HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Walk the halls at DeMatha Catholic, and the steep athletic tradition oozes from the walls.
Taiwan Deal holds an offer from Maryland
Pictures of former football and basketball greats grace the building while trophies, plaques and banners decorate the joint.
Inside the weight room, a blown up photo of the 1998 football team gracing the Cheerios Box looks down on the players of today.
Staggs head coach Elijah Brooks, a former DeMatha player himself, thinks his 2014 class has a chance to rival that 98 group.
Sixteen players from the 1998 team went on to play college football in Cameron Wake (Penn State/Miami Dolphins), Jamal Jones (North Carolina), Ryan Gillis (Notre Dame), Mikal Baquee (Virginia Tech), Jamar Perrin (Florida), Jason Finklea (Wake Forest), Danny Martz (Alabama), Dennard Wilson (Maryland), Scott McBrien (Maryland), Brendan Loney (Navy), Kenny Dantzler (Richmond), Marco Hardy (Yale) and Jay Paige (James Madison).
The current group of rising juniors is already getting the same kind of looks.
“That class was loaded,” Brooks said. “This group still has a lot of work to do, but if they live up to their potential, they can rank right there with them.”
Brooks breaks down the 2014 class
Spencer Kleinrichert, LB, 6-3, 221 (Maryland and Massachusetts offers): “Might be when it’s all said and done, the best defensive player to come through DeMatha. He’s a throwback linebacker that plays every down 100-percent. Has a 4.2 grade point average, so he’s the quarterback of the defense and just plays with extreme intensity from start to finish. Can cover sideline-to-sideline and is going to be outstanding the next two years.”
2014 wide receiver Cameron Phillips holds a scholarship offer from Virginia
Taiwan Deal, RB/LB, 6-2, 226: (Early offer from Maryland) “Freak of an athlete. Obviously his size stands out, but he moves incredibly well to be so big. Comes downhill both as a linebacker and as a running back and brings a high level of intensity as a player.”
Cameron Phillips, WR, 6-2/177 (Early offer from Virginia): “Is a dynamic athlete. Three-sport athlete. Is a high jumper. Plays basketball. He can go and get the football from anywhere on the field as a receiver and a corner. Great hips. Great speed and can do it all on the field.”
Chris Jones, WR, 6-3, 176 (Has an early offer from Maryland): “A smooth wide receiver. Great route runner. Can get in and out of his breaks. Can stretch the field and loves to block. He’s an outstanding receiver. Virginia Tech called about him (Monday). He’s going to blow up this year.”
Deonte Holden, DE, 6-4/217: “Can be a premier rush end. Long athlete with a high motor. Very aggressive, very physical. Has the frame to put on 30 to 40 pounds once he gets to college. He has a high ceiling.”
Mark Allen, RB, 5-7, 181 (Ran 4.43 at Penn State camp): “Is the lighting in our backfield with 4.4 speed. Great vision. Can take it the distance any time he touches the ball, but it isn’t afraid to run it in between the tackles.”
Jawhaun Bentley, 6-2, 245, DE/OLB: “Is arguably our best kept secret. He was out because of injury last year. Just a prototypical 3-4 linebacker, who is a downhill player and just wants to make you play at the point of contact.”
Kyle Jones, 6-4, 273, OL/DL: Will start at offensive guard for us this year. Big frame. Low center of gravity. Very aggressive at point of contact and good feet.”
Jarriel Jordan, CB, 5-9, 166: “Is arguably the fastest straight-line player we have on our team. Smaller in stature but huge heart. Lockdown corner who also helps us in the return game.”
2016 defensive end Shane Simmons already holds a UVa offer
-Touted offensive tackle Orlando Brown was part of this Staggs class before transferring to Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge.
2016 Isn’t Too Shabby As Well
The mail and phone is already pouring in and ringing off the hook for Brooks regarding his 2014 class. His incoming group of freshmen are also attracting very early BCS attention.
At the top of the list is talented defensive end Shane Simmons, who figures to be a major contributor for DeMatha this fall. Virginia has already extended a verbal scholarship.
“When it’s all said and done, he can be the number one recruit in the entire nation for his class. He was blessed with a prototypical frame for a defensive end. He’s extremely fast, long arms, has a good knack for getting to the ball and is extremely aggressive. He’s a heck of a talent, a heck of a talent.”
Others to keep an eye on includes:
-Terrence Davis (OL/DL, 6-4, 270): “Potential three-year starter on both sides of the ball. Feet like a basketball player. Very aggressive. Bright future.”
-Tino Ellis (WR/S, 6-0, 170): Could be the best receiver in his class in the state of Maryland. Just a mature kid that has a good feel for the game. Going to have a great future for us.”
-Lorenzo Harrison (RB/DB, 5-8, 185): “Short stature. Explosive athlete. Pure football player who can play both sides of the ball. Looking for a lot of great things from him.”
-Elijah Johnson (OL, 6-4, 265). “Also a big kid, who will be great in the run game and also able to protect the quarterback.
-Rising sophomores getting looks includes DeAndre Kelly (DE/TE, 6-3, 260), Juwan Hikim (WR, 5-9, 165), Darryl Turner (WR/DB, 5-8, 160), Jordan Washington (WR/DB 5-8, 155), Tyler Green (TE/DE, 6-3, 220) and Julius Combes (OL/DL, 6-3, 275).
-DeMatha has won 19 league championship in 1964, 1966, 1967, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.