By Owen Gotimer
Sterling (February 26, 2016) — Dominion High School senior Derrick Kouame has made a commitment to continue his football career at Gannon University starting the 2016-2017 school year.
“Being committed is a great feeling knowing I have somewhere to further my education and continue my football career,” the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Kouame said.
While having the opportunity to play football at the collegiate level certainly guided Kouame to Gannon, his trip to the northwestern Pennsylvania university really sealed the deal for him.
“When I went up to Gannon, it felt like home,” Kouame said. “The coaches really took care of my family when I went on my visit. Also, they gave me no indication of redshirting me next year.”
With plans on competing for playing time as a true freshman, Kouame will have to battle against an upperclass-heavy receiving core as well as the other incoming freshman. But the team competition should help the Division II Golden Knights – and fifth-year head coach Brad Rzyczycki – improve on a 6-5 overall record in 2015 which included a 3-4 record in the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference.
“I think I’ll bring speed to the team,” said Kouame who plans to line up as a slot receiver at Gannon. “I feel like I can make a big impact as a freshman.”
While Kouame hopes to make an impact with the Golden Knights, the experience he had playing football for Dominion head coach Karl Buckwalter made an impact on him.
In 2015, Kouame and Buckwalter – along with James Madison-commit Adeeb Atariwa, UVA Wise-commit James Burless, Shenandoah-commit Chris Hanna, UVA Wise-commit Jordan Hinson, Fairmont State-commit Brandon Ruffin, McDaniel-commit Luke Thompson and Bryant-commit Taliek Washington – finished the season 6-4 and missed a VHSL 4A West region playoff berth by less than half a power point.
“Playing at Dominion was a great experience,” Kouame said. “Coach Buck and the rest of the coaching staff always put me in the best position to help the team and at the same time, help myself. They always pushed me to do more and get better every single day.”