Big day for Eastside (Gainesville) as nine sign college football scholarships
By Jack DaSilva
On Thursday, March 16th, Eastside High School had nine seniors sign to play football at the next level. That’s quite an accomplishment for a football program which went just 1-9 this past season, but that was no indicator of the level of talent on their roster.
The nine Rams who signed were Tra’vis Roberts & William Brown (Webber International), Jason Monroe (Livingston College, NC), Hal Davis, Jr. (Bethune Cookman – Football & Track), Dariaunte Davis (North Carolina Wesleyan), Roman Carter & Ja’v’in Rollins (Mesabi Range College, MN), Calvin Ghee & Marquail Alexander (TBA).
Coach Cedderick Daniels had a heartfelt message for his seniors.
“They were a group of kids who didn’t give up,” he said. “Like I said, we were 1-9 and at any moment in that season they could’ve given up. A lot of these kids come from bad backgrounds, trouble backgrounds and this is their way out; their outlet.”
A lot of high schoolers are unfamiliar with the recruiting process and what goes into signing to play college football. Coach Daniels and the other coaches guided them through the recruitment journey.
“It was a process,” he noted. “I convinced a lot of them to not get discouraged because [national] signing day only meant that’s the first day to sign. I told them ‘trust me and allow things to happen’ and we had a recruiting fair. These kids had schools biting at them and they decided where they wanted to go; I didn’t put any pressure on them.”
You could tell by watching the way Coach Daniels interacted with his players and the way these nine seniors interacted with each other that this was a close team. Daniels kept referring to the team’s trip to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp as a big influence on their closeness. The FCA Camp is a summer camp before the season starts where players get together and bond over the course of a few days.
“It’s a three-day religious/football camp,” Daniels said. “We don’t force them to do it but what it is, is a team-bonding situation. We play football three times a day, we go to church twice a day and they’re fully fed.”
Regardless of which team you affiliate with it’s great to see kids from the area going to college to play football. The Eastside Rams had a tough season but the future is promising evidenced by the nine seniors that signed this past week.