Fork Union, Virginia - September 2, 2008 - With a roster listing hometowns ranging from Simi Valley, California to the Bronx, New York, and from Savannah, Georgia to Ontario, Canada, Coach John Shuman, head coach of the Fork Union Military Academy postgraduate football team has assembled his team from far and wide.
With nearly 80 former FUMA players finding their way into the NFL through the years, Coach Shuman's program is one of the top prep programs for football players in the nation. Numbering two Heisman Trophy winners, ten first round NFL draft picks, and a handful of Super Bowl rings among its alumni, Fork Union Military Academy has a history of preparing young men to compete and succeed at the next level.
Much of this football success can be attributed to the fact that football is not the first priority at FUMA. Academic achievement is the top priority at Fork Union Military Academy. A close second is the development of character and discipline through the school's military program. Postgraduate athletes are not accorded special treatment at FUMA, and must wear uniforms and fulfill their obligations as do all members of the Cadet Corps.
A late bloomer himself in high school, Coach Shuman has a passion for helping under-recruited players develop their skills and find a college scholarship. Recent examples of this include
Anthony Castonzo, who was named a Freshman All-American at Boston College this past year despite having gone un-recruited by top Division I programs until his season at FUMA, and
Jon Copper, the leading tackler for the University of Virginia's linebacker corps.
Coach Shuman then seeds his team with a handful of signed recruits who may need some work to get the academic side of life sorted out. As Coach Shuman says, players can only excel when "their mind catches up to their body."
Among FUMA's more recognizable recruits are the following:
Cody Blue of Columbia, Maryland is a 6-foot-5, 280 pound defensive lineman out of Wilde Lake High School. Blue verbally committed to University of Maryland in May, 2007. Blue is built to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and is currently rated at 3 stars on Rivals.com at the defensive tackle position.
Zack Kerr, 6-foot-3, 295 pounds, was named All-County in Montgomery County, Maryland after clocking 55 tackles, 6 sacks, and 7 tackles for a loss as a defensive tackle for Quince Orchard High School. Rated a 2-star recruit by
Rivals.com is another Maryland commitment.
Virginia Tech recruit D. J. Coles, is a 6-foot-4 200 pound wide receiver out of Goochland High School in Goochland, Virginia. A 4-star
Rivals.com prospect, Coles is a top-ranked receiver and highly-touted player from central Virginia.
The No. 37 defensive end prospect in the nation as ranked by one recruiting
service, Chaz Sutton is a 4-star recruit planning to attend the University of South Carolina. At
6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Sutton has outstanding speed and athleticism and has shown much versatility as a 4-year starter at Jenkins High School in Savannah, Georgia.
Tony Gregory, 6-foot, 178 pounds, is a running back from Virginia Beach, Virginia where he played for First Colonial. The 3-star recruit has committed to Virginia Tech.
Ronald Byrd of Hogansville, Georgia is a 3-star prospect who played both sides of the line for Callaway High School. The
6-foot-6, 258 pound recruit committed to the University of South Carolina in January, 2008.
Donte Rumph is a 6-foot-4, 260 pound TE/DE from Saint Matthews, South Carolina. The 3-star player committed to Kentucky this spring. Rumph is a first cousin of FUMA alumnus
Phillip Merling, the Miami Dolphins defensive end.
Some other players to keep any eye on this season include Marquell Rozier, a
6-foot-7, 366 pound lineman from Saint Pauls, North Carolina; Mohammed
Seisay, a 6-foot-2, 185 pound defensive back from Springfield, Virginia; and
Jonathan Sharp, a 6-foot-3, 230 pound athlete from Pittsburgh, PA who could see action at TE, DE, and LB this season.
About Fork Union Military Academy
Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia, is a college preparatory military boarding school for young men in Grades 6 through 12 and postgraduates. Affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia and open to those of all religious denominations, Fork Union was founded in 1898 and has a rich tradition promoting character, leadership, and scholarship.