GAITHERSBURG – History was made at the Avalon School on Wednesday.
The small private school boasted three student-athletes who put pen to paper on National Signing Day.
However, Avalon senior standouts Rachid Ibrahim and Jacquille Veii became the school’s first student-athletes to accept a scholarship from a Football Bowl Subdivision program when the pair both signed National Letters of Intent.
Ibrahim, who verbally committed to the University of Pittsburgh last October, made his pledge official by signing with the Panthers.
Ibrahim, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound running back and defensive back, said he was honored to be a part of Avalon’s historic recruiting class.
“We’ve got a lot of younger athletes who are going to have this opportunity too in the years to come,” said Ibrahim, an All-Sentinel first team performer at running back last season, “so I was glad I was able to start it but there’s going to be some other great athletes from out of Avalon School.”
Meanwhile, Veii, who earned All-Sentinel first team honors at defensive back last season, provided a bit of drama in his decision.
Veii committed to Maryland last summer but de-committed from the Terrapins during the fall. He received late interest from Nebraska and narrowed his choices down to the Cornhuskers, Maryland and Iowa before opting to stay at home.
“I want to win championships and I want to win bowl games as well,” said Veii, who picked up a Maryland cap and put it on his head while leaving the Nebraska and Iowa caps on the table.
Veii, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound speedster, said he looks forward to playing at the University of Maryland.
“My family’s here,” said Veii. “I got a great support system here and everything that I need is right here at home so what better place to go than just stay home.”
Meanwhile, Tommy Vince, a middle linebacker who was named All-Sentinel honorable mention, received a merit scholarship to Division III Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
“I’m proud to announce that I’ll be playing football at the Catholic University of America,” said Vince, who plans to study civil engineering and architecture in college.
The dynamic duo both had their Avalon jerseys retired so no one will ever wear Ibrahim’s No. 3 and Veii’s No. 5 again.
“Of course it’s great to have great athletes on the field,” said Avalon head coach Tad Shields, “but their contributions go far beyond that and that’s part of the reason we retired their jerseys was more than just the touchdowns and the tackles.
“They’re great here at the school. They’re good classmates with all the other kids in the school. They set good examples for the younger kids to look up to. They work hard in the classroom, they’re good students and then of course they’re the hardest workers on the team so they inspire the other teammates to work harder and play harder so what more can you ask in leaders.”