Top athletes look for a good sign; Patterson's Crawford among host of locals committing to colleges


Some key athletes from area high schools will sign national letters of intent today, the start of the early signing period for football and several other sports.

Leading the list of locals who will sign are: Patterson's All-Baltimore City/County running back-linebacker Michael Crawford; McDonogh's girls soccer All-American midfielder Marissa Schuchat; Loyola's All-Metro boys soccer midfielder Marcus Johnson; Centennial's two-time All-Metro volleyball player Lisa Chapman; and Severna Park's All-Metro field hockey player Sara Zuckerman.

Crawford will sign with Virginia Tech on a full scholarship today at Patterson. He scored 22 touchdowns for the City East Division champion Clippers (10-1).

"They really made me feel like I was at home and a part of the family," said Crawford.

All-Metro defensive lineman Ralph Henry, who carried a 3.4 grade-point average and had 30 sacks last fall for Class 3A state runner-up Eastern Tech, is headed for the Naval Academy's Prep School.

Two other Eastern Tech players will sign for full scholarships today: All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year Ray Jones, with Villanova, and two-time All-Metro Anthony Lawston, with Georgia Tech.

Jones scored 30 touchdowns and rushed for 2,200 yards last fall. Lawston, a four-year starting wide receiver and defensive back, had 25 career touchdown receptions and 19 career interceptions.

Maryland will receive the signatures for full scholarships from John Carroll's All-Metro Scooter Monroe -- the program's first-ever Division I football signee -- and Meade's Andrew Smith. Both players are wide receiver/running back/defensive back prospects.

From top-ranked Gilman, defensive back Sina Ekundayo and linebacker Henry Russell will sign with Navy. Russell earned second-team All-Metro honors with 12 sacks, and Ekundayo had a team-high six interceptions.

Dunbar's three-time All-Metro wide receiver Chris Barnes will sign for a full scholarship to Boston College. "Boston came out right up front and offered the scholarship in July," said Barnes. "I'm very thankful for that."

For City, All-Metro wide receiver Bryant Johnson is signing today with Penn State for a full scholarship; Perry Hall's All-Metro running back Marquis Dwarte is signing for a full scholarship to the University of Buffalo; Calvert Hall's All-Metro linebacker Greg Smoot will sign today for a full scholarship to Connecticut; and McDonogh kicker Cap Poklemba, for a full ride to Temple.

Schuchat, The Sun's All-Metro girls soccer Player of the Year, will sign to play at James Madison University. She scored 28 goals and added 19 assists to lead the No. 1 Eagles to the Catholic League A tournament championship in the fall.

Also signing in girls soccer are Hammond goalie Lindsey Mitchell, Catholic's Allison Merkle, Arundel's Kelly Jordan, Glenelg's Jamie Epperlein, Hereford's Melissa Mueller and North Carroll's Stephanie Rogers.

Mitchell, a first-team All-Metro goalie, will sign for a partial scholarship to attend Kent State in Kent, Ohio.

The co-Player of the Year in Howard County, Mitchell led the Golden Bears to the Class 1A state championship with three shootout victories in the playoffs. The four-year starter finished the season with 133 saves, 14 shutouts and only 10 goals against.

Merkle, on the All-Metro's first team the past three seasons as a midfielder, will sign to play at Boston University. She finished the season with 12 goals and six assists despite splitting time in the goal.

Mueller, another first-team All-Metro performer as a striker, will sign for a full scholarship to play at Towson University this fall. Last fall, she scored 25 goals and had 12 assists to lead the Bulls to the Baltimore County title game and the region final.

Jordan, a three-time All-Metro striker, is headed for North Carolina State after earning All-Americahonors.

Epperlein, another goalie, will sign a partial scholarship to attend the University of Rhode Island.

North Carroll's Rogers is signing today with Lehigh.

In boys soccer, Loyola's Johnson is headed for North Carolina State on a full scholarship. "They came out to a couple of high school games and saw me play, and they offered the day after Halloween," said Johnson, a 3.3 student who will major in engineering.

McDonogh's All-Metro Player of the Year Jon Cole will sign today with Virginia, and Eagles teammate Vinnie Ciarpella, a two-time All-Metro defender, will sign with Richmond on a scholarship.

Chapman will sign a grant-in-aid to attend Towson, which lands its second straight volleyball All-Metro Player of the Year. She will join two former Centennial teammates at Towson: freshmen Briana Zolak, The Sun's 1997 Player of the Year, and Marcy Cangiano.

The Sun's All-Metro Player of The Year last fall, Chapman was part of three consecutive state championship teams at Centennial. At Towson, she received an academic scholarship her first year and an athletic scholarship for the next three.

Zuckerman, The Sun's Metro Player of the Year as a midfielder, will sign to play at James Madison after leading the No. 2 Falcons to their second straight Class 4A state championship.

Sun staff writers Glenn P. Graham, Pat O'Malley, Stan Rappaport and John W. Stewart contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 2/03/99

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