Update: Issa Conteh has committed to Saint Anselm College.
Playing college football is Issa Conteh’s dream. Football has been his life for as long as he can remember.
But the cornerback has a bigger motivation to get his first scholarship offer: his family.
Conteh’s parents don’t have the kind of money needed to send him to college without taking a huge hit financially, Conteh said. That’s why he is being patient and staying motivated as he waits for a scholarship offer from a school.
“It’s my number one priority to help out my family, so it makes me hungry,” Conteh said. “I’m hungrier and hungrier every day to make sure I get the offers.”
The Bowie, Maryland, resident is in talks with eight schools about a possible scholarship offer. Boston College, Towson, Old Dominion, Richmond, Stony Brook, Saint Francis, Delaware and Villanova have all told him they may offer him depending on how he performs in his senior season.
Knowing how much the first few games mean to his family and him is a lot of pressure. Pressure that Conteh can handle, though.
“I’m pretty nervous. I’m just praying that everything’s in God’s hands,” he said. “This year hopefully will be better than the last.”
Out of those schools listed, Boston College and Towson are Conteh’s favorites, he said.
While, the Bowie High School senior wasn’t able to make it up to Boston College for camp because of a family issue, it is still toward the top of his list.
“Boston College has shown me a lot of love,” Conteh said. “They were the ones willing to talk to my parents the most, and they want to get me on campus too. I really like them.”
He said he hopes to visit campus before he has to make his decision.
The coaching staff at Towson makes Conteh comfortable, he said. Also, the proximity to his hometown of Bowie is an added bonus.
“I like Coach [Derrick Johnson] a lot,” he explained. “He’s my favorite DB coach because I can relate to him the most, and every time I have conversation with him it’s great.”
It’s a mystery to Conteh why he hasn’t received any offers as of yet. One reason could be that he started the recruiting process late, he said. He didn’t have the money to attend camps his freshman and sophomore years, so he didn’t start going until his junior season.
At the camps he did go to, however, he outperformed some of the best talents.
“I’m very underrated. I don’t really get shown love like others,” Conteh said. “When I see other recruits at camp, I ball out just as well as they do, and sometimes better. When I was at the Nike camp, in my opinion, and others, I was balling out better than most of the three and four star recruits there.”
The fact that he is underrated and hasn’t received an offer has motivated him. In his words it makes him “hungry,” and he has all the motivation in the world to keep grinding.
His aggressive play style still will be what ends up getting him some offers in his senior year. Last year he led the league in interceptions with five, and he hopes to repeat as the league leader this year. He also was named to the second team all-county last year, and expects to be able to earn first team honors in his senior season.
All Conteh can do at this point is play. Play for his family, but also play for his love of the game.
“It means life to me,” he said. “Every day I wake up I’m just happy to play football. When football season comes around it’s the happiest time in my life.”
Once he gets that first offer, he knows it will mean the world to his family.
“They’re all going to be proud of me because my parents won’t have to worry about the debt. I have three older brothers, so my parents have to worry about paying for college for them,” Conteh said.
For now, all he can do is wait and trust that all things will happen the way they should.