The first time Kareem McDonald committed to a college earlier this summer, he did so more than a month before he originally had planned. Though the rising Wilson senior was grateful for the opportunity to play at the next level at Old Dominion, the belief that he could earn a spot on a Bowl Championship Subdivision school weighed on him until he ultimately re-opened his recruitment in July.
Two weeks ago, McDonald had a chance to prove himself right came during a weekend camp at the University of Virginia. The hybrid linebacker made his presence felt, turning the heads of the Cavaliers coaching staff and garnering an offer before leaving the Charlottesville campus.
“I felt like I could play at an ACC or Big Ten school, so once I went to the camp at U-Va. a couple weeks ago, I knew it was my time to show that,” McDonald said. “Coach [Mike] London said I was the best prospect there and once I got my offer and talked with my family, the decision was pretty much made.”
McDonald made his commitment official Tuesday during a ceremony at his school, where he chose the Cavaliers over offers from Toledo, Albany and Charlotte, among others. His decision marks the second D.C. area player to commit to Virginia in as many days, joining him with Good Counsel wide receiver/defensive back Myles Robinson.
In McDonald, the Cavaliers get a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defender who can shadow wide receivers and pressure the quarterback from the outside linebacker and defensive end positions. Last season also demonstrated his resilience, as he overcame a kidney ailment that sidelined him for a month and caused him to shed 20 pounds. McDonald returned to action during the latter portion of the season to record 30 tackles and eight sacks and help lead Wilson to its first Turkey Bowl appearance since 1991.
“I liked Old Dominion but I felt like it was a little small for the type of impact I feel I can make at the next level,” McDonald said. “I feel like I can use my athletic ability and play well. I’m excited.”
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