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JMU football strengthens 2021 class

In a recent interview with WHSV, James Madison Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne discussed the upcoming 2020 football season in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a recent interview with WHSV, James Madison Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne discussed the upcoming 2020 football season in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.(WHSV)
Published: May. 25, 2020 at 5:21 PM EDT
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The James Madison football program is on fire on the recruiting trail. Over the weekend, Curt Cignetti and the Dukes earned commitments from three three-star recruits in the 2021 class.

On Friday, JMU football made its first splash when three-star linebacker Matt Binkowski committed to the program on Twitter. Binkowski is from Haymarket and attends Battlefield High School.

"I didn't want to keep waiting around," Binkowski said on Monday. "I thought you know this is the place for me and you know I didn't want to take any more time with my decision, I knew this was where I wanted to be."

The Dukes didn't waste any time after that. The next day, another in state three-star recruit, Zach Horton, a tight end from Roanoke, committed to the program. Horton told WHSV that he chose JMU over 19 other offers, including Army, Navy, Air Force and a trio of CAA schools: Elon, Villanova and William & Mary.

"It didn't feel like they were recruiting me just for like a football player," Horton said. "They felt like they were recruiting me for just to be around campus and do academics but they made me feel like I was wanted too."

On Sunday, Jasaiah Gathings, a three-star wide receiver from North Carolina, announced his commitment to JMU. Gathings previously attended a camp at JMU and had visited the campus for a game last year.

"It felt like home," Gathings told WHSV. "It felt like a place where I was comfortable at and from [then], I knew that was where I wanted to be."

This past weekend's recruiting splash comes after Billy Atkins, a two-star quarterback from Baltimore, Maryland, tweeted his commitment to JMU on Thursday.

The new trio of three-star commits tell WHSV that they see place for themselves in the Dukes' system.

"I feel like I can be successful in the offense," Gathings said. "They do a great job of getting people like me the ball in space which I like to be in.

And it's just a winning, it's a team, they win a lot. And I like to win."

With three national title appearances and one national championship victory over the last four seasons and more Dukes currently on NFL rosters than ever before, the new commits see JMU as a fit, but also an opportunity to win and reach the next level.

"It's a program followed behind some great coaches with it," Horton said. "So, it's constant that they're always there and they're always having a great season."

Binkowski added, that the incoming crop of talent, will "have the chance to get that exposure to be at the next level after that so."

And Horton advises fans and others to "be ready for the 2021 class."

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