The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area saw some of its best young student-athletes take the next step of their athletic and academic careers during National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

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The day, which typically occurs annually on the first Wednesday of February, is perhaps the most important time for any high school football player with aspirations of earning a college football scholarship. On that day, players from across the nation sign letters of intent and publicly announce the college or university they will attend. According to 247sports.com, more than 50 players from Maryland year signed letters of intent to play for Division I (D-1) football programs this year.

That list was led this year by five-star DeMatha high school defensive-end Chase Young, who chose to attend Ohio State University this coming fall. At six feet, five inches and 250 pounds, Young is a fierce pass-rusher and is considered the top ranked high school football player in the state of Maryland. ESPN’s recruiting database ranked Young as the second best defensive end in the country and one of the top 30 players nationally at any position.

Rumors had circulated that Young was going to sign with the University of Maryland under second-year head coach DJ Durkin, an excellent recruiter who attracted 11 four-star recruits to join his team on National Signing Day. Young also had an offer from University of Alabama, perennially seen as the best college football team in the nation. But the Hyattsville, Md. native chose to sign with Ohio State, instead.

“The athletic program at OSU is one that prepares their players for the pros,” Young stated in a letter he released to fans and media via Ohio State’s sports information website. “A lot of players on the football team will have a shot into the NFL. I hope to become one of those players in the near future.”

Although the University of Maryland missed out on Young, Durkin still managed to recruit the second-ranked player in the state, four-star all-purpose back Anthony McFarland Jr. Like Young, McFarland also starred at DeMatha, but anchored the offensive side of the ball as an explosive tailback. The five-foot, nine-inch, 203-pound McFarland chose to stay home in Maryland rather than attend the University of Miami.

“Everyone thought I was sold to Miami,” McFarland said, according to The Washington Post. “I was just thinking about staying home and the relationships I had with the Maryland coaches before football. I want to build my own legacy.”

McFarland will be joined at Maryland by his DeMatha teammate Marcus Minor, a three-star offensive lineman. At six-feet, five-inches, and 290 pounds, Minor ranked ninth in 247sports.com’s list of the top Maryland high school players.

University of Maryland also added four-star offensive lineman Jordan McNair of McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), four-star cornerback Deon Jones of Potomac High School (Oxon Hill, Md.), three-star outside linebacker Ayinde Eley from Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), three-star cornerback Fofie Bazzie of Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, Md.), three-star defensive-end Lawtez Rodgers from Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.), and two-star defensive-end B’Ahmad Miller of St. Frances Academy in Baltimore.

Other notable local student-athletes who signed promises to attend D-I football programs on Wednesday include:

–Four-star defensive-end Joshua Paschal of Good Counsel, who chose University of Kentucky.

–Four-star outside linebacker Nathan Proctor of Henry Lackey (Indian Head, Md.), who will attend Virginia Tech.

–Four-star cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields of Riverdale Baptist, who will attend Penn State.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor