The University of Michigan.  The University of Cincinnati. The University of Toledo. Siena Heights University.  These are just four of the 23 schools in six states that student athletes from Toledo Public Schools will be playing sports at next year.

As a last chance to thank these athletes and to wish them well, Toledo Public Schools hosted a College Signing Night for 33 student athletes on Monday, May 23, at Woodward High School.

Marcus Ray, currently president of his own publishing company, a motivational speaker and a Big Ten Network analyst – not to mention a part of the 1997 national football champions from the University of Michigan -- was the keynote speaker at the event.

Here is a list of the student athletes and a little bit about them.  We are TPS Proud of each and every one of them:

LaTyrah Beasley ~ Bloomfield College, New Jersey (basketball)
LaTyrah is a multi-sport threat, excelling in cross country (finishing fourth in the City League) and soccer (second leading scorer) in addition to basketball.  She was named 1st Team All City for basketball, as well as earning an honorable mention and being named 3rd A.P. All District. She was also the top scorer and rebounder in the City League and in the Top 50 in the state. LaTyrah names Coach John Hobbs, as the biggest influence during her TPS career.  She writes, “He helped me so much to see my potential and to better myself.  I love him. I couldn’t have done any of this without him.” As for a TPS Proud moment, LaTyrah points to her accomplishments this year. She says,  “So many people doubted me and talked down to me but I stayed humble and let my game [do the talking]. I think that’s TPS Proud.  I did it for that name across my chest.” LaTyrah plans to major in accounting in college and, after graduation, she hopes to play basketball overseas and then start her own business.

Christopher Harris ~ Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio (football)
Christopher’s main sports focus in high school was football, where he played a variety of positions on both offense and defense.  He was 2nd team All City his sophomore and senior years. He also played in two City League championship games, winning both times. Christopher cites Coach Dan Chipka, now at Waite High School, for being his biggest influence in high school.  “He had a big influence on most of the juniors and now seniors, to just never give up and to keep going and how to work at something.” Christopher’s TPS Proud moment came when he played in the Hall of Fame game this year against Waite High School. “It was just one more chance to get on the field with my brothers.  Even though we lost, Dr. Durant still honored both teams.”  Christopher, who currently works at The Toledo Zoo, plans to major in Communication and Business so he can open his own sports agency some day.

Tanaya Beacham ~ The University of Toledo (basketball)
Tanaya, who ran cross country in addition to playing forward on the girls’ basketball team, said her special honors include playing on the 2015 state runner-up championship team and a City League championship team, as well as being named the All Blade A team captain and to the Division II 1st Team.  In addition to sports, she has been part of VCD, BDA and worked as a student aide in the school office.  Tanaya names her mother, Tamica Beacham, and her coaches – Coach Smith, Coach Mark and Coach Hammond – as her biggest influences during her TPS career. She writes her TPS Proud moment was “winning the City League championship over Start and getting the trophy for being the best City League team.”  Tanaya plans to major in Criminal Justice and hopes to become an FBI agent.

Walter Boykin III ~ Notre Dame College, South Euclid, Ohio (football)
Walter concentrated on playing football in high school, serving as team captain this year.  He was named 1st team All-City defensive back and was selected to play in this year’s regional All Star game. His biggest influences have been his mom, Wendabi Triplett, and his two coaches – Marcus Waugh and Bo Martin – “for sacrificing their time and helping me perfect my craft.”  Walter says he sometimes hears negative comments about TPS but for him, “I love my school and everything about it.  Through the good and the bad times, I will always be TPS Proud.”  After majoring in Sports Management and Education, Walter plans to become a coach.

Cameron Copeland, Cleveland State Community College, Cleveland, Tennessee (basketball)
Cameron concentrated on basketball in high school and racked up an impressive list of accomplishments.  This year, he was All District Player of the Year, City League MVP, 1st Team All City, two-time Burger King Player of the Week and Channel 13abc Player of the Week.  His junior year, he was 1st Team All District and 2nd Team All City.  He names assistant coach Chris Mycbrayer as his biggest influence because “he showed me that anything is possible.”  Cameron says his TPS Proud moment came “when the crowd cheered as I got my 1,000 point.”  Cameron plans to major in Business in college and hopes to own his own business someday.

Julian Egbo, Ohio Christian University, Circleville, Ohio (basketball)
Julian played power forward and center on the basketball team and received 1st Team All-Academic.  He played on teams that won a sectional championship and was District runner-up. Julian cites his dad, John Egbo, his family and Albert (Mick) Earl, as his biggest influences. His TPS Proud moment came when “I played on my Senior Night and how honored I was by the school and the fans before and during the game.”  Julian, a member of the National Honor Society, plans to major in Physical Therapy in college.

Jhontia Green ~ Wayne County Community College, Detroit, Michigan (basketball)
Jhontia competed in three sports in high school – basketball, cross country and softball.  She lists as her biggest influences her mother, Shontia Green, her grandmother, Renee Green, and Coach Lamar Smith and Mr. LaRue. Johntia’s TPS Proud moment came in 2015 “when we made it to the Final Four.”  She is undecided on a major at this point.

ReaSean Henderson, Ohio Christian University (basketball)
ReaSean was the captain of the Rams basketball team and received the Coaches’ Award and honorable mention on the All District team.  He says his biggest influence was seeing his mother, Lakima Burroughs, “work hard every day.  That made me want her to have better things.” ReaSean’s TPS Proud moment came when the Rams made a run for the state title.  “TPS was behind us 100% and I respect them for that,” he says . ReaSean plans to major in Business and get into sports management.

Canitra Jenkins ~ Wayne County Community College, Detroit, Michigan (basketball)
Canitra played basketball all four years and ran cross country.  She writes of her biggest influences, “My mom and sister were my biggest supporters. They pushed me to do my best on and off the court . And they never let me give up on myself.   Coach Smith, Coach Collins and Coach Hammond for never giving up on me, for pushing me to do my best and always making me work hard.” And finally, “My friends also kept me motivated and focused on what was important.” Canitra, who participates in Daughters of Promise, says her TPS Proud moments were going to Florida, beating E-town in Kentucky “and making it to the state championship game my junior year.”

Akienreh Johnson ~ The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan (basketball)
Akienreh ran cross country in addition to playing on the varsity basketball team for all four years.  Her honors include being named Division II Co-Player of the Year, being named 1st and 2nd Team All District and 1st Team All City and a McDonald’s All American nominee.  She earned 1000 points in her career. Her school activities include Visual Communication and Design and being a member of the National Honor Society and the yearbook.   Akienreh made the All-Academic Team with a grade point average of 3.9. She says her biggest influences are her parents, Kechan and Herneika Johnson, “because they always pushed me to try my best and do my best in everything I do.”  Her TPS Proud moment occurred her sophomore year when the team beat Clyde High School “because it felt like the whole community and school were there to support us.” Akienreh plans to major in Psychology or Sports Management and go overseas after graduation.

KeAsja Peace ~ The University of Michigan (basketball)
KeAsja was also a cross country runner but she made her name on the basketball court. Honors include being named 1st Team All City her senior year, 2nd team All District and 2nd team All City her junior year. She was also team captain for two years, was a McDonald’s All American nominee and earned 1000 points in her career. KeAsja cites her mom and her grandfather as her biggest influences “because they push me to my limit so I can be the best I can be.” KeAsja’s TPS Proud moments center on key victories, including hitting two three-point shots her sophomore year to beat Africentric and beating the number one teams from Kentucky and Georgia her senior year. KeAsja plans to study to become a pediatric nurse and post-college plans include playing basketball overseas or in the WNBA.

Sydney Petty ~ The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (basketball)
In addition to basketball, Sydney played softball and ran cross country in high school. Her basketball honors include being named to the 2nd All City Team and the 2nd All District Team in 2015, the 2nd Team All City and 2nd Team District honorable mention in 2016 and serving as a captain for two years.  She surpassed 1,000 points in her high school career. Sydney, a member of the National Honor Society, said her parents - Richard and Beth - were her “biggest supporters,” along with Coach Collins and Coach Smith. She writes,  “They always pushed me to do my best, on and off the court. They always kept me humble and focused.” She said of her TPS Proud moment, “The best experience was when we made it into the state championship game in the 2014/2015 season, when we beat Clyde in the district championship in 2013/2014 and when we beat E-Town in Kentucky before the 2015-2016 season.”  Sydney will be majoring in Nursing and will either go overseas to play after graduation or pursue her master’s degree.

Charlvon Gaston ~ Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio (football)
Charlvon was the captain for both the football and baseball teams and was the offensive MVP for the football team.  He is also the president of the Student Body Government and of Young Men of Excellence and is a member of Teen PEP.  Charlvon says his biggest influence has been Scott’s head basketball coach, Fred Coogler. “He kept me on track and was always there for me,” Charlvon says.  Asked about a TPS Proud moment, he writes, “When we were City League champions, I was ineligible because I transferred but I never missed practice.  I was there for the team more than people who could actually play.  That being said, it was a very proud moment.” Charlvon plans to major in Computer Science so he can become a software engineer.

Larry A. Green, Jr. ~ Undecided (basketball)
In addition to basketball, Larry was on the cross country and soccer teams. He was the captain of the basketball team, Co-Player of the Year and named 1st team All City. Larry says his biggest influence is Coach Ketean Wyatt. “I say this because he pushed me to my limit and, without him, I would not be who I am today.” His TPS Proud moment came when his team won the City League championship last year. “I was so excited that day,” he remembers. Larry plans to major in Physical Therapy and he hopes to continue his basketball career after college.

Chance D. Hawkins ~ Cleveland State Community College, Cleveland, Tennessee (basketball)
Chance played baseball, basketball and soccer and ran track as a freshman. He was named the MVP for the basketball All Star game, the dunk contest winner, 1st Team All City and 2nd Team All District.  He names Coach Fred Coogler as the person who had the biggest influence on him. “He impacted my life so much, from picking me up for school to improving my game in basketball. … and I thank him.”   He says one of his best experiences was winning the City League championship last year. Chance plans to major in Physical Education in college.

Laquelle Jacobs ~ Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio (basketball)
Laquelle was a multi-sport threat in high school, running cross country, competing in multiple categories for track and field and playing No. 1 singles on the tennis team in addition to playing basketball . She was named twice to the 1st Team All City for tennis, 1st Team All City and 2nd team All City for basketball and was captain of both the basketball and tennis teams.  Laquelle cites the Scott coaching staff – Coach Dom, Coach Cooz and Coach Precious – as the biggest influence on her. “I didn’t think I would want to play basketball and they encouraged me to get better throughout the years and talked me into playing,” she says.  Her TPS Proud moment came when she was chosen to be part of the TPS Leadership Seminar for student athletes. “Certain TPS students were invited to the school board to be recognized as leaders in the schools and on their sports team,” she remembers.  Laquelle plans to major in Liberal Arts at Sinclair Community College and then transfer to a four-year college.

Derrick Wells, Jr. ~ Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio (football)
Derrick is another multi-sport athlete, competing in track, baseball and wrestling in addition to football. He placed fourth in the City League championships as a 152-pound wrestler.  This past year, he was named defensive MVP for football and 2nd Team All City for linebacker. In his junior year, he was voted Most Improved, 2nd Team All City and played on the City League championship team.  In addition to sports, Derrick is involved with AVID, the National Honor Society and Toledo’s PET Bull Project. Derrick says his TPS Proud moment was “winning our first game in the new stadium. The crowd was packed and everybody was standing, watching us beat Start.  I led the team in tackles that game (10 solos).”  Derrick is undecided about what he wants to study in college.

Jay Wells ~ Defiance College, Defiance, Ohio (basketball)
Jay is a dual-sport athlete, racking up impressive honors for both football and basketball.  He played both defense and offense on the football team, earning 1st Team All City honors for both offense and defense his junior year.  He played forward on the basketball team and earned 1st Team All City honors his junior year, as well as playing on the City League championship team that year. Jay is a member of the National Honor Society and AVID and is involved with Toledo’s Pet Bull Project.  Jay says his biggest influence was “Coach Keetan Wyatt. He first introduced me to the game when I was in sixth grade. He has played a major part in my development as a player and also as a man.” He says of his TPS Proud moment, “After we won the City League championship, we were invited to the Board and were honored in front of the members and others who came to watch.” Jay plans to major in Secondary Education and says, “Following graduation, I would love to come back and contribute to TPS schools.”

Evan Butler, Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio (football)
Evan was on the Start High School track team that won the City League championship his sophomore year, but it is on the gridiron where he’s made his mark. He was a captain of the team that won the City League championship this year while compiling the best record in Start’s history and he was named 1st Team for his punting. He also played cornerback and wide receiver. “My family and my team were my biggest influences during my TPS playing career,” Evan writes. “Because my family means everything to me and I want to make my family proud. And my team, well, we just count on each other for everything and doing our job to our best ability.”  His TPS Proud moment came when the Spartans won the City League championship and had a record of 9-1. “It’s a moment that I will never forget – celebrating with my team and leading them to the victory with the other captains.”  Evan, who works at Netty’s, wants to major in Sports Management in college and “follow my dreams and set my goals higher for myself.”

Anis Galal, Capital University, Columbus, Ohio (football)
Anis played both football and soccer at Start High School.  He was the team captain for the City League championship varsity soccer team and he was twice named to the 1st Team All City for football.  Also, as the position kicker (55 of 69 kicks), he played on this school year’s City League championship football team that made it to the state playoffs for the first time in Start’s history.  Anis names three men as his biggest influences in high school. Varsity football Coach Tyson Harder because “he has always pushed me to my limits and always believed in me,” Anis writes. “Also, Coach Chris and Mr. Pettaway for keeping me focused.”  Anis says his TPS Proud moment came during the school’s send-off of the team to the playoff game. “Everyone was supporting us,” he remembers.  Anis, a national qualifier for DECA, plans to pursue a double major of Political Science and Marketing.

Christian Matamoros, Olivet College, Olivet, Michigan (football and basketball)
Christian participated in football, basketball and track during his high school years, earning 1st Team All District, 1st Team All City and All State honorable mention for football. Christian played on City League championship teams for both football and basketball.  His biggest influence is his brother.  “He always told me to do the best of my abilities and that school is first and to do better than he did,” Christian remembers.  A member of the Young Men of Excellence mentoring group, Christian says his TPS Proud moment came “when we were entering the state D1 playoffs for the first time and the [students] gave us a standing ovation as we walked through the halls.”  He plans to study Sports Management in college and then continue his football career or be an ESPN talk show host.

Brittany McDuffie, Olivet College (basketball and volleyball)
Brittany participated in five sports during her high school career ~ basketball, cheerleading, softball, track and volleyball.  She was the co-captain of the City League championship volleyball team.  Brittany says the biggest influences on her sports career have been parents George and Lisa McDuffie, and her sister.  “Each one of them played major roles in my life and I look up to every single one of them,” she says.  “I can’t thank them enough for pushing me to be the best I can be.”  Brittany is in the DECA Fashion Marketing program and made it to the state competition; she also won $150 for a non-tarnish, handmade jewelry project. Brittany, who works at Bob Evans, writes, “My best experience during my TPS career is when I hit the game-winning point in my championship volleyball game on my home court, beating a team that we haven’t beaten in years and for that I am TPS Proud.” Brittany plans to major in Biology and Pre-Medicine and, after graduating from college, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career as a Physician’s Assistant.

Detryck Bell-Singletary, Olivet College (football, basketball, track)
Detryck played football and ran track in high school, earning a third place in the City League his junior year in the 400 meter.  His fastest time in that race is 52.43. He also ran the 4x400, the 4x200, 4x100 and the Open 200. Detryck credits his parents, Fonsa Bell and Warren Singletary, as well as his grandparents for “always being there to support me at everything I do.  Anytime I have an event or a football game, they are always there, cheering me on.” Detryck writes, “One of the moments that have made me say that I am TPS Proud was Senior Night.  Our school had a pep rally and I was recognized. Just the sound of people cheering for me was the best feeling ever.  I always get this feeling when I’m on the field too. It is an experience that will never be forgotten.” Detryck, who works at Sky Zone, plans to major in Sports/Recreation Management.

Joseph James Smith, Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio (football)
Joseph competed in track and racked up an impressive list of accomplishments as a three-year starter for the varsity football team.  He was the team’s Defensive MVP, the FCA Player of the Year, an All-City linebacker and a finalist for the Chuck E Lee Award. He says his biggest influence “is my older brother, who played for Scott before me.” Joseph has been involved with DECA, FCA, the African-American Club and the city of Toledo Youth Commission.  He works at the Toledo Zoo and with STRIVE.  He says his TPS Proud moment came when “I was injured and Dr. Durant himself walked in to visit me.”  Joseph plans to major in Business and Sports Management in college.

Michael L. Williams II, Tiffin University (football and track)
Michael was one of the captains of the City League championship football team that went to the Division I playoffs, playing slot back and cornerback and earning All City wide receiver honors.  He was also the captain of the track team, competing in the 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200. “My family and coaches were my biggest influence,” he writes. His TPS Proud moment came, he says, “When we won our city championship and made history and people recognized it so they were proud of us.”  Michael, who works at Greg’s Grill and worked Start’s concession stands for other sports, plans to major in Sports Management.

Brandon Winters, Trine University, Angola, Indiana (football)
Brandon was the Offensive MVP and captain of the City League champions for the 2015-2016 season and he played on the City League champions for both football and basketball when he was a freshman.  Brandon chose basketball coach Matthew Worthman CHECK as his biggest influence because he respects him as a good coach who was “always encouraging me to do better.”   Brandon’s TPS Proud moments involved school pep rallies for the football team and when the players were honored by The Board of Education.  He will major in Sports Management and hopes to work in a sport-related business after college.

Anthony Ashford, Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan (football)
Anthony participated in football, track and weight lifting while in high school and was a captain for all three. His football honors are many, including being a three-time 1st team All City pick, the leading rusher and tackler for the 2015-2016 season, BSCN Player of the Game, playing on the City League championship team for the 2014-2015 season and being named MVP of the football team. He is also very involved in the school’s Young Men of Excellence program.  Anthony named four people as having the biggest influence on him: his mother, Tammy Harmon; Coach Howard, counselor Josh Vance and Coach Chipka.  The reason why, he says, is, “because even through the tough time I had, they never gave up on me.”   Anthony writes of his TPS Proud moment, “Nineteen sixty-three was the last time Waite High School won a city championship and that’s been a long time ago.  I say I am TPS Proud because we have been the first team in so long to receive another title.  Also, with all that the Waite High School program is becoming I’d like to say I am TPS Proud once again. #WEAREWAITE.” Anthony plans to study Criminal Justice at Sienna Heights University and “play football at the highest level I can.”

Camyrn Jo Brumfield, Lourdes University, Sylvania, Ohio (cheerleading) 
Camryn has been the cheerleading captain for two years at Waite High School and was honored with a BCSN Ace Award.  She chose her parents, Kelly and Joe, as her biggest influence “because they both support me in everything I do and push me to be the best I can be.“  She says her TPS Proud moment came when she was nominated for the BCSN award “and being the only one there representing TPS.”  She is involved in the National Honor Society, student government and Toledo Leadership. Camryn Jo is looking forward to studying art at Lourdes University and cheering for the Gray Wolves.

Alec Jason Heslet, University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, Ohio (basketball)
Alec played soccer, basketball and football at Waite and plans to concentrate on basketball in college.  He names Coach Mitcham as his biggest influence.  He says his TPS Proud moments came, “After a big win, just hearing the crowd roar.” Alec, who works at The Oliver House, says he plans to major in Business “and live a successful life.”

Eric Lamont Neal, Jr., University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, Ohio (basketball)
Eric made 1st Team All City for cross country and for basketball. He also made 2nd Team All District for basketball as a point guard and was the team captain and MVP.  He chose his mother, Wendy Haines, as his biggest influence because of “… seeing her work hard to take care of me and my three sisters and to do almost anything to make us happy,” he says, adding, “She wanted this for me …. And she knew it was what was best for me.”   Eric’s TPS Proud moment was “making the 2nd Team All District, representing Waite and being congratulated in the hallways at school by most teachers.” Eric plans to study Sports Marketing and Management in college.

Noah Paprocki, Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio (football)
Noah was the captain and an offensive guard on the football team and played for a City League championship.  He is the vice president of the Young Men of Excellence group at Waite High School and is a member of the school’s National Honor Society and choir.  “My dad, Mike, was my biggest influence during my time at Garfield and Waite High School.  He told me to strive for my best and if you fail, just keep on pushing,” Noah says.  He says his TPS Proud moment came “when we beat Bowsher for the City League championship.” Noah plans to major in Exercise Science in college.

Latrecia Williams, The University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, Ohio (basketball)

Latrecia competed in the shot put and discus for the track team and was a post player for the basketball team.  She is involved in Waite's Young Women of Excellence chapter and the Black History program.  "My biggest influence is Coach King (girls’ basketball) because he told me to never give up and to keep going whenever times get hard," she writes.  "And he told me to go for [my dreams]."  She said of her TPS Proud moment, "My best experience is when I'm just playing on the court and being able to play all four of my high school years."  Latrecia wants to attend college to become a medical assistant.

Daijour Whittington ~ Westmoreland College, Youngwood, Penn. (basketball)
Daijour was a combo guard on the varsity basketball team, serving as captain for two years and being named the team’s MVP for the 2015-2016 season.  He was on the team that was City League runner-up this year and was named 1st Team All District and 1st Team All City League.  He is a member of Young Men of Excellence and of Woodward’s graphic design program and the Spanish Club. Daijour says his biggest influence in high school has been his four-year varsity coach, Coach Knabbs, and his mother, Shalisha Barnett.  “They always kept my head straight and gave me great life lessons.  I appreciate everything they did for me during my four years at Woodward.” His TPS Proud moment came this year.  “The most memorable moment for my high school career was getting my name called Senior Night against Bowsher.  I was proud to be a Polar Bear,” he says. Daijour plans to major in Graphic Design and open his own business.

Posted on May 27, 2016