The myth used to be that football players from D.C. public schools lacked the size of ability to play football at major colleges, but Interhigh players in recent years have made solid contributions at these colleges.
As the 1980 season begins, several Interhigh players will have college scouts watching their every move.
In recent years, the big names from Washington high school football have been All-Met standouts like Steve Mitchell, (Dunbar, Indiana University); Leon Ellison (Roosevelt, Ohio State); Claybourne Fields (H.D. Woodson, Purdue); Mike Martin (Eastern, University of Illinois); Farryl Sheffeey (Ballou, Oklahoma State); John Chesley (Eastern, Oklahoma State); and Michael Wilcher (Eastern, University of North Carolina).
This year, the biggest name is Dwayne Pugh.
Pugh, a fullback at H.D. Woodson, is one of the most highly sought schoolboy athletes in the country.Recruiters call him a "blue chipper."
Pugh (6 feet 2 inches tall, 200 pounds) has the size. In that all important area, the 40-yard dash, he has consistently been timed at 4.4 seconds. He has also run the 100-yard dash in 9.5 seconds.Meanwhile, he is the Interhigh's top high and long jumper.
The problem is that recruites cannot seem to decide which position he should play in college.
Some see him as a running back. Others like him better as a tight end, a position he played last year. Still others view him as a defensive back, a position he sometimes plays.
The University of Alabama just wants him as an athlete. They say that once he gets there, they will then decide where to play him.
Others want him for his track and field abilities alone.
It is no accident that Pugh's team, the Warriors, is the favorite in the Interhigh East. As long as Pugh is terrifying defenses with his speed, Woodson will be tough.
But when scouts come out to see Pugh, some others might catch their eyes.
Among them is Pugh's running mate, Darwin Cook (5-9, 170), a scatback who seems to be able to fly instead of run.
Cook has also run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. But more importantly, he has run the fastest 100-yard dash in the area with a time of 9.3 and has captured both the 100- and 220-yard Interhigh title. Once Cook turns the corner or gets in the opponents' secondary, it's almost an assured six points.
Another player on the Woodson team who will get a lot of attention will be tight end Andre McCloud.
Only a junior, McCloud (6-4, 205) has the size that recruiters look for. Not only does he have good hands and good speed for football, but he is also one of the top basketball players in the area.
Woodson's defensive pride is Maurice Barnes. Barnes (6-1, 205), a linebacker, already has scouts drooling.As a junior last year, he earned the distinction of being selected all-league. He "reads" well on defense, hits hard and has enough speed to be used as a wide receiver.
Since Jim Tillerson took over as coach at Roosevelt High, the school has been known as a gathering place for college recuriters. That will not change this season.
One player who gets tehri attention (and the attention of a lot of opponents as well) is tackle Kirk Williamson.
Williamson (6-3, 270) is still growing. After a summer of construction work with his father, he has become even stronger than last season, when opponents found it necessary to double-team him. It may require the entire offensive line this season.
The only disappointing thing about Williamson, as far as recruiters are concerned, is that he is only a junior.
The Rough Riders always seem to produce linebackers tailor-made for college ball. This year's standout is Michael James.
James (6-0, 230) has boosted his weight after a summer of weightlifting. He is a vicous hitter and "reads" well, a requisite of linebacking.
McKinley has a whole gallery of top-flight linebackers. The best is Reggie McNair.
McNair (6-2, 210) is highly touted after making All-Leagues last year. Others like Timothy Proctor (6-2, 210), James McElway (6-1, 205), J. J. Rice (6-0, 200) and David Dreger (6-1, 200) will surely receive a lot of attention.
There is always a premium on offensive linemen, since good ones are hard to find. One who possesses the qualities to be outstanding is Kevin Wells of Phelps.
Wells (5-11, 225) is a good size and blocks well for the run. In fact, his team, the Panthers, runs the wishbone offense, a popular system employed by many college teams. His bonecrushing blocking earned Wells the respect of his peers last year as he made All-Interhigh.
Other outstanding linemen who will get some notice are Dunbar junior center Helbert Morris (5-11, 215) and Bruce Ruth (6-0, 220), a guard at Spingarn.
Quarterbacks considered top prospects are Brian Sloane of Mc Kinley, Dante Martin of Phelps, Terry Scott of Collidge and William Brockenberry, a junior at Dunbar.
Brockenberry (6-2, 215) has the potential to be one of the best ever to play in the league. He has a strong arm and with a considerable amount of playing time under his belt as a sophmore last year, he should be much improved.
A sleeper at running back this year could be Eastern's Desmar Becton.
Becton (6-1, 190) has good speed and blocks and catches well. His biggest asset is that he gets the tough yards between the tackles, something scouts look for. Despite gaining over 700 yards and scoring eight touchdowns last year behind a young offensive line, Becton was largely over looked.
All in all, it could be a banner year for Interhigh football players. With such outstanding talent in both seniors and underclassmen in the league, the forcast looks good for the future of quality football in this area -- and for the future of Interhigh players when they get in college.