February 01, 2017
Nineteen young men wearing orange jerseys sat at a long table in the Delaware Valley Charter High School gym on Wednesday to talk about their futures.
While much of the National Signing Day attention focuses on what big-name program recruited the most five-star prospects, this event at a high school located on Old York Road not too far from Albert Einstein Medical Center was a source of pride for different reasons.
According to Principal Michelle Brown – she high-fived all of the players before speaking to the assembled crowd of parents, coaches and teammates – it’s the first time Del Val has hosted a “signing day” event.
“I’m emotional,” she said as the players announced what colleges and universities they will attend for academics and athletics in the next school year. “This gives a sense of hope for children following behind them, and it’s a great morale booster for our whole community.”
The Del Val Warriors had a successful season, finishing 8-5. Their last game was a 36-22 loss in the state 3A quarterfinals to Notre Dame-Green Pond (Easton).
To hear Coach Troy Gore tell it, though, it was a roller-coaster ride of a season.
As the season was getting underway, Gore voiced concerns that a dearth of Public League media coverage could hinder his players’ abilities to get noticed by recruiters.
He continued banging that drum all fall, and was clearly able to help facilitate recruiters seeing his players.
“It feels awesome. We faced a lot of adversity to be able to make it to this day,” said Gore, who’s coached at Del Val for the past three seasons. “Now, these young men are all accepted and they’re all going to some sort of school next year.”
Gore personally introduced and offered life details on each player, including one who has a son for whom he works to provide.
“He had an opportunity to make a living on the streets but he didn’t do it,” Gore said of Zamir Davis, alluding to the drug trade that sidetracks many urban young men. “He made every practice. There was a snow day last year and I didn’t feel like leaving the house. I look at Facebook and there he is walking through the snow, going to work to make money to support his son. That inspired me.”
Donte Riley, the program’s offensive coordinator, said helping these young men find success in the future was the point all along, more so than wins and losses on the field.
“The most important thing we wanted was for our kids to go to college,” he said. “This right here is beautiful to me.”
The 19 Del Val seniors who declared on “Senior Signing Day” are:
Ari Long: ASA Community College
Asadiq Dejesus: Morgan State University (by way of ASA)
Basim Rutledge: Undecided
Brandon Pierce: Saint Francis University
Christian Davis: Lock Haven University
Corey Alston: Bloomsburg University
Dashawn Boswell: Wesley College
FritzKelly Edmond: California University of Pennsylvania
Isaiah Jones: Wesley College
Jymair Littles: Wesley College
Kyree Wade: Lackawanna College
Marlon Smith: Undecided
Mauice McCray: University of Maine
Nyshir Mackee: ASA Community College
Shaheed Ross: Juniata College
ShierRon Wittaker: University of New Hampshire
Stephon Dowling: Wesley College
Tyler Hall: Millersville Univerity
Zamir Davis: Millersville University