The decision was hard enough for Jacquille Veii, a people pleaser who dreaded the idea of saying no to either Iowa or Maryland come National Signing Day. Then a text popped up on the Avalon senior’s phone on Tuesday.
“I get a text from [Avalon] Coach [Tad] Shields saying Nebraska wants to talk to me. So I call Nebraska and I got a Nebraska offer,” Veii told me Wednesday. “I checked and I saw a defensive back decommitted so I believe that’s why they offered me. Now I’m in a bind, signing day is right around the corner and everything is thrown off.”
Not that Veii is complaining. He sees the blessing in having three major Division I football programs vying for the talents of a defensive back/wideout from a school with fewer than 200 students. (It didn’t hurt that he needed just 56 touches to score 18 touchdowns in his junior season). But as is the case for any high school recruit, making a decision that will determine the next four years of his life and be scrutinized by several fan bases isn’t so easy.
Veii hopes to bring some clarity to his decision this weekend, when he takes an official visit to Nebraska. He was originally slated to visit Maryland but told Terrapins Coach Randy Edsall during a meeting at Avalon on Wednesday that he needed to make the trip to Lincoln instead.
“The meeting with Coach Edsall went great; I learned new things about him and he’s an awesome guy,” Veii said. “I just told him that since I had already seen Maryland and not Nebraska, I needed to visit Nebraska so I could make the best decision in the end.”
Veii had originally committed to Maryland in July, but re-opened his commitment in August after a discrepancy in his high school credits led Maryland to briefly pull its offer off the table. Two weeks later, after the credits were put back in order, both Iowa and Maryland offered.
“At this point, I have no idea where I’m going to sign,” Veii said. “I had a great visit when I went to Iowa but there were some things I wasn’t comfortable about. The coaches were all great; it’s just some things I’ve still got to think about. And then with Nebraska coming in the picture, that just throws everything off. They’ve got great tradition out there. They’re winning games. So we’ll see.”
Indeed, and during what’s become a national holiday of sorts in the high school sports world, the rest of the country will be watching Wednesday.
I’ve got a feature in the works on Veii and his Avalon teammate, Rachid Ibrahim, who is expected to sign with Pittsburgh next week. Check out Wednesday’s paper to see how this duo emerged from the tiniest of schools to become highly-touted Division I recruits.
While National Signing Day will bring plenty of excitement, this Wednesday’s hoops action brought plenty of thrills as well:
• Montrose Christian avenged an early-season loss to Oak Hill Academy by knocking off the national power, 54-53, in triple overtime at the Big Atlantic Classic in West Virginia. Therence Mayimba hit the game-winning three-pointer with two seconds left in what sounded like a hard-fought game (How else do you explain a combined 107 points in a game that went three extra periods?!) The Mustangs were down by as many as 14 points before storming back in the second half behind the play of Mayimba (18 points) and Cole Harrison (13 points, eight rebounds).
• Of course, two days after I write in this space that it’s hard to see any team stopping Magruder now that J.J. Epps is back, the Colonels had their eight-game winning streak snapped by Clarksburg in a 62-58 loss. Nick Griffin had his usual big night with 26 points and six more three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Coyotes’ four double-figure scorers led by Joshua Hardy’s 16.
• W.T. Woodson bounced back from its first loss in Virginia AAA Patriot District play to defeat second-place Lake Braddock, 65-48, on the road. Tommy Stepka led the Cavaliers with 17 points as they turned a three-point game at halftime into a comfortable win by exploding for 45 points in the second half.
Games that went into overtime on Wednesday. In boys’ action, Montrose Christian beat Oak Hill in three overtimes, Paint Branch needed two extra periods to hold off Springbrook, and Westfield downed Chantilly in overtime. On the girls’ side, Southern, Stone Bridge and Sherwood earned wins in overtime.
— West Potomac wrestler Will Rupp jumped four weight classes this year to 220 pounds, and the senior has kept on rolling.
— In hockey news, Atholton is gearing up to defend its Maryland Scholastic Hockey League crown while Spalding has knocked off three ranked teams this month.
— Wilson’s boys’ and girls’ teams swept the DCIAA indoor track championships.
— Check out the latest individual and team wrestling rankings.
Mark Turgeon liked Melo Trimble’s game, but he wasn’t looking for another shooting guard — so the O’Connell standout picked up the point and earned a spot in the Terps’ 2013 recruiting class.
Flint Hill has become quite dangerous in Mid-Atlantic Conference play, winning five of its last six games and nearly knocking off first-place Maret. Thursday, the Huskies will look to settle the score with St. Andrew’s, which won the first meeting, 60-58, on two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining.