Following his first season as the head football coach at McDonough High School, Brock Virts may not have guided the Rams to the postseason, but he does have a number of players who are heading to college to play on the gridiron.
Virts, who spent the 2019-2020 school year as the School Resource Officer at St. Charles High School, is still awaiting on his assignment for the upcoming year. But in the meantime he has seen a number of his former McDonough players commit to various colleges this fall and has several others pending.
“I can’t say enough about the group of seniors that I had at McDonough my first year,” said Virts, who is hoping to assigned to that school this year as the school’s resource officer. “There were a number of guys who played all four years for the program and they were good leaders for the younger kids last year. Now some of them are going to get the chance to play in college.”
Denzel Thomas, who played much of last season with a broken foot, committed to Chowan University in North Carolina, an NCAA Division II school. Last fall, Thomas led the Rams with 341 rushing yards on 85 carries with one touchdown. He also had three catches for 41 yards despite playing the last eight games on a broken foot that was initially diagnosed as a high ankle sprain.
“Denzel got hurt in the first game down at Chopticon,” Virts said. “Initially, he was told it was a high ankle sprain, but after the season was over he found out it was broken. He was our main running back, but we didn’t get to run the ball as much as we would have liked. But he’s going to do well at Chowan, both on the field and in the classroom.”
Wide receiver C.J. McNeill, who caught 15 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns and added 30 tackles, two forced fumbles and one sack on defense, is headed to Wingate University, also an NCAA Division II school in North Carolina.
Wingate is scheduled to host Chowan on Sept. 5 in the season opener for both teams.
“C.J. was on the verge of having a great season, but our quarterback got hurt early in the season and we converted one of our wide receivers to quarterback,” Virts said. “But C.J. did everything we asked of him. He made plays for us on both sides of the ball.”
Demetrius Salley Jr., the school’s male athlete of the year for 2019-2020, is staying in state as he is headed to Stevenson University this fall, an NCAA Division III school in Owings Mills. Salley played tight end on offense and either defensive end or defensive tackle.
“Demetrius is another kid that worked hard and did everything we asked him to, Virts added. “He played tight end when we added a tight end and he spent most of his time at defensive end, but he also got to see some time at defensive tackle.”
Stevenson is scheduled to open its 2020 season on Sept. 3 at Johns Hopkins.