Wide receiver Deon Long, who was named second-team all-Mountain West Conference as a redshirt freshman this past season at New Mexico, said his intention is to transfer to Maryland for the 2013 season.
Despite missing two games and playing sparingly in two others because of injuries, Long led New Mexico with 809 yards receiving on 47 catches with four touchdowns. He set Mountain West and New Mexico single-game records with 378 all-purpose yards against Sam Houston State.
However, with Mike Locksley out as the Lobos’ coach and replaced by Bob Davie, Long sought a new school. He is one of six former Washington-area players or Lobos — including Locksley’s son, Meiko — now attending Iowa Western Community College and planning to transfer to a four-year school.
Long said he has yet to speak with Locksley, now Maryland’s offensive coordinator and recruiting savant, or Terps Coach Randy Edsall about a scholarship offer but did not seem concerned.
“I’m sure after my success this season they’ll probably give me a scholarship and I’ll probably take it,” Long said, adding he thought the other players now at Iowa Western would be interested in Maryland as well.
Also at Iowa Western are former Dunbar standouts Vance and Vernard Roberts, former H.D. Woodson quarterback Ricardo Young and former Coolidge wide receiver-defensive back Martize Barr, according to Long.
The Roberts twins were freshmen this past season at West Virginia before being dismissed from the team for academic shortcomings, according to the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette. Vernard Roberts opened the season as the Mountaineers’ starting tailback and finished the year with 140 yards rushing in 11 games. Vance Roberts, a defensive back, did not play.
Young, an All-Met in 2009, initially enrolled at Virginia Tech for the 2010 spring semester and redshirted during the 2010 season. He left Blacksburg just before the start of the 2011 season and transferred to New Mexico, where he sat out this past season per NCAA transfer rules.
Barr, a 2010 Coolidge graduate, redshirted at New Mexico in 2010 and played in 10 games this past season, catching eight passes on offense and making 21 tackles on defense.
Meiko Locksley, a defensive back, enrolled at Youngstown State for the 2010 spring semester, then transferred to New Mexico and sat out the 2010 season. He had 11 tackles in eight games this past season.
The six players share three dorm rooms at Iowa Western, which is located in Council Bluffs, across the Missouri River from Omaha. Locksley is the only one with a car, but Long said the players do not venture out much unless it is to get something to eat after the dining hall closes.
“It’s different here than it was at New Mexico,” said Long, who was a second-team All-Met at Dunbar in 2008. “There is nothing to do. There is not a city, not many busses or cars. The lifting is different. The running is different. They expect more out of you because you’ve already been to that [Football Bowl Subdivision] level. The girls are different. Clothes are different. Music is different. You just have to focus on what you came here to focus on. We just need to keep a level head and get out.”
Long is certain he will get through the year and move onto his next step.
“I’ve been put in situations [like this] before,” he said. “I went to Hargrave [Military Academy for a postgraduate year]. It can’t get no worse than Hargrave. It’s just a day to day grind. It’s cold, so you’ve got to be mentally tough.”