Warriors sign commitmentsPublished 9:35pm Friday, February 8, 2013
Nansemond River High School saw two of its football players commit to play for Division II schools on Wednesday and one player join the U.S. Army.
Wide receiver/linebacker Charles Drake signed with Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia, while running back/linebacker Damario Valentine joined Chowan University in North Carolina. Wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Vialet signed up for a four-year commitment with the Army.
Drake was pleased to see the fruit of his labors on National Signing Day.
“It’s just a big recognition of how much hard work I put into it and it actually pays off,” he said. “So, it was a big accomplishment for me this year.”
Warriors head coach Tracey Parker Sr. spoke to Drake’s strengths both off and on the field.
“Charles is an excellent student,” he said. “He’s got a very high upside, a lot of room to get stronger, get bigger, get faster, and I think that’s what (Alderson-Broaddus) saw on film.”
The challenge is what helped draw Drake to the school.
“I’ve been recruited by a few D-III schools, but playing at a D-II level is a high level,” he said. “I know I can compete at that high level.”
Drake plans on majoring in mathematics and aims to get his bachelor’s degree and hopes to obtain his master’s degree, as well.
Damario Valentine’s signing represented a new precedent in his family and he was grateful for the opportunity to do it.
“It was a blessing,” he said. “You work so hard. I’ve been playing football for now 13 years, so it’s a blessing being able to sign. And that’s one of my life-long goals is being able to continue on to college, not only for athletics, but to be the first in my family to go for academics. So, that was a blessing right there alone is being able to prove to my mom, prove to my family and friends that it’s possible.”
Valentine cited what led him to go with Chowan.
“Chowan was the school that offered me the most opportunity,” he said. “And I got looked at by a few Division III schools and a couple D-I schools, but it’s just the atmosphere at Chowan is exactly what I was looking for and I have the opportunity to play as a true freshman, so that’s what attracted me the most.”
Chowan did not have Valentine’s first major of choice, engineering, but they did have a few others.
“They also had two of my other top (choices) which was sports management and education, so it’s between those two right now,” he said.
Coach Parker noted that Valentine was a good student, and he pointed out multiple on-field reasons for why the coaches at Chowan were interested in Valentine.
“He has a great work ethic and he can play anywhere, I believe, from corner to safety to outside linebacker for them,” he said. “So, he’ll give them some flexibility and he’ll just be an overall good player for them.”
Brandon Vialet was interested in playing college football, but ultimately decided to go with the Army, citing the benefits and opportunity to defend his country as the leading reasons. Vialet’s senior year was his only year of football experience at Nansemond River. He also ran cross-country as a sophomore and played basketball as a freshman and sophomore.
While his initial commitment is for four years, Vialet has no intention of limiting his service to that time span.
“I’m going to try to do at least about 20 years,” he said. “I would love to defend my country for as long as I can. Until I get down and not able to work, then I will be in the Army, hopefully.”