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Burney, Barker, Bowen playing football at Virginia-Wise

Darrell-Dingus Ely, Virginia-Wise • Jun 19, 2014 at 3:11 PM

WISE — Virginia-Wise head football coach Dewey Lusk announced the signing of seven more future student-athletes on Thursday.

Maurice Watkins, Zach Barker, Dajour Smith, Jeffrey Bowen, Joshua Jones, Desmond Burney and Charlie Benfield add to the 43 players previously signed by the staff.

Watkins is a 5 foot-10, 180 pound defensive back from Thomas Jefferson in Richmond, Virginia. The future Cavalier played for coach Chad Hornik and earned first-team all-district and all-region acclaim as a defensive back.

A 2306-5, pound tight end from Appalachia, Virginia, Barker was a two-way player for coach Travis Turner at Union High School. He was a first-team all-district selection at both defensive end and tight end.

Smith (5-8, 170) played running back and defensive back for coach Will Thomas at Central of Lunenburg. The Victoria, Virginia product was a first-team all-state and first-team all-region honoree

Bowen (5-8, 180) was an all-state running back for coach James Colley at Haysi . The Clincho, Virginia native also earned Black Diamond District Player of the Year as a senior

Bethel High School's Jones, a 6-4, 275 offensive lineman, was a three-sport athlete and a two-way player for coach Bubba Hooker.

Burney (5-9, 185) earned first-team all-district, first-team all-region and first-team all-state honors as a wide receiver for coach Travis Turner at Union. He was Conference 40 Defensive Player of the Year and a Times-News Elite honoree as well.

Benfield was a four-year letter winner for coach Mike Williams at Graham. The Bluefield, Virginia native was a first-team all-district selection in 2013.

UVa-Wise is slated to open summer camp on August 12 with more than 90 players. The regular season will kick off on Sept. 6 when the team travels to Urbana for a Mountain East Conference contest.

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