Wilson defensive end/linebacker Kareem McDonald (9) committed to Monmouth last week. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Wilson senior Kareem McDonald knew the reasons behind his de-commitment from the Virginia football program were mostly out of his control. He had spent his freshman year at Ideal Academy Public Charter School, and some of the classes he took hadn’t been registered with the NCAA’s clearinghouse. The Cavaliers, as it turned out, weren’t willing to wait on him to get the situation resolved.

But that didn’t make the decision to re-open his recruitment last month any easier on McDonald, who spoke about his college detour Monday night, just a few days removed from committing to Monmouth of the Football Championship Subdivision.

“I was frustrated. I was sad. Believe it or not, I was actually crying when it happened. U-Va was always my dream school,” McDonald said. “I was hurt when it happened, but it was all fuel to my fire. I won’t stop working.”

McDonald will report to Monmouth in June, bringing an end to a whirlwind process that included commitments to three schools in eight months.


This all began when he first committed to Old Dominion last June, five weeks before he originally planned. Two months after pledging to Old Dominion, McDonald then wowed Virginia coaches at a summer recruiting camp and quickly switched his allegiance to the Cavaliers upon being offered a scholarship by Coach Mike London. The 215-pound hybrid linebacker-defensive end went on to help lead Wilson to the DCIAA semifinals in the fall.

But once Virginia fell through, McDonald weighed his options strategically. Maryland and Rutgers were among the schools that showed interest, although McDonald knew a scholarship offer would likely depend on how their classes took shape in the final days before next week’s National Signing Day. He also did not want to redshirt next year.

So rather than risk coming out empty handed, McDonald elected to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond and go to a school that recruited him the entire time. McDonald committed to Monmouth, which finished with a 6-5 record last year, following an official visit to the Long Branch, N.J. school.

“I knew it was going to shock a lot of people, going from an ACC school to an FCS school,” McDonald said. “After a while, my intention was not to go to school for a name. I just wanted to go to school where I can make my name. I’ll have a chance to play as a freshman, if not start. According to them, I’m probably the biggest recruit they’ve had in a while.”

NUMBER CRUNCH: 23

Points scored by Thurgood Marshall senior Malik McMillan in Monday night’s 79-49 victory over Options, one of the few games that took place given the snow outside. Thurgood Marshall (14-3) is the biggest surprise in the D.C. Public School Charter Athletic Association this winter under new Coach Lafayette Dublin, who came to the Southeast charter school from DuVal.

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With many area school districts closed today because of the snow, a packed Tuesday basketball schedule isn’t quite as loaded anymore. But there are two intriguing DCIAA boys’ basketball games still on the docket as of this morning. H.D. Woodson will host Theodore Roosevelt in a rematch of last year’s city title game at 7 p.m., while upstart Eastern will go on the road to face Dunbar at 8 p.m. Both games should have major ramifications on the standings.