FOOTBALL: Pontiac's Ja'Mar Antwine lands first offer from Central Michigan |
I didn't realize how much receiving a scholarship to play football at the next level meant to a lot of high school athletes, until I met Ja'Mar Antwine, and his father Jermaine. The two drove all the way from their home in Pontiac, Michigan, to downtown Detroit, to do a story with me, hoping for more exposure for Ja'Mar.
The younger Antwine had just finished up his sophomore year at Orchard Lake St.Mary's, but had eventually transferred back to his home school of Pontiac High. The Antwine's had been to every camp possible, just hoping to get his name out there more, but almost to no avail. He had little to no college interest still, and he and his dad where just eager to start getting him some.
"Anything you can do to help, we are grateful," his dad said at the time. "Because I know he can't keep getting looked over for long. He has 2 years left in high school, and by his senior year, they will definitely wonder why he hasn't been contacted."
Well now neither one has to worry anymore, as Central Michigan offered the 6-0, 175-pounder on yesterday. It had been a long time coming for Ja'Mar, but finally his patience has paid off.
"It feels like all of the pressure to succeed has been lifted off my shoulders," he said. "I really feel I am one of the top three defensive backs in the state, and hopefully this is just the start for everybody to recognize that."
Antwine had just camped at Central Michigan over the weekend, but didn't leave with an offer from them. Several other recruits did though, and Antwine thought it was because he didn't have the best performance he could have had.
"I thought I performed well at their camp," he said. "But still, my play wasn't up to my expectations."
Well Coach Dan Enos thought so, and was the one who informed Antwine that they would be offering him a college scholarship. The one thing he and his dad had put in work to get since he was playing little league football in Pontiac.
"He (Coach Enos) just told me they liked me, and he offered me a scholarship, and wanted me to talk to my family about it," Antwine said. "I had no idea it was going to happen, and it all came as a surprise."
Father's Day is just a couple of days away, and yes the Chippewas offered Ja'Mar the scholarship, but it definitely mess means just as much to his dad. Ja'Mar said it got tough on the both of them going to all of the football camps, and walking away empty-handed. But he owes it all to his dad for sacrificing so much for him.
"He has had a major impact on my life," Antwine said about his father. "I wouldn't be the player I am now if it wasn't for him. Also as far as my recruitment goes, he has gotten me to this point in it."
Of course Antwine said that Central Michigan is in the driver's seat to land him, being that they were the first to offer. The first offer is always the hardest, but after that, they always seem to roll in, as other schools scramble to catch up.
"It couldn't have came at a better time," said Antwine. "And now with Sound Mind Sound Body tomorrow, I can show why I deserved it."
Toledo, Southern Illinois, and a handful of Division 2 schools have shown interest in Antwine, so expect more offers to come his way. I Expect the Chippewas to have a big say-so in where he chooses to play his college ball, but for now he's still going to be patient, as he always has.
"I like their program, and the coaches seem to have the desire to win, and to get you to the next level," Antwine said. "The offer means a lot, but I am going to talk it over with my family, and go from there."