Two GHS players make college choices
By David Williams
Published in Sports on April 1, 2004 1:59 PM
Two seniors from the Goldsboro High School football team have taken their first steps toward extending their playing careers by signing grants-in-aid with Elizabeth City State University.
Stanley Bryant, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight end and linebacker for the Cougars; and Rafael McNair, a 6-foot-6, 3256-pound lineman, both will be playing for the Vikings this fall -- and play they will. Both players were members of the News-Argus all-area football team's first team this past season and helped the Cougars make a playoff run to the eastern 3-A regional semifinals.
Both men have been told they will be starting in the fall for the Vikings, members of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
"It's a nice campus, the atmosphere was fine," said Bryant, the son of Bernita Hines and Stanley Bryant Sr. of Goldsboro.
"I was around people that made me feel like I was one of them," said McNair, whose parents are Michelle and Joseph McNair of Goldsboro. The senior McNair is originally from Magnolia, in Duplin County.
Both the incoming freshmen will have familiar faces around them. Five former Goldsboro players are on the Elizabeth City State roster, as well as two former Southern Wayne players and one each from Eastern Wayne, Princeton and North Lenoir.
"That was real important, because I have family and friends up there," said Bryant. He chose the Vikings from among North Carolina A&T, North Carolina, Western Carolina, Elon, Fayetteville State and Virginia State.
"I will play with guys I know that want to win," said McNair, who declined opportunities with North Carolina A&T, Fayetteville State and Virginia State to sign with Elizabeth City State. "They're there to do their job, and I'll do mine."
"They're getting two of the best in my opinion," said Goldsboro High School coach Maurice Jackson. "Stanley was the No. 1-ranked tight end in the state this year. He's the steal of the draft. He's more than just a tight end. He's one of those tweeners -- small for a tight end and big for a wide receiver. He has good hands and catches the ball well. And he has a good work ethic on the field.
"Rafael, he's a sleeper. We were disappointed he wasn't recruited by more Division I schools, but with his size and his footwork I think he's going to surprise a lot of people, especially going into the CIAA. Having played in the CIAA, I know the typical lineman in that league, and he's going to surprise people and have success quickly. He works hard and gives 110 percent in everything he does."
Bryant will study business management and hopes to own his own business. McNair is going to take on arts and computer technology, and wants to get into arts and design, and eventually into engineering.
Both players were anxious to help turn around the fortunes at Elizabeth City State. The football program has been struggling, and the coach is in his second year.
"My role is to catch and block and have a winning attitude," said Bryant. "And to get the other players to want to win also."
"When we need an extra yard to get the touchdown, I want them to come to me," said McNair.
Jackson said the duo will leave a legacy of winning through hard work and dedication to the task at hand.
"These guys have proven that it doesn't take many to get the job done, just a dedicated few," said Jackson. "Our numbers were very small this year and we started very late, but still we were successful because everyone pulled together and did what they had to do.
"The kids are going to piggyback off that and see that we don't need a sideline full of people to get the job done, just 11 dedicated people."
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