Elvis Dennah took away plenty of lessons as a junior when his Annapolis Area Christian team won the MIAA B Conference championship. But when the Eagles went 0-10 this fall, the Maryland-bound safety might've learned even more.
"It was definitely tough, definitely a learning experience," Dennah said. "Having an 0-10 season, it makes me not quit and keep fighting, all the way up to the last point. … [Going through a winless season] really shows you [the need to] keep fighting nonstop. I know at the college level you'll probably face much more [adversity] than that. Way more."
Dennah, an all-county and all-league selection, did his best throughout the year to nudge AACS toward the win column, even if his efforts ultimately proved fruitless. The future Terp played several defensive positions – safety, linebacker and defensive end – and never once complained about his changing role.
"Elvis was one of those kids that we really stretched this year," said AACS coach Ken Lucas. "We challenged him and stretched him at the same time. He handled it pretty well. He enjoys being on the field. He wants to be in position to make plays."
Lucas said Dennah – who finished the fall with 53 tackles (47 solo), 10 tackles for loss and four sacks – was just as consistent as a senior as he was one year ago. The improvements he made were mostly related to "the mental aspect of the game." The Maryland coaches, Lucas said, are looking forward to grooming him as the Terps' strong safety of the future.
"They're … very excited about his potential and his ability," Lucas said. "He's a kid with 4.4 speed, [so having him] anywhere on the field is [something coaches get] excited about. Having a kid that runs like that, plays with the tenacity he does, you have to get excited about that."
Dennah has kept busy after the season with his academics, working out, and holding a part-time job at the Shoppers in Bowie. He said he's "looking forward to actually just growing as an athlete and just working hard to earn my starting position. That's what I'm looking forward to, growing as an athlete all the way up to earning my starting spot."
Name: Elvis Dennah
Birthdate: Feb. 5, 1994
Position: Strong safety
High School: Annapolis Area Christian School
Senior statistics: 53 tackles (47 solo), 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, 20-plus receptions, two touchdowns
Rankings: Rivals.com – Two-star prospect. Scout.com – Two-star prospect. ESPN.com – Three-star prospect, No. 30 prospect in Maryland, No. 119 outside linebacker. 247Sports.com – Two-star prospect, No. 47 player in Maryland, No. 152 safety.
Bench max: 295
40-yard dash: 4.4
Other schools considered: Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Favorite NFL player: Ray Lewis and Ed Reed
Favorite NFL team: Washington Redskins
Favorite all-time Terp: Madieu Williams
Favorite movie: Friday Night Lights
Favorite TV show: SportsCenter
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: "It's just a nice, friendly environment."
Other high school sports: "I used to play basketball and baseball."
Hobbies: "If it doesn't deal with football, you will catch me reading at times, hanging out with the fellas, catching up with some friends."
Intended major: Sports management
Something that not many people know about you: "I'm Liberian. My family is from Liberia."
Best football moment: "Winning my first championship last year with Annapolis Area Christian."
Role model: "I wouldn't say I have a set role model, but just people in my life that are big influences on me. Just taking little bits and pieces here and there, it really molded me to who I am. The experiences I went through, it molded me into who I am now."
Why Maryland? "Just because of the amount of support I will have staying in my home state – all the support with my family, friends, my high school coaches, my youth coaches. I was going to miss that leaving the state."