I think D.C.’s charter schools will soon impact the city’s athletic landscape the same way they’ve changed the academic picture.

Here’s why. Today is National Signing Day, where high school football recruits can make their allegiance to a particular school official.

And here’s a list of the commitments, courtesy of the fabulous DC Sports Fan, made by players from just one charter school, Friendship Collegiate:

Earl Johnson – New Mexico
Tyrone Armstrong
– Villanova
Chris Griggs
– Bowie State
Kennedy Ogbonna
– Delaware State
Darious Holly
– West Virginia State
Cardale Kindale
– West Virginia State
Mark Pettaway
– West Virginia State
Harlynn McNeill
– West Virginia State
Eric Massado
– Shenandoah University
Jabril Ezell
– Howard University

That’s from a school that doesn’t even have a football field on its Minnesota Ave. NE campus.

Friendship isn’t ready to topple the big dogs in the area on the field. DeMatha crushed Friendship, 45-12, in November. But the D.C. school was good enough to  make the Washington Post’s Top 20 poll, which doesn’t happen much anymore for city public schools. And Friendship destroyed perennial DCIAA king of the hill Dunbar in an early-season matchup at Dunbar.

And things will only get better for the charter school. That list of scholarship players — at least 10 guys playing their way into college — will serve as a talent magnet for Friendship. After today, word will get around that if you play at Friendship, recruiters will be watching.

And that’ll spread to other charters. Charter schools have academic and athletic and administrative freedoms that DCIAA schools don’t. A well-boostered charter school would have a much easier time bringing in the right coaches and kids to put a strong program in place essentially overnight than a traditional public school like, say, Spingarn would.

The growth of the charter schools only means things won’t get better for the Spingarns of the city anytime soon.


Again, Friendship ain’t in DeMatha’s league. But, nobody is. Signing day is bigger at the Hyattsville school than anywhere.

So big that even though the school is closed because of snow today, the administration is still opening up the building and holding a big signing ceremony for its kids and media at noon.

(AFTER THE FOLD: Who’s going where from DeMatha? Where’s that huge kid going? Will he work the Blind Side?  Season ticket money is due for Redskins fans? Did some folks read our charticle?)

Here is a partial list from the school of the DeMatha football players who will be at the ceremony, and where they’re headed on free or partially free rides:

Marcus Coker              RB/LB           6’1”                231                  Iowa

Michael Coley             WR/DB           6’1”               202                  California

Alex Copeland            TE/DE             6/4”                242                  Carnegie Mellon

Austin Bailey                FB/DE            6’0                 247                  Akron

Jacob Geiser               C/DT               6’3”                271                  Delaware

Patrick Harbeson         RB/CB            510”               180                  Virginia

Shane Johnson            OL/DT             6’5:                 297                  Pittsburgh

Jeff Knox                    RB/CB             6/3”                210                  Pittsburgh

Arie Kouandjio           OT/DT             6’5”                306                  Alabama

Kyrrel Latimer            WR/S               6’0                 199                  Virginia

Daniel Tapscott           QB/DB            6’2”                193                  Gannon

Lorenzo Waters           WR/S              6’1”                201                  Rutgers

Koundijio is the biggest kahuna here. A national recruiting war took place for his huge services. You can’t teach 6’5″, 306 lbs., now can you?

Sort of lost in the mass of massive football bodies: At today’s ceremony, seven of DeMatha’s soccer players will also disclose where they’re going to college, as will one track star — Cory Puffett, recognized as the greatest runner in school history, will announce he’s going to Maryland.

I’m guessing ESPNU won’t give care much about Puffett’s destination.


Just after announcing that a real jumbotron will be installed at FedExField at some point between now and next season, the Redskins have mailed out 2010 season ticket invoices to fans.

Over at Dan Snyder‘s message board, extremeskins.com, reaction to the billings has been mixed.

A couple months ago, during Prague Spring for Redskins fans, when longstanding anti-Snyder and anti-Vinny sentiment hit all-time peaks, posters on the board who claimed they weren’t going to renew their tickets outnumbered those who said they would by a massive margin, maybe 10-1.

But Snyder’s done nothing wrong that we know about for a spell. He’s met the number one demand of the insurgents — firing Vinny Cerrato — and pretty much stayed in the background.

And now that the bills have arrived, and its time for those fomenting the discord to actually cut the cord, the tone has changed a bit.

The naysayers are still all over the place:

“Not going to be fooled again,” posted hieverybody. “Craigslist here I come.”

But, Redskins Anonymous gave a similarly standard explanation about why he’s coming back to FedEx: “[The invoice] came with a picture of Vinny’s head on a golden platter; definitely renewing now. On a side note, Vinny had the same blank look in death that he had in life. Actually he looked smarter on the platter. Maybe it was the photo.

Some fans have already spent the money.

From Ned Flanders: “I’ve decided they can have my 6 seats. Even though I have only been a STH for 2 years, I didn’t appreciate being called a liar by the TO when others were being upgraded. I’m only a small fish, but I spent $5k two years in a row = $10k – So I’d like to be treated with at least an ounce of respect…The $2500 savings already has netted me two sweet game used jerseys, so I have no regrets.”

andyburd ain’t ever leaving his rec room again: “I got my invoice in the mail last year for my 50 inch HD,, and love my new upgraded seats.”

It’s almost as if they’d read my charticle in Washington City Paper’s transcendent “Shopping Issue.” (Journalism 101 2K10: Themes are the future of newspapering!)


In case you missed it: Yesterday over at the DC Sports Bog, The Great Dan Steinberg posted his dissertation on the name change from Bullets to Wizards. His timeline and vintage newspaper clips challenge the much-repeated-lately assertion that Abe Pollin dropped “Bullets” for the fantastical and lame current moniker because of the assassination of Itzhak Rabin. It’s a nice piece of work. (Full disclosure: Steinberg and I have mannied together for a few years now, and for nearly half an hour we both once worked on the very same cable TV show.)


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