After taking its first Maryland 4A football title, Wise will likely send a program-record 10 players to the college ranks next year. The Pumas held a ceremony on Wednesday in which seven players signed national letters-of-intent, and Coach DaLawn Parrish, the only coach in the program’s seven-year history, said three other players plan to play at Division III schools.
“They were excited,” said Parrish, the All-Met Coach of the Year. “Everybody likes to get a little pat on the back and to know what you meant to program and will continue to mean to the program. . . . It was an extremely good time for me because this group brought the first state title to Wise High School, and that’s something they’ll have forever.”
Wise players gained plenty of exposure in the fall during a dominant run in which the team outscored its opponents, 547-50. In their third state final appearance in four years, the Pumas beat Quince Orchard, 12-7, on Nov. 30.
Parrish said the previous program-high for players in a senior class continuing their careers into college was eight.
Linemen Antonio Harris (Towson) and Jai Franklin (Old Dominion) signed to play at the Football Championship Subdivision level. Harris, a four-year starter on the offensive line, had orally pledged to play at U-Mass. before flipping to the home state Tigers last week.
Meantime, running back Chase Powell (Winston-Salem State), defensive lineman Myles Humphrey (Shepherd) and cornerback Chaudlier Shepherd (Concord) signed with Division II schools. Powell — a speedy 5-foot-7 back — was the catalyst for the Pumas offense in the fall, rushing for 1,569 yards with 31 total touchdowns.
Linebackers D’Angelo Niler and Frank Porter had both received Football Bowl Subdivision attention but will instead head to ASA College in New York, a junior college program. Both players received full scholarships to play for the Avengers, according to Parrish.
“The goal now is just making sure they graduate,” Parrish said, “and for me to be a mentor and make sure they know they’ll always have a home at Wise High School.”