Bill Iezzi: Timber Creek's Bryd Makes Commitment

Timber Creek football star Damiere Byrd has ended the suspense about his college plans.              Sitting at a school-library table with four hats in front of him Wednesday afternoon, Byrd put on a red Gamecocks cap and announced that he would attend the University of South Carolina in the fall.
            Flanked by his parents, Dana and Adrian Byrd, on his right and teammate Quinton Alston on his left, Byrd received loud applause from friends, family, fellow students and team members who’d gathered for a press conference.
            Alston, who had his parents, Connie and Quinton Sr., next to him, reaffirmed his oral commitment to attend the University of Pittsburgh. He had originally announced his intentions on June 5.             “It [South Carolina] was a good fit,” said Byrd, who left hats from Iowa, Mississippi and Florida on the table. “It came down to me being a two-sport athlete and wanting to run track in college. The track team is what put it over the top for me.”            Byrd, the second-fastest scholastic sprinter in New Jersey, added that 28 colleges had expressed interest in his athletic abilities. He doesn’t possess great size at 5-feet-10, 165 pounds, so he will more than likely be a wide receiver at South Carolina, he said.At Timber Creek, which has a 3-2 record, Byrd is a running back who has gained 520 yards on 40 carries and a wide receiver who has 12 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.             “South Carolina is getting a fantastic young man,” Timber Creek head football coach Rob Hinson said. “He’s a rock-solid student; his GPA is 3.4. He’s a great role model. He speaks to younger kids, leads our team, and his athletic accomplishments are well documented.             “He’s one of the top football players I ever coached and definitely is one of the best track athletes I ever coached since I started in 1995.”Byrd was The Inquirer’s 2009 boys’ track athlete of the year in South Jersey. The senior took up track to stay in shape for football; however, he demonstrated superior ability when he won state titles in three events last spring, leading the Chargers to the Group 3 crown. He also ran two of the fastest 100-meter dashes in South Jersey last year.            Byrd was clocked in 10.42 seconds in the 100 at the Meet of Champions on June 3 at South Plainfield. Although the time was extremely fast, he placed second to Long Branch junior Miles Shuler-Foster, who finished in 10.39.            At the state meet, Byrd won the 100 in 10.68 seconds, the 200 in 21.80 seconds and the 400 in 47.88. His 400 time was a career personal best and it tied for the fastest in the state last season.            Byrd led Timber Creek to the South Jersey Group 3 crown by winning the 100 in 10.75, the 200 in 22.46 and the 400 in 49.11.            Alston, a 6-2, 220-pound linebacker, last season made 80 tackles, had four sacks and defended a pair of passes, according to Scout.com. This season he played in only one game. He suffered a torn meniscus, which was repaired three weeks ago.            Alston said he sat out the first game because of knee pain and played only three quarters of the second - a 33-14 loss to Delsea on Sept. 16 – and made 15 tackles and blocked a field goal.             Hinson said he hopes to have Alston back in the lineup in a week or two.

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