Signing day ’23: Southern Illinois signs five new additions at safety, outside linebacker

Southern Illinois has signed a total of 31 players during this recruiting cycle. (Photo by

By Barry Bottino

Southern Illinois added five defensive reinforcements Feb. 1 at two key positions on the second national signing day. SIU announced the signings of eight total new players.

At safety, the Salukis added two transfers in junior Drake Johnson and sophomore Quentin Hunter-Colvin.

Johnson played in seven games at FBS Texas State over the past two seasons after starting his career at NCAA Division III power Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas.

Hunter-Colvin arrives via the juco route, having led Monroe College (N.Y.) with three interceptions last season after missing the 2021 season with a knee injury.

The Salukis also signed Florida prep safety Vinny Pierre.

Pierre’s teammate at Cardinal Newman High School in Belle Glade, Fla. – Chris Presto – is among two outside linebackers signed by SIU.

Transfer Jake Parrella arrives from Oregon State, where he played in one game last season after redshirting in 2021. The 250-pound Parrella played high school football in Ohio.

The eight new additions bring SIU’s total to 31 players signed during this recruiting cycle.

One of the biggest defensive additions this off-season was Eastern Illinois transfer linebacker Colin Bohanek, who earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors in the fall.

New faces on coaching staff

D.J. Vokolek, who has served as a defensive coordinator at both Northern Iowa and Missouri State during his career, was named Feb. 1 as the new leader of the SIU defense.

Vokolek spent last season as the senior defensive quality control coach at Nebraska. He replaces Jason Petrino, who was hired as North Dakota State’s defensive coordinator.

Before his stint at Nebraska, Vokolek was assistant head coach/linebackers at Northern Iowa from 2017-2021. He previously served as UNI’s defensive coordinator.

Vokolek was Missouri State’s defensive coordinator from 2006-2014.

“We’ll stress being disciplined, aggressive and we’ll play hard. That’s the expectation,” Vokolek said.

Earlier this off-season, SIU also added former Western Illinois assistant coach Zach Grant as its new tight ends coach and former SIU All-American Larry Warner as running backs coach.

On Feb. 2, SIU head coach Nick Hill announced that defensive line coach Antonio James has added the title of assistant head coach.

February Signing Day List 2023

Full Name, Position(s), Height, Weight, School, Hometown

Jimmy Athans, RB, 5-7, 185, IMG Academy (Fla.), Lake Geneva, Wis.

Jace Clark, LS, 6-0, 218, Carbondale HS, Carbondale, Ill.

Colton Hoag, TE, 6-3, 220, Iowa Central CC, LeMars, Iowa

Quentin Hunter-Colvin, S, 6-2, 195, Monroe College, Apex, N.C.

Drake Johnson, S, 6-0, 180, Texas State University, Missouri City, Texas

Jake Parrella, LB, 6-1, 250, Oregon State University, Cleveland, Ohio

Vinny Pierre, S, 6-1, 195, Cardinal Newman HS, Belle Glade, Fla.

Chris Presto, LB, 6-2, 204, Cardinal Newman HS, Belle Glade, Fla.

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