Thirteen more DeMatha seniors sign to play college football
Eight to play baseball, one volleyball
By Chris McManes
Even by DeMatha’s lofty standards, this was quite a haul. Of the 27 seniors on last year’s football team, 22 will be playing in college. Fifteen are receiving full scholarships.
The schools range from Power 5 programs like Ohio State, Virginia Tech and South Carolina to smaller Division I colleges such as Morgan State, Lafayette and Sacred Heart.
After nine Stags signed during the early signing period in December, 10 more put pen to paper on National Signing Day, Feb. 1.
“This is another great day in DeMatha football history,” Stags Coach Bill McGregor said. “The players are going to some very fine schools. I’m very happy and proud of them. It means we’re doing some good things here at DeMatha and doing them right.”
The most recent signees, including three who committed after Feb. 1, are Brian Bates (Charlotte), J.J. Brabazon (U.S. Naval Academy), Riley Foran (Stonehill), Gerald Campbell (Marshall), Anthony Jones (Wheeling College), Reggie Jones (Temple), Luke Hackett (Sacred Heart), Robert Stevens (Lafayette), Kristian Tate (Delaware State), Alvin Thornton (Bowie State), Adrian Walker (Wheeling College), Brendon Wyatt (Merrimack) and Elijah Yarbrough (Morgan State).
Tate, a wide receiver, also plays basketball for the Stags and is a high jumper on the track team. He was a ball boy when his brother, Kenny, starred for DeMatha before graduating in 2008. Delaware State head football coach Lee Hull was Kenny’s wide receivers coach at Maryland.
“I have a good relationship with [Hull],” Kristian said. “I knew him since my brother was in high school.”
Tate appreciates the work McGregor did in finding him a scholarship.
“He really helped me,” Tate said. “He mentioned my name to every school that came here and gave them a good look about me. Without him, I wouldn’t be at DeMatha. I consider him as family, especially with him helping my brother go to college.
“So, he’s really a big factor in why I’m going to college right now.”
These players signed on Early Signing Day (Dec. 21): Oluwatosin Babalade (South Carolina), Tawfiq Byard (South Florida), Michael Crounse (Boston College), Kamron Frye (William & Mary), Dante Lovett (Virginia Tech), Jason Moore (Ohio State), DeAndre Ricks (Merrimack), Brandon Smith (Merrimack) and Noah Vitko (Delaware).
The legacy continues
Foran became the fifth member of his family to attend DeMatha and earn a college football scholarship. He’s heading to Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.
Foran joins his father Ryan (DeMatha class of 1991), uncle Jay (’87), great uncles Don (’63) and Jim (’64), and grandfather John (’64) as former Stags football players.
Don, Jim and John all played under Morgan Wootten at DeMatha and then went to Maryland. Jay (Virginia Tech) and Ryan (William & Mary) played for McGregor.
“The Forans are a wonderful family,” McGregor said. “They’ve been huge supporters of DeMatha for years.”
Riley plans to play tight end for the Skyhawks, who compete in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. He said McGregor played a “huge” role in helping him land a scholarship.
“He was lobbying for me every single day,” Foran said. “He stayed in contact with coaches for me and was doing the extra steps to help me get to the next level.”
“It was very exciting,” Foran said. “It was a big moment for me to be a part of both of those big milestones in their careers. Those are two men who have helped me out tremendously – academically, mentally, spiritually. Anything I need, they’re going to be there for me.”
Despite losing so many top players from last year’s 10-2 team, McGregor is confident of continued success: “We have a saying at DeMatha – ‘we don’t rebuild, we reload.’”
Eight DeMatha senior baseball players also committed on National Signing Day: Joel Ayers (Marywood), Cole Carter (Frostburg State), Cayden Curry (Stevenson), Christian Gamez (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy), Ayden Gonzalez (UMBC) and Johnny Hughes (Cabrini).
Daniel Nellum and Matt Perlin are heading to Catholic University. The Cardinals advanced to the 2022 NCAA Division III College World Series.
Brabazon also plays for the Stags baseball team, coached by 1981 DeMatha graduate Steve Miller.
A volleyball first
Despite not sponsoring a volleyball team, a DeMatha student is for the first time receiving a scholarship to play volleyball in college. Michael Dixon is going to Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Dixon competes for the Annapolis Volleyball Club.
Football coaches clinic
DeMatha will host a coaching clinic on Saturday March 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
University of Maryland head coach Mike Locksley and running backs coach Elijah Brooks are featured speakers. Brooks was the Stags’ head coach from 2011-18. Other presenters include coaches from Penn State, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, South Carolina, Morgan State and more.
The clinic is primarily geared toward youth and high school coaches. The cost is $25 per attendee, and registration is available online.
Chris McManes (mick-maynz) has covered DeMatha football for the Hyattsville Life & Times since 2015.