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Catching Up: A Well-Traveled Man

While the name of this entry is “Catching Up,” few football players have proven to be tougher to track down than Emmanuel Yeager. Seldom has anyone been to – or planned to go to - as many places by the start of his freshman year of college than the former Coolidge quarterback.

Yeager began his high school career at Eleanor Roosevelt in 2005. The following year, he enrolled at Ballou – one of the rare transfers that year who didn’t arrive from Coolidge – and quarterbacked the Knights to their first D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title. Their 34-33 victory over three-time defending champion Dunbar in the Turkey Bowl is a top 10 game in my book.

yearger/jpgIn 2007, Yeager was back under center, ready to take on more of a leadership role with the Knights. But as the season progressed, other schools petitioned D.C. Public Schools to launch an investigation into Ballou, claiming the school had a player who violated DCPS residency restrictions. The day before the DCIAA playoffs were scheduled, DCPS ruled that Ballou had to forfeit all its games from the season – and its spot in the DCIAA semifinals - for using an ineligible player, later confirmed to be Yeager.

The following summer was all about change for Yeager. In late July, he orally committed to sign with Central Michigan. Less than two weeks later, he changed his mind and pledged to Louisville. Meantime, Yeager transferred from Ballou to Coolidge for his senior year. He had a solid season, throwing for more than 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushing for 14 more scores as the Colts went 8-3 and advanced to the DCIAA semifinals.

After the season, though, Illinois assistant coach and serial D.C. recruiter Mike Locksley became head coach at New Mexico, and by mid-January, Yeager had changed his mind again. In February, he signed with the Lobos and immediately enrolled, with the intent of challenging for the starting quarterback job this fall.

On May 12, New Mexico announced that Yeager was leaving school due to “a family issue.” Then, it was reported by the Albuquerque Journal that on April 24, Yeager was arrested and charged with speeding and weaving through traffic (Locksley told the Journal, “His arrest had nothing to do with him not being on the team.”). Yeager was also charged with concealing identity, after he gave police a false name, according to the arrest report, one of the funnier ones I’ve encountered.

According to the Journal (which doesn’t give free access to stories older than 90 days, so I can’t link the full story):

“The police report said Yeager told police his name was “Anthony Yeastraiv” and his date of birth was Feb. 24, 1985.

“As Mr. Yeastraiv gave me his information, he paused and stuttered,” the arresting officer wrote in his report. "I asked how old he was. Mr. Yeastraiv stated he was 20 years old. I had him step out of the vehicle and placed handcuffs on his wrists because I believed he was providing false information.”

Yeager pled not guilty to all charges, but failed to show up his Aug. 10 court appearance. A warrant was issued that day for his arrest. A message left for his Albuquerque attorney Gene Chavez was not returned.

Yeager was already on the move again, and in September, landed at Division II Bowie State. Compared to some of the places recruiting him over the past couple of years, the Bulldogs seemed like a program where Yeager would thrive, if only because he is more physically talented than just about anyone else on the field.

He showed that last weekend. Yeager came off the bench and completed 15 of 22 passes for 128 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown toss to give Bowie State a 31-24 double-overtime victory over Shaw in the Prince George’s Classic.

Throughout high school, coaches for whom Yeager had played and against have unanimously agreed that Yeager’s talent is tremendous, but his maturity lags far behind, keeping him from fulfilling his potential. Let’s hope for his talent’s sake that Bowie is Yeager’s last stop, he settles into one program for a sustained period and tries to reach his promise.

Elsewhere...

Connecticut began to leave its mark on the Washington area when it signed lightly-recruited 2001 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Terry Caulley out of Patuxent. Caulley went on to be the nation’s leading freshman rusher the following year (before a knee injury slowed the remainder of his career), and that prompted Connecticut to come back to the well in the Washington area. It’s worked; since joining the Big East in 2004, the Huskies have won at least eight games three times.

The next player Connecticut recruited from Patuxent was Robert McClain, an All-Met in 2005, and a guy who was part of one of the most entertaining high school games I’ve ever covered. McClain, one of Connecticut’s captains this season, is starting to make a name for himself as cornerback in Storrs, after solidifying a starting spot last season. Last Saturday, he picked off two passes in the Huskies’ 52-10 rout of Rhode Island.

There’s a nice little quarterback battle going on at Towson, and the Washington area should be quite familiar with both parties.

First-year head coach Rob Ambrose had to find someone to step in for four-year starter – and 2003 All-Met - Sean Schaefer (Northern), who started 44 games and set the school’s career records for completion (1,044, second all-time among FCS, formerly Division I-AA schools), attempts (1,621) and yards (11,644, eighth all-time in FCS).

The top two candidates are a pair of freshmen – Peter Athens (Huntingtown) and Tommy Chroniger (DeMatha). So far, Athens has the edge, being named the starter in each of the Tigers’ first three games. With Towson winning only one of those games, however, and with the offense looking a bit sluggish in last weekend’s 12-9 loss to Morgan State, Ambrose has said nothing is set in stone.

Athens played well in the Tigers’ victory – 21-17 over Coastal Carolina on Sept. 18 – completing 13 of 18 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Chroniger came in later in the game, and was 4 of 7 for 45 yards and a score, but also threw two interceptions.

By Alan Goldenbach  |  September 30, 2009; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  Ballou , Catching Up , DCIAA , DCIAA football , DeMatha , Football , Huntingtown  
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Next: All-Mets at midseason

Comments

Shame about Yeager and the coaching staffs they look for wins at any cost. Yeager should have been address probably in junior high instead of bouncing all over the place to the school de jour. Everyone was looking for the wins, he was looking for a free ride all because he had football athletic talent-so what does he do when he can no longer play football ?

Posted by: ballou1962 | September 30, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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