Matthew Jones Headlines Next Era at NYC Powerhouse Erasmus Hall
Posted January 26, 2016 9:51 pm
Photo courtesy of Maxpreps.com
If you sit down with Danny Landberg, head coach from Erasmus Hall, it will take you about five minutes to understand how he has turned an unknown high school in Brooklyn, New York into the latest east coast division one football breeding grounds. After sending his second player to college football powerhouse, Ohio State, you would expect to sense a bit of arrogance, but Landberg still carries himself with the same enthusiasm and energy as he did when he was coaching his first division one player, Syracuse Orangemen, Wayne Morgan.
I first met Landberg on a Saturday afternoon when I decided to catch a Erasmus Hall game. I had come to see, Curtis Samuel, the then senior sensation that had committed to OSU, and was being heralded as Urban Meyer’s next Percy Harvin. Rather than boasting about Samuel, Landberg and his staff immediately started introducing me to lesser publicized names like Jose Duncan, Kahlil Lewin, and many others.
In a city known for it’s legendary basketball programs, I felt like I had entered a storied Western Pennsylvania program, based on the type of talent and enthusiasm for high school football I was surrounded by. One person in particular really caught my eye, and what was so fascinating was that he did not have a jersey on. It was 8th grader Matthew Jones, who had just decided to enroll at Erasmus Hall for high school. At the time he was hanging out with his buddies, who were half the size of him, and he swore to me he was athletic enough to play tight end. During halftime we played catch, and to my disbelief, this massive eighth grader that had the body of a college sophomore, was running routes up and down the field showing he had the athleticism of a tight end.
Three years later, Erasmus Hall has undoubtedly become a premier program, that now attracts some of the most successful college football programs in the nation. Jones was just named to Maxpreps Class of 2018 All American list, and Curtis Samuel has been passed the torch by first round lock Ezekiel Elliot, as Ohio States key playmaker for the 2016-17 season.
You could say business is booming for Landberg as far as Erasmus Hall is concerned. Jones is the youngest football player to pick up an offer in New York City, and E Hall has now become the high school with the most division one football players in the city. Thanks to Landberg and his staff, the future for kids in Brooklyn who have a dream to play college football is bright.
Obviously with offers from Penn State, Georgia, Nebraska, and Alabama, Matt Jones is the big man on campus. Still, there are other shining stars on the team, like class of 2017 athlete Jahquel Webb, who Landberg describes as explosive of an athlete as they come. Coming from a guy that has turned an inner city football ball field steps away from the F train, into an annual stop for Urban Meyer, I would not take the hype lightly.
Although most East Coast colleges are familiar with the program, other than Ohio State, you don’t see too many offers be extended to kids at Erasmus Hall from OSU’s neighboring Big Ten schools, or for that matter any kids in New York. Landberg and I have had various conversations about what is taking so long for MAC schools, and other Big Ten schools to get with the program, and his response is “they don’t want to win with the big boys.”
If Landberg keeps it up and continues turning raw inner city New York City talent, into sought after division one prospects, it’s only a matter of time before every division one coach realizes who the “big boys” are in the Big Apple.