Signings aplenty at St. Charles football
Mourtaj headed to Delaware State, Stewart-Dinkins off to Howard among seven Spartans seniors who committed
In contrast to the threatening skies and rumbles of thunder outside that signaled the arrival of a pending storm, a genuine sense of calmness, serenity and celebration filled the auditorium inside St. Charles High School on May 1.
Despite still being in its infancy, the St. Charles High School football team had seven seniors commit to the next level, much to the delight of their family, friends and teammates and Spartans head coach Avery Williams. The signing ceremony in the auditorium featured speeches and applause that countered the storm surrounding Waldorf.
“When me and my coaching staff started with the program three years ago, one of our primary goals was getting the players a chance to someday fulfill their dreams of playing college football,” Williams said. “It’s great to see so many guys from one class get that chance. A lot of them were only with me a short period of time, but they bought into what we wanted to do, on and off the field.”
Mourtaj, who played only one season with the Spartans, signed with Delaware State University, n NCAA Division-I FCS school, where he plans to major in business administration. Mourtaj spent his freshman year at North Point and played basketball for two seasons at St. Charles before shifting his allegiance to football.
“This past season I really learned a lot from the coaches about football,” Mourtaj said. “They really allowed me to display my talents. I never imagined that I could get a football scholarship off one year of playing. I always thought basketball was my passion, but football became my top sport.”
In addition to Mourtaj signing with Delaware State, Saevon Stewart-Dinkins inked with Howard University. Marlon Brown Jr. and Jeromy Sayles are headed to Alvernia University (Pa.), an NCAA Division-III school. Jeffrey Hughes Jr. is heading to NAIA’s Bluefield College (Va.), an NAIA Division-I school, as is Quenten Stuart, while Keith Witherspoon signed with Trinity International University (Ill.), an NAIA Division-I school.
While Mourtaj was new to the program last fall, Hughes has been a major contributor to the team for the past three seasons. Overshadowed slightly by tailback William Kwenkeu, now at Temple University, in 2014 and 2015, Hughes was able to display his talents in a variety of ways last season for the Spartans on offense, defense and special teams.
“Every game for me meant a lot, but the two most memorable games were our last two homecoming game wins,” Hughes said. “We got better every season. I was always glad to contribute. Our coaches did a great job. This program is still new, but we were able to compete with a lot of bigger schools. Now I’m looking forward to playing at the next level.”
While Hughes was a proven commodity for the past three seasons and newcomer Mourtaj was born and raised in Charles County, Stewart-Dinkins was a genuine transplant in the area after spending most of his youth in Anchorage, Alaska. While not the state capital, Anchorage is the biggest city in Alaska and not dissimilar with Waldorf.
“It was easy to adapt to the area because Waldorf is a lot like Anchorage,” Stewart-Dinkins said. “Football here is a lot better. But I learned a lot my one year here. I felt right at home. The players and the coaches welcomed me in. I got the same feeling at Howard. I felt like they wanted me to come there and contribute to the team right away.”
St. Charles High School High School senior Merwan Mourtaj, seated, signed his National Letter of Intent on May 1 to attend Delaware State University to play football. Standing behind him are brother Mehdi Mourtaj, sister Zeynab Mourtaj and mother Sara Ghebre.
St. Charles High School senior Saevon Stewart-Dinkins signed his National Letter of Intent on May 1 to attend Howard University to continue his academic and athletic career after spending the early portion of his youth growing up in Anchorage, Alaska.