Albert Einstein High School
Einstein Football Makes History with 7 College-bound Athletes
First-year AEHS football head coach Jermine Howell felt like a student again last fall.
One of his main goals in attempting to change the culture of the struggling program, he said, was to help players pursue college options. With a notebook and pen in hand, he set out to learn whatever he could about the recruiting process.
Howell had his work cut out for him, though. Einstein, which made its only postseason appearance in 1998 and has not had a winning season since 2000, was far from the top of any recruiters' lists.
"I've had many recruiters tell me they've never heard of Einstein", Howell said.
They have now. For the first time in at least 15 years and possibly ever, seven Titans are college-bound, several of them to NCAA Division I programs.
No one from the 2011 squad played in collage in 2011.
Linebacker Ryan Ferguson (Bryant University) and offensive lineman Rene Molinari (Lehigh University) signed letters of intent earlier this year.
An additional five players have offers lined up and plan to make their decisions in the next week during spring break.
All-Gazette second team wide receiver Shane Wigmore (445 yards, four touchdowns) and defensive tackle Brian Ayeh likely will end up at Shenandoah University in Virginia.
Cornerback Elijah Thomas, running back Keith Gaye and receiver Peter Ngoh all plan on accepting opportunities to play ball at the next level.
"You've got to get your name out there. Coach Howell knew the only way to get us exposed was to sign everyone up for combines," Wigmore said. "He signed us all up, whether we wanted to go or not. It didn't matter."
Ferguson and Wigmore said this year could be a huge turning point for Einstein football.
Though the Titans went 4-6 in 2011, they made huge strides. Einstein led perennial postseason contender Damascus by two touchdowns at halftime.
But Wigmore, who transferred in from big-time program Our Lady of Good Counsel, and Ferguson had their reservations when veteran coach Mike Bonavia left for Sherwood last May.
Their nerves quickly were quelled by Howell's fresh attitude and work ethic.
Howell's willingness to work was contagious, Wigmore said. And the more he worked, the more effort the Titans gave back.
The tone was set this year and Wigmore said he expects to see Einstein in the playoffs soon.
Albert Einstein High school football players (from left) Shane Wigmore, Ryan Ferguson and Rene' Molinari