Trojan Trio Ready to Raise Their Games to Next Level

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Thursday, May 2, 2019, 9:59 am
Mark Meyer

Three East Lansing High School seniors will have an opportunity to advance their academic and athletic careers, according to head football coach Bill Feraco.

Quarterback Joe Benbraham (above, right) and linemen Jalil Lewis and Haywood Edwards (above, left) have decided to enroll at Adrian College, Olivet College and Bethune-Cookman (Daytona, Fla.), respectively, upon receiving their high school diplomas next month.

All three played key roles for the Trojans this past season in helping the team compile a 9-2 overall record.

“Very happy for all three,” Feraco said earlier this week upon learning of their decisions. “Each one of them has the talent and ability to contribute to their programs. It may take some time before they make their presence felt, but I’m glad to see them accept the challenge.

“It won’t be easy, it never is when all of a sudden you’re lining up against guys who are two, maybe three or more years older. You learn in a hurry what it means to start over as a freshman, and how to get yourself ready to step up.”

Lewis earned Capital Area Activities Conference (CAAC) Blue Division all-league honors from his defensive line position while Benbraham, the team’s starting quarterback, was named honorable mention in the CAAC Blue. Edwards also started on the defensive line with Lewis, and was credited with 25 tackles in 10 games.

All three Trojans view their college choices as extensions of what they experienced in high school.

“The thing that impressed me the most was the family atmosphere around the team,” Benbraham said of his visit to Adrian which, like Olivet, competes in the Division III Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).

Lewis and Edwards are equally optimistic.

“I had a good visit and (Olivet) feels like the right place to be,” Lewis said.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Edwards said of playing at Bethune-Cookman, a Football Championship Subdivision (Division I) school that plays in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Lewis, Benbraham and Edwards join Kobe Hayward (running back / Grand Valley State), Kaleb Elam (defensive back / Davenport) and Jack Morse (kicker, receiver / Davenport) who announced their college plans in early February.

“It’s a big step for all of them, and at some point they are going to adjust,” Feraco said, “not only to the speed and physical nature of the college game, but also to the preparation it takes to succeed.”

Feraco pointed to former Trojan Connor Charamella as an example of someone who starred in high school at one position (quarterback) but quickly realized that, in order to play at the college level, he had to find a new position (tight end, H back.)

“He’s flexible enough that he knew he’d have to play a new position in order to see the field,” Feraco said. “But he also improved his punting to the point where he was one of the top punters in Division III, in terms of net yardage.”

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