A Big Day for Local Signings
Nearly 100 Area Players Getting Scholarships
Thursday, February 7, 2008
It was only a few months ago that Eteyen Edet thought he would get his GED, skip his final year of high school and go to a junior college. Then, after moving into a cousin's Fort Washington home and establishing her as his legal guardian, he showed up at the Friendly High football field. One assistant coach thought the 6-foot-2, 245-pound teenager was a player's older brother. Another said Edet looked old enough to pass for a player's father.
Few thought of him as a division I football prospect. But after a terrific season in which he earned first-team All-Met honors and a few whirlwind weeks of courtship, he made his commitment to the University of Maryland official during a signing ceremony at Friendly yesterday, the first day high school seniors are allowed to do so.
Edet, one of 10 Patriots who have committed to play football in college, is considered one of the top players in Maryland's latest recruiting class.
"I used to fill out questionnaires for Marshall, Hampton, places like that. The biggest college I talked to was Liberty," said Edet, who attended a Staten Island, N.Y., public school for two years and spent his junior year at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. "I wasn't being recruited, so I had to take care of it myself. The main goal is to go to college for free."
The scene at Friendly was similar to ones repeated across the Washington area yesterday, as nearly 100 local high school football players were expected to formally accept their college football scholarships.
Six players at H.D. Woodson signed their paperwork and five from D.C. public school champion Dunbar have accepted division I offers. But no school rivals DeMatha when it comes to putting players in college, with the Stags sending 11 to division I schools this year, including two-time All-Met wide receiver Kenny Tate, who also signed with Maryland.
"We're just glad to get it up to double digits again," said DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor, whose team had a remarkable streak of having 10-plus division I recruits per year from 1990 to 2005.
While getting a college football scholarship has become the norm for DeMatha's top players, it was the last thing on Edet's mind after last school year. He said his mother took out a loan to pay the cost of going to Fork Union for one year (nearly $28,000 this school year) and he struggled with the discipline required at the school.
"I'd use my mouth and I'd get in trouble," said Edet, estimating that disciplinary action kept him from playing in half of the season's games.
But since moving to the Washington area and attending Friendly, Edet has been respectful and humble, Friendly assistant coach Marcus Berry said. Edet, whose teammates gave him the nickname "E.T." because he thinks he "can do everything," said he plans to take the college board tests at every opportunity to make sure he meets the NCAA's minimum academic standards to qualify for a scholarship.
Louisville and North Carolina initially were among the schools to show the most interest in the physical linebacker.
Then Maryland's Erin Henderson declared for the NFL draft last month, and suddenly the Terrapins had a need. Two weeks ago, Edet committed to play for them. Yesterday, he put pen to paper.
"It's a dream come true," Edet said.