Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

County athletes finalize college plans

Friendly football team leads the way with 11 signing letters of intent

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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.

In addition to DeMatha’s Kenny Tate and Friendly’s Eteyen 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.

Meggett is the only Surrattsville player to sign so far, but Hornets’ coach Tom Green said several other players have offers, including Gazette-Star first-team quarterback Andre Johnson, who is considering Bowie State, Johnson C. Smith and Lincoln.

Gwynn Park defensive back Ronald Hobby is headed to the University of Pittsburgh. Teammate Chris Wiseman, a Gazette-Star first-team defensive back last fall, also is headed to the Steel City, where he will play at Duquesne University. Other Gwynn Park players making their college plans included Namon Jones (West Virginia State), Ernest Robinson (Delaware State), Jerrel Coles (Towson), Antonio Davis (St. Francis) and Chibe Achuko (Colgate).

Gwynn Park coach Danny Hayes noted that all of the Yellow Jackets’ signees were with the program for four seasons, with the exception of Wiseman, who transferred to the Brandywine school last year after three years at Potomac.

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

E-mail Ted Black at tblack@gazette.net.