By EJ Holt, Sports Correspondent
Photo Courtesy of Imhotep Football/DMC Photography
A large amount of people in the sports world had December 15th circled on their calendar. December 15th was a culmination of month’s hard work and dedication for some schools. Years of hard work and dedication for some players. What happened on December 15th you ask? December 15th was National Signing Day. The day where high school graduate student /athletes make their choice of what school and football program they will be attending next. Much like an expecting couple’s gender reveal, players revealing what school they have chosen has become quite the spectacle. The usual display has the player standing at a podium with individual hats showing the logo of the school that has offered them a scholarship. Some students can have up to 19 suitors. Typically surrounded by family and friends and possibly a few members of the media, the student builds the suspense of the crowd by trying on every hat only to toss it aside at the last minute. Finally the student makes his selection and the joyous celebration begins. It really is a remarkable moment for the students and their families. Not only do they get to continue playing a game they love, but most importantly they get a college education.
While these newly minted college athletes come from all over the country. There is no shortage of talent right in our own backyard. Here is some of our homegrown talent and where they are headed in the next step in their journey:
Enai White, Imhotep Institute
Elias White is the highest rated recruit in the state of Pennsylvania according to recruiting site 24/7 Sports. The 6’5 230 pound pass rusher is rated as a 4 star athlete and has committed to Texas A&M. White had offers from power house football programs such as Alabama and Georgia as well. On the field White shows tremendous speed and athleticism. With an improving technique and pass rush moves, the sky is the limit for Enai White.
Keenan Nelson Jr., St. Joseph’s Prep
Keenan Nelson is a 6’1 200 pound defensive back prospect, ranked number 7 in the state. Watching Nelson line up against other players, the first thing that stood out was how big he was. Not necessarily height, but weight. Keenan Nelson has the muscle definition and mass of a grown man already. It isn’t hard to see why scouts have him rated as a 4 star athlete. Keenan Nelson is committed to South Carolina.
Anthony Johnson, Neumann Goretti
The 6’1 245 pound 4 star ranked Anthony Johnson played Linebacker for the Saints and helped them to a 12-2 record and a run into the state semi finals. Johnson is rated as the eighth best prospect in the state and tenth overall at his position nationally. Johnson chose to commit to Rutgers over offers from Oregon, Alabama and Auburn.
Ken Talley – Northeast HS
Ken Talley will follow a long line of high level linebackers with his commitment to Penn State. With a 6’3 230 pound frame and relentless energy on the field, Ken Talley could be the next name you hear when great Penn State defenders come up. Talley is a two time All-Public League first team selection. During his senior season, Ken Talley posted 95 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and 2 forced fumbles earning him season MVP honors. Ken Talley is rated as a 4 star prospect, number 10 in the state of Pennsylvania and the number 16 pass rusher in the nation.
Keon Wylie, Imhotep Institute
Joining Talley playing linebacker for Penn State is Keon Wylie. The 6’2 200 pound Imhotep grad was a 3 year team captain and 2 time team MVP. Wylie led his team as a senior with 9 sacks. On tape Wylie shows great pass rushing ability to go along with the athleticism to be a stand up linebacker. Keon Wylie is ranked as a 3 star athlete and the number 14 player in the state.
Raleigh Collins III, Neumann Goretti
At Neumann Goretti the 6’3 205 pound Raleigh Collins played defensive back. With his commitment to West Virginia, the plan is to have him play some linebacker. West Virginia runs a multiple defense that values hybrid type players. With the hard hitting mentality of a linebacker and the skills of a defensive back, Collins should fit right in. Raleigh Collins is rated as a 3 star athlete and the number 15 prospect in the state of Pennsylvania.
Emir Stinette, Imhotep Institute
According to Imhotp Head Coach Devon Johnson, the 6’5 380 pound Emir Stinette is the biggest to ever come through Imhotep. Stinette also seems to be one of those rare players that move well at that size as well. After helping his team go 11-2 and make a championship appearance in his senior season, Emir Stinette garnered offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Maryland and Tennessee. Ultimately Stinette chose Rutgers. Emir Stinette is rated as a 3 star athlete and the number 27 prospect in the state.
There are a ton of other local players headed off to their new challenges, too many to name. But a big congratulations is in order to all the players and their families who now embark on the next step in their journey.