Football: Diawara, Hart, Bland-Bennett Make College Commitments
A trio of Shore Conference standouts have made their college commitments with National Signing Day looming on Feb. 5.
Toms River South senior wide receiver/defensive back Darrius Hart verbally committed to the University of Maine on Wednesday night, Lakewood defensive end Maurice Diawara verbally committed to Wagner on Thursday, and Asbury Park running back/defensive back Daquane Bland-Bennett committed to West Virginia Wesleyan, a Division II program, on Wednesday night.
Hart was a first-team All-Shore selection at defensive back by Shore Sports Network in the fall after he finished second in the Shore Conference with 7 interceptions this season, one of which he returned for a touchdown in a state playoff victory over Moorestown. The Indians finished 8-3 for their most wins since 2002 and won their first state playoff game in 10 years. Also an explosive wide receiver, the 6-foot-2 Hart had 27 catches for 467 yards (17.3 ypc) and 6 touchdowns on offense.
He also had offers from Monmouth University and Stony Brook. He took an official visit to Maine this past weekend and then verbally committed.
Diawara, who is also a basketball standout for the defending Shore Conference Tournament champions, had 55 tackles, 14 sacks, 10 pass break-ups and 4 forced fumbles at defensive end for a Piners team that won its first state playoff game since 1986. Diawara was a SSN third-team All-Shore selection and an All-Class B South pick by the coaches.
Bland-Bennett was a versatile threat for the Blue Bishops who had 1,005 all-purpose yards for the Central Jersey Group I semifinalists. He had 445 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns on an average of 8.7 yards per carry and had 13 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. He also averaged 22.3 yards on a combined 19 kickoff and punt returns with a touchdown. An All-Class B Central pick by the coaches, he visited West Virginia Wesleyan on Wednesday and verbally committed on the trip.