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Grassroots Alums Getting It Done

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3 of the best student athletes to come through the Grassroots Machine.  Eric Burrell (2012 GYFL MVP), Ellison Jordan (2011 Defensive POY) & Steven Smothers (2012 Top WR) 3 of the best student athletes to come through the Grassroots Machine. Eric Burrell (2012 GYFL MVP), Ellison Jordan (2011 Defensive POY) & Steven Smothers (2012 Top WR)

The following Document represents the Grassroots Track Record.  Section #1 is an article from the Baltimore Sun that illustrates how the system works and how 3 of our top Alums from 2012 benefited from it.  Section #2 is a document we put together to track the progress of our Alums on the College Recruiting Circuit.  It is quite impressive in 7 short years.  The lists are partial, as we have many more, but I pulled the data from the Washington Post Recruit Watch Section and it is not always updated with every player.  Alums, if I have missed anyone, please send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that I can update the list, from any of the years!!!

The GYFL is anything but a Youth Football League.  We start at the relationships at the youth football level through partnerships with some of the best youth organizations and coaches in the DMV.  They develop the athletes from the start.  We partner with them at the middle school level and begin our cradle to grave philosophy of helping them make successful transitions into life afters football, by using football to open doors nobody can close. We believe a college degree is a helpful tool in that process and we desire to maximize the chances for all of our alums to compete for a chance to receive a scholarship. It is really that simple.  It is complex process that starts at middle school.

We help them get to the best High Schools to maximize their development and exposure.  We help them get to the best colleges and universities to prepare them for their futures on and off the field.  Then we help them transition into the real world.  We started this concept 7 years ago, so our first class of alums are in their 3rd years in college right now.  Our second class are sophomores in college. Our third class of alums are College freshman.  You see 3 of them in the photo and the first article is about them.  Our fourth class of alums just signed National Letters of Intents to colleges all across the country.  

This document explains very clearly why you want your son to be a part of the Grassroots family.  See for yourself and if you see what we see, there are some action steps that you need to take immediately at the end to maximize your son's chances of being next on this list.


For trio of top football recruits, junior year filled with opportunities, potential pitfalls

By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun


6:01 p.m. EDT, September 30, 2014


Steven Smothers' cell phone started dancing just a few seconds past midnight on Sept. 1.


The Franklin junior had switched his phone to vibrate, but he didn't ignore it, knowing college football coaches could begin contacting Class of 2016 prospects via text message, email and social media immediately after midnight.


Smothers, a dazzling All-Metro wide receiver and return man, had good reason to expect a few messages. After the first one from Rutgers, he saw about a dozen more before turning in.


Gilman's Ellison Jordan never heard his early messages arrive. The exceptionally-skilled All-Metro defensive tackle had already called it a night. The next morning, he lit up his phone to nearly a dozen messages.


McDonogh's stellar safety Eric Burrell didn't expect to hear from anyone at that hour. His phone was on vibrate too, but the first pulse caught his attention. It was 20 after 12 and it was Michigan State.


Since then, the electronic messages have continued and a lot of snail mail — 60 pieces in one day for Smothers — has arrived as the college recruiting process takes a giant leap forward for the trio. All are four-star prospects ranked in the top 112 of ESPN's Junior 300.


Now that they're into well their junior seasons, they're thinking more seriously about where they want to play college football as more coaches make scholarship offers. They have until signing day, Feb. 3, 2016, to decide and until then, The Baltimore Sun will follow Smothers, Jordan and Burrell as each works to improve his game while considering which college will be the best fit athletically, academically and socially.


Whether they realized it or not, the college recruiting process began for Smothers, Jordan and Burrell when they were still in middle school. All three played in the Grassroots Youth Football League, a magnet for the area's top young players. Coaches from the local private high schools mine the league for talent to fill their rosters and college scouts peg the players with the potential to play for them five or six years down the road.


Before they get to high school, their talent and their potential has already put them "on the radar," said Adam Friedman, a recruiting analyst for who played football at River Hill and is familiar with all three prospects.


"Once they start playing in their first team practices as freshmen or play in that first game as freshmen, you get a good look at them and see how far along they are," Friedman said. "You can really judge their potential from there and that's when their first offers can start coming in."


Each received his first college scholarship offer as a freshman. Since then, they've filled out questionnaires, gone to camps and forwarded video highlights to college coaches, bringing more offers.


Smothers has almost 20 offers, Jordan has more than 10 and Burrell has around five. They've begun to pinpoint a few favorites, but they're not in a hurry to commit. All three said they plan to take it slow, a strategy their parents support. They'll each make up to five official visits and as many unofficial visits as they want before deciding on one.


That's no easy task as they try to balance their football dreams with the reality that, according to the NFL Players Association, only 0.2 percent of high school seniors in a given year make it to the league. Most of those players have short careers — about three-and-a-half years, on average.


The junior year is pivotal in the recruiting process. They have emerged among the top players in the country, but college coaches will look closely at their performances and whether they're living up to the potential that showed when they were middle schoolers.


Friedman pointed out three major pitfalls they'll need to avoid this school year.


"No. 1 is if you commit too early and you realize that school isn't for you or the coaches change after the season or you get hurt, then what?" Friedman said. "Then, academically, they can't fall behind. As much as they are into the football season and into the recruiting, none of it matters if they don't have the grades, and I see that far too often where kids just forget about that stuff.


"The third one is on the field. If they don't perform like they're expected to for one reason or another — whether it be a family situation or they're struggling in the classroom or there's an off-field incident — that can really submarine everything they've built."


Smothers: 'I'm really having fun'


Smothers, No. 89 in ESPN's Junior 300, returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown in Franklin's season opener, adding to his many highlights from last season, including a soaring leap in the end zone for a touchdown in the state final to help the Indians seal their first championship.


With his speed and explosive moves, Smothers is being courted by many top FBS programs. He told Friedman two weeks on Sept. 15 that West Virginia, Alabama, defending national champ Florida State, Florida and Rutgers were his top five. He also has three dream schools: Miami, Oregon and Southern California, and his initial contact letters from them hang on his bedroom wall.


At 5-feet-10, 160 pounds, Smothers might be small, but he believes he can make it to the NFL. His speed just might get him there.


He has been unofficially clocked at a blistering 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has been dubbed Tavon 2.0 after former Dunbar and West Virginia star Tavon Austin, who is also small but fast and is now a St. Louis Ram. Like Austin, Smothers can run the ball, catch the ball and return kicks.


Over the summer, Smothers worked hard on and off the field to bring in more offers, going to camps and playing in 7-on-7. He also contacted coaches he hadn't heard from and sent video to pique their interest.


He doesn't feel any pressure at this point. He wants to see how many offers he can get.


"I'm just still figuring it out. Most dudes would be like, 'I can't take the constant phone calls and the mail,' but I'm really having fun with the process," Smothers said.


Jordan: 'I don't let it go to my head'


The list is growing for Jordan too. West Virginia, Rutgers and North Carolina extended offers on the same day last week, adding to those from Maryland, Michigan State, Georgia TechVirginia Tech and others.


He's also drawing attention from programs such as Alabama, Penn State, Tennessee, Miami, Kentucky and Nebraska.


At 6-feet-1 and 260 pounds, he's undersized for a defensive tackle, but that just motivates Jordan, who has the technique and agility that can make up the difference beyond the high school level. He also has the moves to carry the ball at fullback, breaking one of the Greyhounds' best runs in the nationally-televised season opener at St. Edward in Ohio.


While Jordan, rated No. 112 in ESPN's Junior 300, said he would love to play in the NFL, he's more focused on setting himself up for a strong college career. He and his parents have alleviated the pressure by taking a systematic approach to considering the offers he's receiving.


"When coaches are saying you're really, really good, I'm really appreciative of that," said Jordan, adding that all recruits hear the same thing. ."I don't let it go to my head, because if you let it go to your head, your production's going to fall off. … You've got to realize everybody was the big fish in the pond back in high school, but like my mom and dad told me, every level you go to is going to be a bigger pond."


Burrell: 'I need to ... keep getting better'


At McDonogh, Burrell is on the brink of his break-out season. Overshadowed last fall on an 11-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship team deep in defensive talent, he continues to play free safety with the ball skills of a receiver, and he can also play in the box.


He is the top Baltimore player ranked in ESPN's Junior 300 at No. 80 and is the No. 5 safety recruit in the country. While his recruiting lags a bit behind Smothers and Jordan, McDonogh coach Dom Damico expects bigger offers to come for Burrell who had an interception and a touchdown catch in the 31-20 loss Saturday at LaSalle (Pa.).


Two weeks ago, he got an offer from Boston College and his mail in the last few weeks has been full of recruiting letters from schools such as Oregon, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida State, Purdue and West Virginia.


He said he doesn't have a dream school and hasn't made any unofficial visits, while Smothers and Jordan have been to several different campuses. He expects to visit some schools after the season.


"I'm comfortable with how everything's going. I don't feel pressure," Burrell said. "I think junior season if I have more than 10 offers, I think I'd feel some pressure, but my dad just gets on me about that every day, like I need to have better foot work, I need to catch the ball, be hungry, keep getting better."


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The Best of the Best come through Grassroots! If I have left any names off of any of these lists, please shoot me an inbox. 

The following is just a partial list of College Alums from the High School Graduating Class of 2014, who played or trained with us in the Spring of 2010 which was our inaugural season.

Troy Vincent Jr/DB Gilman (Loudoun County War Eagles).......... Signed with NC State
Deonte Holden/OLB DeMatha (PG County Swarm)..............Signed with NC State
Caleb Henderson/QB Lake Braddock (Fairfax County Colts)..............Signed with U of North Carolina
Jalen Tabor/DB Friendship Collegiate (Montgomery County Bearcats).............Signed with U of Florida
Jonathan Haden/RB Friendship Collegiate (PG County Swarm).............Signed with Arizona
Mark Allen/RB DeMatha (PG County Swarm)..................Signed with Penn State
DeMorney Pearson-El/WR West Potomac (Fairfax County Colts)...............Signed with Nebraska
Rafiq Douglass/RB  Patuxent (Southern MD Wildcats).................Signed with Duquesne
Orlando Brown Jr/OL Peachtree Ridge Atlanta (Baltimore Metro Stallions)...............Signed with U of Oklahoma
Trace McSorley/QB Briar Woods (Loudoun County Combine)...............Signed with Penn State


Orlando Brown (Oklahoma)                                         Jalen Tabor (Florida)

Partial list of the Class of 2015 HS Seniors who played with us in the Spring of 2011, which was year #2..
Nick Johns QB/Gonzaga (Loudoun County War Eagles)….. Signed with U of Virginia
Deandre Kelly OLB/DeMatha (PG County Swarm…… Signed with Temple
Rashard Cooper QB/HD Woodson (DC Warriors)….. Signed with Winston Salem State
Kareem McDonald OLB/Wilson (DC Warriors)…… Signed with Monmouth
Dylan Mellor WR/Woodgrove (Loudoun County War Eagles)…. Signed with Dartmouth
Aayron Monroe DB/St. Johns (PG County Swarm)….. Signed with Penn State
Noah Reimers RB/Tuscarora (Loudoun County War Eagles)….. Signed with Harvard
Myles Robinson DB/Good Counsel (Mo Co Bearcats)…… Signed with U of Virginia
Ashton White DB/McNamara (PG County Swarm)…. Signed with Notre Dame
Jaison Young WR/Riverdale Baptist (PG County Swarm)….. Signed with Duquesne
Roger Richardson DB/Good Counsel (Mo Co Bearcats)…… Signed with Robert Morris
Aaron Crawford DL/Stonebridge (Loudoun County War Eagles)........Signed with North Carolina
Uzoma Kpaduwa DB/Woodgrove (Loudoun County War Eagles)........Signed with VMI


Ashton White (Notre Dame)                                                Aaron Crawford (North Carolina)

Partial list of 2016 HS Seniors, who starred with us in the Spring of 2012, which was the best year of Grassroots up to that point. These alums and many more signed National Letter of Intents on Signing Day.

Our Class of 2016 reads like a Who’s Who of top prospects:
Lorenzo Harrison RB/DeMatha (DC Warriors)…… Signed with U of Maryland (1st Team All Met)
Shane Simmons DE/DeMatha (Mo Co Bearcats)….. Signed with Penn State (Under Armour All American)
DJ Turner DB/DeMatha (PG County Swarm)….. Signed with U of Maryland (Nike Opening Invite)
Eric Burrell DB/McDonough (HC Stars).......... Signed with U of Wisconsin
Terrance Davis OL/DeMatha (Charles County Heat)….. Signed with U of Maryland (Under Armour All American)
Travon Diggs WR/Avalon (PG County Swarm)…. Signed with U of Alabama
Steven Smothers WR/Franklin (Baltimore Metro Stallions)….. Signed with West Virginia (Crab Bowl MVP)
Abdul Adams RB/Wilson (HC Stars)….. Signed with U of Oklahoma
Jay Jay McCargo OL/O’Connell (Fairfax County Colts)….. Signed with U of North Carolina (Semper Fidelis All American)
Richard Merritt OL/Carroll (Mo Co Bearcats)……Signed with University of Maryland (Under Armour All American)
Ellison Jordan DL/Gilman (PG County Swarm)…... Signed with Penn State (Under Armour All American)
Tino Ellis WR/DeMatha (Baltimore Metro Stallions)….. Signed with U of Maryland (Under Armour All American)
Patrick Johnson WR/Bullis (DC Warriors) ….. Signed with U of Wisconsin
Eric Kumah WR/Forest Park (Prince William County Raiders).….. Signed with Virginia Tech
Johnathan Lee RB/Riverdale Baptist (Mo Co Bearcats).... Signed with U of Buffalo
Ramar Wiliams QB/McNamara (PG County Swarm)..... Signed with Naval Academy
Travon Stott DB/Good Counsel (Mo Co Bearcats)...... Signed with Robert Morris
Taheeb Sonekan LB/St. Stephens (PG County Swarm)........Signed with U of Pennsylvania
Donovan Williams QB/Hylton (Prince William County Raiders).......Signed with Uconn

Many more signed from the 2016 Class


Terrence Davis (Maryland)                                          Tino Ellis (Maryland)

Partial list of Current Seniors who starred with us in the Spring of 2013 and just signed they NLI's.  The Class of 2017 was legendary!!!

Anthony McFarland RB/DeMatha (FBU Team MD)..... Signed with U of Maryland (Under Armour All American)
Deon Jones DB/Carroll (DC Warriors)..... Signed with U of Maryland
Cam Spence OL/IMG Academy (FBU Team MD).... Signed with U of Maryland (USA Football All American)
Chase Young DE/DeMatha (FBU Burning Sands)...........Signed with Ohio State (US Army All American)
Nate Proctor LB/Lackey (Charles County Heat)..... Signed with Virginia Tech (Under Armour All American)
Kasim Hill QB/Gilman (Baltimore Metro Stallions).... Signed with U of Maryland (Under Armour All American)
Damani Neal WR/Bullis (Loudoun County War Eagles)....Signed with Duke University
Marcus Minor OL/DeMatha (PG Swarm).... Signed with U of Maryland
Lawtez Rogers DE/E. Roosevelt (PG Swarm)..... Signed with U of Maryland
Marvin Beander RB/Quince Orchard (MoCo Bearcats)....... Signed with Bucknell
Garrison Burnett QB/Maret (PG Swarm)....... Signed with U of Connecticut
Christian Darrisaw OL/Riverdale (FBU Team MD)....... Signed with Virginia Tech
Adrian Feliz-Platt RB (HC Stars),,,,,,, Signed with Towson University
Dion Golatt QB/Riverdale (FBU Team MD)........ signed with Morgan State
Mason Gryniuk WR/Woodgrove (FBU Team Nova)....... Signed with James Madison
Mohamed Ibrahim RB/Good Counsel (HC Stars)........Signed with U of Minnesota
Mitchell Johns LB/Gonzaga (Loudoun County War Eagles)........ Signed with Naval Academy
Jonny Jordan OL/Gonzaga (Loudoun County War Eagles)........ Signed with U of Maryland
Michael Joseph OL/Quince Orchard (FBU Team MD)........ Signed with U of Memphis
James Patterson RB/Palotti (Anne Arundel County)........ Signed with U of Buffalo
Jarett Patterson LB/Palotti (Anne Arundel County)........ Signed with U of Buffalo
Darnell Pratt Jr. WR/Good Counsel (FBU Team MD)........ Signed with U of Virginia
Tyree Randolph RB/Gonzaga (FBU Team MD)........ Signed with Syracuse
Sean Savoy WR/Wilson (DC Warriors)........ Signed with Va Tech
Arik Smith LB/St. Johns (FBU Team MD)........ Signed with Army
Carlos Washington RB/Riverdale (PG Swarm)........ Signed with New Hampshire
Naasir Watkins OL/Good Counsel (MoCo Bearcats).......... Signed with U of Kentucky
Stevie Williams QB/Wilson (DC Warriors)........ Signed with Old Dominion
Keisean Wilson LB/North Point (Charles County Heat)........ Signed with Old Dominion
Branden Johnson OL/Good Counsel (MoCo Bearcats)........... Signed with Howard University
Isaiah Robinson QB/St. Francis (Anne Arundel County)............Signed with U of Maine
Noah Nicholson DB/Good Counsel (MoCo Bearcats)....... Signed with Richmond
Delonte Hellams WR/DeMatha (DC Warriors).........Signed with Stony Brook
Khory Spruil RB/DeMatha (FBU Team MD)........Signed with Delaware
Josh Contee OL/Good Counsel (MoCo Bearcats)......... Signed with Wofford University
DeAngelo Thompson DT/Good Counsel (Moco Bearcats)....... Signed with Stevenson College


         Kasim Hill (Maryland)                  Cam Spence (Maryland)        Anthony McFarland (Maryland)


There are many others that need to be updated, but this should make it clear that our model works

The Class of 2018 is on the clock.  This class of kids won the first FBU National Championship at 7th Grade back in 2012.

Check the Washington Post to keep track of offers at…/re…/boys/Football/index.html.


If you have a son who desires to be like the kids listed above, your next move should be very easy and very simple.  

CLICK HERE to Pre-Register for our 2017 GYFL Fall Season.  Nobody does it quite like we do it.  Come and see for yourself.  CLICK HERE to sign up for the 1st FBU Tryout for Team Maryland on July 16th, 2017. 

Who's Got Next?  I guess we will see on July 16th.


2750 as of 7/7/2017

Read 6055 times Last modified on Friday, 07 July 2017 06:34

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