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Top Football Prospect Too Old to Play This Fall

By Josh Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 12, 2006 12:39 AM

One of the Washington area's top high school football prospects won't be taking the field this coming fall.

Gwynn Park defensive lineman Jeremiah Martin, who earned plenty of praise from opposing coaches last season after his first year of organized football, will be too old to play public school football as a senior. Martin turns 19 on July 23; Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association rules prohibit anyone who turns 19 before September 1 to play sports that school year.

"I was shocked," Martin said after initially after being informed of the rule last month. "I just couldn't believe it. I didn't know that was a rule or anything like that."

While others in similar situations have transferred to private or prep schools that are not constrained by such an age restriction, the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Martin said he plans to return to Gwynn Park for his senior year. Martin already has scholarship offers from Tennessee and Delaware, Gwynn Park Coach Danny Hayes said, and plans to graduate after the first semester so he can matriculate to college and participate in spring football practice.

"Boston College is going to send him an offer for him to play fullback," Hayes said. "I talked to [Boston College assistant coach Keith] Willis today and he said he was going to send an offer letter."

Martin's age became an issue because, two years ago, he did not attend school for a year because of personal reasons he prefers not to discuss. He had attended Crossland for 1 ½ years -- without playing football -- before enrolling at Gwynn Park in 2004. He said he was academically ineligible to play football in 2004 but subsequently was able to turn things around.

"If I could go back and do it all over again, I would," Martin said. "I guess that's what life is about. You make decisions and learn from them so you can tell your little brother or possibly your kid so they won't make the same mistake."

Martin was a force on the football field last season, playing a key role as Gwynn Park won the Maryland 3A title. He had expected to be a leader on the team this season until learning he would be unable to play.

While not being able to play is a temporary setback, Martin is encouraged by what he believes he does have: a supportive environment, his schoolwork in order and the opportunity for a college scholarship. He said he is pushing himself harder than ever, lifting weights three days a week, running twice a week and then working on weekends at an athletic shoe store.

Potential college suitors "are willing to give me a chance to play on their team without me playing this year, so I'm willing to keep working harder until it's time to leave in December," Martin said.

Reynolds on Move?

In basketball news, Herndon All-Met guard Scottie Reynolds traveled to Philadelphia on Thursday for an official visit to Villanova. Reynolds, who led Herndon to the Virginia AAA final this past season, was released last month from his letter-of-intent to Oklahoma after the Sooners had a coaching change.

Reynolds has taken an official visit to Louisiana State and could visit Michigan, Illinois and Wake Forest before making a decision.

Also, Terrance Carter, a second-team All-Met forward from Largo in 2004, has signed a letter-of-intent to play for James Madison. Carter, who is 6 feet 5, spent the past two seasons at Southeastern (Iowa) Community College, leading the BlackHawks in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.8 rpg) this past season. He is the second Washington-area player to sign with James Madison for next season, joining Montrose Christian forward Ben Thomas.

Carter said he also had scholarship offers from Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Northern Iowa, Murray State and Binghamton.

"When I had a chance to get closer to home, I took the opportunity," Carter said.

Largo guard Josh Brown has signed with Mount Olive College, Largo Coach Lewis Howard said.

Montrose Christian guard Taishi Ito has signed a letter-of-intent to play for Portland. Ito had been recruited by Portland Coach Eric Reveno when Reveno was an assistant at Stanford. When Reveno was hired at Portland last month, it only made sense to continue recruiting Ito to play in a league that recently has been dominated by Gonzaga.

The West Coast Conference "is a great conference," Montrose Christian assistant coach Dave Adkins said. "We just don't hear about it much because it's the late-night conference."

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