With a banner commemorating their team’s 2013 Public League football championship hanging behind them on Wednesday morning, four Martin Luther King High School football players put pen to paper and signed letters of intent to attend, and play the sport in, college next academic year.
Similar scenes played out less than a mile away at Imhotep Institute Charter High and at schools across the country as National Signing Day marks the first time recruited players can formally declare their collegiate destinations.
While Imhotep planned a 6 p.m. event to celebrate, MLK Cougars Head Coach Ed Dunn lauded former players lineman Dawayne Young, wide receiver Emmanuel Clark, cornerback Donte Terry and lineman Andrew Jackson who are, respectively, bound for Temple University, Shippensburg University, University of Albany and Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
Six other students will soon make similar committments, said Dunn, noting that official Letters of Intent were faxed to the schools around 7 a.m.
“It’s a big day for these guys. After four years of practicing and games, and 12 years of education, they’re taking the next step,” said Dunn, saluting families and friends who helped mold the students. “We always see football as motivation for them to be better in the classroom so they can be successful young men in the community.”
Perhaps no one in the room was more relieved than Young’s mother Annette Thomas, since her son was almost declared ineligible to play football his senior year thanks to a heated school-transfer controversy.
The fact that the highly touted lineman still has to conquer the SATs wasn’t the source of stress at home late Tuesday night. The fact that paperwork from Temple didn’t arrive via email until 11 p.m. was.
“After this hectic year, it feels so good to see him signing that paper,” Thomas said. “But it was so stressful up until the last minute!”
Over in East Germantown, Coach Albie Crosby shared the names of players who’ve committed to colleges already, and said that several were still deciding between options.
Those who signed letters of intent were wide receiver D.J. Moore (University of Maryland), linebacker Shaquille Jones (University of Illinois), cornerback Zahir Wright (Millersville University) and quarterback Andre Dreuitt-Parks and lineman Qwamere Wright-Downing (both signed with Indiana University of Pennsylvania).