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Riverdale DB commits to startup program

Photo by Derrick Mhaone Riverdale defensive end Chinedu Okonya committed to play his college football at Furman. He is one of three Riverdale players that have already made their college choices.

Photo by Derrick Mhaone Riverdale defensive end Chinedu Okonya committed to play his college football at Furman. He is one of three Riverdale players that have already made their college choices.

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Isa Muhammad of Riverdale gave a verbal commitment that he would play at Kennesaw State next season. The County school will field its first team during the 2014 season. (Staff photo: Derrick Mahone)

RIVERDALE — Isa Muhammad probably could have waited for some more offers to come, but the Riverdale defensive back decided he had found his future home.

Last week, the rising senior committed to play football at upstart Kennesaw State instead of waiting on more lucrative offers to materialize.

Kennesaw State has yet to play a season of football, but Muhammad said he is convinced that it was a good fit. This past school year, the County-based college added football to its athletic department. The Owls have yet to join a conference in football, although all its other sports play in the Atlantic Sun Conference, whose members do not compete in football.

Brian Bohannon, a Griffin native, was named the first head coach in school history on March 24. Since that time, the former Georgia Tech assistant has been assembling a staff and preparing the school for its first season in 2014.

“Being a part of history is what really sold me,” Muhammad said.

Muhammad is the third Riverdale player to commit this offseason. Earlier this summer, wide receiver Rashad Canty committed to Appalachian State, which is moving to the NCAA highest division next season. Appalachian State, a powerhouse on the Football Championship Subdivision, will join the Sun Belt Conference.

Chinedu Okonya has committed to Furman, a FCS team that plays in the Southern Conference.

By the time National Signing Day comes in February, new Raiders coach Terry Herrod expects to have between seven and nine players sign scholarships.

Last season, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Muhammad had six interceptions, returning two for interceptions. He also had 35 tackles from his cornerback position to help lead the team to a 7-4 record and first state playoff appearance since th 2005 season. Muhammad will be a three-year starter for the Raiders, who are expected to challenge again for one of the four playoff spot in Region 4-AAAA this season.

“I think we will have a real good team,” Muhammad said. “We are working hard, and everyone seems to be on the same page.”

Herrod says that Muhammad is a versatile player that can play multiple positions in the defensive backfield. He can play either corner or safety position.

“I think Isa might be our best overall athlete,” said Herrod, who was defensive coordinator at Dutchtown the last five seasons. “He has the ability to play all four defensive back position. Great speed that gives him the opportunity to cover a lot of field.”

Herrod also praised the rising senior for his work in the classroom. Muhammad is already qualified under NCAA rules. The coach gives the credit to his parents. Muhammad’s older brother is on a Bill Gates Scholarship at the University of Georgia.

“Isa is a great player with a lot of intelligence,” Herrod said. “He is a good leader as he is our defensive captain.”