Em­bark­ing on a new jour­ney

North Point’s Wil­son signs with Old Do­min­ion, McMil­lan with Fair­mont State

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Sit­ting next to Malachi McMil­lan in the North Point High School gym­na­sium sur­rounded by fam­ily, friends and school ad­min­is­tra­tors, Keisean Wil­son rem­i­nisced a bit about how the two be­came close over the last few years, the strides they’ve made in the Ea­gles’ foot­ball pro­gram and con­ver­sa­tions about play­ing at the next level.

The pair, who capped their high school foot­ball ca­reers by lead­ing the pro­gram to its se­cond straight South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Po­tomac Divi­sion ti­tle and a Class 4A East Re­gion play­off berth, will have even fu­ture things to rem­i­nisce about as they of­fi­cially inked their na­tional let­ters of in­tent to play col­lege foot­ball on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, part of Na­tional Sign­ing Day.

Wil­son signed to play at NCAA Divi­sion I’s Old Do­min­ion Univer­sity in Nor­folk, Va., while McMil­lan will be headed to Divi­sion II out­fit Fair­mont State Univer­sity in Fair­mont, W.Va.

“More than any­thing they are both good foot­ball play­ers and they are good stu­dents in the class­room and those two things are highly im­por­tant,” North Point head foot­ball coach Tom Pe­tre said. “They are good kids and they come from good fam­i­lies. I’ve known them since they were in mid­dle school and from a foot­ball stand­point we are go­ing to miss them next year.”

Wil­son, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound All-SMAC and All-County line­backer, had Divi­sion I of­fers from

In­di­ana, Syra­cuse, Tem­ple, Appa- lachian State, U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy, but stayed with his de­ci­sion of go­ing to Old Do­min­ion, where he com­mit­ted to head­ing into his se­nior sea­son.

Old Do­min­ion, which com­petes in Con­fer­ence USA, is com­ing off of a 10-3 sea­son and the pro­gram’s first bowl game and vic­tory, a 24-20 win over East­ern Michi­gan in the Popey- es Ba­hamas Bowl. The Mon­archs, one of 26 FBS pro­grams to reach the 10-win plateau, fin­ished the sea­son ranked in the top-10 in the coun­try in six sta­tis­ti­cal cat­e­gories.

“It feels great. This gives me a chance to get four more years of ed­u­ca­tion for free,” Wil­son said. “I have the op­por­tu­nity to play the game I love, which is foot­ball and pre­pare my­self for life af­ter foot­ball. I’ve known Malachi since the end of my sopho­more year and it is great to be able to us come this far. It has been a long road.”

Old Do­min­ion de­fen­sive co­ordi- na­tor Rich Nagy and run­ning backs coach Charles Bank­ins vis­ited Wil- son at North Point on Jan. 26. Wil­son then took his of­fi­cial visit over the week­end and, ac­cord­ing to his Twit­ter ac­count, stated, “En­joyed my of­fi­cial visit, feels like home al- ready!”

Wil­son, who was a three-year starter at North Point, col­lected 215 to­tal tack­les, 70 solo, with 12 sacks for his ca­reer. He had 85 tack­les in his se­nior sea­son.

“Through­out this re­cruit­ing process, they were the most gen­uine team and the coaches care about their re­cruits ath­let­i­cally and aca- dem­i­cally,” said Wil­son, who will ma­jor in en­gi­neer­ing. “I re­ally en­joyed my time on the [of­fi­cial] visit [Jan. 21 and 22]. It was a great envi- ron­ment and a great fit.”

McMil­lan, who was a dy­namic ath­lete player in all three phases for North Point in his se­nior sea­son with six to­tal touch­downs, com­ing on of­fense and spe­cial teams, with two in­ter­cep­tions in the se­condary.

The Ea­gles wide re­ceiver and de­fen­sive back re­ceived of­fers Cen­tral Con­necti­cut, New Hamp­shire, Rhode Is­land and Shep­herd Univer­sity (W.Va.).

“It was a sign of re­lief for me to sign to play foot­ball and get an ed­u­ca­tion,” said McMil­lan, who was a All-SMAC and All-County se­lec­tion last fall. “Lead­ing up sign­ing day I was lit­tle ner­vous, but ex­cited at the same time.”

Fair­mont State, a mem­ber of the Moun­tain East Con­fer­ence, ended last fall with a 10-2 over­all record and its first-ever berth in the NCAA D-II Play­offs.

West­lake’s Opiyo, Greer sign

Over at West­lake, Ma­lik Opiyo and Dion­dre Greer each signed their na­tional let­ter of in­tent Wed­nes­day.

Opiyo, a strong safety and slot­back, is headed to Alder­son Broad­dus Univer­sity in West Vir­ginia, while Greer, a de­fen­sive end, is en route to Saint Fran­cis Univer­sity in Penn­syl­va­nia.

West­lake is plan­ning a cer­e­mony to honor their com­mit­ments at a later date.

STAFF PHOTO BY AJ MA­SON

North Point High School se­niors Malachi McMil­lan and Keisean Wil­son signed their na­tional let­ters of in­tent on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, part of Na­tional Sign­ing Day. McMil­lan will be head­ing to NCAA Divi­sion II Fair­mont State Univer­sity (W.Va.) and Wil­son is go­ing to Divi­sion I Old Do­min­ion Univer­sity (Va.). Sit­ting, from left, are Malachi McMil­lan and Keisean Wil­son. Stand­ing are North Point head foot­ball coach Tom Pe­tre, McMil­lan’s mother Eartha McMil­lan, Wil­son mother SaLee Wil­son, Wil­son’s father Kerwin Wil­son and North Point vice prin­ci­pal Daniel Kaple.

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