Three Howland football players will represent three different collegiate levels.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HOWLAND -- Howland High celebrated the achievements and advancement of three outstanding football players Wednesday afternoon at a press conference at the school.
"We have three distinct young men going to three different schools that represent three levels," said coach Dick Angle during his introductions of captains Maurice Smith-Davis, James Justice and Eric Rhodes, who all signed letters-of-intent.
Smith-Davis, a running back and outside linebacker, will attend Michigan State; Justice, a defensive back and tailback, is headed for Mercyhurst; while Rhodes, a linebacker, will go to Thiel. The three schools represent Divisions I, I-AA and III, respectively.
"I'll have a good chance to play. I'll get a shot a running back. I'd like to play offense," said Smith-Davis, who rushed for 1,249 yards for a 6.5-yard average, and scored eight TDs. He also had six quarterback sacks.
Smith-Davis has a 2.7 grade-point average and wants to study business and agriculture.
Follows Datish to Big Ten
Angle said that Smith-Davis is the second Howland player going to the Big Ten in two years, noting that offensive lineman Doug Datish went to Ohio State last year, and was a redshirt last season.
Justice said he picked Mercyhurst because it's close to home, not too big and has a good hotel management program.
"I want to major in hotel management. They have the second-best program in nation," said Justice, who rushed for 700 yards and scored eight TDs. He also had four interceptions and was the team's third-leading tackler.
Justice, who has a 2.1 GPA, also was attracted by a friendly coaching staff and Will Sheily, a Howland graduate who is on the Mercyhurst football team.
Rhodes needed only a visit to Thiel to clinch his decision.
"It didn't take long to convince me to go there," said Rhodes, who liked the personal interest shown in him by the Thiel coaches.
Rhodes was Howland's leading tackler with 110 hits, and had four QB sacks. He has a 3.0 GPA and wants to study business and education.
Angle said two-way tackle Ryne Nutt has not yet decided which college he will attend.