Brandon Somerville is about to learn a lot about himself this season.
He is going to learn just how much he likes football. Enough to dedicate himself to year-round conditioning? Enough to become a complete wide receiver instead of a one-dimensional deep threat?
Enough, even, to make him consider pursuing a college career in football instead of basketball?
"I haven't decided yet, but that's definitely a possibility," said Somerville, the starting shooting guard the past two seasons for the Braves' basketball team.
These are all pertinent questions because Somerville is good enough to reach all these goals. He was an All-Extra last season after leading the Braves with 34 receptions for 457 yards and showcasing his flair for the acrobatic.
But duplicating those numbers won't be enough. Somerville is the latest in a long line of standout wide receivers at Chopticon. Most recently, the Braves featured Jamie Byroads, a 2000 All-Met and holder of most of Chopticon's receiving records. Following Byroads was teammate Brandon Young, who is playing at Connecticut, and 2002 graduate M.J. Estep, who joined Young with the Huskies.
Chopticon Coach Andy Palko said Somerville and fellow senior Matu Threatt give the Braves the best receiving tandem in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference. But that's not good enough for Somerville to join that echelon of past Chopticon wide receivers.
"He's got to be able to go across the middle, take a hit and pop back up," Palko said. "That was [Young's] big thing going into his senior year, and he learned that. Brandon has to do that this year."
Somerville gave football a little more thought than usual this past offseason. Instead of just hanging around the basketball court, Somerville also spent time in the weight room.
"He's got to be more physical this year," said Braves' receivers coach Tony Lisanti.
Over the summer, Somerville found his way out to the track surrounding Chopticon's football field, too. Somerville, who also plays cornerback, said his biggest problem was avoiding fatigue. He said he would take plays off and shun contact at times to stay fresh. He thinks he eliminated that with his offseason conditioning.
"If anything, I wanted to get faster," he said. "I'm in much better shape than I was last year."