The signing period for high school seniors who intend to play football at Division I schools begins tomorrow, presenting a bit of a dilemma for Overlea two-sport standout Bernard Hopkins.
Hopkins, 6 feet 6, 225 pounds, is considered the area's top prospect at tight end. He was an All-Metro selection last fall for the Falcons, who went 11-1 and finished fourth in The Baltimore Sun's top 20.
But Hopkins also is a fast-improving basketball player who has impressed scouts with his quickness, versatility and scoring ability. He leads the area in scoring (31.4) and is second in rebounding (15.8).
But despite his rapid improvement on the basketball court, Hopkins said he is leaning toward football, although he won't be signing any time soon.
"I'd like to move up to the next level [of football]," he said yesterday. "There are a lot of 6-6 basketball players; but as a 6-6 football player, I think I can be more successful."
Hopkins has made two football visits -- Temple and Boston College. There also has been a lot of interest from Maryland, North Carolina State and Virginia.
Hopkins said he plans to make visits for basketball to Duquesne and Northeastern. He said Richmond, Radford, Clemson and Loyola Marymount also have been recruiting him.
Hopkins has not ruled out the possibility of playing both sports. He says he discussed the idea during his visit to Temple and has talked about that possibility with officials at Rutgers.
"It would be hard, and I'd have to put a lot of work into it," he said.
Seven area players have made oral commitments and are expected to sign this week: Wilde Lake linebacker Brent Guyton (UCLA), Wilde Lake lineman James Easterly (Georgia Tech), Wilde Lake split end Ira Crawley (Morgan State), North County linebacker Anthony Walker (Syracuse), Poly tight end Steve Logan (James Madison), John Carroll lineman Marty Keuser (Wake Forest) and Severna Park lineman Mark Miles (Delaware State).
Fallston lineman Brian Yeager is being pursued strongly by Maryland and may sign this week, but he also is considering offers from West Virginia and James Madison. Wilde Lake defensive back Andre Martin has all but committed to Maryland, but is awaiting academic clearance. Wilde Lake split end Pat Brown will attend West Point.
The signing period for soccer also begins tomorrow. Wilde Lake soccer standout Hamisi Amani-Dove, an All-Metro first-team selection by The Baltimore Sun last fall, will sign with Rutgers.
Amani-Dove, a forward who had 18 goals and 10 assists to lead Wilde Lake to the state Class 1A title, was honored as a member of the Parade magazine All-America team in the Feb. 2 issue. He also was chosen as an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Amani-Dove had considered attending N.C. State, North Carolina and Old Dominion.
Two of the area's premier distance runners were conspicuous by their absence at county championship indoor track and field meets last week.
Milford Mill's Mike Mamo missed the Baltimore County meet with a lung infection. Mamo has been able to attend school, but his physical activity is restricted. Millers coach Jesse Hannon remains hopeful that Mamo can enter a regional qualifying meet Feb. 10 and challenge in the state 2A-1A meet Feb. 18.
Old Mill, meanwhile, will try to win the state 4A title with minimal help, if any, from Scott Boetig. The Anne Arundel cross-country champ is coming back from a bout with mononucleosis, and the Patriots won a county title without him. Their qualifier for the Feb. 20 state meet is Feb. 12.
"Scott was sluggish before Christmas, and was told he had a strep throat," Old Mill coach Ron Evans said. "He was still struggling after the holiday, and after blood tests he was found to have a strong case of mono. We miss him."
Milford Mill's Yolanda Matthews, who was expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken bone in her right foot during a two-car accident Jan. 10, returned to action Friday.
Wearing a brace, Matthews had 12 points, 11 steals and nine rebounds in approximately 14 minutes, as she helped the Millers to a 67-23 win over Hereford.
Matthews, a 5-8 junior guard, was averaging 15.6 points before the accident. She was the area's second-leading scorer (23.5 ppg) last season and was an All-Metro second-team pick.
"She ran real well. She wasn't hindered," Milford Mill coach Ken Witts said after Friday's game. "She said she felt fine. The big test will be when she gets more time [today]."
Naturally, Witts said he was happy to have Matthews back, but he also said he was pleased with his team's performance in her absence.
"With Yolanda out, the other kids had to pick things up a notch," he said. "It's positive to see the kids fitting in with her, not just relying on her."
Overtime: Columbia (Pa.) High is looking for a boys basketball opponent for its holiday tournament, Dec. 29-30. Call (717) 684-7500. . . . Arundel graduate Denny Neagle, now with the Minnesota Twins, will be on hand to sign autographs at a baseball card show at Arundel on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Telephone Bernie Walter at (410) 674-6500 ext. 252.