Raheem White had a few schools show interest in him.
But none more than East Stroudsburg University.
And in the end, that’s exactly what made him sign to play football for the Warriors.
“I would hear from a lot of schools, but they would contact me, not all the time, but a lot,” said White, a senior at Sankofa who played cornerback for the Frankford High School football team. “They cared. They would ask me about games, just text me to see how I was doing. They would just show me that they really wanted me and that they cared.
“They told me I was one of their top cornerbacks coming in. I know I have a lot to do to get ready, but it’s good to know I’m going to have a chance to play. It’s exciting.”
White made it official on Wednesday during national signing day during a ceremony at the school.
He was happy to sign with the school because of the proud tradition of the football team, but his teachers would probably be happy about the first reason he gave for picking East Stroudsburg. It had nothing to do with touchdowns.
“I love the school because it has a great business program and that’s what I want to study,” White said. “It’s great because it’s in between big cities. It’s not too far from Philadelphia, but it’s also not far from New York City, so there are so many opportunities to get jobs and experience.
“Plus, it has a great reputation. Academics are the main thing. My mom stresses that. I know I’m going to school to get an education.”
That’s true, but White is a football player, too, and he wanted to find a school that would let him do what he does best.
The swift 5-foot-11, 175-pound defensive back loves to play the pass, but he’s also proud of the way he can hit. He’s also proud of the way he learned to contribute in other ways this year.
Frankford didn’t have the best season, at least in terms of its record.
The Pioneers finished 2-9 and fell in the first round of the Public League playoffs. It was a rebuilding year under first-year coach Bill Sytsma. Better days are ahead for Frankford, and this year’s squad knew that. And it took White a little time to realize what the team needed out of the talented senior.
“I didn’t start the year as a captain and that really upset me,” White said. “I was trying, but I knew I had to try harder. Then I started doing things a little differently, and they made me a captain. I was really proud of that. That was something I really wanted to be. I wanted to be a captain at Frankford. That’s a really important job.”
Now that he knows what his future holds, he can focus his attention on becoming a bigger, stronger and faster football player. But he also has a big job to finish in the classroom.
White is doing his senior project on absentee fathers. He chose that because the Frankford native sees a great need for male role models in the community.
And he’s not just learning about them.
“I try and do some things where I help kids who don’t have fathers,” White said. “I’m involved in things where I help kids. One kid is 13. I try and be a role model for him. He didn’t have a father in his life, so I’ll play sports with him or just check up on him. It’s important kids have that, they need it.”
Next year, his role model will be a college football player. And White hopes to get on the field right away.
“I want to play,” he said. “I wanted to go Division I, but this is great, too. If I can play right away, that means a lot. It’s a great school, great football program.”
Frankford wasn’t the only team to have players sign with colleges.
At Ryan, Mekhi Lang signed with Indiana University of Pennsylvania while Kyron Long committed to Bloomsburg.
At Northeast, Davaughn Brown committed to West Chester, Sebastian Benjamin is bound for St. Francis, Vince Beverly is going to East Stroudsburg and Jaron Macon, who played for Neumann-Goretti, is headed to Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Judge also had two signees, with Shane Dooley signing with West Chester and Joe Varhula committing to Millersville. ••