Seven Seniors Sign National Letter of Intent
The biggest snow storm of the year didn’t stop CTC from celebrating the accomplishments of seven seniors in the program. Changing the Community held its 4th annual signing day ceremony for players in their program. National Signing Day is held on the first Wednesday in February every year. It marks the first day that football players who have received scholarships from National Collegiate Athletic Association institutions can sign their letter of intent.
The ceremony was held in the Dick Ricketts gymnasium at the Rochester Boys and Girls Club, in an effort to connect the accomplishments of local high school student-athletes with more inner city kids. The class of 2014 was highlighted by Gates Chili offensive lineman Jacquis Webb who will be attending Rutgers University and Kemani Howard, taking his talents to Wagner College in Long Island this fall. Both players have been with CTC since its inception in 2010. “It is the fulfillment of our vision,” said Greg Hopkins, founder and CEO of Changing the Community. “It proves that when you stick with the blueprint laid out by CTC and follow our mission, on and off the field, in and f out the classroom, good things will happen for you. “ Coach Raji also noted that Webb wasn’t an AGR or even an All-Monroe County selection when he received his first offer from Old Dominion, and his subsequent offer to Rutgers University. “When you are part of an organization and have mentors who actually know the process and understand the dynamics of the college football landscape, you don’t need to be recognized locally in order for you to get attention from big time college coaches.”
This year represents the most kids who gained scholarships by CTC since their first year. These scholarships include tuition, books and fees, room and board, meal plans, and university registration costs for up to five years for each scholarship offer. Coach Hopkins says that although it is a great accomplishment and he is proud of what the organization has accomplished, much more work still needs to be done. Jaquan McCullough, who's story was featured in many news publications over the spring, had to turn down a Division 1 offer and sign with a junior college because of NCAA requirements.
Rounding out the rest of the scholarship offers for the day were Justin Morrison, who will join Wilson’s Qwaheem Marshall at Gannon, Micah Wright is joining Gates Chili’s Bruce Johnson, currently a starting center at Maine, Nicholas will join Marcus McGill at UB, and Ponder will join fellow CTC 7-on7 teammate and former Bishop Kearney teammate Andre Wilson.
Justin Morrison: Wayne Central (Gannon University)
Micah Wright: Newark High School (University of Maine)
Jermaine Ponder: Bishop Kearney/Jireh Prep, N.C. (St. Francis University)
Jacquis Webb: Gates Chili (Rutgers University)
Kemani Howard: Wilson Magnet High School (Wagner University)
Jaquan McCullough: Wilson Magnet (Nassau Community College)
Myles Nicholas: West Irondequoit (University at Buffalo)