Sharks weightroom warrior signs with New Hampshire

Rashid Armand was recruited by Miami and Penn State. The Sheepshead Bay defensive lineman was in talks with Rutgers, Syracuse and UConn.

At the end of the day, though, those BCS schools never offered Armand. The cerebral, 6-foot-3, 300-pounder understands why.

“It wasn’t any lack of talent,” he said. “It’s just a process. They got guys rated in front of me. I just wasn’t the first choice for those guys.”

But he was for New Hampshire, Albany, Central Connecticut State and Kentucky State. Last weekend, during a visit, he made his verbal commitment to New Hampshire and he signed a National Letter of Intent to play with the Wildcats on Feb. 2.

“Sometimes they’re looking for physical size, guys 6-3,” Sheepshead coach Fred Snyder said of BCS programs. “Sometimes the X-factor they forget is the size of the heart in the kid. He has the desire. … It’s their loss and it’s University of New Hampshire’s gain.”

Armand doesn’t just have the motor. He’s a weightroom legend at the Brooklyn school, setting records in the bench press (405 pounds) and the power clean (295). Armand can squat 495 pounds and benched 225 pounds 24 times.

“You got NFL guys who can’t even do that,” Snyder said.

The senior standout put up numbers everywhere he was, actually. Armand had 165 tackles and 11 sacks in three seasons, including four sacks and 65 tackles this year when he was the lone returning starter on either side of the ball. In the classroom, Armand has an 88 average, scored an 1130 on his SAT and was named to the All-City academic team.

“Rashid is a wide-body defensive tackle who will help provide a physical presence to the interior part of our defense,” New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell told UNHWildcats.com.

While this season was a trying one – the Sharks went 3-6 though they did continue their 13-year playoff streak – Armand embraced the role as leader.

“It was fun,” he said. “I felt like I really got to be more vocal and take control of the team. I enjoyed that.”

Armand said the goals next year are to win at New Hampshire and keep his GPA above 3.0. He wants to major in kinesiology with a focus in exercise science and minor in business administration. The goal, he says, is to one day open up his own physical therapy business.

With the drive he has, Snyder says it’s only a matter of time before that becomes a reality. Armand probably could have played in the Big East or ACC, but he has a chance to be a star at a program that fell in the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Delaware.

“I think he’ll make an impact on the program,” Snyder said.

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