From the sports editor: All Peace wants is recruiters to give him a chance

Vonnie Peace of Dover High has been receiving numerous scholarship offers.

DOVER — Football may be a game but Vonnie Peace is smart enough to realize it can be a business, too.

And, right now, there’s a number of college coaches giving the Dover High standout running back their best sales pitch.

“They all say the same thing,” said Peace. “But, at the same time, you can’t believe every single coach. They sell a lot of people dreams.”

Make no mistake about it, though, Peace is one of those kids with big dreams, too.

The big-play running back will be a senior for the Senators this fall. Along with trying to help Dover have a big season, Peace is also trying to make one of the biggest decisions of his young life.

Countless other high school students are also trying to decide where they’re going to go college, of course. It just feels like there’s more pressure for a standout athlete because so many people are trying to pull him one way or the other.

“It’s a very big decision because that’s where I’m going to be playing for the next four years,” said the 17-year-old Peace. “It seems very weird because I’m kind of young still. But now is the time.”

Peace already has scholarship offers, including one from NCAA Division I FBS Massachusetts. There’s also offers from FCS schools Delaware State, Central Connecticut State, Sacred Heart, Bryant and Elizabeth City State.

At this point, everything iss still wide open for the 5-foot-10, 180-pound speedster. He took an unofficial visit to Towson on Wednesday and is going to attend camps at Maryland and Temple next week.

“I’m just keeping my options open,” said Peace. “I’m doing every little camp I can go to. I’ve gotten invited to a lot of camps.”

Peace doesn’t plan on announcing his college choice until after his high school season. The NCAA now has an early signing day in December along with its traditional February date.

Dover coach Rudy Simonetti said Delaware and Division I FBS Connecticut have also shown interest in Peace.

“It was slow at first but it’s really picked up — especially with school being out,” said Simonetti. “It’s camp season.

“Every college, I guess, has their pros and cons (about a recruit) according to the program that they have. For me, it’s grade’s first — and he’s got them. And he’s got two really, really good years of film. That tells me he’s a football player.”

Simonetti said he’s heard some “oohs” and “ahhs” when recruiters see some of Peace’s highlight-reel plays. But nothing is more important than passing the eye test.

“With a lot of colleges, they want to see him in person, to see actually how big he is,” said Simonetti. “And a lot of them, after seeing him face to face, come away impressed. That’s when the interest really gets a little higher.”

Despite the pressure, Peace said he’s enjoying the recruiting process. Along with Towson, he’s also taken unofficial visits to Temple and Rutgers.

Peace has a mentor, Karen Waters, who he’s known since he was eight and she’s helping him sort things out.

“The recruiting process, you’ve got to be patient with it,” said Peace. “I’m cool with it, you could say. I mean, it’s fun, too. I enjoy it.

“Visiting the different colleges and talking to all different types of coaches, it’s just a fun experience.

“I just picture myself on their team, in their uniform, on that field and in that school environment and see if it’s a great fit for me.”

Of course, Peace is also smart enough to know that it’s pretty easy to get distracted by the recruiting process.

All the college interest in the world isn’t going to mean much if he lets his grades slip. And Peace knows it’s not going to matter which recruiters are in the stands on Friday night if he doesn’t stay focused in practice during the week.

“It’s my last year,” said Peace. “You know, we’re never going to play high school ball again. We can’t get it back. So I’ve got to go 10 times harder this year.”

When people ask him where he’s going to go — and his friends ask him a lot — Peace has a pretty standard answer.

“I’m just going to wait,” he tells them. “You’re going to see for yourself after the season.”

It’s Blue-Gold week

Camp opens this weekend for the 64th annual Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game.

Game participants have Media Day this afternoon in Delaware Stadium. The Gold team will then scrimmage on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Milford High.

Remember, the game was moved to Friday this year with the contest starting at 7 p.m.

Delaware Stadium is also still undergoing major renovations, with only the visitor’s stands open.

Odds & ends

• Wilmington Catholic schools Salesianum and Padua both won the most DIAA state titles this past school year with four apiece. Cape Henlopen and Smyrna were next on the list with three state crowns each.

Of the 32 state championships, 17 were won by New Castle County private schools while Henlopen Conference public schools took 11. Charter schools and New Castle public schools won two apiece.

• Middletown High quarterback Braden Davis is only going into his sophomore season but has reportedly already received a scholarship offer from Texas A&M. The 6-foot-4, 193-pounder dual-threat QB is the son of former Philadelphia Eagle Antone Davis.

• Countless athletes in the area continue to rally around Woodbridge High football standout Troy Haynes, who is battling cancer.

Sussex Tech High baseball player Matt Warrington, the Gatorade state Player of the Year, designated $1,000 for the Troy Haynes Fund as part of winning the award. The Sussex Tech baseball squad also raised another $1,004 for the fund.

Many other Henlopen Conference teams have either visited Haynes or posted photos of themselves holding up the number four for his jersey number. Haynes also got a hospital visit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ Paul Worrilow, the former Delaware standout.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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