that won the U19 European championship. He was also recruited by Old Dominion.

Long snapper Jake Maggio, 5-9, 167 pounds, from Bridgewater-Raritan High in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Defensive lineman Khairi Manns, 6-3, 230 pounds, from New Rochelle, New York, a two-time all-state selection who had offers from Buffalo and three other CAA teams.

Wide receiver Michael Monios, 5-10, 175 pounds, from Montreal and Choate Rosemary Hall. His team went 49-0 with five championships in five years.

Defensive back Robby Riobe, 6-0, 180 pounds, from Everett, Massachusetts.

Linebacker Gereme Spraggins, 6-3, 205 pounds, from Arundel High in Odenton, Maryland.

Defensive lineman Jacob Tuiasosopo, 6-5, 240 pounds, from North Point High in Waldorf, Maryland.

Tight end Connor Zamiara, 6-5, 220 pounds, from McQuaid Jesuit High in Rochester, New York.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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