SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Four stars of the state champion South Brunswick Vikings football team will go to Division 1 colleges.
Around 200 family, friends, students and staff filled the high school cafeteria Wednesday afternoon to celebrate a record four student athletes getting full football scholarships to Division 1 schools.
Phillip Campbell, a star on both offense and defense, is heading to Pittsburgh, Mohamed Jabbie, star receiver and nephew of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, and SBHS alumnus, Mohamed Sanu is following his uncle’s legacy by attending Rutgers University, Wendell Allen will be playing as a safety for Monmouth University, and defensive lineman, Dillon Donaldson will be taking his talents in the trenches to Wagner College in New York.
All of the players signed their respective paperwork at 7 a.m. this morning, in accordance with NCAA rules, faxing the paperwork to each school by around 7:01 a.m., Athletic Director Elaine McGrath said.
While the signing part of the celebration may have been staged, the excitement and enthusiasm of the assembled crowd was anything but.
Family members hugged the stars and fellow students offered rounds of applause and high-fives to the scholars.
McGrath said that it is very rare to see players make the cut to play in Division 1 schools, with some 1 million high school football players competing for only 19,500 division 1 football scholarships nationwide.
“Today is a little extra special for the South Brunswick community,” McGrath said. “For four student athletes to sign Division 1 scholarships is a rarity, and four to have the same high school really is a tremendous, tremendous, boost to our program and the work (Head) Coach (Joe) Goerge has done.”
Goerge, who led this year’s team to its second state championship in four years, and third championship game appearance, congratulated the players and their families, as well as recognizing the teachers, staff and fellow students for supporting the football program that “goes above and beyond.”
“They are outstanding young men and outstanding players,” Goerge said. “Their best years are still ahead of them. This is a great day, an exciting day, and the kind of day we would like to see regularly in South Brunswick.”
Campbell’s choice of going to Pitt instead of Rutgers, had already made some national sports headlines.
“They are a great organization,” Campbell said. “I just loved everything about it.”
Campbell said he would be primarily used as a defensive safety, but would also do some things on offense as well.
“I definitely love hitting people, so I love (playing) defense,” Campbell said. “I can always turn it into an offensive play too. It is great that I get the opportunity to do both.”
Jabbie will be trying to follow in the footsteps of his uncle Sanu as a receiver for the Scarlet Knights.
“I’m going to be playing offense, so I’m taking my talent there,” Jabbie said. “I’m excited about the new football program getting started (at Rutgers) with the new coaching staff.”
Jabbie, who plans on majoring in communications and minoring in entrepreneurship, said that Rutgers is his “dream school,” and that he feels “really honored” to play there.
With his uncle able to pass from the wildcat formation for the Bengals, both Sanu, who attended the signing, and Jabbie said it would be “really cool” if they could team up for a passing tandem in the NFL.
Sanu said the athletes just need focus and attention to detail to hopefully make it to the pros as he did.
“They all have the tools,” Sanu said. They are all athletic and very smart.”
Sanu said he was very proud of Jabbie and his plan to follow the legacy at Rutgers.
“I am very proud of him,” Sanu said. “He came a long way. He has so much room to grow and so much potential. I think he will be one of the greatest at Rutgers.”
Wendell Allen said that one reason he chose Monmouth University is that it is “in my backyard,” allowing him to visit home regularly.
“They were the first school to offer to me, and I take a lot of pride in that,” Allen said. “They have a lot of faith in me and were the first to go and make that move on me. It is a great atmosphere over there.”
Like Campbell, Allen is dangerous on both sides of the ball and will be used primarily on defense, but will also be brought out in some offensive situations.
Donaldson made his mark grinding out games as a defensive tackle on the line, and looks forward to taking his game to a higher level at Wagner, where he plans to go into the pre-med program.
“Wagner was a good fit for me due to its proximity to home and my ability to play on a regular basis,” Donaldson said. “That really influenced my decision.”
Donaldson said that the school, and football program welcomed him quickly when he visited and the other players immediately bonded with him even though they had not met before.
“The brotherhood (feeling) was important,” he said.
All four of these players said that brotherhood feeling would also be the thing they would miss the most about leaving the South Brunswick program.
“We have been playing together since we were kids,” Allen said. “That is going to be hard to leave.”
But make no mistake, if these comrades in arms face each other on opposite sides of the field, there will be no mercy.
“Of course, I will hit Phil (Campbell),” Allen said with a smile. “We are all boys. Once the pass is on, there are no friends.”
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