Donte Abrams, the Asbury Park High School football standout who transferred to Michigan during the off season, is back in the Blue Bishops’ uniform.
“He transferred back about three weeks ago,” Asbury Park coach Tim Fosque said on Aug. 16. “When he left us, it was a family decision. He feels he has the best opportunity to excel where he has been for his entire life. We’re excited to have him back. I received a call from him and he said he was on his way back.
“He is our top returner. He gives us the opportunity to be successful in a lot of different ways. The kids look up to him.”
Fosque said Abrams will “have full eligibility” for the 2016 season.
“He has made what we call a bonafide address change,” Fosque said. “He has moved from one parent to another parent. Donte lives in Asbury Park. He has moved from his dad, who lives in Michigan,back to his mother, who lives in Asbury Park.”
Abrams, a junior, figures to play slot receiver, running back and corner back. He’s also slated to return punts and kickoffs.
“We will play him where he will help us the most,” Fosque said. “He gives us the ability to stretch the field. He will open up a lot of opportunities for our other players as teams will key in on him. He has definitely improved his quickness and technique from last season.”
Abrams last season made 26 tackles and intercepted two passes. He caught 10 passes for 132 yards, an average of 13.2 yards per catch. He caught two touchdown passes. He rushed for 119 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. He played corner back and slot receiver and returned punts and kickoffs.
Abrams finds his name on the lips of several schools.
“You name it,” Fosque said. “He has visited Notre Dame. Syracuse, North Carolina, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Virginia and West Virginia are also interested in him. He’s being recruited as a strong safety and corner back. Wide receiver is another possibility.”
Abrams will be catching passes from junior quarterback Jaking Agostini, taking over for the graduated Davon Thompson, now at the Jersey Coast Academy. Agostini was the Blue Bishops’ junior varsity quarterback in 2015.
“He did a good job last year,” Fosque said. “He did a great job in seven on seven play during this off season. I hope our line will take the pressure off of him. He has shown signs of growth. He has the ability to stretch the field with his throws. I am looking forward to seeing how his seven on seven play will translate this season. His strength is his ability to read defenses. He has a great knowledge of the game. He has shown signs of athleticism. He can run and has shown great toughness. He will develop into a pretty effective quarterback.”
At slot receiver, running back and linebacker is senior Namir Argilagos.
“He has a very high football IQ,” Fosque said. “He has toughness. He led us in tackles last year when he was all over the field. He is probably our best defensive player.”
Another running back is senior Paul Reed.
“He has great explosion and is very fast,” Fosque said. “He’s able to run the ball outside. He is a jet runner who can run inside the tackles.”
Junior Kyrie Moore returns at center where he is a three-year varsity starter.
“He’s definitely a student of the game,” Fosque said. “He will anchor our line. We will operate out of the shotgun and he has to get the ball back to the quarterback on the snap.”
Calvin Simmons-Carter brings four years of varsity experience as a starter to the lineup. He will play offensive guard and defensive tackle.
“He has quickness and the strength of a mule,” Fosque said. “He has great football technique. He got himself into good football shape during the off season. He is leaner and much stronger. He will be able to play on both sides of the ball effectively. Fatigue won’t be as much of a factor for him this year. (NCAA) Division I-AA and Division II schools are looking at him.”
Junior Jaylen Paige is back at offensive and defensive tackle where he is a two-year varsity starter.
“He is a beast–a big, strong, physical and tough kid,” Fosque said. “He will be great for us at offensive tackle. He will give us the ability to run the ball on the inside. He is stronger, faster and leaner than he was last year. His dedication to the game has been just incredible.”
Cishiume Simmons is in his fourth varsity season. The three-year starter will play tight end and linebacker.
“He’s a big, tall kid,” Fosque said. “He’s physical and athletic.”
Moore will see action at defensive end in a revamped alignment. At strong safety is senior Josmere Taylor.
“Josmere is very athletic and aggressive,” Fosque said. “He will add a lot of substance and strength to the position. ”
Junior Javon Higgs will play free safety and wideout.
“He is long, quick and athletic,” Fosque said. “He is a great competitor. He has improved tremendously from last year as he is much stronger.”
Another versatile player is senior Dyquan Young, who will play wideout and middle linebacker and handle the extra points, field goals and punts. He is in his third varsity season.
“He gives us great depth at receiver and linebacker,” Fosque said.
“We have gone from a 6-2 to a 4-3 defense,” Fosque said. “It suits our personnel better. Three linebackers are better in terms of flying to the football. It fits who we are as a team. We can sort of flourish in it.”
Fosque said the team is well rounded.
“We will have a great team effort,” he said. “We have experience and depth. I am looking forward to seeing how our guys develop and jell. I see us being competitive and being able to win some football games.”
Head coach: Tim Fosque, second year
Record at Asbury Park: 6-4
Last year’s record: 6-4
Assistant coaches: Matt Ardizzone (co-offensive coordinator, linebackers), Lamar Davenport (co-offensive coordinator, defensive backs), Robert Ward (offensive and defensive lines), Keith Killea (linebackers, offensive line), Nick Ciambrone (receivers, defensive backs, special teams coordinator), Syron Davis (defensive backs, running backs), Barry Baity (middle school, Leroy Hayes (middle school), Paul Zarella (middle school), Byron Young (middle school) Hassan Young (middle school), Darian Doss (middle school, academics coach for middle school)
Offensive alignment: Shotgun
Defensive alignment: 4-3
Regular season schedule: Sept, 9, Shore Regional 6 p.m.; Sept. 17, At Keyport, noon; Sept. 23, Point Pleasant Beach, 6 p.m.; Sept. 30, Metuchen, 6 p.m.; Oct. 14, Mater Dei, 6 p.m.; Oct. 21, at Dunellen, 7 p.m.; Oct. 29, at Bishop George, noon; Nov.5, at Keansburg, 1 p.m.; Nov. 24, at Neptune, 10 a.m.
Roster: Junior CB-SB Donte Abrams, 6-0, 175; junior QB-OLB Ja’King Agostini, 5-10, 190; senior OLB-WR Namir Argilagos, 5-10, 180; senior WR-CB Tyrone Bailey, 5-9, 165; junior OL-DL Xavier Banks, 6-3, 235; senior TE-OLB Christian Bragg, 6-3, 195; junior QB-DB Anthony Frazier, 6-0, 165; senior RB-CB Sean Hallman, 5-8, 165; junior FS-WR Javon Higgs, 6-2, 155; junior TE-OLB Nasir Jones, 6-2, 185; junior FB-LB Sciron Leach, 5-8, 175; junior C-DE Kyrie Moore, 6-, 225; senior WR-DB Devin Nash McGhee, 5-9, 165
junior OT-DT Jaylen Paige, 6-2, 256; junior DE-DT Kymar Ponds, 6-2, 195; senior CB-WR Paul Reed, 5-8, 145; senior CB-WR Najir Ridout, 5-8, 150; junior OL-FB Kavon Robinson, 5-6, 156; senior DE-MLB Cishiume Simmons, 6-3, 209; junior T-G Milton Simmons, 5-8, 200; senior DT-G Calvin Simmons-Carter, 5-10, 255; senior G-DE Jacquel Summerlin, 5-8 185; senior WR-CB Josmere Taylor, 6-3, 170; senior WR-OLB Dyquan Young, 5-7, 167