DEARBORN — Wednesday was National Signing Day across the country as high school seniors signed letters-of-intent to the schools of their choice, and the Dearborn Fordson Tractors were well represented with three players receiving college scholarships.
Fordson head football coach Fouad Zaban (back) watches his players (from left) Ali Alaboody, Abdallah Homayed, and Hassan Amen sign letters-of-intent to the colleges of their choice on Wednesday at Fordson High School. PHOTO: Nick Meyer/TAAN
"I just want to remind you that schoolwork comes before anything, just get it done," said Fordson linebacker/fullback Abdallah Homayed after signing his letter-of-intent to play football at the University of Akron in Ohio.
Head coach Fouad Zaban and athletic director Mark Shooshanian also spoke, while also re-iterating the importance of academics and congratulating the players for becoming the first Division I scholarship recipients 11 years ago, when Carlos Smith signed with Western Michigan.
Besides Homayed, the 6-foot-3 star who plans to go to Akron to play either defensive end or linebacker, Fordson running back/defensive back Ali Alaboody will attend Division I Bowling Green (Ohio) to play slot receiver and also to return kicks, while cornerback/running back Hassan Amen will go to Division I-AA Western Illinois to play strong safety.
Homayed plans to go into accounting, Alaboody wants to study criminal justice, and Amen wants to go into business.
Both Bowling Green and Akron are in the NCAA's Mid-American Conference's East Division and play each other often, so the possibility that Alaboody and Homayed could meet in a collision some day on the field is strong.
"If he wants to keep his job, he should probably grab some ankle braces," joked Alaboody about his plans to juke Homayed in the open field.
Alaboody gave tips to young high school players on how to get the attention of college scouts.
"Of course, it all starts with academics; you can't go anywhere without those," he said. "But other than that, you should focus on your speed and do a lot of running. Speed is one of the most important things college coaches look for."
While he wanted to go to college to play running back like his idol Barry Sanders, he believes he will fit in well at slot receiver since he caught the ball a lot as a running back in Fordson's spread offense.
Amen said Western Illinois liked his physical play and tackling ability and the cornerback spot, which prompted them to offer him as a safety. As for Homayed, he will try out at both defensive end and linebacker.
Alaboody credited Zaban's college-style drills for helping him transform into a college-level prospect.
Another person who played a big role in the momentous accomplishments of the three players is Mohammed Hamid, the former Fordson player who began taking current players on the road to combines in places like Texas and Ohio to showcase them in front of college scouts. He was also on hand for the ceremony.
Amen thanked Hamid for his support and said that the partnership should be the beginning of more great opportunities for Fordson players.
"I feel like the three of us have set the path for the younger players," he said.
Amen also said that he plans to keep in contact with Homayed and Alaboody after he moves on to college to continue the friendship they built in practices and games together with the Tractors.
"We'll be away from each other, but I’ll try to talk to them every week and to talk about how our games went," he said.
"It really shouldn't be too different if we keep in touch."