The success of the University of the District of Columbia football team this season will hinge on how well the heavy influx of local talent can handle the school's move to a tougher division.
Ted Vactor, the former Redskin who is UDC's head coach, realizes that going from NCAA Division 3 to NAIA Division 1 will make it hard to repeat last year's 7-3 record, especially with young players expected to get a lot of playing time. Nevertheless, Vactor can't wait to get started.
"We made a major coup at the D.C. All-Star game," Vactor said, referring to the 26 players recruited from that contest by UDC.
One of those players, wide receiver Anthony Garland, caught 39 passes for 674 yards and five touchdowns last year at Anacostia High.
Garland will join Charles Chisley in the receiving corps. Chisley snared 29 passes for 507 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 20.4 yards per catch.
At quarterback, the Firebirds will rely on transfers Ronnie Singeltary from Wichita State and Walter Gale from Bowie State.
"We're expecting big things from them," Vactor said. "We're very impressed with their arms. Our quarterbacks didn't throw that well last year. iWith the kids we've got now, the air will be filled with footballs."