WSSU roster features players with area ties
Area football fans watching Saturday’s NCAA Division II national championship game between Winston-Salem State and Valdosta State (1 p.m., ESPN2) will be familiar with many faces on the field.
WSSU, a former CIAA rival of N.C. Central, is seeking to become the first historically black college or university (HBCU) to win the Division II national title. The Rams had jumped to Division I but returned to Division II three years ago for financial reasons.
The Rams (14-0) feature eight players with area ties, including a pair of transfers from N.C. Central and one transfer apiece from Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina.
Also on the roster are three graduates of Durham-area high schools — Tehvyn Brantley of Mount Zion Christian Academy, Donavan Rasberry of Northern and Quentin Lloyd of Southern. In addition, Duke transfer Justin Wilkerson is an Oxford Webb product.
Brantley (5-8, 175) is a senior second-team receiver who has caught 26 passes this season for an average of 13.7 yards per catch and has scored four touchdowns. He also has seen action as the No. 2 punt and kick returner.
He has returned five punts for a total of 63 yards including a long of 52, and has averaged 25.8 yards per return on four kickoffs.
Receivers Rasberry (5-8, 175) and Lloyd (6-2, 184) are sophomore reserves who have not caught a pass this season.
Wilkerson, a 6-3, 240-pound redshirt senior starter at defensive end, was part of Coach Ted Roof’s last full recruiting class at Duke, signing in February 2007 as Scout.com’s nationally No. 57-ranked strongside linebacker. He redshirted one season and left the program shortly after Roof was fired in late 2007 and replaced by current coach David Cutcliffe.
Wilkerson is a mainstay on the Rams’ defensive line, playing in all 14 games and posting 34 tackles, including three quarterback sacks.
UNC transfer Joshua Hunter is listed as the No. 2 rover for the Rams. He has 12 tackles in nine games this season with one pass broken-up and no interceptions. He transferred from UNC in late August 2011 after playing sparingly for the Tar Heels as a reserve redshirt freshman safety in 2010.
Senior wide receiver Everett Proctor played at N.C. State and has a pair of catches in as many games for the Rams this season.
From NCCU, sophomore guard Darren Schuman (6-5, 310) is listed at No. 2 on the depth chart. Sophomore Kimani Jones (6-0, 215) transferred from NCCU and has recorded only one tackle in three games this season, but it was a quarterback sack.
Another area player who signed with WSSU in February, wide receiver R.J. Quick of Chapel Hill, delayed his enrollment for academic reasons and is expected to join the Rams in the future. Quick was the Carolina 6 Conference offensive player of the year for 2011 and played in the East-West All-Star Game in July.
The recruiting trail
The Chicago Sun-Times and USA Today newspapers are reporting that 6-8 Chicago prep basketball star Jabari Parker, the No. 2 rated senior in the country by several major scouting services, has narrowed his final list to five — Duke, Brigham Young, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford — and is expected to announce his choice Dec. 20.
Parker’s father, Sonny, told USA Today he thinks his son is leaning towards either Duke or Michigan State.
Parker was the national Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and was considered to be the top player in this year’s class before Andrew Wiggins announced his intentions to graduate a year early and moved into this year’s top spot.
Wiggins verbally has committed to Kentucky.
Early arrival at Duke?
Linebacker Dominic Zanca of Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs, Fla., who had verbally committed to Tennessee, changed his commitment to Duke this week, according to published reports.
He told a Tennessee fans blog that the program’s recent coaching change played a major role in his decision.
Zanca (6-2, 242) graduates this month and is expected to enroll at Duke for the spring semester.
NCAA rules prohibit colleges from commenting on recruits until they sign national letters-of-intent or enroll in school.