National Signing Day 2020: Where the DMV's best high school football players are going

Chad Ricardo
·4 min read

Where the DMV's top high school football players are signing originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Though the coronavirus pandemic has stolen much of the joy from the DMV’s 2020 high school sports season, National Signing Day provided student-athletes with an occasion to smile and celebrate.

On Wednesday, many of the top talents in the region gathered in small groups or virtually to declare where they’ll be spending the next four years of their lives, forgetting, if even for a moment, about what they’ve lost since March and instead focusing on all they have to look forward to.

The consensus top-ranked quarterback in the country, Caleb Williams, is officially a Sooner. The Gonzaga product is the crowned-jewel of Oklahoma’s nationally 7th ranked recruiting class.

After verbally committing, Williams, NBC Sports Washington’s 2019 Offensive Player of the Year, set a goal of recruiting the DMV’s top talent to venture with him to Norman, and thus far he has succeeded. Wise’s dynamic 4-star wide receiver, Jalil Farooq is Boomer Sooner bound, as are Highland Springs’ 4-star defenders, defensive end Kelvin Gilliam and defensive back Damond Harmon.

Robinson’s 5-star offensive tackle, Tristan Leigh, is thought to be leaning towards the Sooners as well. He will announce his decision in early January.

It was a big day for the University of Maryland, as coach Mike Locksley and crew #LOCKEDIn an impressive 2021 class, and in doing so, took another step towards turning the Terps' shell around.

As a collective, the defensive line unit Maryland signed is amongst the deepest in the country. The group begins with 247Sports top-ranked student-athlete in the state of Maryland, DeMeioun Robinson of Quince Orchard. Robinson is a 6’3", 220-pound edge with freakish athleticism and a first step that leaves defensive coordinators salivating. Next to him is 4-star defensive tackle, Taizse Johnson, a two-year captain with St. John’s who projects to be ready to contribute on day one. Flowers’ defensive tackle, Tommy Akingbesote has tremendous size, defensive end, Zion Shockley of St. Frances, is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential and though UMD lost out on tackle, Marcus Bradley — who signed with Vanderbilt, alongside, National Christian’s Terion Sugick — they were able to replace him with 3-star, Andre Porter of Ballou.

On the field, the Terps have been explosive at times on offense this season and NSD added more weapons to the arsenal. 3-stars, wide receiver Tai Felton (Stone Bridge), athlete Jayon Venerable (Spalding), tight ends Leron Husbands (Carroll) and Joe Bearns (St. Frances) and running backs Colby McDonald and Antwain Littleton of St. John’s all signed.

Although the Terps were ultimately unable to flip Greg Penn (DeMatha), who signed with LSU, they did land 4-star linebacker, Branden Jennings, who had been committed to Michigan. In all, the Terps boast the #19 recruiting class in the country, a vast improvement from last year's ranking of 31st.

Penn State’s 2021 recruiting class ranks just 21st in the country, comparatively, last year they ranked 15th. Though #WeAre nation may be down on the totality of the Nittany Lions class, they have reason to be excited about the three signings from the DMV.

Good Counsel’s Landon Tengwall is as good as it gets. At 6’6", 300-pounds, he has the versatility to play tackle or guard and is in line to compete for a starting spot as soon as he embarks upon Happy Valley.  4-star safety, Zakee Wheatley (Spalding) and 3-star quarterback, Christian Veilleux (Bullis) have also signed with Penn State.

The Big Ten’s Ohio State touts the #2 ranked recruiting class in the country, bolstered by the signing of 5-star Treveyon Henderson of Hopewell, 247Sports’ top-rated running back, as well as 4-star defensive tackle, Tyleik Williams of Unity Reed. 4-star defensive end Monkell Goodwine of Rock Creek Christian signed with Alabama, helping the Tide secure the #1 overall class.

In other signings of note, running back Aaron Jones of Walter Johnson is headed to UPenn. Jones, who was born deaf, rushed for 1,245 yards last season, leading the Wildcats to the playoffs. Defensive end, Colin Mobley of DeMatha signed with Southern Cal, and Flower’s defensive back, Jalen “Buck” McCain made it official with Old Dominion. Lake Braddock quarterback Billy Edwards, who was previously committed to the Monarchs, joined Ryken defensive back Dez Williams in signing with Wake Forest. Williams’ Ryken teammate Will Johnson signed with Virginia Tech.