St. Frances football celebrates early signing day; Lee and Dalcourt close deal with Alabama


St. Frances’ Darrian Dalcourt (left) and Shane Lee watch teammate Jordan Jakes sign his scholarship letter to Indiana University during a ceremony Wednesday. Lee and Dalcourt signed with reigning national champion Alabama.

by Derek Toney

Maybe St. Frances Academy should be called “Tuscaloosa North.” Wednesday, Panthers senior football players Shane Lee and Darrian Dalcourt inked scholarship letters with the University of Alabama during a ceremony inside St. Frances’ chapel in east Baltimore.

“Finding a home in Alabama is just special for me,” said Lee, the nation’s top inside linebacker in ESPN’s Top 300 senior prospects. “I have some guys I know down there and some guys who are signing today that will be down there with me. I’m excited.

Lee, a second-team USA Today All-American, will have senior teammate Darrian Dalcourt along side as the offensive linemen finalized his pledge to reigning the national and Southeastern Conference champions Crimson Tide. Eyabi Anoma, last year’s VSN Defensive Player of the Year, is a freshman reserve linebacker for the nation’s top-ranked team.

In all, eight Panthers signed on Wednesday, the first day of the national early signing period (ends Friday) for high school seniors. Cole Birdow is headed to Old Dominion, Kwesi Evans inked with Temple while Shawn Evans is bound to Albany. Edward Gatling (Monmouth), Jordan Jakes (Indiana) and Anthony Ogudo (William & Mary) signed.

The Panthers (9-0 overall), ranked No. 4 in the latest USA Today Super 25, went wire-to-wire at No. 1 in VSN’s Top 20 this past fall. St. Frances closes its season Saturday evening at Georgia Class 6A state champion Lee County in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series on ESPNU.