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Chase Young, two others, the latest DeMatha football players heading to NFL

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Posted on: May 1, 2020

By Chris McManes

When Bill McGregor was named to return as head football coach at DeMatha on Jan. 4, 2019, he received a call from Ian Thomas, one of his former players. Thomas had a request from 2016 Stag All-American Chase Young.

“He said, ‘Chase wants to meet you and say congratulations,’” McGregor recalled. 

On April 23, the Washington Redskins selected Young with the second pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. He is the first DeMatha football player chosen in the first round and the highest draft pick ever from what is now the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

It didn’t matter to Young that he didn’t play for McGregor. DeMatha gentlemen are all part of one family. 

Chase Young sacks Kasim Hill in DeMatha’s 34-29 victory over St. John’s in the 2016 WCAC championship. It was Young’s final high school game and helped the Stags complete an undefeated season.
Courtesy of Ed King

“It’s a special place … where my bonds have gotten stronger just through the whole brotherhood and just being at DeMatha,” Young told the Redskins’ website. “I’m glad my parents told me to move to DeMatha, because obviously it was for the best.” 

Two of Young’s Stags teammates are also looking to play in the NFL. Running back Anthony McFarland was drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cornerback Tino Ellis signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints. Both played at Maryland. 

“They’ve worked really hard to achieve their dreams,” McGregor said. “I can see Tino having a long NFL career. And Anthony, with his breakaway speed and pass-catching ability, can be a difference maker for the Steelers.” 

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Young led the nation in sacks (16.5) last year at Ohio State and won several defensive Player of the Year awards. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

Young, from Cheltenham in southern Prince George’s County, transferred to DeMatha from Pallotti during his sophomore year. He played football in 2015 and ’16 under Elijah Brooks and helped the Stags win two WCAC championships. 

The 2016 squad (12-0) finished No. 1 in the Washington area and No. 4 nationally. Young recorded 19 sacks from his defensive end position, had 118 total tackles and scored two touchdowns. In a WCAC semifinal win over Good Counsel, one play typified his once-in-a-generation talent. 

With his team clinging to a late 21-13 lead, Young blew past his blocker, hit the quarterback and forced a fumble. He scooped the ball up with one hand and took it to the end zone. It was the punctuating play in the Stags’ 28-13 victory. 

“I knew a play had to be made,” Young said that day. “I didn’t know it was going to be me.”

Stags in the NFL

Recent DeMatha graduates to play in the NFL include members of the past three Super Bowl champions: Rodney McLeod (Philadelphia Eagles), Ja’Whaun Bentley (New England Patriots) and John Lovett (Kansas City Chiefs). Bentley is among 10 former Stags drafted since 2001, tying DeMatha for seventh-most among high schools. 

In addition, several former Stags now work in the league. Dennard Wilson is the New York Jets’ passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach. Sean Gustus (Minnesota Vikings) and Ronnie Rose (Redskins) are college scouts. Bryce Bevill is the Jets’ manager of player development. Greg Steed is a back judge who has officiated two Super Bowls. 

These connections help McGregor convince NFL talent evaluators to take a closer look at former DeMatha players. 

“I can call them and say, ‘Can you take a look at this player? I think he has tremendous upside and might be worthwhile for you to take a real close look at,’” McGregor said. “‘And he’s a DeMatha guy, so you know the kind of character-young-man you’re going to have on your football team.” 

Young, for example, plans to start a charitable foundation.

“He’s a wonderful young man,” McGregor said. “He cares about his community and the Washington, D.C., area. He loves DeMatha. We’re really elated for Chase and his family.”

Chris McManes has covered DeMatha football since 2015. 

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