Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Clarksburg’s Avery Graham gets football offer from Maryland

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He hadn’t played a single season of high school football until 2007, and took most of last fall to get his feet wet. But recruiters at the University of Maryland saw the vast potential of Clarksburg junior Avery Graham, and offered him a full football scholarship on Friday.

‘‘We’re very proud and very excited,” Clarksburg football coach Larry Hurd said. ‘‘We have Rob [Osborne, a senior] going to Towson, and now Avery holds an offer from Maryland. We’re working very hard at Clarksburg to give those kids who want to play at the next level that opportunity.”

Graham played running back, linebacker and defensive back for the Coyotes last fall, and returned kicks and punts. He came on late in the season at running back, finishing as the team’s second-leading rusher with 741 yards and averaging 8.2 yards per carry as the team went 10-0 in the regular season and reached the Class 2A state semifinals.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Graham scored 10 rushing touchdowns and added two on kickoff returns, one of 84 yards and another of 90. He was named to the All-Gazette honorable-mention list at all-around.

In February, Graham won two titles at the 2A state indoor track & field championship meet, in the 55-meter dash and the shot put. Graham’s combination of speed — Hurd said he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds — and power — track coach Scott Mathias said he bench presses 300 pounds — is a rare commodity.

The only comparable athlete in the area is Surrattsville High senior Davin Meggett. In the Class 1A indoor meet in February, Meggett finished second in the shot and third in the 55.The Prince George’s Gazette football Player of the Year last fall, Meggett is the son of former NFL standout David Meggett and has already signed to play at Maryland.

Graham would like to participate in both football and track in college, and Hurd said he would have that opportunity at Maryland. But Hurd also said that other programs were weighing offers, and Graham will likely wait to make a commitment.