Jose Duncan remembers sitting in the Erasmus Hall library in 2012 watching Dutchman senior Wayne Morgan sign his National Letter of Intent and thinking of what it would feel like to do the same someday.
“It was a humbling feeling being in that position,” Duncan, a defensive end said. “I pictured myself in that moment and this is a great time to be in this moment.”
He was sitting at that same table Wednesday afternoon, alongside teammate Darin Peart, as they signed with Rhode Island and Stony Brook respectively. All-American running back Curtis Samuel enrolled early at Ohio State, but said hello to his teammates on his way to class over Facetime on coach Danny Landberg’s phone.
Watching his players sign their letters, Landberg felt a satisfaction that comes from seeing them succeed both on and off the gridiron.
“You want to win games, but even more so, you want to get scholarships for these kids,” Landberg said. “You want these kids to understand what its all about.”
Duncan got it, and worked to make sure his academics were in order so he could qualify for a scholarship. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Duncan was a big reason why the Dutchmen had one of the city’s best run-stopping squads. Erasmus didn’t give up a point over 21 straight quarters early in the season.
Duncan, who visited Rhode Island over the weekend, talked about having a chance to do something special at the school, which is looking to turn things around under first-year coach Jim Fleming.
“They are in the process of doing something great and bouncing back and trying to become a top-notch program in their conference,” Duncan said. “I want to be part of that.”
Peart knew he wanted to be a part of the Stony Brook program as soon as he set foot on campus last weekend. The cornerback said he felt like he was home, and that the players and coaching staff greeted him like he had just walked through the front door.
Peart felt a special bond with the Seawolves players and coaching staff. They showed great interested in him after he attended their camp last summer and hung with him while he made sure he was academically qualified. That loyalty meant a lot to Peart.
“They stayed with me throughout the whole thing,” Peart said. “That’s why I am going to stay with them.”
This senior class has meant a lot to Eramus. It helped deliver two trips to the Public School Athletic League championship game, and a city title in 2013. Linebacker Justin Pender committed to Pace and will sign in the coming weeks, and defensive back Elijah Davis will chose between Mercyhurst, Pace and Wagner.
“It means everything to them,” Landberg said. “To see the smile on their face and the parents smile on their face it means the world.”
Other Brooklyn Signees: Poly Prep defensive tackle Jay Hayes signed with Notre Dame. New Utrecht wide receiver Richard Wright and Brooklyn Tech receiver Deon March are headed to C.W. Post. Midwood offensive lineman Mark Goldman is headed to Harvard and Brooklyn native William “Trey” Solomon is headed to the University of Pennsylvania.