New York City has made inroads onto the national football scene in recent years. Just months ago, Curtis standout Dominique Easley, a University of Florida recruit, was named the MVP of the Under Armour All-American game and was ranked by one recruiting Web site as the third best prospect in the country.
Now, three city stars – Lincoln defensive end/tight end Ishaq Williams and Erasmus Hall quarterback/safety Wayne Morgan and running back Shaquell Jackson – will take part in the fifth annual Premier Showcase, sponsored by Test Sports Club and Rivals.com, at Rutgers University this past Saturday, Feb. 20.
“Our kids can hang with anybody,” Erasmus Hall coach Danny Landberg said. “It proved to be true with Easley and it’s gonna be proven again.”
The invite-only camp featuring the top prospects in the Northeast, held at Rutgers’ practice bubble located across the street from the stadium, will include coaches providing their talent, experience and insight. Among those in attendance will be former New York Giants players Scott Brunner and Curtis McGriff, CFL star Tad Kornegay and former Rutgers strength and conditioning coach Skip Fuller.
“It’s an honor,” Williams said. “All the best players in the country are going to be there.”
Williams, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior, was an All-City selection by The Post after picking up 46 tackles, 11 sacks and three fumble recoveries in addition to making 20 receptions for 211 yards.
His recruitment has picked up considerable steam since the season ended. Maryland, Rutgers, West Virginia, Syracuse, Miami, Pittsburgh, Penn State and North Carolina State have all offered him a scholarship, Lincoln coach Shawn O’Connor said. Williams has already taken unofficial visits to Rutgers, Maryland and Syracuse, where his parents attended school, but doesn’t plan to commit until his senior year.
“It makes me feel good that all my hard work is being rewarded,” Williams said.
One college assistant coach said Williams is getting looked because “he runs well” and projects high as a defensive end. The coach said the recent recruitment developments of a player such as Easley and others in the last few years have helped kids such as Williams.
“Easley went to Florida so people know there are kids in the city that can play,” he said.
Williams is the latest Division I talent to come out of Lincoln. Before him, there was Nyan Boateng (Miami, California), Lansford Watson (Maryland) and Khalif Staten (Iowa).
“What’s good about Ishaq is he’s a lot more polished,” O’Connor said. “He came to me as a football player.”
Erasmus Hall’s duo of Morgan and Jackson have yet to receive any scholarship offers – but only because the two are only sophomores. The 5-foot-10, 187-pound Morgan, in particular, has attracted interest from USC, Rutgers, Boston College, Oregon, Syracuse, Miami and Maryland, Landberg said. He visited Rutgers recently and met the entire coaching staff, including Greg Schiano. Last year in a showcase camp, he ran the fastest 40-yard dash, at 4.40 seconds, of anyone.
“It’s funny, he’s a defensive player, but now I’m getting people asking if he can play offense,” Landberg said. “Greg Schiano said he can play anywhere on the field.”
Brooklyn is known for producing standout high school basketball players, but the future on the gridiron is certainly bright. In addition to these three, Fort Hamilton wide receiver Brandon Reddish is also expected to be a high Division I player.
“Things have gotten a lot better for Brooklyn football,” O’Connor said. “We have a lot of good athletes.”