HYATTSVILLE – While it was dark and gloomy outside, the inside of DeMatha’s Lt. (SEAL) Brendan Looney ’99 Convocation Center was filled with joy and excitement over the promising futures of some of the Stags’ student-athletes. Ten DeMatha football players used Wednesday’s National Signing Day to showcase their commitments to their respective future colleges. Nine […]
HYATTSVILLE – While it was dark and gloomy outside, the inside of DeMatha’s Lt. (SEAL) Brendan Looney ’99 Convocation Center was filled with joy and excitement over the promising futures of some of the Stags’ student-athletes.
Ten DeMatha football players used Wednesday’s National Signing Day to showcase their commitments to their respective future colleges. Nine Stags will be headed off to Division I universities (one to a D1 Subdivision school) next fall, led by top recruits Shane Simmons and Terrance Davis, while another will head to a Division II school.
“I didn’t have much to stand on but a 6-4 record and my word,” said DeMatha Head Coach Elijah Brooks, who was saying goodbye to his first recruiting class. “For these guys to believe in our vision and trust in DeMatha and the program, these guys are a special group.
“It’s a heck of an accomplishment (having ten signees). It is something we pride ourselves on as we try to separate from the pack. These guys, their hard work and their ability to get it done in the classroom, it has paid huge dividends.”
Simmons, a defensive lineman, was rated as the class’ best recruit. Standing 6-4 and weighing 231 pounds, he was ranked 14th on the ESPN300 list and given a rating of 89 (the No. 1 recruit was rated 94).
The Laurel native received offers from as many as 25 different schools, but verbally committed to Penn State University in July of 2014. He reaffirmed that commitment on Wednesday.
“(Penn State) felt more like home to me,” Simmons said. “I felt comfortable there. I really liked the coaching staff and the environment around campus. I am close with some of the players too, so that’s why I chose Penn State.”
Simmons said one of his goals is to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and go from there. However, he stressed his education was the most important thing on his mind.
“My education is my first priority,” said Simmons, who is undecided on a major but is thinking either communications or business. “So if I don’t make it to the NFL I am okay with that. But if I do then that would be great too. There are a lot of people in the NFL from Penn State and they have the type of connection that I want.”
Davis was DeMatha’s second highest rated player (No. 88 on ESPN300) and chose to attend the University of Maryland. He was one of five Stags to commit to Maryland – the most ever from one DeMatha class.
The 6-4, 300-pound offensive lineman chose to become a Terrapin because it was close to home and offers a great job market after college.
“I wanted to stay close to home,” said the Temple Hills native. “I went to all the other places around the country, and every place is different, but I liked it here the best. I have a chance to start early and compete for a job, so why not do that at Maryland.
“Opportunity is here, as far as the D.C. area and getting jobs. That played a big part in my decision.”
While Davis is looking to major in a business field and keep a 3.5 GPA in the classroom, on the field he hopes to start as a true freshman and become a freshman All-American.
“I just want to win in all phases of college,” Davis said.
Tino Ellis, the third of DeMatha’s big three, will join Davis at Maryland. The 6-1, 185-pound receiver ranked 285th on the ESPN300 list and is labeled a four-star recruit. And like Davis, Ellis’ main reason for choosing Maryland was its close proximity to home.
“My main reason was the hometown feeling,” said Ellis, who is originally from Reisterstown. “It felt like that every time I walked on campus. I wanted to go to Maryland because it was close and because of the school, not because of the coaches or anything like that.”
Ellis and the 2016 class will be the first recruits under new head coach DJ Durkin. Although Maryland recently had linebacker Keandre Jones (Good Counsel) and quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. (Bullis) decommit and instead choose Ohio State University, Ellis is excited about the Terps’ football future.
“Our conversation was great,” Ellis said about his latest conversation with Durkin. “I can see he wants to do great things at Maryland. He is real upbeat and uplifting, and a real down-to-Earth guy as well. I am excited. I can’t wait.”
Joining Ellis and Davis at Maryland are teammates Lorenzo Harrison (RB, 5-8, 187), Seun Oluwatimi (OL/DL, 6-3, 298) and DJ Turner (WR, 5-9, 185). Together they will bring the DeMatha culture to College Park.
“This is amazing, to be a part of this class and this team,” Ellis said. “Coach Brooks, my DeMatha family and the staff taught us everything to get us to this point. So we owe everything to them.”
Also signing letters of intent were tight end Hamilton Day (Dartmouth), offensive lineman Elijah Johnson (Boston College), and defensive backs Andrew Robertson (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and Robbie Robinson (Arizona State).