Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Local athletes commit to schools

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Less than a week after Super Bowl XLII, roughly four dozen current high school seniors with aspirations of one day playing professionally took the next step toward that long-term goal as they signed national letters-of-intent Wednesday.

Heading the list of college football signings is a large contingent from Friendly High, which was prevented from defending its Class 3A state title late last fall when it was stripped of six victories for using an ineligible player. But the Patriots’ inability to participate in the postseason had little impact on their recruiting stock.

‘‘To have 11 guys at a public school sign, that’s big time,” said longtime Friendly assistant coach Marcus Berry, who said he does not plan to return to the Fort Washington school this fall. ‘‘We had special things about some special kids that worked their tails off for it. What they did is really, really special.”

Wednesday morning, Friendly players Josh Haden (Boston College), Martin Kamara (Howard), Vincent Hill (Minnesota), Lamaar Thomas (Ohio State), Devin Wallace (Virginia), Eteyen Edet (Maryland), Quentin Sales (Massachusetts), Terrell Hawkins (Howard), James Stanfield (Duquesne), Carlos Davis (Old Dominion) and Steve Murray (Northeastern) all signed letters to play football this fall.

Hill, one of the top offensive players in the state in 2006, attended New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy in 2007 after having initially planning to play at the University of Akron. After catching a state-record 22 touchdown passes at Friendly in 2006, Hill caught 22 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns last fall for Milford, a prep powerhouse that has produced numerous college and pro players.

DeMatha captured its fifth consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference football title in November and has 10 players who have made their college choices. Running back Ashby Christian (Navy), wide receiver Kenny Tate (Maryland), Jonathan Mason (Harvard), Rob McDowell (Delaware), Rodney McLeod (Virginia), Ryan Clarke (West Virginia), Stanley Henry (Morgan State), James Peters (Johns Hopkins), Rion Roberts (Albright) and D.J. Sellman (Liberty) all signed Wednesday. Christian, Tate and Sellman were Gazette-Star first-team selections.

Charles H. Flowers High, which went 8-2 on the gridiron last fall only to be removed from playoff contention after four forfeits for using an ineligible player, had six football players sign on Wednesday. The list includes Michael Kay (Syracuse), Jarren Brown (Navy), David Izebere (Delaware State), Jervon Wright (Delaware State), D’Anthony Jones (Old Dominion) and Rashard Cleaveland (Lincoln). Brown, one of the county’s top running backs, and Kay, an offensive lineman, both were selected to the Gazette-Star all-county first team last fall.

Perennial football power Eleanor Roosevelt was at the forefront of the ineligible player violations that plagued the county last fall, and with coach Rick Houchens suspended and eventually leaving to accept the coaching job with Archbishop Carroll (D.C.), the Raiders have only two players signed. Defensive back Okachukwu Okaroha (Boston College) and defensive lineman Delonte Wallace (Buffalo), both Gazette-Star first-team selections, signed Wednesday.

In addition to DeMatha’s Tate and Friendly’s Edet, the University of Maryland secured four other county products this week. Wide receiver Kevin Dorsey and tight end Devonte Campbell of Forestville, running back Davin Meggett of Surrattsville and defensive back Cameron Chism of Bishop McNamara all signed with the Terps.

On other fields

Bowie High girls’ soccer players Kelsi Morris and Nikki D’Orsaneo both earned Gazette-Star first-team status the past two seasons and will continue their careers in college. Morris is headed to the University of Pittsburgh, while D’Orsaneo has inked with Campbell College in New Jersey. D’Orsaneo led the Bulldogs in goals each of the past two seasons and completed her four-year career with 75.

Elizabeth Seton soccer player Mary McCarron signed Wednesday to play for Mount St. Mary’s University in Western Maryland. McCarron earned Gazette-Star first-team status and All-WCAC second-team honors last fall.

Staff writers Terron Hampton and Kevin Hilgers contributed to this report.

E-mail Ted Black at