By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(March 25, 2014) – Dominion High School senior Yazeed Atariwa signed his National Letter of Intent on Feb. 5 to play collegiate football at the University of Toledo starting in the 2014-2015 school year.
“The weight of college was lifted off of me when I got my first offer,” said Atariwa who chose Toledo over offers from East Carolina, Hampton, Old Dominion and Towson. “I did not know where I wanted to go to further my education past high school. I loved that atmosphere when I went on my official visit [to Toledo]. It was very family-based, and I felt at home. Now that I have this opportunity, I am going to take advantage of it.”
Not only will the 6-foot-4, 257-pound Atariwa get the chance to get a great education, but he will have the opportunity to play for a Division I football program which has seen success of late.
In 2013, head coach Matt Campbell led the DI Rockets to a 7-5 finish including a 5-3 record in the Mid-American Conference.
“Hopefully, I am able to bring another humble-body, working towards big things,” said Atariwa who will play defensive line for Toledo.
While playing defensive line for the Dominion Titans in 2013, Atariwa earned first team honors in the 4A North region and Conference 21 and was named to the Cheers Sports and Viva Loudoun All-Loudoun Football Team while leading the Titans to their first state playoff victory in school history. The senior – who joined Mike Christ, Justin Lyles and Evan Ferguson as college commits from the Titan football program – finished last fall with a 7-5 record: the best record in Dominion High School history.
“Through my four years of playing, I saw how one group of boys could go through hardship of defeat to having a memorable season,” Atariwa said. “My first three years were rough going 4-7, 0-10 and 3-7. Now having an almost all senior line with skilled players that carried the same fire to win that we had, we pulled through with a record of 7-5. We lost a couple that should not have happened, but we still made Dominion history.”
Born in New York City, Atariwa noted he did not start playing sports until he was thirteen.
“I got into sports pretty late, starting my first year of football in eighth grade and basketball in ninth, but I always loved football,” Atariwa said. “It is the ultimate team sport and you build a certain bond with the people you battle with every Friday night. I will always remember my brothers at Dominion.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!