After facing off for the final time in high school during last month’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference football championship, Denzel Dykes and John Lovett recently chose the college at which they will continue their football careers.

Dykes, a second-team All-WCAC defensive back for St. John’s, chose William & Mary during an official visit two weeks ago while Lovett, who helped lead DeMatha to the title from the quarterback position, secured a spot with Princeton’s team after earning admission to the school earlier this month.

For some time now, Lovett has known that he wanted to play football at an Ivy League program and after earning offers from the majority of the conference schools, the senior narrowed his choices to Princeton and Dartmouth. Known for his dual-threat ability and a strong arm that helped fuel DeMatha’s high-powered offense, Lovett saw Princeton’s uptempo scheme as the best fit for him.

“From a football perspective, I loved the offense that Princeton runs with it being fast-paced and how they use their quarterbacks to run the ball sometimes, too,” Lovett said. “Location was also a big factor. I wanted my family, which is mostly in New York, to be able to see me play and visit me in college.”

This past season, Lovett passed for 1,287 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for two more scores to lead the Stags to their first WCAC crown since 2008.

In doing so, Lovett was able to elude a stout St. John’s defense that featured Dykes in the secondary. Dykes used his speed and leadership ability to lead St. John’s to its first WCAC title game appearance since 1991 and earn second-team all-WCAC honors.

As Dykes made the trek down to Williamsburg for his official visit, he said he approached the weekend as a business trip, prepping his mind to ultimately decide among his 10 offers from the Tribe, Toledo, Delaware, Columbia, Ohio and others.

Along with the campus tour and his chat with William & Mary Coach Jimmye Laycock, Dykes said he was particularly intrigued by his film session with defensive backs coach Tom Clark.

“We went over some of the schemes they use and how I would fit in to those schemes,” Dykes said. “I was really grateful to have that experience and see how a college film session goes.”

On the final day of his visit, Dykes spent time alone in his car, chatting with a friend and praying about whether William & Mary was the right place for him. In that time, Dykes said he experienced both disappointment in knowing he would not be attending his favorite college, Ohio State, and excitement in knowing he had an opportunity to play at the next level for a strong academic and athletic program in William & Mary.

“God told me this is it, and in the end, even though I had my bigger plan, I’m happy to be going to William & Mary because I know God has a great plan for me there,” Dykes said.

Dykes is the third local player to commit to William & Mary in the past month, joining DeMatha linebacker Spencer Kleinrichert and Chantilly wide receiver/defensive back Raeshawn Smith.

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