In the midst of his Wednesday weight training session at Briar Woods, sophomore Mark Birmingham was called into the football coach’s office by Coach Charlie Pierce.

Earlier, his workout had been interrupted for a quick trip to the same office because Notre Dame had called  to invite him for a visit. The Fighting Irish, though, didn’t extend an offer. This time, when Pierce handed him the phone, Florida State defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri was on the other end.


After the two quickly exchanged words, Sunseri offered the 6-foot-3 3/4, 235-pound tight end a scholarship. For Birmingham it was his ninth offer, and many more are sure to come after he picked up one from the defending national champion Seminoles.

“He said they want me to come down for a visit and to call him tomorrow to talk to coach Jimbo Fisher,” Birmingham said. “It’s exciting, and it feels great.”

Birmingham has received heavy interest from Notre Dame, Miami, Penn State, Ohio State and Stanford, but the Seminoles were the first from that bunch to offer. He holds scholarship offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

He will be heading out to Duke in a coupleof  weeks and will immediately follow that with a visit to Stanford. He also wants to take visits to Penn State, Florida State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame this summer.

“I’m not looking for a specific offer right now because I’m still young,” Birmingham said. “But any school that’s willing to take a chance on me makes me feel honored.”

Last season, Birmingham caught 11 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He also doubled as a starting defensive end, where he posted 47 total tackles and 5.5 sacks. His offensive role will expand this year with the departure of wideout Melvin Holland Jr. to Minnesota.

“I’m really working on my blocking in the offseason,” Birmingham said. “That’s the most important thing about a tight end, I think I have to do a much better job at that if I want to be good on the next level.”

College recruiters love his size at tight end, and he was able to boost his stock at the Nike Football Training Combine at Centreville in April. While there, he matched up with some of the best linebackers in the region in one-on-one drills.

“There are a lot of guys out there with great talent,” Birmingham said. “You really have to focus on the little things and technique.”

The Seminoles’ offer is his biggest to date, but look for his recruitment to steadily increase over the summer.


Pitchers JB Bukauskas (Stone Bridge), AJ Lee (St. John’s) and Cody Morris (Reservoir) took home Gatorade Player of the Year honors for their respective states and city. The three pitchers have an average ERA of 0.74 and a combined 18-3 record on the mound.


–Former Forestville blue-chip recruit Antonio Logan-El has found peace as an openly gay man after a whirlwind college football career and recruiting process.

–South County lacrosse long-stick midfielder Charles Rygiel won’t allow cystic fibrosis to keep him from the game. 

–Briar Woods girls’ soccer freshman Kasia Kwitnieski provided a boost for the Falcons in the Conference 14 championship with two early goals in a 4-0 win over Stone Bridge at Tuscarora.

–Madison Goodman settled in after allowing two early runs to guide Briar Woods softball to its first conference title since 2011 with an 8-4 win over rival Stone Bridge. 


W.T. Woodson advances in boys’ lacrosse with a win over South Lakes.

The Cavaliers defeated South Lakes 8-6, behind Matt Dennis' three goals, to set up a rematch with Robinson in the Northern Region quarterfinals. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)


Also, watch Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year JB Bukauskas hit a walk-off single in the Bulldogs’ Conference 14 championship win against Freedom-South Riding, below. Video courtesy of Stone Bridge athletics.


Boys’ lacrosse: Yorktown at No. 10 South County, 7 p.m.

The Stallions have lost just one game this season to Robinson, and they can set up a possible rematch with the Rams if they can get by a strong Yorktown team that beat Oakton, 12-5, in the 6A North region first round. In other boys’ lacrosse quarterfinal action, Robinson meets W.T. Woodson, Chantilly plays Lake Braddock and Westfield travels to Langley.

Girls’ lacrosse: Robinson at W.T. Woodson, 7 p.m.

W.T. Woodson has one loss this season, a 16-14 defeat to — you guessed it — Robinson, in the Cavaliers’ first game of the season. There are good matchups all around the 6A North tonight … weather permitting.