Thursday, January 26, 2023

NFA Football Star to Sign with Big Ten College

A local celebrity from the winning Newburgh Free Academy Varsity football team will sign with Rutgers University, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District announced this afternoon.

Deondre Johnson, a senior at the NFA West Campus, will sign a letter of intent with the Division 1 school on Wednesday. His signing will commit to attending and playing football with Rutgers’ Scarlet Red Knights next fall. Johnson will trade in his blue and gold Goldback wings upon graduation in June of 2023.

Rutgers Football program is part of the Big Ten Conference and has an illustrious history of All-Americans, All-Conference Selections, All-East Selections, athletes drafted to play
professionally in the National Football League (NFL), and more.

The signing will take place on National Signing Day for Division I football. Athletes accepting
Division I and II offers throughout the country will be making their commitments Wednesday.

Johnson is a multi-sport Varsity athlete who began playing football with the Newburgh Steelers at the age of 5 and basketball with the Boys and Girls Club’s Newburgh Panthers at 15 years old, before playing on both NFA’s Varsity football and basketball teams throughout high school.

Johnson is ranked #2 as a 2023 Top Football Recruit in New York by 247 Sports. He began playing for the NFA Varsity football team as a freshman in high school. During his high school career, he was a team Captain and a 4-year Varsity letter winner for the Goldbacks. In his time as a student athlete he won multiple Section Nine Championships and was awarded back to back Player of the Year recognitions. In addition, he also was named to the All-State Team, leading NFA in all multiple phases of the game at Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Punter, and more recently Wildcat.

On the basketball court, Deondre has played on a Section 9 Championship team and has been named division all-star.

“Deondre is the best football player to ever to wear our Blue and Gold block N,” declared Head Coach Bill Bianco. “At 6’8, 200 pounds, he dominated the game and led his teammates to multiple Section 9 Titles and a NYS Class AA State Championship appearance. He is a leader and a generational talent and will be surely missed.”

Bianco surpassed 100 career wins as Head Coach this season.

In the classroom and community, Johnson is an active member of the NFA West Campus Big
Picture Learning program. He is a member of the school district’s My Brother’s Keeper
program. He has been an active part of the school and district community, contributing to
speaking events at elementary and middle schools, and has played a major role on the
student leadership team at NFA West Campus. He has built strong relationships with students, staff members, and families throughout the Newburgh community.

Johnson previously had an internship at the Newburgh Boys and Girls Club and is currently interning at Temple Hill Academy as a Physical Education Program Assistant.

Prior to attending Newburgh Free Academy West Campus, Johnson attended Meadow Hill School and South Middle School.

“I have witnessed Deondre’s tremendous growth on and off the field,” observed Ebony Clark, an Assistant Principal at the NFA West Campus. “He has become more focused academically and maintains a good standing in the community. He is often seen at Youth football games mentoring and encouraging the next generation of athletes.”

Clark continued, “At NFA West Campus, he also lends guidance to younger students to continue to excel academically. He continues to amaze us at NFA West – we love him and couldn’t be prouder of all that he has accomplished and will accomplish in the future.”

NFA West School Counselor Lakeya Stukes concurred. “Deondre Johnson is the true definition of success,” Stukes exclaimed. “I have witnessed his growth, maturity and drive as a student-athlete and it has been remarkable to watch. His commitment to being a role model in the Newburgh Community in and outside of school is outstanding. I am confident that he will be an amazing asset to the Rutgers University community! I am so proud of him and wish him only the best!”

Johnson will be joined and celebrated by his family, friends, and teammates from the Newburgh Community during Wednesday’s signing.

The Newburgh Enlarged City School District wished to publicly congratulate Johnson. “We are very proud of him and all he has accomplished,” the District wrote in a statement,. “We wish him the best of luck at Rutgers and know he will represent our Goldback Nation well. Go Goldbacks!”

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