By Phil Anastasia
Old Dominion University football is a program on the move and Ray Lawry plans to be part of the Monarchs' rise to national prominence.
Lawry, a junior running back from Kingsway, on Monday night committed to attend Old Dominion on a football scholarship.
One of Lawry's close friends, Williamstown junior running back/defensive back Marques Little, also has committed to ODU.
"We've been friends since we played on the same basketball team when we were nine," Lawry said of Little.
Lawry said he and Little visited Old Dominion with their families over the weekend.
"I just loved it," Lawry said of the school in Hampton, Va.
The 5-10, 180-pound Lawry ran for 2,225 yards and scored 28 touchdowns last season as Kingsway advanced to the South Jersey Group 4 title game.
Lawry ran for 162 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 57-27 loss to Timber Creek in the sectional title game.
Lawry had offers from Maryland, Temple, Western Michigan, Akron and Old Dominion.
"It just felt right," Lawry said of committing to Old Dominion. "It's a football program that's getting better and better. They're going to be playing a lot of good teams."
Old Dominion went 11-2 last season and finished as the No. 6 team in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision coaches poll.
The Monarchs are transitioning to the Football Bowl Subdivision level of NCAA Division I. This season, they will play a mixed schedule of FCS and FBS opponents such as East Carolina, Maryland, Pitt and North Carolina.
In 2014, Old Dominion will join Conference USA, which features programs such as Central Florida, East Carolina, Marshall, Tulane, Houston, Rice and Southern Mississippi.
In 2015, Old Dominion will be eligible for the conference title as well as a bowl game.
"It's an exciting time to be part of the team," Lawry said.
Other South Jersey athletes who are members of the ODU program include Paul VI's Jakwail Bailey, Winslow's Rob Mahan, St. Joseph's Rob Thompson (who will be a freshman this upcoming year) and Glassboro's Gary Scruggs.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.